School of Computer Science

Weekly Newsletter

9 December 2013


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Announcements and news

Google Web 1T on Raspberry Pi

Michele Filannino and Matt Shardlow have recently implemented a web server which allows access to the Google Web 1T corpus. It is available to all the School at the following web address: It was created using only a school Raspberry Pi and an external hard drive. 


The corpus contains frequency counts of different combinations of English words indexed by Google Inc. amounting to approximately 100Gb of data. Google Web 1T is used in building more complex language models and has already helped Michele to understand why everybody calls him Michelle


They would like to thank Steve Pettifer, Tony Curran and Chris Connolly for their kind help. If you are interested in API access, feel free to contact them.

Keynote speech delivered by Sophia Ananiadou

Sophia Ananiadou delivered a keynote speech entitled "Text Mining - Vision and Opportunities" at a Pharma Documentation Ring (P-D-R} special meeting, "Text Mining STM Content: New Perspectives, Emerging Solutions", held in Bruges, Belgium, from 27 to 29 November 2013. 


Text mining and text mining tools have become an integrated part of standard information management in pharmaceutical companies, and the emergence of concepts such as “big data” and mixable repositories or online data sets have accentuated the need for standards and business models in order to exploit the technological innovations taking place in this field. 

The special meeting brought together several groups of people, including academic text mining researchers, vendors of text mining solutions,  Scientific, Technical and Medical (STM) publishers, providers of text archives and representatives of reproduction rights organisations, in order to updates stakeholders on the text mining market place and facilitate discussions on innovations, standardisation needs and possible business models

More information (PDF)

Environment Agency UK Water Efficiency Awards 2014                 20 Feb 14

Together with Waterwise, the Environment Agency have launched the most high profile awards scheme in the UK to recognise the water efficiency achievements of the public, private and third sector organisations promoting water efficiency. The awards are free to enter, and all organisations delivering water efficiency initiatives in the UK are eligible to apply. 13 categories include: Built Environment, Business and Industry, Campaigns and Education, Community-led Initiative, Farming and Horticulture, Innovation, Landscape and Gardening, Research and Evaluation. 


In addition to formal trophies and certificates, winners and runners-up will benefit from:

  • being honoured at a ceremony at the House of Lords on 7 April 2014
  • the opportunity to feature as case studies in the official 2014 Awards dissemination booklet
  • the use of UK Water Efficiency Awards 2014 ‘winner’ and ‘runner-up’ logo


Closing date: 20 Feb 2014



Invitation to launch of the Manchester informatics big data community

                                                                                   9 December 13, all day

Chancellors Conference Centre

The Big Data Community aims to bring together the University's strengths in a wide variety of Big Data research (including open data and linked data) across all faculties to:

         Promote interdisciplinary collaboration in all forms of data research

         Improve the University's responses to funding calls in Big Data

         Help raise Manchester’s profile as a leading centre for Big Data research


Our first event, 'Building the Big Data Community at Manchester,' will seek to map out the landscape of Big Data research taking place across the university, work towards building interdisciplinary relationships and begin to showcase our strengths to external organisations.


The day will be facilitated by the Computer Science Team involved in RETHINK:Big, an EU funded initiative which is writing the Big Data Roadmap for Europe. Manchester is the only UK university involved in RETHINK:Big and as part of the event the team will be seeking to engage a wider community from the university in feeding into the Roadmap.

More information and registration

Crowd sourcing and active learning to scale out supervised learning approaches: a case study for web data extraction                         11 Dec 13

14:00, Lecture Theatre 1.4, Kilburn building

Dr Paolo Merialdo. Universita Roma Tre

Seminars page

EC and ICT funding opportunities – School event                          11 Dec 13

15-16:00, Atlas 1, Kilburn building


Liping Zhao will give a talk in the School to report back from ICT 2013 (

General feedback along with a summary of some conference sessions and activities will be provided.


The talk will be preceded by a short introduction related to EU funding activities and the first calls for Horizon 2020 that are expected to be announced on that same day.

Decision and Cognitive Sciences Research Centre Seminar           11 Dec 13

From Bayesian Inference to Evidential Reasoning for Decision Making under Uncertainty

Professor Jian-Bo Yang and Professor Dong-Ling Xu, Decision and Cognitive Sciences Research Centre, Manchester Business School

13:30, MBS East

School Christmas Party                                                        Thurs 19 Dec 13

15:00, School common room

Following on from last year’s successful quiz with Quizmaster Chris and DJ Jezmas we will be having another quiz this year!  Computer Scientists, come on down!  We’ll be having the now traditional pizza, music from DJ Jezmas, and soft drinks will be available.  Please bring along a bottle of something you like.


