Dr Ahmed Sarhan

Senior Lecturer; Director, Virtualisation Simulation and Infrastructure Research Group

Faculty:Faculty of Science & Technology

Department:Computing and Technology

Location: Chelmsford

Areas of Expertise: Computing and technology

Ahmed’s research focuses mainly on the development of tools and techniques that can help to achieve a more effective and user-friendly ‘Smart’ living experience.

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Ahmed’s areas of expertise include the use of novel techniques and methodologies for effective implementation of ‘Smart Living’. This includes a range of techniques – such as multi-agent systems, big data mining, virtual environments, agent-based modelling, and game engines technology – and focuses mainly on the areas of architecture and built environment (smart homes), urban design and planning (smart cities), and education (serious games).

Ahmed's research also involves assessing the usability of tools (using the measures of efficiency, effectiveness, and satisfaction), as well as their inclusivity, where the largest number of potential users are included, regardless of aspects like age, gender, and disability/impairment.

Research interests

  • Smart cities and smart homes: this is research into novel methodologies and tools to improve the quality of the population's or occupants' lives, in conjunction with the Internet of Things. The research looks into the social, cultural, economic, and technical dimensions to assist people in communication, interaction, and problem solving, which subsequently improve their quality of life. The research starts from the nucleus (a home) and expands to involve several urban/cultural aspects of the smart city
  • Big data and agent-based modelling (ABM): these concepts have been investigated and applied in the prototype Ahmed developed for his doctorate degree. The aim is to use novel techniques to gather, store, analyse, manage, and visualise extensive amounts of data that are difficult to manage with conventional methods. This includes the use of data mining (DM) and data warehousing (DW) techniques, in conjunction with multi-agent systems (MAS), for enhanced knowledge discovery and data representation
  • Sustainability and built environment: as Ahmed's first degree is architectural engineering, he's interested in using new technologies and concepts to enhance the application of sustainability in the architectural design process; with particular interest in applying building information modelling (BIM) concepts and methodologies in this process. This is expanding and building upon the work done in his research degree
  • Virtual environments and serious games: this is done with the use of games engines technology (like Unity 3D, C4, UDK, etc) for the purpose of simulation, training, and education
  • Inclusive design: Ahmed has been involved with the University of Cambridge's Engineering Design Centre (EDC) in the development of vision and hearing impairment simulator, as part of the Inclusive Design Toolkit

Areas of research supervision

  • Agent-based modelling and MAS in environmental design conceptualisation and analysis
  • Utilising Games technology to enhance business education
  • Methods for enhancing 3D games visualisation, virtualisation, and immersion
  • Security methods and approaches for SDN networks


  • PhD, University of Nottingham, 2012
  • PGCE Higher Education, Anglia Ruskin University, 2011
  • MSc Information Technology, University of Nottingham, 2004

Memberships, editorial boards

  • Fellow, the Higher Education Academy
  • Member, the Institute of Electrical & Electronic Engineering (MIEEE)

Research grants, consultancy, knowledge exchange

  • 2015: Avispace Smart Living project (in progress)
  • 2014-15: KTP Low Carbon KEEP Project - CH Lindsey, Colchester, UK (in progress)
  • 2011: Consultancy for Skills Arena Website Usability and Accessibility Assessment, SkillsArena - Essex, UK

Selected recent publications

Sarhan, A. and Rutherford, P., 2014. Integrating Sustainability in the Architectural Design Education Process - Taxonomy of Challenges and Guidelines. Thompson, Emine Mine (Ed.). Fusion - Proceedings of the 32nd eCAADe Conference - September 2014, 1, pp.323-332.

Sarhan, A., 2012. Utilising Games Technology for Environmental Design Education. PhD thesis, University of Nottingham.

Sarhan A. and Rutherford, P., 2011. Environmental Design eTutor: Utilizing Games Technology for Environmental Design Education. Computation: The New Realm of Architectural Design, 27th eCAADe Conference Proceedings, Istanbul, Turkey, 16-19 September 2009.

Goodman-Deane, J., Waller, S., Sarhan, A., Caldwell, N. and Clarkson P.J., 2011. Simulation software: Providing insight into the effects of vision and hearing impairments. In: Proceedings of Include11, Helen Hamlyn Centre, London.

Sarhan, A., and Rutherford, P., 2009. Embodied Game Agents in Environmental Design Education. Computation: The New Realm of Architectural Design, 27th eCAADe Conference Proceedings, Istanbul, Turkey, 16-19 September 2009.

Sarhan, A. and Rutherford, P., 2009. EDVis-game: Utilizing game engine's reporting agents for environmental design Education and visualisation. Proceedings of the 5th International of the Arab Society for Computer Aided Architectural Design, ASCAAD 2009, Manama, Bahrain.

Deane J., Langdon P., Clarkson J. and Sarhan A., 2008. Equipping designers by simulating the effects of visual and hearing impairments. Proceedings of the 9th International ACM SIGACCESS Conference on Computers and Accessibility, ASSETS 2008, Tempe, Arizona, USA, 15-17 October 2008.