School of Computer Science

Weekly Newsletter

2 December 2013


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News from Head of School

Movember success

The CS@MCR Movember team have raised £1,651 which beats last year’s £1,233 - the team’s threat not to shave until more money was raised seems to have paid off. I’m sure we are all grateful to the last-minute donors who saved us from a grow-tesque December. CS@MCR raised more than any other team in the Manchester University network, and had three of the highest fundraisers in the top 10 of the University league table – congratulations to Bijan Parsia, Mathew Harrison and Steve Pettifer.

Sophia Ananiadou elected as member of META-NET executive board

Prof. Sophia Ananiadou has been recently been elected as one of the 14 members of executive board of META-NET ( . META-NET is a Network of Excellence (755 members in 62 countries) that is playing a vital role in promoting and advancing language technology research throughout Europe.  META-NET has already achieved a number of important milestones, including the production of "White Papers" for 31 European languages, which describe the language technology situation for each of the languages in question, the development of a Strategic Research Agenda, which identifies priority research themes in language technology for the coming years, and the establishment of META-SHARE (, a repository of language processing tools and resources for all European languages.


As a member of the META-NET executive board, Prof Ananiadou will contribute towards the direction of META-NET's strategic orientation and will help to safeguard the interests of all members. 

Jack Dongarra awarded the Ken Kennedy Award 2013 

Professor Jack Dongarra has been awarded the ACM and IEEE Computer Society Ken Kennedy Award 2013 for Software Technologies that Power Supercomputers to Tackle Big Scientific Problems.  The award was officially presented at the opening of the SC13 Supercomputing Conference in Denver, Colorado on 19th November 2013.

PhD students write major review paper 

NoWNANO CDT students Rhys Griffiths, Aled Williams, Chloe Oakland and Jonathan Roberts have just published a 29 page topical review “Directed self-assembly of block copolymers for use in bit patterned media fabrication” in Journal of Physics D: Applied Physics. The review arose from an enquiry based learning (EBL) project which was part of the first 6 months of the NoWNANO training programme. Rhys Griffiths who led the publication drive is now a member of the NEST group working on novel magnetic nanoscale Hall sensors under the supervision of Paul Nutter. The EBL project was supervised by Aravind Vijayaraghavan and Tom Thomson contributed to the paper – well done!

Rhys Alun Griffiths et al 2013 J. Phys. D: Appl. Phys. 46 503001


REF submitted

The School’s REF submission has been submitted. I would like to thank the many people who have contributed so much effort to making it as good as it can be. I’d particularly like to thank Norman Paton for spending much of his sabbatical on it and Sarah Chatwin for finding and collating so much of the information required.


Announcements and news

Teaching Excellence Awards                                                                17 Jan 2014

The Teaching Excellence Awards focus on achievement in relation to teaching, learning and the student experience over recent years. A case should include evidence of an academically rigorous approach, coherence and evaluation of activity.


The award consists of a £5000 grant to be used by recipients to develop teaching and learning activities or to support their own career development in this area. The period of award is three years. The University makes around six awards annually and may also issue commendations at the discretion of the decision panel.


Both academic and academic-related colleagues involved in the delivery of teaching or the preparation of material for teaching at undergraduate or postgraduate levels are eligible for these awards.


In the first instance, queries and submissions should be sent to Rosemary Tomkinson by Friday 17th January 2014.

More information

Recognising Inspirational Scientists and Engineers (RISE) award

                                                                                                                        31 Jan 2014

Nominations are open for the EPSRC RISE awards to celebrate renowned and world-class researchers that have led to incredible innovation over recent decades.

Shortlisted candidates will in turn nominate and promote an individual ‘rising star’ who has the potential to become an inspirational scientist or engineer and who has the potential to lead/excel in their field and beyond.


If you plan to nominate a member of the School please contact Robert Stevens beforehand with brief details (a paragraph).


Twitter: #inspirescieng ‘What do you think it takes to be an inspirational leader?’

Closing date: 31 Jan 2014

Oxford Road bus priority package consultation

Following public response to the Oxford Road bus priority package consultation which was held from 22 May 2013 to 5 July 2013 we have now analysed all responses received.


