School of Computer Science

Weekly Newsletter

8 October 2012


News from HoS

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School Strategy

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ESNW Seminars

NaCTeM Seminars


News from the Head of School

Matthew Horridge wins CPHC/BCS Distinguished Dissertation Competition 

Matthew Horridge’s PhD thesis, "Justification Based Explanation in Ontologies", has been selected as the winner of the 2012 CPHC/BCS Distinguished Dissertation Competition.  Matthew was a PhD student from 2007-11, co-supervised by Bijan Parsia and Uli Sattler. His external examiner’s recommendation describes the thesis this way:

“With his thesis Dr Horridge has accomplished what very few doctoral students are able to achieve. He has managed to produce a body of work with theoretical depth that is also broad in scope and widely applicable. This is done with a level of clarity that is exceptional, and enables computer scientists in general to grasp the essentials and importance of the work... it is already clear that in the years to come, as research matures on the explanation of entailments and related topics such as ontology repair, this thesis and the published work on which it is based will be part of the core group of publications on which to build further research in the area.”

Making Raspberries Work for Us                                                                                

Raspberry Pi, a credit-card sized computer based on an ARM-processor, is generating considerable excitement as a cheap and approachable platform for teachers to teach Computer Science in schools. Here in the School of Computer Science, Andrew Robinson and others are developing a set of activities for teachers around a clip-on programmable interface board, called Pi-Face, to enable Raspberry Pi to drive multiple devices and to monitor sensor networks.

This is generating considerable interest at Raspberry Pi and amongst teachers. It was featured on Raspberry Pi blog and the project has been listed as one of ten essential Raspberry Pi projects on Raspberry Pi website 

Its applications are widespread from the possibility of monitoring animals in Regent's Park Zoo and game reserves in South Africa (both of which have been raised as possible projects) to controlling model railways and autonomous robots.


There is a nationwide `grass-roots' movement to enable and encourage improved teaching of computing in schools and the School is playing a leading role. As a part of that the School is hosting CPD events for school-teachers to develop classroom-ready material based on Pi-Face and Raspberry pi, which have proved enormously popular with events fully-booked within hours of it being advertised. The Raspberry Pi Bake Off Competition (part of the project) will launch in October and should further increase the School's profile, both in UK schools and internationally. See for details of the Pi-Face project and competition.


Contributors: Andrew Robinson, Mandi Banks, Jim Garside and David Rydeheard, with summer vacation students: Tom Macpherson-Pope, Tom Preston, Tom Heyes, Ziyad Gideir and Tomas Cepulis.

Open Day                                                                                                                          

Around 250 people attended the School on Saturday 6th October for a range of talks and demonstrations about our UG programmes. The day went well and seemed to be well received. Thanks to everyone involved in organising the Open day and/or helping on the day.

School Seminar Series Starts                                                                                      

The School Seminar Series this year aims to attract the whole School. It started off very well with Ross King’s “Automating Biology using Robot Scientists”, which more than filled LT1.3 in Kilburn and generated an interesting discussion.

Card from Eamon                                                                                                            

Eamon Grffin has sent the School a card in reply to our card and gift to him, his card is pictured below.


Research Support Manager

Sarah Chatwin, the School’s Research Support Manager, started work on the 1st October 2012 and has an office in the Kilburn Building, room KB2.7. Sarah has a PhD in Chemistry and has worked for a wide range of external organisations before her most recent appointment as Regional Assistant Director of the national HE STEM Programme, based at the University of Bath.


Featured publications this week (by Robert Stevens)

This is a regular section in 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. Please continue to add all of your new publications to eScholar, but also send ones that you wish to advertise in the newsletter to



School Board meeting                                                                                  10 Oct 12

1530-1700 in IT building room 407.

UG report and Teaching Strategy report

School Board home page

University Multiscale Modelling Club                                                        10 Oct 12

The next meeting of the University Multiscale Modelling Club will be held at 2.00pm to 4.00pm on Wednesday 10th October. Location to be confirmed by the Central Timetabling Unit.


The topic of the meeting will be "Bridging Lengthscales, Theory and Practice". I'm delighted to confirm that the invited speakers are Dr William Parnell (Maths) and Dr Andrey Jivkov (MACE), who are both active in this field.


Tea/Coffee will be provided to encourage discussion after the talks. In order to ensure adequate catering arrangements, please email to register for the meeting.


Further details


All academic staff, postdocs and postgraduate students are welcome.

KTP Information Event                                                                                 19 Oct 12

13:00-14:00, Alan Turing Building, Frank Adams 1 & 2 rooms

Fiona Nightingale (KTP Adviser and the NW Group co-ordinator) will be in the school to talk to academics staff about Knowledge Transfer Partnerships and the funding opportunities that are available.


Funding Opportunities

School Research Office

There is information about support for grant writing and submission at

International Exchanges Scheme                                                              18 Oct 12

·         Closing date: 18 October 2012

This Royal Society scheme will enable UK-based scientists to undertake collaborative work with scientists overseas through either a one-off visit or bilateral travel. Funding of between £3,000 and £12,000 is available, dependent upon the length of the visit. The International Exchanges Scheme replace the former International Travel Grants and International Joint Projects schemes.

More information

EPS TESS Call for Funding Applications 2012-13                                25 Oct 12

This year we have funding available for projects to enhance student support and retention for undergraduate and postgraduate taught students in EPS (around £37k in total).  Applications are welcome as long as they relate to student support or retention in some way.  The deadline for applications is 12 noon on 25 October 2012.

More information (PDF)

New Economic Models in the Digital Economy                                    19 Nov 12

·         Intent to submit deadline (short form): 12:00 on 19 November 2012

·         Closing date: 16:00 on 11 December 2012

The EPSRC are inviting proposals for cross-disciplinary research and activities to build links between groups and disciplines that will develop and strengthen the engagement between research communities in digital economy, economics and management. Up to £3.5M from EPSRC and the ESRC will be made available for up to 5 proposals that complement the ‘New Economic Models in the Digital Economy’ (NEMODE) aims. This call is part of the Digital Economy Theme (DET) that aims to engage more with business schools and economics researchers who have been under-represented in existing grants.

Please visit the EPSRC call webpage for further information.

Toshiba Fellowship Programme                                                                 7 Dec 12

The TFP is a unique opportunity for recently qualified PhD level scientists, mainly from science, computing and mathematics disciplines. It offers a chance to journey alongside Toshiba into innovation, discovering a new world of research and development, as well as exploring and living a new cultural experience in Japan.


Toshiba Fellows nurture cross-cultural understanding between the UK, Europe and Japan whilst benefiting from working in our highly innovative and research-centred organisation, in a country renowned for its world class technology. Every Toshiba Fellow has a real possibility to contribute to our future technologies. Participating in our scheme leads to both career development and personal growth.


The Programme has successfully operated for over 25 years, enjoying a strong and long-running collaboration with the EPSRC (Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council) as well as fostering and developing the relationship between Japanese industry and UK academia. The successful Fellow receives a generous package, including relocation assistance to and from Japan, together with support and advice prior to and during their stay.

More information

Fellowships in Social Computing                                                                         N/A

·         Closing date: N/A

EPSRC Fellowships are available for Early Career researchers in Social Computing; research that focuses on supporting and understanding social processes in relation to digital technologies, such as Web 2.0 technologies and social sensing.

More information on EPSRC fellowships