School of Computer Science

Weekly Newsletter

 6 May 2013


News from HoS

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News from the Head of School

Gavin Donald wins award

Gavin Donald from SSO received the Outstanding Contribution to Peer Support Award at the annual Students as Partners Celebration Evening last Thursday. Congratulations to Gavin and thank you for all your hard work and support for our students.

Students versus Staff Coding Comp

The Coding Dojo is pleased to announce the results of the 2013 Student vs Staff Coding Competition!


The rankings were decided by the total number of problems FULLY solved, that is ALL test cases passed.  Where there were ties, the AVERAGE FRACTION of test cases solved across all problems was used to break the tie...


   1st place... Team Fossils (fully solved 3 problems)

   Giles Reger (PhD, former UG) and Peter Glaus (PhD)


   2nd place... Team CodeLegends (fully solved 2 problems)

   Mircea Gabriel Suciu (3rd yr CS) and Alexandru Dumitru (2nd yr CS)


The first place team received a Raspberry Pi Starter kit each, and the second place team each received £25 of Amazon vouchers.


An honorable mention goes to the staff team "SpiNNaker" (Steve Furber and Tom Sharp) for coming in 3rd place overall.


A further honorable mention goes to team ACMayhem - Stefan Andrei Balas (1st yr CSwIE) and Clara Andreea Diaconeasa (1st yr CMwIE) as the best runner up student team.


Also congratulations to Proswaggers and Paranoid Androids who managed to solve 2 of the challenging problems that were set.


The scoreboard can be found at: and there are photos here:


UG Project competition

UK BSc Final Year Computer Science Project Competition: £250 cash prize


If you are aware of a good final year UG project then please encourage the student to submit it for the CREST annual prize for the BSc Final Year Computer Science Project of the year.


Submitting is easy and takes only about 10 minutes. Projects can be submitted up until midnight BST 17th May 2013.


Details on how to submit can be found at this website:


The winner will receive a cash prize of £250, a trophy and certificate.


New Director of University IT

Gerry Pennell OBE has been announced as the new Director of IT for the University.  In this role, Gerry will be responsible for leading the University’s IT function to ensure it supports all aspects of the University’s activities.


Gerry has extensive experience in establishing and leading large IT organisations and has a strong association with Manchester. Most recently, he was the Chief Information Officer for LOCOG, where he was responsible for delivering the very substantial technology programme that underpinned the London 2012 Olympics. Prior to this, he worked as the Chief Information Officer at Cooperative Financial Services and the Cooperative Group where he led a far-reaching programme of modernisation.  His previous work includes the role of Director of Technology for the Commonwealth Games in Manchester.  He is also an alumnus of Manchester University having graduated in Mathematics.


Gerry will take up his position on Monday 29 July 2013. Until that time, Paul Hopkins will continue acting in his role as Interim Director.


Seminars for Researchers: Wiley Publishing Workshop                   16 May 13

13-15:00, John Casken Theatre, Martin Harris Building

Wiley are one of the largest publishing companies of scholarly work in the world. They publish a significant amount of work from University of Manchester researchers. The workshop will be led by Paul Trevorrow, the Executive Journals Editor, with a particular focus on physical sciences titles. Paul is an engaging speaker and regularly presents at international conferences. There will be the opportunity for questions at the end of the session. To book a place please go to the Library’s My Learning Essentials training calendar.


Funding Opportunities

Research Support Office

Please contact us through

There is information about support for grant writing and submission at

International Exchanges Scheme                                                             26 Jun 13

·         Closing date: 26 Jun 2013

This Royal Society scheme enables 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 replaces the former International Travel Grants and International Joint Projects schemes.

Impact Acceleration Account (IAA)                                                             10 Jul 13

·         Computer Science one-to-one meetings: 14 May 9.30-12.30, Atlas rm 1, KB

·         Closing date: 10 Jul 2013

EPSRC has awarded The University of Manchester over £3.2M to deliver an Impact Acceleration Account (IAA), which runs from 2012-15 for knowledge exchange based on EPSRC research (following on from the Knowledge Transfer Account).
The 3rd call for proposals is now open for:

·         Relationship Incubation (up to £10k available) Engaging with businesses and business communities to sow the seeds of new collaboration and enhance strategic engagement

·         Concept Development and Feasibility Studies (up to £30k available) Support for the very early stages of transforming research outputs into commercial opportunities

·         Exploitation Secondments (up to £60k available) Flexible support for secondments between The University of Manchester and businesses and other organisations

·         Knowledge Exchange Fellows (up to £80k p.a. available for 2 yrs)  Support for sustainable Knowledge Exchange Fellows to deliver multiple short-term industry focused projects





The Knowledge Exchange Team are hosting Impact Acceleration Account (IAA) drop-in sessions and one to one meetings for Computer Science on 14 May. Please register to attend. These sessions provide the opportunity to discuss potential projects and funding opportunities within IAA and Knowledge Transfer Partnerships. Both Simon Harper and Sean Bechhofer have been successful in previous calls.


Research Professional is a useful search engine for finding other funding opportunities.


Featured Research Outcomes

Continued development of ChEBI towards better usability for the systems biology and metabolic modelling community

Pedro Mendes, Neil Swainston (with EMBL – European Bioinformatics Institute)

Funding body: BBSRC, BBR Scheme

Award amount: £683k


The database Chemical Entities of Biological Interest (ChEBI) acts as a resource for the bioscientific community, providing semantic, biological and chemical information as well as stable identifiers for small chemical compounds relevant in biology, including the so-called metabolites. Over the three year project, the aim is to further develop the ChEBI resource and create surrounding tools towards comprehensively addressing the chemical informatics (software and data) needs of the systems biology and metabolic modelling communities, so that they in turn can further their objective to create meaningful simulations and models that enable whole-systems research into pressing public health and energy challenges.


Firstly, we will develop a comprehensive cross-platform, open source API library for accessing ChEBI programmatically (in Java and Python). It will include facilities such as extracting biologically relevant groups of compounds e.g. tautomers, calculating additional physicochemical properties and semantic reasoning over model annotations. Secondly, we will extend the database to enhance stability, increase community involvement and provide a new powerful visualisation for the biological context of molecular entities. Thirdly, we will curate into ChEBI all known metabolites across important organisms in systems biology studies.


Have we missed something? If you have some award news that you would like us to know about please contact Sarah Chatwin.