Over 1,000 people commented on the plans for both Oxford Road and Manchester city centre. The reports demonstrates support for our original proposals with Oxford Road receiving support from 65% of consultees, with 12% against the plans and 23% neutral or with no clear opinion.


Please note a separate report is available for the Manchester city centre proposals.


If you would like to view a copy of the Manchester city centre report or the appendices for both reports, these are available at or alternatively, you can request a hard copy by contacting us:

by email:

by phone:       0300 123 1177



MOD Centre for Defence Enterprise (CDE) Innovation Network         3 Dec 13


Closing dates: 16 and 23 Jan 2014


Dstl (Defence Science and Technology Laboratory, part of MOD) is holding a networking event to launch 2 funding competitions with the broad themes of:

1.    Integrated computational materials science and engineering – closing date: 5pm, 16 Jan 2014

  • to accelerate the understanding, development and application of integrated computational models for materials discovery, design, development, and sustainment.

2.    Protecting military platforms – closing date: 5pm, 23 Jan 2014

  • to identify new ideas and technologies so that that our Armed Forces get the right equipment faster, more effectively and affordably e.g. through new equipment and through technology insertion into existing equipment.


The CDE is interested in novel, high-risk, high-potential-benefit research to enable development of cost-effective capability advantage for UK Armed Forces and national security. The event will provide more information on the calls, advice on how to submit an effective CDE research proposal and the chance to meet experts and learn about the MOD to spark more research ideas. Registration required.

Another Manchester computer pioneer: Desmond Henry                   4 Dec 13

14:00, Lecture Theatre 1.4, Kilburn building

Elaine O'Hanrahan.

Seminar page

Scholarship of Teaching and Learning Lunchtime series mbclick and Effective Student Feedback                                                                                           5 Dec 13

12-14:00, G13.D, Sackville Street building

Geoff Rubner

School of Electrical and Electronic Engineering


"For students, feedback is one of the most important, and complained-about, issues for them.  Often you hear that it’s either given too late, or it’s not given frequently enough, or it’s not detailed enough, and so forth.  With mbclick you can liven up your lectures by introducing some interaction, and give students the feedback they want and need!

There will be a demonstration with an interactive session, so bring your mobile phone, tablet, laptop, notebook, etc!  The system accepts SMS so you don't even need a smartphone.

Please book your place through Lynn Davies

A light lunch will be provided

EPSRC Healthcare Technology visit                                                         5 Dec 13

11-12:30, room 306a&b, Jean McFarlane Building


Come and hear what the EPSRC have to say about their Healthcare Technology Strategy, with Q&A and a networking lunch. Themes that have been highlighted are:

  • Sensors
  • Connected health and sensing systems
  • Imaging
  • Regenerative medicine


Registration required.

Nano-Tera Workshop on Energy Efficient Electronics and Applications (WEEE)       6 Dec 13

·         Poster and student presentation abstracts closing date: ASAP

·         Closing date (Early bird registration): 06 Dec 2013

·         Event: 9-11 Jan 2014, EPFL (Lausanne, Switzerland)




The 2nd Workshop on Energy Efficient Electronics and Applications (WEEE) is being co-organised by Vasilis Pavlidis. The event brings together industrial and academic experts in system architecture, circuit design, and technology to discuss the challenges and the latest trends in the development of low-power and ultra-low-power embedded systems. In particular, the workshop covers areas such as:

·         Low-power embedded systems and computing architectures

·         Ultra-low power and sub-threshold circuit design

·         Variability and reliability issues in modern process technologies and corresponding new design paradigms

·         Advanced CMOS and More-than-Moore Technologiesfor mobile, wearable, and embedded applications.


Days 1 & 2 focus on Keynotes and short lectures by high-profile invited speakers from academia and industry as well as contributed posters from researchers and PhD students during coffee breaks.

Day 3 (optional, in the mountain/skiing resort of Leysin) has a mix of research and student presentations, discussions, and leisure activities to foster collaborations and exchange among research groups.


The deadline for abstract submission is not strict. Submit short (50-100 words) abstracts ASAP to (Subject: "WEEE: Poster Abstract") for poster sessions during the coffee breaks (days 1 & 2) and for PhD student presentations (Day 3).


