School of Computer Science

Weekly Newsletter

26 July 2010


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News from Head of School

Academic Promotions

The outcome of this year's academic promotions round has just been conformed, and congratulations are due to Robert Stevens on his promotion to Reader and to Simon Harper on his promotion to Senior Lecturer. Promotions are currently based on criteria across broad headings, and these cases both contained significant research success as well as wider contributions to the school and discipline. Overall the school did not have a great strike rate, and five other cases were not successful.

Comings and Goings

The University ERVS scheme has received several applications from the school, some of which are still in the system. However, two cases have now been accepted; Chris Harrison will leave the university from 31st July and Michael Evans from 31st October, and I would like to thank them for their contributions.  Chris has been with the university for over 20 years, covering a wide range of teaching and administrative roles, and contributing to research in areas such as object systems and computing education. Michael has worked as an Examinations Officer for four years, during which time we have had consistently positive feedback from external examiners on our practices and their implementation.


Just arrived is Phil McDonald who has taken on the role of School Finance Manager, extending his previous reach into the school, having been School Accountant in the faculty, so welcome to him.

Doctoral Training Centre Proposal

You may have heard that the school is bidding for a Centre of Doctoral Training from EPSRC. This is to run 4 year PhDs. If we get it, it would pay for 5 PhD students per year for 5 years, and we will (at least) match that from school and University studentships. It will be very hard to get this, and I need your help in three ways.


1)     We will need letters of support from industrialists and other end users (could be NHS, or SME or large companies, or non-commercial users). If you have contacts in such organizations, could you email Lynn (cc Howard and me) to let us know who they are and what company. Could you then contact them informally to warm them up for a formal request, and let us know when you have done this? Further details are in the attached briefing document.  Deadline: We need to get the letters of support by the 16th of August, so we need you to approach your contacts now!

2)     We want to be able to run exchanges with other institutions in the EU (or other places outside the UK). This could mean brief exchanges of students, or shared advanced courses. If you have contacts in outside UK institutions, or if you are part of an EU network which already has such exchanges, again let Lynn (cc Howard and me) know the name and please contact them.  Deadline: As above.

3)     We want to show that we have been running a successful PhD program. Thus, we want success stories: PhD students who have gone on to start companies, become important in companies, have become leading computer scientists, have won external prizes while students or later, etc. Please send those to me.  Deadline: 25th of July, so I can incorporate this into the case.


I both need and will greatly appreciate any help you can give. If you have any questions, please feel free to ask me.

Jon Shapiro


Please note these documents are for internal consumption only and have been placed in a csonly directory.  They will be removed from the web shortly so please download immediately.

Briefing notes


EPSRC Workshop: ICT Research - The Next Decade

The EPSRC is running a workshop that aims to draw together representatives from across the ICT community and involve them in the development of strategy for the ICT programme.  It is essential that people from the school participate in this workshop, and the school will fund participation for anyone who is accepted to attend.  Please feel encouraged to respond to the Expression of Interest (, and let Ursula know that you have done so.

New Roles

Following on from duties allocation, it is perhaps appropriate to highlight some new duties that have been created in the recent duties allocation round; a full list of administrative responsibilities is available from

  • Research: EU Funding Champion (Rizos Sakellariou). This role will seek to ensure that the school makes the most of the available opportunities to support our activities by way of EU funding.
  • Teaching Strategy: 2+2 China Link (Ke Chen, Liping Zhao). These roles will seek to explore opportunities and subsequently establish collaborative agreements with Chinese universities, for example following a model in which students join our undergraduate programmes in year 2.
  • School: Sustainability Champion (Steve Furber). This role will involve identifying better understanding our environmental consequences and ways of making progress.

New Computer Science Librarian

The new subject Librarian for Computer Science at the John Rylands University Library is Neil Sprunt. If you have any queries or requests regarding information skills training, inductions, e-resources, reading lists, book purchasing or any other library related issues then please feel free to contact him at or Tel: 0161 275 7358.


Milan Mihailovic remains the academic with library responsibilities within the School.

Knowledge Transfer Account

The school has recently had several successes within the university's Knowledge Transfer Account ( There will be further calls in the autumn, so please feel encouraged to see this as a good opportunity to obtain additional support for exploitation of EPSRC funded research. The recent successes are:

Title: Ontogrator-exploring the requirements of information portals facetted browsing of federated data resources using ontologies as a value added service
Type: Exploration Secondment
PI: Andy Brass
CI: Norman Morrison
Award Amount: £29427

Title: REUNITE: Refugee Assistance from Computational Intelligence
Type: Concept and Feasibility Study
PI: Gavin Brown
Award Amount: £36123

Title: Utopia - a 21st century interface to biomedical literature &data management, facilitating knowledge discovery & hypothesis generation
Type: Exploitation Secondment
PI: Terri Attwood
CI: Steve Pettifer
Award Amount: £257464

Title: Eagle Taverna: enabling the provision of commercial support capacity for the Taverna Workflow Management System
Type: Exploitation Secondment
PI: Carole Goble
Award Amount: £19007

PhD Plus applications now open                                                            30 Sept 10

University of Manchester EPSRC PhD Plus Awards 2010.


