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  • School of CS newsletter

    Published: Wednesday, 18 February 2015

    Weekly newsletter for the School of CS

    [ top ]News from Head of School

    Students Win Fall 2014 Major League Hacking Europe

    Our students have won the Fall 2014 Major League Hacking Europe competition! This is an outstanding achievement and I know you will join me in congratulating all the students involved. Our students triumphed in a massive league of over 1,500 students from almost 90 universities across Europe (see the league table => ). Interviewed for Major League Hacking, Sami Alabed (Y1, SEwIE) who attended 6 out of the 10 hackathons said, “I believe Manchester did so well because of support from the University. The email that goes out to students and staff every Monday includes upcoming hackathons and success stories from the previous week.” See full details of our amazing win => (Toby Howard, Monday Mail)

    gravatar Jim Miles

    iOS Developers Lab is open

    The new iOS Developers Lab (Kilburn Room LF17) opened on Monday.The lab has 10 Mac-minis with 27” Thunderbolt displays, two wall-mounted HDMI TVs, and a projector. The lab is specifically intended for UG/PGT/PGR students who want to do iOS/OS X development. Getting the lab up and running, accessible and yet secure has been a challenge, thanks to Toby Howard, Tony Curran, Tim Furmston, Duncan Hull, Tony MacDonald, Allan Ramsay, Steve Rhodes, Paul Waring, and all the students who persevered and helped with commissioning.

    gravatar Jim Miles

    [ top ]Events

    Seminar: Ontology Engineering for Biomedical Ontologies

    11:00, Monday 16 February 2015, Atlas 1, Kilburn building.

    Matthew Horridge, Stanford University.

    An ontology is a machine processable artefact that captures the important concepts in some domain of interest and the relationships that hold between them.  The most popular ontology language today is the Web Ontology Language, OWL, which is widely used to represent knowledge from many diverse domains but in particular biomedical knowledge.  

    After a brief introduction to ontologies and OWL, I will present some work that is being carried out by the World Health Organisation, who are using OWL as a key technology for the development of the next version of the International Classification of Diseases, ICD-11.  Besides providing better opportunities for data integration and linkages to other well-known ontologies such as SNOMED-CT, one of the main promises of using this technology is that it will enable various forms of automated error checking and quality assurance.  In this talk I will explore some of these ideas. Specifically, I will present some recent work on using consistency checking to detect domain errors that arose in the development of ICD-11 and I will describe our experience of using off-the-shelf tools to identify and report problems to an expert panel of ICD-11 content model engineers.

    gravatar Bryony C Quick

    Seminar: Monitoring Humans for Enhanced HCIs

    15:00, Monday 16 February 2015, Atlas 1, Kilburn building.

    David Rozado,  CSIRO, Australia.

    The data generated by sensors that monitor human behavior and psychophysiological state can be exploited to design and create enhanced human machine interfaces that leverage the information provided by the sensors to anticipate the needs of the user and take proactive steps to create a seamless and smooth user experience. In this talk I will review some of my own work in the areas of gaze interaction and brain machine interfaces as well as describe future research directions in the field.

    gravatar Bryony C Quick

    Seminar: Semantic Technologies for Biomedicine

    10:00, Tuesday 17 February, Atlas 1 Kilburn building.

    Dr Larisa Soldatova, Lecturer in Computing, Brunel University, London.

    Semantic technologies enable efficient data and knowledge representation, integration and sharing. They empower reasoning, machine learning and text mining. Larisa will introduce several research projects she is involved with that employ semantic technologies. The meta-QSAR project funded by EPSRC aims to change the way drug-design research is done, and to make it more efficient and cost-effective. The most important deliverable of the project would be a knowledgebase about how to better apply quantitative structure activity (QSAR) methods for drug design. The meta-QSAR project relies on semantic descriptions of QSAR studies to enable meta-learning about the quality and efficiency of the learners. The Big Machine Science project funded by DARPA aims to integrate machine reading of the cancer literature with (1) probabilistic reasoning across cancer claims from that literature using custom-designed ontologies; (2) computational modelling of cancer mechanisms and pathways to automatically predict therapeutic clues; (3) automated hypothesis generation to strategically extend this knowledge, and (4) a “Robot Scientist” that performs experiments to test hypotheses and feed results back to our system. Repeated loops of text mining, modelling, experimental testing, and worldview updating will lead to increased knowledge about cancer mechanisms. The fundamental biological and clinical application involves design of drug cocktails optimized to treat patients by interrupting cancer mechanisms. The European project AdaLab will start in March 2015. This project aims to take the concept of a “Robot Scientist” to a new level. It will output an environment where robot and human scientists can work together on complex scientific tasks.

    gravatar Bryony C Quick

    School Seminar: Mining real-world networks: from biology to economics

    14:00, Kilburn Lecture Theatre 1.3, 17 February 2015.

    Speaker: Dr Natasa Przulj. Imperial College, London.

    Host: Pedro Mendes.

    gravatar Bryony C Quick

    BioHealthy Lunch Club

    Event: 18 February 13:00, KB 2.33 (and then third Wednesday of each month)

    The second BioHealthy Lunch Club is being run by Robert Stevens and Goran Nenadic. The aim  is to provide a forum for finding out what's happening in bio- and health-informatics area both locally and wider in the community, and to seed possible/further collaborations.

    The lunch will include:

    • News/updates about what's going on
    • Show and tell enlightening talk (5 min)
    • Questions, ideas and opportunities (grants, collaborations, studentships, papers, datasets, etc.)
    • Grant club - testing grant ideas
    gravatar Bryony C Quick

    School Seminar: Optimising Existing Software with Genetic Programming

    Speaker: Professor Langdon. UCL.

