School of Computer Science

Weekly Newsletter

12 December 2011


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News from Head of School

Environment in Kilburn

Some rooms in the Kilburn Building get very cold when it is cold outside and some get uncomfortably warm when it's warm outside (and sometimes even when it isn't). This is a long standing problem with a number of causes. The environment in this building is managed by mixing streams of warm and cool air, with the precise mix controlled by thermostats placed at various points around the building. If the thermostat that controls the room where you are is in a place which is currently at the right temperature, then the mix of cold and warm air will be set to maintain that temperature. If the room where 'your' thermostat is located is at the target temperature, then the system thinks that your room is also at the right temperature, and it will ensure that it stays as it is. So your room can be too cold or too warm because the temperature control system is getting the wrong information about its current state. It can also be at the wrong temperature even when the thermostat is providing the right feedback because the mechanism that actually mixes the two streams is stuck.


We are talking to senior people in the Faculty to see what can be done about this. Completely replacing the environmental controls in the building is likely to be prohibitively expensive, since it would mean virtually reconstructing the building, but there may be less extreme things that can be done. In the meantime, if you email with details of the room and the problem, they will override the automatic control for your area. This will probably cause some other room to become too warm (if your complaint is that yours is too cold) or too cold (if your problem was that you are too warm), but it will alleviate your immediate problem. It will also allow us to build up a record of where and how bad the problem spots are, which will help us when trying to come up with a proper solution. Please try emailing them rather than immediately turning on local space heaters—getting them to fix it saves energy and helps us get a clearer picture of the problem. Turning on space heaters can be counter-productive because it leads the thermostat to think that the room is too warm, which means that it will pump more cold air into the rooms under its control. So if you warm your office up with a space heater, the person in the room next door will get even colder!

Retirement Reminder

Just a reminder that Robert Holmes is retiring at the end of this month after over 37 years service to the School. There will be a presentation and a leaving event (drinks & nibbles) to be held on Friday 16th December at 3.00 p.m. in the Staff Common room.



The Maxine Project -- productive and approachable development of high-performance virtual machines                                                                   12 Dec 11

School Seminar

Dr Laurent Daynes. Oracle Labs

14:00, 2.19, Kilburn Building

School Seminar page

Advanced Investigator Grants and Synergy Grants - Information and Proposal Writing Events                                                                              14 Dec 11

The ERC National Contact Point will hold one of their national information and proposal writing events for Advanced Investigator Grants and Synergy Grants here in Manchester on 14th December. 

The event is open to anyone including those outside the University.  As these sessions have proved very popular in the past please register as soon as possible to ensure you have a place.

The event is open to academic and administrative staff and there is no limit on the number of attendees from one institution.


Christmas Party                                                                                             16 Dec 11                                  

The Christmas Party this year will be held on Friday 16th December from 3.30pm in the Staff Common Room/Atlas Rooms. Pizza will be provided, as well as music, but please can you bring a bottle of whatever is your preferred tipple!

Many-core Architectures and Concurrency in Distributed and Embedded Systems                                                                                                            10 Jan 12

Closing date: 12:00 on 10 January 2012

Issue date: 03 December 2011

Call type: Expression of interest 

Workshop: Birmingham, 20 March 2012



Imagine computing in the future with many thousands, or even millions, of cores or distributed devices. The potential is there, but in order for this to become a reality, many challenges need to be solved in the development of such architectures and their associated programming models.


EPSRC has identified 'Many-core Architectures and Concurrency in Distributed and Embedded Systems' as a priority for future research funding. The ICT Theme would like to engage with the research community across the ICT portfolio on the technical challenges which underlie it. Our aim is to draw together representatives from across the ICT communities and with them build up a picture of the problems faced; exploring the different research approaches that will be needed to find solutions.


Outcomes of this workshop will feed into the ICT Theme strategy and will influence the successful delivery of this priority. Research funding to help address this priority will be made available through a call for proposals later in 2012, for which up to £5M is available. The scope of this call will be influenced by the challenges identified during this workshop.


Objectives of the workshop:

  • To bring the ICT research community together around a cross-ICT priority;
  • To identify broad technical challenges which underlie this priority
  • To identify where contributions are required from multiple ICT research areas in order to reach solutions;
  • For the ICT community to consider the context in which their own research sits in addressing this priority and its broader challenges.

The workshop will take place in Birmingham on the 20th March 2012. Full details of the venue and an agenda will be made available to the selected participants. The full call document contains more information including the application process.


The ICT Theme would like to encourage contributions from across the career stages. A number of places will be made available for early career researchers (those within twelve years of obtaining a PhD qualification and with either a fellowship or academic post) and a session tailored towards this group will be held immediately prior to the start of the main workshop.

Further information

Grant Writing: Pathways to Impact Statements                                     26 Jan 12

10:00 – 14:00 (includes lunch), Sackville Street Building, G13D


Academics are required to articulate the potential ‘impact’ that their research may have on society, culture and the economy by writing a ‘Pathway to Impact’ in grant funding applications. The session provides:

  • Input from academic colleagues talking about the impact of their research and their experience of writing a ‘pathway to impact’
  • Examples of pathways to impact and the chance to review and critique from reviewer perspective
  • Context of the impact agenda– including definitions and distinctions between impact summaries and ‘pathways to impact’, funding body requirements & REF context
  • An introduction into the key elements of articulating impact through the development of a ‘pathway to impact’
  • An opportunity to discuss barriers and considerations for carrying out research impact

To register please email Dee-Ann Johnson.

More information (PDF)