School of Computer Science

Weekly Newsletter

12 January 2009


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News from Head of School

Aidan Loyns

As many of you will already have heard, sadly Aidan Loyns passed away in his sleep on 28th December; he was 53. As Computer Services Manager, Aidan led the team that provided both centralised services and desktop support to a large number of diverse users in the school, with increasingly tight resources. This was a challenging and important role, the contributions and pressures of which have not always been fully recognised.


Aidan graduated with a BSc (Tech) First Class Honours Degree in Computation from UMIST in July 1976. He immediately joined the School of Computer Science at Manchester University, working successively as a Duty Programmer (July 76 - Sep 79), Research Assistant on computer aided logic design and manufacture (Oct 79 - Sep 83), Research Associate/Fellow with the Barclays Micro Unit on the development of word processors (Oct 83 - Sep 86), Senior Experimental Officer (Oct 86 - Sep 93), and since then as Computer Services Manager.


Outside the university, Aidan had a range of community activities; he was a magistrate from 2000, and was actively involved with The Rotary Club of Manchester Breakfast which he joined in 2003. He was Club President in 2005-06 and was also active at District level carrying out the role of technical manager for the last five District Conferences. For leisure, Aidan enjoyed travelling, especially cruises, and was as far afield as Australia to visit family as recently as October. Within the school, sharing his enthusiasm for sparkling wines, he was unofficial sommelier for ACSO socials.


Aidan will be widely missed.

RAE Sub-Profiles

Following on from the initial RAE results (see the Newsletter of 17th December, as well as many other sources), further details have now been published in the form of sub-profiles. Sub-profiles provide separate (and non-rounded) scores for Research Outputs, Research Environment and Esteem Indicators; the overall score was produced from the sub-profiles using weightings of 70%, 20% and 10% respectively. The sub-profile for Computer Science at Manchester is as follows; this information should be considered as internal to the university.








Overall Quality Profile






Research Outputs






Research Environment






Esteem Indicators







Few conclusions can be drawn from this information, as this level of detail will only be made public for all institutions by “June at the latest”. It can be observed, however, that the above figures give us an un-rounded Overall Quality Profile 4* score of 32.4, which means that we narrowly missed being rounded to 35.0, and in turn suggests that we are likely to be fifth outright (rather than fifth equal) on most quality measures, while remaining second on power. Further details on the workings of the panels, including a report from the Computer Science Panel, are available at:



EPSRC Afternoon Sessions                                                                       13 Jan 09

For researchers who fall within the remit of EPSRC, but most relevant to those researching in Materials, Mechanical & Medical Engineering (M3E). The EPSRC Portfolio Managers for the M3E Programme are visiting the Faculty of EPS on Tuesday January 13 2009.  They are particularly keen to meet with and encourage promising new academics.  They are running a 2-hour session on early stage career engagement during the afternoon of January 13 in Lecture Theatre C9, Sackville Street Building, Sackville Street campus.  This session is aimed at researchers within 10 years from PhD who hold a permanent academic post. To register for this session please contact  giving your name, school and research group.

JBCA Colloquium                                                                                          15 Jan 09

Professor Saku Tsuneta
National Astronomical Observatory, Tokyo, Japan

"A new view on the Sun: dynamo, reconnection, waves, turbulence..."

3pm, Lovell Seminar Room (Turing)

Manchester Turing lecture                                                                            3 Feb 09

This year’s lecture, titled ''Information Engineering and its Future", will be given by Professor Michael Brady (FRS FEng, BP Professor of Information Engineering).
The lecture will take place in Roscoe Lecture Theatre A at 6:00pm, is free to attend, and is open to BCS/IET members and The University of Manchester staff and students, as well as to the general public.

Places however are limited so pre-booking is compulsory.
The lecture will be followed by a hot fork buffet at Christies Bistro. Places are again limited and there is a charge for the buffet reception.

Further information and registration

Call for Papers: DILS 2009                                                                    20-22 July 09

6th International Workshop on Data Integration in the Life Sciences


Authors are invited to submit original contributions of practical relevance and technical rigor, experience reports and demonstrations of relevance to data integration in the life sciences. DILS 2009 invites two types of papers:


* Research papers (up to 16 pages).

* System/Demonstration papers (up to 8 pages).


Submission Deadlines

* Abstracts: February 13th, 2009

* Full papers: February 20th, 2009, 9:00 PM GMT

More information


New Funding and Award Opportunities                           top

Royal Society and Académie des sciences Microsoft Award            23 Feb 09

This prestigious award, sponsored by Microsoft Research, is designed to recognise and reward scientists working in Europe who have made a major contribution to the advancement of science through the use of computational methods. The 2009 award is open to any research scientist who has made a significant contribution at the intersection of computing and the sciences.
The award comprises a trophy and a monetary amount of 250,000 EUR, of which 7,500 EUR will constitute prize money with the rest earmarked for further research.
Nominations are now open and the closing date is 23 February 2009.

Research Awards                                                              top

None this week