School of Computer Science

Weekly Newsletter

18th June 2012


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News from the Head of School

The Research Office has moved

The Research Office has moved to its new home. The new office is located in Room 1.135 on the first floor of the Turing building. Email and telephone contact should work as before.

Smoking Outside Buildings

Students complained about people smoking near to the doors of the Kilburn Building at a previous School Staff-Student Consultative Committee. They have subsequently raised the issue at a meeting of the Faculty Health and Safety Committee.  Please remember that the University does not permit smoking within 5m of the entrance to any building or outside opening windows, and that cigarette butts should be disposed of properly. I understand the benefits of shelter that the doorways provide, especially in Manchester, but two complaints to two different bodies make it clear that some students (and perhaps some staff) are not happy about this.

Confidential waste

Please be aware that paper put in the blue bags and the new paper-recycling bins is not treated as confidential when recycled. There are special bins for confidential waste located in SSO, Finance and Lynn Howarth’s office, and these must be used for all confidential waste (anything containing personal information about anybody, financial information, assessment of students etc). If you would like additional confidential waste bins to be provided, please inform Eamon, keeping in mind that confidential waste bins need to be located in secured areas.

Improvements outside the IT Building

I have been informed by Estates that the gravel that was put down over the large area that used to be grass outside the entrance to the IT Building will be replaced with grass before the Open Day (Friday June 22nd). The emergency backup generator (the eyesore visible from the bridge between Kilburn and IT) should be cleaned and painted soon.


You will have noticed that there is a large amount of refurbishment underway, mainly in the lower first floor. The computers in the final year project lab will be replaced by Faculty this summer as a part of the normal replacement cycle. In March the School secured additional funding of £73.5k from the Dean’s strategic fund for the Tootill labs and we have now secured a further £98.5k. This means that the total investment in our teaching labs by Faculty will be around £215k, which the School has been able to supplement to include some additional work. The total investment in our teaching rooms this summer will therefore be in the region of £250k The list of projects is:


LF15: Completely refurbished, new AV provision.

LF31: New carpets, painting, new desks and computers.

Tootill labs (both): Minor modifications plus replacement of all computers

Final Year Project Lab: replacement of all desks and computers

Area behind LT 1.1: carpeted, painted, furniture provided.


The doors to the walkway leading to the rear of LT1.1 will be opened before the start of next semester.


This investment is something that we must bring to the attention of visitors on open days and visit days to demonstrate our commitment to improving the experience of our students. It has only been possible because of the School’s past success in recruiting students, and we must make sure that we continue to attract sufficient numbers of excellent students.


I would like to thank Norman, who left the School in a strong enough financial position that we can do more work than was funded by Faculty, and Eamon who is doing a remarkable job of getting all of the refurbishment done within this financial year. Thanks also to all those staff based around the lower first floor for putting up with the disruption and mess.


Featured publications this week (by Robert Stevens)

I've added this new section to the weekly newsletter.  This is a small step to help us all to know what research is happening in the School and what is being published. I will be investigating whether new publications can be gathered automatically from eScholar, but for now it will be done manually. Please continue to add all of your new publications to eScholar, but also send ones that you wish to advertise in the newsletter to


To start things going here are three of my recent papers:


1. Janna Hastings, Despoina Magka, Colin Batchelor, Lian Duan, Robert Stevens, Marcus Ennis, and Christoph Steinbeck, “Structure-based classification and ontology in chemistry”, Journal of Cheminformatics, 4(1):8, 2012.


2. Simon Jupp, Robert Stevens, and Robert Hoehndorf, “Logical Gene Ontology Annotations (GOAL): exploring gene ontology annotations with OWL”, Journal of Biomedical Semantics, 3, 2012.


3. Leila Kalankesh, Robert Stevens, and Andy Brass. “The language of gene ontology: a zipf's law analysis”, BMC Bioinformatics, 13(1):127, 2012.



The Alan Turing Centenary Conference Public Lectures           22&25 Jun 12

22nd & 25th June 2012

University Place & Manchester Town Hall

This Summer, in celebration of the life and work of Alan Turing, the University of Manchester is hosting the Alan Turing Centenary Conference. The conference promises to be one of the biggest events in the history of Computer Science, with contributions from seminar thinkers including Google Senior Vice President Dr. Vint Cerf, chess grandmaster Garry Kasparov and Dr. David Ferrucci, Senior

Manager at IBM.

The Centenary event features two lectures which are free to attend and open to the general public. These will be given on 22nd June by Turing biographer Jack Copeland: and on 25th June by mathematical physicist Sir Roger Penrose:

Should you wish to register to attend either the conference or the public lectures, you can do so here.

For more information on the Turing Centenary Conference, please visit the conference website: or contact Vicki Chamberlin.


Funding Opportunities

School Research Office

There is information about support for grant writing and submission at