School of Computer Science

Weekly Newsletter

3 November 2014


News from HoS

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News from Head of School


Congratulations to Josh Knowles who has been promoted to Reader with effect from 1st November 2014.

School Research Symposium

The School’s annual research symposium last week was a great success, there’s an extended article written by Uli Sattler below.

Wear It Pink

The School wore it pink with an exceptional choice of cakes in the common room, raising money for breast cancer research. There are photos below.

And finally…

Another year, another Movember. It’s not too late to take this opportunity to try a moustache and raise money for a good cause. You can join here: and you don’t have to be a man:


News and announcements

IMG PhD student wins scholarship to attend SC14 (Supercomputing14)

SC14 is the leading conference on high performance computing with over 5000 attendees and all of the major supercomputing companies demonstrating their latest innovations. This year EPSRC held a competition for funded scholarships for PhD students to attend and Ms Zeqian Meng, a second year PhD student in the Information Management Group, was one of a handful of UK PhD students selected. She will attend SC14 in New Orleans from November 16-21. This is Zeqian's second such success; she was recently awarded a scholarship to attend the IEEE eScience conference in Brazil from October 20-24.

School Research Symposium 2014

Last week we had this year’s instalment of our Research Symposium, with 36 oral presentations, 1 keynote by Stephen Brewster, ~50 poster presentations, and various prizes. I would like to say a great “Thank You” to all presenters: I hope you enjoyed the symposium as much as I did! There was a real buzz around the school, with a lot of people discussing their research. Russell Bee (IBM) was impressed by the depth and breadth of the ongoing research and the quality of the poster presentations! A big “Thank you” also goes to the session chairs and to the judges of the poster session, who helped us to identify two winning poster presenters: Iliada Eleftheriou and Jonathan Heathcote, congratulations!


Posters from the symposium will be displayed on the 2nd floor of the Kilburn Building.

Prof. Uli Sattler


·      Best poster to Iliada Eleftheriou (supervised by Dr Suzanne Embury and Prof. Andrew Brass): Information portability in large, complex organisations.

·      Best poster to Jonathan Heathcote (supervised by Dr Jim Garside and Prof. Steve Furber): Synchronising Clocks in an Asynchronous Super-Computer


Other awards that were presented on the day:


·      Best Thesis Prize was awarded to Maytham Alabbas (supervised by Prof. Allan Ramsay). Thesis title: Textual entailment for modern standard Arabic (2013)

·      Best Paper Prize was awarded to Patrick Koopman (supervised by Dr Renate Schmidt) for Forgetting Concept and Role Symbols in ALCH-Ontologies.  Patrick Koopmann and Renate A. Schmidt, published in LPAR-19, LNCS 8312, pp. 552–567, 2013.

·      Runner-up Best Paper Prize was awarded to Konstantinos Sechidis (supervised by Dr Gavin Brown) for Statistical Hypothesis Testing in Positive Unlabelled Data. Konstantinos Sechidis, Borja Calvo, and Gavin Brown; ECML PKDD 2014.

·      Runner-up Best Paper Prize was awarded to Tamas Madl (supervised by Dr Ke Chen) for Bayesian integration of information in hippocampal place cells.  Madl T., Franklin S., Chen K., Montaldi D., and Trappl R. (2014); PLoS ONE 9(3): e89762. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0089762.



Patent for PhD student

Toshiba Research Europe Ltd has filed a patent application for part of the work produced by Mustafa A. Mustafa, an Industrial CASE Study PhD student supervised by Dr Ning Zhang and jointly sponsored by Toshiba and EPSRC. The title of the patent is Method for distributing data from one or more metering devices to two or more third parties”.  Mustafa is the primary inventor of the patent and Ning is the secondary inventor.

PhD congratulations!

·       Craig Barton (supervised by Professor Tom Thomson) has been awarded his PhD with his thesis entitled: Investigation of the structural properties in [Co/Pd] multilayers; For application on Exchanged coupled composite media


·       Alan Stokes (supervised by Dr Alvaro Fernandes; co-supervisor: Professor Norman Paton) has been awarded his PhD with his thesis entitled: Resilient Sensor Network Query Processing

Wear it Pink                                                                                    31 Oct 14

Wear it Pink day was held on Friday 31 October in Computer Science and once again we’ve raised a respectable sum for the charity (we’ve yet to count it all!).  Thank you to everyone who came.



A Computer that Grows: Implementing a Universal Nondeterministic Turing Machine Using DNA                                                                          5 Nov 14

14:00, lecture theatre 1.4, Kilburn building.

Professor Ross King, University of Manchester.

Robotics: Current trends and Future Horizons                                5 Nov 14

08:45-15:30, The Britannia Hotel, Portland Street,Manchester,M1 3LA

Free to attend, registration required.