The best PhD presentation will receive an award sponsored by the IEEE-CAS Society, Switzerland.

Registration required.


Funding Opportunities

Research Support Office

Please contact us through

There is information about support for grant writing, submission and successful examples at and through EPS. The EPS blog The Word contains features News, Events and comment relevant to Postgraduate Researchers, Research Staff and Supervisors or PIs.

Engaging in Engineering: public engagement grant award scheme                  3 Feb 14

The Engineering Professors’ Council (EPC) offering its members (incl SCS) the opportunity to bid for 2 £10k awards for public engagement projects which broadly:

·         help share expert engineering knowledge through collaboration with partners without a science or engineering background and to reflect on the social impact of your research;

·         develop creative activities that enable you to communicate in new ways and/or to new audiences;

·         design and deliver bespoke leadership development activities for those working in engineering in HE that equips them with communication and public engagement skills;

·         develop new general initiatives which help businesses, particularly SMEs, to interact more productively and effectively with universities.


At the EPC’s Congress in Glasgow in April 2014, 6 shortlisted applicants will have the opportunity to pitch their proposals to Congress delegates. Projects must start by 30 June 2014; completing by 31 Aug 2015.


Closing date: 6pm, 03 Feb 2014

Google Anita Borg Memorial Scholarship                                               17 Feb 14

The Google Anita Borg Scholarship is for current and academically strong UG or PG female, computer science students who intend to be enrolled in or accepted as a full-time student in a Bachelor's, Master's or PhD program next year. Successful applicants receive €7k (or equivalent) for the 2014/15 academic year. Scholarships are awarded based on the strength of each candidate's academic background, passion for increasing the involvement of women in computer science, and demonstrated leadership. All scholarship recipients will be invited to attend an annual Google networking retreat in 2014.
A reference letter from the School is required.

Closing date: 17:00 GMT, 17 February 2014

Google Europe Scholarship for Students with Disabilities                17 Feb 14

This Scholarship is for current and academically strong UG or PG, computer science students with a disability, who intend to be enrolled in or accepted as a full-time student in a Bachelor's, Master's or PhD program next year. Successful applicants receive €7k (or equivalent) for the 2014/15 academic year. Scholarships are awarded based on the strength of each candidate's academic background, leadership skills and passion for CS.
A reference letter from the School is required.

Closing date: 17:00 GMT, 17 February 2014

Important: Changes in EU Funding Opportunities

Information sessions and draft documents are becoming available for Horizon2020 (the successor of FP7 EU programme). EU research funding is important for the School so please keep an eye-out for information – calls are expected to open at the end of the year.

Reminder - H2020 drafts available

EU funding-related documents are placed by the University's EU team at:
The easiest way to find these documents is to search using the keyword: 'Horizon 2020'

A great resource recommended by the ICT National Contact Point is, which also provides handy overview documents.


Featured Research Outcomes


Did you know… papers featured in the newsletter also go on display in the Kilburn Building (outside 2.7)? Send your new publications to Robert Stevens so that more people get to know about your research.


Büchel F, Rodriguez N, Swainston N, Wrzodek C, Czauderna T, Keller R, Mittag F, Schubert M, Glont M, Golebiewski M, van Iersel M, Keating S, Rall M, Wybrow M, Hermjakob H, Hucka M, Kell DB, Müller W, Mendes P, Zell A, Chaouiya C, Saez-Rodriguez J, Schreiber F, Laibe C, Dräger A, Le Novère N (2013) Path2Models: large-scale generation of computational models from biochemical pathway maps. BMC Systems Biology 7:116


Mitchell S , Mendes P (2013) A Computational Model of Liver Iron Metabolism. PLoS Computational Biology 9: e1003299


Stanford NJ, Lubitz T, Smallbone K, Klipp E, Mendes P, Liebermeister W

(2013) Systematic Construction of Kinetic Models from Genome-Scale Metabolic Networks PLoS ONE 8:e79195


Kent E, Neumann S, Kummer U, Mendes P (2013) What can we learn from global sensitivity analysis of biochemical systems? PLOS One 8:e79244


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