School of Computer Science

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13 September 2010


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Academic Staff Departures and Plans

Two additional academic members of staff have now completed the ERVS application process, and both Linda Brackenbury and Len Freeman will be leaving us on 1st July 2011. Their broader contributions can be discussed nearer their departure dates; in the meantime, I am grateful to Linda and Len for agreeing to work with departure dates that are much more convenient than the worst case scenario!

This means that the school is losing a significant number of academic staff in 2010 and 2011 (Roger Hubbold, Chris Harrison, Magnus Rattray, Neil Lawrence, Linda Brackenbury, Len Freeman and Alan Rector), in a context where we only currently have commitments for two new arrivals to positions associated with an EPSRC Science and Innovation award (Aravind Vijayaraghavan has already started, and we anticipate advertising for a second position shortly).  In the meantime, while the information on ERVS applications was not fully public, the Professoriate discussed potential posts, and a proposal is in play that we seek to make new appointments as follows:



Technical Area


Machine Learning


Software Engineering


Computer Architecture

We will have to make cases to the Dean during October, but to allow wider discussion, I plan to use the Head of School slot at the School Board on 6th October to discuss the above proposals and to allow alternative ideas to be discussed.  In the meantime, staff in the above areas are being approached to contribute to cases that may subsequently be sent to the Dean. 

Publication Outlets

The assessment under the new Research Excellence Framework (the successor to the RAE) will take place during 2014, with submissions being made towards the end of 2013. To assist the preparation and seek to ensure the School's return is as strong as possible, the School has put in place a REF Working Group (chaired by Howard Barringer). As part of this process, the School will seek both to provide guidance to staff on suitable outlets for publications, and to monitor outputs and plans.  At a course grain, the initial advice is that full papers published in journals or conferences that are Rated A or A* in the Australian Government ERA (Excellence in Research in Australia) rankings are likely to be respectable candidates for inclusion in a strong REF return. Although time is relatively short for getting new material into some top journals, the group firmly believes that such outlets should be targeted for our best results. The details of the rankings are available at:

SAP Research Visit: Follow-Up Action Required by Academics

Ben Greene, Director of SAP Research for the UK visited the school on Wednesday 8th September, and the outlook looks bright for the development of several different forms of interaction.  Examples of forms of interaction that we might hope to see coming to the fore include:


  1. Collaboration in EU Projects.
  2. Joint supervision of PhD students funded by SAP.


To enable these to take place, Ben needs one-page profiles of staff and their research interests to show to potential collaborators within SAP; their interests are quite broad, and often align with interests within the school, and can be understood from:

As such, if you are interested in exploring research collaborations with SAP, please email Lynn ( a brief description of your interests and activities by close of play on Friday 1st October.  I think that these one-pagers can either be by topic (where several people collaborate on a topic) or by individual.  Please provide the following:


  • Name + Key Area of Interest + URL
  • Description of current activity/interests/plans
  • Indication as to how this might relate to SAP interests (Optional)
  • List of Key Publications

We will then assemble these into a single document for forwarding to SAP.  People are invited to contribute to this process whether or not they were able to meet with Ben when he was here.  Thanks to those who did participate in the visit; we seem to have made a positive impression.

Nominations for 2010 Best PGR Student Paper Prizes

The 2010 Research Students' Symposium is to be held on November 1st, 2nd and 3rd. Each year at the Symposium, prizes are awarded for the best PhD thesis examined, and the best paper published, in the previous year. This prizegiving event will take place Monday 1st November.


We request nominations of papers by PhD students for the 2010 prizes. Nominations need to be sent to Jonathan Shapiro by Friday 1st October. Thus, if you are:


  1. A student who has published a good paper during the last 12 months or so, please encourage your supervisor to put it forward for the best paper prize.
  2. A supervisor one or more of whose students published a good paper during the last 12 months or so, please encourage your supervisor to put it forward for the prizes.
  3. A research group leader, please ensure that one or more good papers published by research students in your group are put forward for the prizes.


More details relating to the prizes (including rules for entry) are available at:

Students, please note that it is the prerogative of your supervisor to nominate your paper but feel free to make a case to her/him if you believe you have one.


Supervisors, please note in the above web page the need to provide supporting material for the nomination.


The deadline for submission to Jonathan Shapiro is Friday 1st October 2010. This is a HARD deadline as the Symposium will take place four weeks after and the awarding committee needs time to consider all the evidence and reach a decision. Please feel free to email me or Jon if you need any clarification.

Josh Knowles



IBM Innovation Awards 21/28 Sept 10

IBM are announcing the first industry-focused 2010 Innovation Awards to develop Smarter Planet curriculum.


25 awards to develop curriculum in Healthcare, Transportation, and Smarter Cities The IBM Innovation Award worldwide program encourages open submission proposals from accredited university faculty supporting curriculum innovation and educational development in focus areas which are fundamental to building skills strategic to IBM and our client's core business.

The first industries in which IBM is requesting proposals for the development of courseware include:


Healthcare Industry Skills Innovation Award is designed to encourage the thoughtful development and incorporation of Smarter Healthcare solution discussions/examples into existing Healthcare and IT curriculum.  
More information


Transportation Industry Skills Innovation Award is similarly designed to encourage the thoughtful development and incorporation of Smarter Transportation solution discussions/examples into existing Transportation and IT curriculum.
More information


Smarter Cities Skills Award is designed to encourage the thoughtful development and incorporation of Smarter Cities discussions/examples into existing Business, Liberal Arts, Sciences and IT curriculum.
More information


Evolution of our traditional education materials

These awards will enable IBM to begin to evolve our catalogue of educational materials from a product level targeted at technical majors to a solutions level targeting the cross-discipline collaboration between technical, business, and industry majors.  The new teaching materials from the Innovation Awards will deliver course modules which demonstrate the interactions of diverse types of complex service systems within an industry and the need to use information to create real insight into data and organizational performance.

Program deadlines
August 24, 2010: Online submission opens. Email requests for proposal submitted before this date will be rejected.
September 21, 2010: Midnight deadline for initiating a nomination.
September 28, 2010: Midnight deadline for submitting a proposal.
November 4, 2010: Award winners notified by e-mail.