Speakers and titles:

·       Alan Spreckley, Global Industry Segment Manager, ABB. (Robotics in Advanced Manufacturing)

·       Nigel Dawson, FESTO (Developing Future Robotics Based on Natures Past)

·       Professor Darwin Caldwell, IIT Genoa  (The Development of Advanced Bipedal and Quadruped Robotics)

·       Rob Buckingham, Director, UK Atomic Energy Authority Centre for Remote Applications in Challenging  Environments, (RACE) UK (RAS 2020 Robotics and Autonomous Systems: a National strategy document)

·       Paul Mort, Technical Lead, Sellafield Ltd  (Remote Operational Challenges at Sellafield)

·       Bob Bowen, NNL  and   Adam Mallion, OC Robotics   (Laser Snake 2)

For full details and to reserve a please click here.

eHealth Policy & Implementation in Scotland & Evaluation of the U.K. dallas Programme                                                                                     12 Nov 14

14:00, lecture theatre 1.4, Kilburn building.

Dr Matt-Mouley Bouamrane, University of Aberdeen & Glasgow.

Seminar homepage

A woman’s place?                                                                          12 Nov 14

Event to be held in Lancaster University.


Hurdles still exist for women who wish to further their careers in science, both in industry and academia. This event aims to bring together the latest research and showcase the best practice from both sectors, with a range of speakers and workshops. Lunch is provided and there will be plenty of opportunity for networking.

Who should attend?

Anyone with an interest in promoting women's careers in science, whether in an industrial or an academic setting.


Speakers and workshops

The programme will include talks by Professor Haifa Takruri-Rizk (University of Salford), Dr Valerie Bevan (Lancaster University) and others, as well as interactive workshops by Athena SWAN and unconscious bias expert Lara Warmelink.


Booking: Tickets for this event cost £10 and can be bought online.


For more information follow this link

Joint FMHS-MIB Symposium sponsored by THERMO                    12 Nov 14

MIB lecture theatre and atrium.


The Faculty of Medical and Human Sciences (FMHS), and the Manchester Institute of Biotechnology (MIB) are organising a showcase event aimed at building fruitful research collaborations and joint grant applications.


The event will include a series of short highlight presentations from both FMHS and MIB researchers including CS staff, in thematic sessions covering disease areas (eg cancer and Alzheimer’s disease), and technical approaches (such as ‘omics and systems approaches). In addition, the day will incorporate a built-in ‘speed networking’ session, as well as other informal networking opportunities, including a wine reception. The event will be supported by Research Strategy Coordinators from the FMHS Research Deanery and MIB, who will be on hand to identify funding opportunities and follow-up actions that will lead to grant applications.


Registration required


If you would like to present a poster at the event please contact Sarah Barton with details.


For queries contact: Research Strategy Coordinators Katherine Boylan or Lisa Hearty in the FMHS Research Deanery, or Penny Johnson at MIB.

Children in Need in November                                                        14 Nov 14

The time has come to start clearing out your cupboards and donating wonderful items for our annual Children in Need Online Auction (a bit like Ebay).  Please bring your donations to ACSO, Kilburn room 2.127 anytime from now on – and we will open the auction for a week on Monday 10 November.  It will close at 16:00 on Friday 14 November.  We will send the link round to the auction when it opens.

ICT KTN 30 Community Networking event                                      27 Nov 14


The Horizon 2020 ICT 2015 ICT is now open for large projects in 'Internet of Things and Platforms for Connected Smart Objects'. This is potentially a great opportunity but what's required, how does the process work and how do you connect with the European actors? The KTN is pleased to host a Community Networking day where you can get details of the call, learn how H2020 works and decide if it’s for you, meet representatives of the EU Public Private Partnerships (that set the Strategic Research Agenda) and have the opportunity to flag your interest by presenting your credentials and/or outline project proposals.

More information


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

More detailed information is available now that for Horizon2020 has started (the successor of FP7 EU programme). EU research funding is important for the School and it’s important to understand what’s 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.

Interested in FET-ICT? Here are some webstreams from a recent ICT Proposers' Day in Florence. Includes a webstream on Health and wellbeing

Coming-up: RAEng Engineering Leadership Advanced Awards

Due to open: November 2014


This programme aims to provide support and motivation to some of the most exceptional engineering undergraduates in UK universities. These awards help ambitious and inspiring engineering undergraduates, who want to become leadership role models for the next generation of engineers, to undertake an accelerated personal development programme. Recipients will get the opportunity to acquire the skills needed to fulfil their potential, helping them to move into engineering leadership positions in UK industry soon after graduation. For further queries, please email Ms Jacqueline Clay.

More information

London Mathematical Society (LMS) "Scheme 7" travel grant        15 Nov 14

Closing date: 15 November 2014


The LMS "Scheme 7" grant programme provides small financial awards (max £500) to help support a visit for collaborative research at the interface of Mathematics and Computer Science.  This is a great opportunity to cover the costs of a brief visit with a (named) Computer Scientist or Mathematician - either travelling to see them at another institution within the UK or abroad, or having them come to you. The scheme is overseen by the Computer Science Committee of the LMS, which exists to promote the development of links between Mathematics and Computer Science.
The application and reporting processes are deliberately very lightweight and decisions are made quickly.