PhD Plus is a scheme to support the best PhD students for a few months of additional research after the submission of their PhD thesis. The aim of this funding is that projects can be completed and high profile publications prepared and submitted. It is a stepping stone for students between the end of their PhD and the beginning of a post-doctoral or research fellowships.

Eligible candidates should either have submitted or be on the point of submitting their thesis. The PhD studies must have been funded by the EPSRC.

What: Up top 12 months additional funding.

Deadline: 30 September 2010.

Requirements: Candidates must have been funded by the EPSRC during their PhD and have submitted their thesis by 30 September 2010.

More information and applications: Contact Joanna Heaps, Research Office, 275 8790.



SIGKDD Conference Streaming Keynote Speakers                      25-28 July 10

The Manchester ACM SIGGRAPH branch has been invited to attend the following three ACM keynotes. As branch members will be at the main SIGGRAPH conference, at this time, this will not be coordinated in a specific University of Manchester room, but is available via your desktop. Note this is Washington DC time.


The conference is planning to stream the keynote sessions from the conference site. The information for the 3 invited keynote speakers is below:

1. Monday Jul 26, 9-10 am: Dr. Qi Lu, head of Microsoft's Online division, "Online Services Division Strategy Overview "

2. Tuesday, Jul 27, 9-10 am: Prof David Jensen, University of Massachusetts at Amherst, "Computational Social Science"

3. Web, Jul 28, 9-10 am: Konrad Feldman, CEO of Quantcast, "The quantification of advertising and lessons from building a business based on large scale data mining"

An insight into Research - Dinosaurs and Jet Engines                        28 Jul 10

1-15.00, in room G107, Alan Turing Building.


The event will consist of:

1. Dr. Kevin Tan talking on:  "3D journey through Jet engine". An
innovation in Engineering education- 3D Jet Engine Design. The year's
Royal Academy of Engineering prestigious award winner!

(Brief intro: Students, using 3D glasses, can watch an exhilarating
interactive video that takes them on a tour of a Rolls-Royce Trent 900
jet engine created by Dr. Kevin Tan. The video shows the research,
modern materials and novel manufacturing techniques and testing needed
to create environmentally friendly aircraft. The talk will give
stimulating insight into the work of material scientists and engineer

2. Dinosaur models in 3D stereo equipments. (Animations in a virtual
reality set up)

3. Zartasha Mustansar talking on: Advanced Engineering and Computer
Methods in Palaeontology Strength of Tyrannosaurus rex Bones after
Injury and Healing

The talk will discuss the strength of the upper arm bone (humerus) of
the largest known Tyrannosaurus rex, named Sue. In life, Sue’s
humerus was damaged by a tendon avulsion and became infected with
bacteria, eroding away healthy bone. X-ray tomography scans provide
evidence that this injury was repaired through bone remodelling.  The
aim of the study is to determine whether the healed humerus could
support a compressive load of 400kg along its axis. This load is a
ball park figure of what palaeontologists believe the bone would have
experienced during normal usage. This talk also seeks to educate the
audience in the use of computers and engineering techniques to test
the mechanical strength of the fossil bones. This will help biologists
design virtual reality experiments for better understanding of how
materials like bone behaves.

The event will be hosted by WiSET (Women in Science, Engineering and
Technology) but everyone is welcome.  Refreshments will be provided.

To reserve a place email your name and School to


Research Awards

REUNITE: Refugee Assistance from Computational Intelligence

PI: Gavin Brown
Award Amount: £36123

Utopia - a 21st century interface to biomedical literature &data management, facilitating knowledge discovery & hypothesis generation

PI: Terri Attwood
Award Amount: £257464

Eagle Taverna: enabling the provision of commercial support capacity for the Taverna Workflow Management System

PI: Carole Goble
Award Amount: £19007


Funder: JISC
PI: Sean Bechhofer
Award Amount: £149,682

DYVERSE: A New Kind of Control for Hybrid Systems

Funder: EPSRC
PI: Eva Navarro-Lopez
Award Amount: £126964


Funder: JISC
PI: Bijan Parsia
Award Amount: £95395

Omics Data Sharing: the investigation/Study/Assay (ISA) Infrastructure

Funder: BBSRC
PI: Carole Goble
Award Amount: £15669


Funding Opportunities

EC calls for proposals

There are several calls that may be of interest within Computer Science:

ERC Starting Grants

Call issued: 20 July 2010. Deadlines:

  • Physical Sciences & Engineering Domain (Panels PE1 - PE10)
    • Deadline: 14 October 2010, 17.00 (Brussels local time)
  • Life Sciences Domain (Panels LS1 - LS9)
    • Deadline: 9 November 2010 17.00 (Brussels local time)
  • Social Sciences & Humanities Domain (Panels SH1 - SH6)
    • Deadline: 24 November 2010, 17.00 (Brussels local time)
  • Call Identifier: ERC-2011-StG

For relevant documents please refer to Cordis.