School of Computer Science

Weekly Newsletter

30 May 2011


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News from Head of School

Postgraduate Fees

There has been significant publicity around fees from 2012/13 for UG Home/EU students, but rather less in relation to postgraduate students.  For such students, as for UG, income has come partly from fees and partly from the government via HEFCE, where the second of these income streams is under threat.  The university is currently setting fees for 2012/13 entry.

  • Masters. It is not yet known what will happen to HEFCE income for taught masters students, but it seems quite likely to go to zero from 2012/13.  On this assumption, the school is proposing to move to £6,950 as the Home/EU PGT fee for 2012/13 (from £3,500 in 2011/12), broadly maintaining income per student.  Of course, there must be seen to be a significant risk that student numbers will drop.  For information, we tend to have around 50 Home/EU students. The faculty minimum fee for 2012/13 will be £5950.
  • Research. As fees for almost all of our Home/EU PGR students are paid by research councils through contracts with universities, we are likely to have much less freedom in setting these fees.  It is hoped that the HEFCE component of these will not go to zero!


Major SpiNNaker Milestone Reached

The full 18-processor SpiNNaker chips were delivered to the School on the morning of Friday 20th May, and have proved to be highly functional. This represents the culmination of around 40 man-years of work by the SpiNNaker team over the last 5 years, and is a pivotal point in the project.  The 'System-in-Package' incorporates a 128 Mbyte memory on top of the SpiNNaker chip. This 3D packaging saves circuit board cost and power. The foundations are now set for at least a further 5 years of system and software development, and we are well-placed to achieve our million-processor machine objective in the next two years.  The images below show the 3D packaging inside and the marking on the outside of the part.




Friday's successful day ended with the consumption of a certain amount of champagne, and another bottle (this one a magnum!) has joined the APT trophy collection. Congratulations to all those involved in the Herculean effort to get the chip designed and working.

Any supervisors that have PhD projects listed on can list postdoc opportunities for free on

A typical advert looks like this:

If you want to advertise any postdoc opportunities please send them to
Ros Cooper.

Radio opportunity for EPS staff

A radio production company called “Somethin’ Else” is looking for scientists to pitch programmes for the BBC – Radio 4 or 5.

·         Details of their academic science background

·         Details of their current science interests and curiosities (can be different from background)

·         Ideas for a radio show for Radio 5 Live or Radio 4

·         Any previous radio/podcasting/video experience (not necessary but helpful)

·         Their phone number

Please contact Daniel Cochlin for more information.



Faculty of EPS open meeting                                                                       1 Jun 11

14-15:00 in Lecture Theatre A, Coupland 3 Building.

All members of staff in the Faculty of Engineering and Physical Sciences are invited to attend the Faculty Open Meeting with Professor Colin Bailey, the Vice-President & Dean.

Seminar on BBSRC Funding Landscapes                                               3 Jun 11

Dr Alf Game Seminar on BBSRC Funding Landscapes
9:00-10:30, Friday 3 June.


Dr. Alf Game will visit the MIB on Friday 3 June 2011 to give a presentation on the BBSRCs future funding landscapes and the implications for delivery of their remit amongst other topics.  Alf will be accompanied by Dr. Colin Miles, Head of Integrative and Systems Biology.  Alf is a senior administrator at the BBSRC and is driving much of the change there and I anticipate that he will give a high level and informed presentation/discussion.


Please let Lesley-Ann Miller know if you plan to attend



Funding Opportunities

HEA Teaching Development Grants

The HEA is making £1.5 million of funding available for teaching development grants over the course of next year. Bids for the individual grant scheme are now invited on the themes of internationalisation or employability.

Further information