More information

REMINDER - ESRC Impact Accelerator Account Launch                21 Nov 14

Closing date: 12pm 21 November 2014


The IAA will be used to fund knowledge exchange activities to accelerate the impact of research in the social sciences and is open to academic staff in all Schools and Faculties across the University. The three schemes are:

·       Staff exchanges/ placements

·       Policy/ evidence seminars

·       Research into practice


A leaflet containing an overview of the IAA can be downloaded here. If you have any queries please contact Louise Mcmahon.

More information

Royal Academy of Engineers Distinguished Visiting Fellowship scheme

                                                                                                       24 Nov 14

Closing date: 16:00, 24 November 2014


The RAEng scheme provides up to £6k to host an international specialist at UK university engineering departments for up to a month. Visiting Fellows can be from any overseas academic centre of excellence. This is great opportunity for promising researchers or specialised groups to learn from international experts. Activities funded include: working collaboratively on joint papers and research, expert workshops to graduates/undergraduates as well as guiding the design and delivery of new teaching modules and/or programmes.

For further queries, please email Ms Eleanor Hood.

More information

RAEng Visiting Professors                                                               2 Dec 14

Closing date: 16:00, 2 December 2014.


Funding is available for this industry-into-academia initiative aiming to utilise the experience of the Visiting Professors to enhance student learning as well as the employability and skills of UK engineering graduates. Under the scheme, senior industry practitioners deliver face to face teaching and mentoring at the host university. They may also contribute to postgraduate teaching, curriculum development (such as the development of new modules / programmes) and strategy development. For further queries, please email Ms Jacqueline Clay.

More information

The ESRC Transformative Research Call                                       15 Dec 14

Intentions to bid (to include a one page summary of the proposal and the names of a potential reviewer) by Monday 15th December 2014.


This is a major research funding call which aims to provide a stimulus for genuinely transformative research ideas at the frontiers of the social sciences, enabling research which challenges current thinking to be supported and developed.


Only two applications can be submitted by each eligible research organisation and the Faculty of Humanities will coordinate this process, with the final submission being endorsed by a peer review panel led by the Deputy Dean for Research, Professor Colette Fagan. Please ensure that intentions to bid are submitted to Gillian Whitworth (cc Jared Ruff) by Monday 15 December. Further details of the review process will be communicated when we have a clearer idea of the number of applications involved, after the intention to bid deadline. The timeline for the peer review process will be as follows:


·       Drafts to be submitted by Friday 16 January 2015

·       Drafts to Reviewers by Monday 19 January 2015

·       Comments back from Reviewers by Monday 2 February 2015

·       Decision-making panel to meet between 2 and 5 February 2015

·       Decisions to applicants by 6 February 2015

·       ESRC Deadline 16:00 Thursday 19th February 2015

More information

REMINDER: Toshiba Fellowship Programme 2015                            5 Dec 14

Closing date: 5 December 2014


The Fellowship is an excellent opportunity for PhD students to gain a rare experience of working in a leading technology company’s R&D labs in Japan for 2 years, allowing them to conduct new research within their field and learn about key R&D techniques as well as about different country and workplace cultures. Candidates must be of EU nationality and at PhD-level with no more than 10 year’s post-Doctoral experience.


Research Topics for 2015 include:

  • Next generation storage system architecture for cloud data centres
  • Data analysis technologies for healthcare applications
  • Machine learning for media data understanding
  • Deep learning approaches to knowledge and language processing
  • Quantum computing devices
  • Modelling and simulation challenges
  • and more…

More information

RAEng Research chairs and Senior Research Fellowships – renewed scheme

                                                                                                         2 Feb 15

Closing date: 16:00 2 February 2015


Industrial co-funded scheme to support Professorial and Reader level appointments for five years at UK universities to develop world leading research programmes as well as strengthen industry-academia links. For queries, please contact Ms Tapsi Khambra.

More information


Featured Research Outcomes


Did you know…papers featured in the newsletter also go on display in the Kilburn Building (outside finance: 2.03)? Send your new publications to Robert Stevens so that more people get to know about your research.


Oriol Arcas-Abella, Geoffrey Ndu,  Nehir Sonmez, Mohsen  Ghasempour, Adria  Armejach,  Javier NavaridasWei SongJohn  Mawer, Adrian Cristal and Mikel  Lujan: An empirical evaluation of High-Level Synthesis languages and tools for database acceleration. Proceedings of the 2014 24th Conference on Field 
Programmable Logic and Applications (FPL) 
Yan Xu, Ji Hua, Zhaoheng Ni, Qinlang Chen, Yubo Fan, Sophia Ananiadou, Eric I-Chao Chang, Junichi Tsujii: Anatomical Entity Recognition with a Hierarchical Framework Augmented by External Resources. PLoS ONE 9(10): e108396


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