School of Computer Science

Weekly Newsletter

25 October 2010


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News from Head of School

Comprehensive Spending Review

The details behind the comprehensive spending review will matter significantly, and have yet to fully emerge this is expected to take a considerable period. The initial indications are that there will be a significant hit to HEFCE-T (at least partly to be compensated for by increases in fees), but that other aspects of government income may be less drastically hit. For example, it seems that the science budget will reduce only by about 10% over the period of the review. This means that grant applications to research councils should be seen as a more viable proposition than might have been anticipated. Thus the hope is that current plans in the school for reducing staff numbers and growing non-government income (if implemented successfully) will be of broadly the correct scale.

FP8 Consultation

As you are probably already aware the Department for Business, Innovation & Skills have launched a consultation on FP8. The call for evidence and response form are available at

The Central Research Office will coordinate the preparation of the University's single response as it has done in the past with FP7. Academic and administration staff will have the opportunity to provide answers to any of the 42 questions that the EC included in this consultation. In order to make it easy and accessible to provide and collect information I set up the questions on an online survey form at:

It is important that those attempting to answer any questions also read the pdf support document.

The EU framework programme: call for evidence


The closing date for completing our questionnaire is the 22nd of Nov. 2010.

Regards, Constantinos Astreos

Immigration and Work Permit Issues

We have received information that the University allocation of Tier 2 Certificates of Sponsorship by the UK Borders Agency is to be reduced from 300 for 09/10 to 67 for 10/11 (not yet confirmed). These allocations include the need for renewal of existing certificates as well as issue of new ones. Clearly this is likely to have implications for recruitment as the year progresses. We understand that representations are being made to try and get the allocation revised, but this is the latest information.

Please find below a reminder for the process which should be followed for recruitment of staff.


  1. All academic/research posts will be advertised in accordance with existing internal arrangements, then, will be advertised for four weeks externally as a default.
  2. In exceptional circumstances, there may be the possibility of reducing the four week external advertising requirement, but this course of action will run the risk of there being significant delay in the appointment process should a non-EEA applicant be the eventual preferred candidate.
  3. Support and PSS staff advertisements will continue to be advertised in accordance with current practice.  


  1. All applications must be shortlisted against published criteria.
  2. We can interview EEA and non-EEA applicants together if we wish, to enable us to identify the scope of the field up-front, but we must be mindful of the need to be able to justify any subsequent appointment of a candidate from non-EEA at the expense of what might appear to be an appropriately qualified EEA candidate.  The Resident Labour Market test refers to qualifications, experience and skills and so long as we can link back the appointment to the requirements for the role - as advertised, it would be difficult for the UKBA to challenge the appointment.  Clearly, there is a need in any case to ensure that our criteria (outlined on the further particulars) are fit for purpose and strictly adhered to, as UKBA can audit job adverts and recruitment documents at any time.

Industrial MSc Projects

This year we are offering four MSc Projects collaboratively with industrial partners. Each project requires a co-supervisor from within Computer Science. Please consider if you could co-supervise one or more of these projects and contact Iain Hart to volunteer.

1)       Converting Promospace digital signage software to a web application

2)       Fixed point support in LLVM (Low Level Virtual Machine) Backend

3)       Fixed point support in LLVM - Front End

4)       Performance Model Application



Plasma Screens

A new  'plasmascreens' email alias has been set up to streamline the administration of the School's four plasma screens, situated on the ground floor, lower first student study area, first floor foyer and outside the Atlas rooms.  The School is keen to make better use of this facility, which is useful for publicising events and projects to the student body.

The screens are capable of displaying file types including images, text and movies.  For consistency however we ask that text or image based submissions are made as Powerpoint slides, as these can be easily exported to images of the correct dimensions for the screens whilst also being editable by the team.  To submit a slide, or discuss a message you would like displayed on the plasma screens, please email

Ona Sumner



Square Kilometre Array lunch time seminar 12 Nov 10

Why Phase-1 SKA will be important to astronomy and fundamental physics.

12.30-13.30, 3.225 Lovell Seminar Room, Alan Turing Building.

Steve Rawlings, Oxford University.