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.

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.

Bibliographical Society Fellowships and Bursaries 2014                 10 Jan 14

The Bibliographical Society invites applications for awards from scholars engaged in bibliographical research (on, for example, book history, textual transmission, publishing, printing, bookbinding, book ownership and book-collecting).

Each year the Society offers a number of major awards (max £2k each) to assist with research costs, such as prolonged visits to libraries and archives. In addition, it awards the annual Katharine F Pantzer Jr Scholarship of up to £1.5k. The Society also offers from time to time the Katharine F Pantzer Jr Research Fellowship of £4k.

Further details and application forms for all awards can be found at For further details please contact Ed Potten.

Closing date: 10 Jan 2014


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.

Congratulations to James Naish!

James Naish has successfully defended his thesis, entitled "Towards
Systematic Requirements Reuse” on 10 October 2013. A recommendation of
A(ii) has been made by the examiners. The external examiner, an expert in
requirements engineering, remarked that the thesis has made a solid
contribution to the field.


• Y. Wang, L. Zhao, X. Wang, X. Yang, S. Supakkul, PLANT: A Pattern
Language for Transforming Scenarios into Requirements Models.
International Journal of Human Computer Studies, vol. 71, no. 11, Nov.
2013, pp. 1026-1043. DOI: 10.1016/j.ijhcs.2013.08.001

• K. Letsholo, L. Zhao and E.-V. Chioasca, “TRAM: A Tool for Transforming
Textual Requirements into Analysis Models,” Proc. 28th IEEE/ACM
International Conference on Automated Software Engineering, 11-15 Nov.
2013, California.

• E. Kaldis, L. Zhao and B. Snowdon, “A Cooperative Social Platform to
Elevate Cooperation to the Next Level – The Case of a Hotel Chain,” Proc.
21st International Conference on Cooperative Information Systems (CoopIS
2013), Lecture Notes in Computer Science (LNCS). Springer Verlag,
September 2013.

• J. Sun, P. Loucopoulos, L. Zhao, Representing and Elaborating Quality
Requirements: The QRA Approach. Proc. 23rd Int. Conf. on Conceptual
Modeling (ER 2013), 11-13 November 2013, Hong Kong.

• J. Ren, L. Liu, B. Li, L. Zhao, H. Liu, X. Liu, C. Wei, and C. Wang,
Measuring the Utility of Mobile Phone Video Service Based on A Service
Value Network Model. Proc. 19th Americas Conference on Information
Systems. 15-17 August 2013, Chicago: AIS.

• P. Loucopoulos, J. Sun, L. Zhao, F. Heidari, A Systematic Classification
and Analysis of NFRs. Proc. 19th Americas Conference on Information
Systems. 15-17 August 2013, Chicago: AIS.

• S. Supakkul, L. Zhao, B. Paech, L. Liu, J. Naish, and L. Chung. (2013).
Proceedings of 3rd International Workshop on Requirements Patterns

IEEE International Requirements Engineering Conference, Rio de Janeiro, Brasil.

Patent filed for TRAM: A Tool for Transforming Textual Requirements Analysis Models

A patent has been filed for the work of Liping Zhao and her two PhD students, Keletso Joel Letsholo and Erol-Valeriu Chioasca for their tool, TRAM: A Tool for Transforming Textual Requirements Analysis Models.


The tool overcomes a well-known bottleneck in software development, including speeding-up and increasing the reliability of translating written software requirements into initial software models. Software development projects almost always begin with user specified requirements, typically written in a natural language before being manually converted initial software models e.g. Entity-Relationship (ER) and Unified Modelling Language (UML) diagrams. Such a process is time-consuming and error-prone, as the quality and speed of model construction varies depending on the human modeller; creating a bottleneck in software development.


The TRAM tool provides a theoretical framework and a software implementation for transforming Natural Language Requirement (NLR) specification into initial software models. The tool also recently won Best Student Tool Demonstration Award at 28th IEEE/ACM International Conference on Automated Software Engineering (Palo Alto, California, November 11-15, 2013).


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