    Host: Dr Douglas Kell.

    14:00, Kilburn Lecture Theatre 1.4, 18 February 2015.

    gravatar Bryony C Quick

    EU Funding – what’s in it for you? Support from PNO Consultants – Taster Session

    The Faculty has recently appointed the PNO Group to support academics to get more involved in EU Funding and to improve the quality of applications.

    PNO work with the public sector, SMEs and large companies and offer a range of services. Including advice for those new to EU funding seeking to identify which EU funds may be available for them, and specific support for grant applications.


    What can EU funding offer me? 

    To register for this event:  please email your name, job title and School to Ann Durie,

    Topics covered will include:

    • The benefits of EU funding
    • What’s in it for you?
    • How to win and EU grant
    • Building a consortium
    • Pitfalls and errors to avoid, including case studies
    • Bring your laptop and sign up to Innovation Place  to access funding information, project ideas, collaboration opportunities, search for qualified partners
    gravatar Bryony C Quick

    Wiley Publishing Seminar

    Event: 24 March 2015 12:30-14:30, G19 Mansfield Cooper Building.

    Aimed at postgraduates. To book a place visit

    This seminar will be presented by Paul Trevorrow, who is the Executive Journals Editor for Wiley. Wiley-Blackwell is one of the largest international scientific, technical, medical and scholarly publishers, covering every major academic and professional field. He will expertly guide you on how to prepare and submit a manuscript, choose and evaluate a journal and the appropriate article type, the role of the publisher and the drivers for publication. He will also pass on tips for manuscript preparation (abstract, structure, artwork, covering letter). 

    The event will cover:

    • Editorial processes
    • The editorial workflow
    • Dealing with editorial decisions
    • Peer review
    • Ethics (author, editor, referee and publisher responsibilities)
    • Production processes
    • The production workflow
    • What production does and doesn’t do to your article
    • Post-publication
    • Marketing
    • Impact evaluation (impact factor, H-index)
    gravatar Bryony C Quick

    [ top ]Funding Opportunities

    CDE enduring challenge competition

    Closing date: monthly

    The Centre for Defence Enterprise and Defence Science and Technology Laboratory enduring challenge competition (previously known as the Open Call), has a budget of £3 million per year.

    CDE typically funds proposals for proof-of-concept research in the range of £40,000 to £100,000 for work of 3 to 9 months duration in the challenge areas, including :

    • Data: cyber, information, big data, management and processing, sensemaking, visualisation, delivery, interoperability

    Find out more and discuss your proposal ideas by attending a CDE Innovation Network event that run regularly (generally London).

    Remember... funding is available from the School to attend funder-events and feedback to the School on opprtunities and insights. Contact Robert Stevens for more details.

    gravatar Sarah Chatwin

    3DP-RDM feasibility studies - call for proposals

    Closing Date: noon 02 March 2015

    The EPSRC network "Defining the research agenda for 3D printing-enabled re-distributed manufacturing" (3DP-RDM) is inviting project proposals to their Feasibility study competition, which identify key challenges in connecting 3DP and RDM.

    gravatar Bryony C Quick

    Solving urban challenges with data - Feasibility study

    Closing date for feasibility studies registration : noon 11 March 2015

    Closing date for receipt of applications: noon 18 March 2015

    Innovate UK, Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) and Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) are to invest up to £7.5m in collaborative R&D projects, with a proportion available for feasibility studies. Proposals must be collaborative and business-led.

    We are seeking proposals for innovative, commercial solutions to increase the resilience, quality of life or economic performance of urban areas by integrating environmental, social and/or economic data with data from other sources. The focus is on better defining and solving problems through new ways of combining data.

    We are primarily seeking to fund collaborative research and development (industrial research), with a business partner attracting 50% public funding for their project costs (60% for SMEs). We expect collaborative R&D projects to range in size from £250k to £1m, although we may consider projects outside this range.

    Up to £2.5m of the total funding will be available for smaller-scale collaborative feasibility studies. These will generally attract up to 70% public funding for their project costs (60% for medium organisations and 50% for large organisations). We expect feasibility studies projects to range in size from £50k to £200k.

    Up to £0.5m is specifically for projects which use historic or new datasets collected by satellites to develop new services. Up to £2m is available from NERC and £0.5m from ESRC for research components.

    gravatar Bryony C Quick

    Royal Society-DFID Africa Capacity Building Initiative

    Closing date: 19 March 2015

    This Royal Society Initiative is for scientists who want to develop collaborative research consortia between scientists in sub-Saharan Africa and a research institution in the UK.

    The scheme provides funding towards research expenses, travel and subsistence costs, (PhD - for African PIs only) training, and limited funds for equipment. Applications will be accepted in three research priority areas:

    • Water & sanitation
    • Renewable energy
    • Soil-related research
    gravatar Bryony C Quick

    SABMiller Royal Society Exchange Programme

    Closing date: 30 April 2015
    The SABMiller Royal Society Exchange Programme will provide awards of three years' duration to enable African scientists in sub-Saharan Africa to partner with UK-based institutions.

    gravatar Sarah Chatwin

    Looking to attract Early Career Researchers from overseas?

    Fellowships can be a good method of attracting ECRs.

    Two good (if competitive) initiatives are:

    Available annually for ECRs from other countries to come to the UK to work for 2 years


    For researchers from any country to come to work in an institution in Europe (i.e. Manchester) for 2 years.

    If you know of any attractive candidates that you may wish to have work in the School, then this could be a good way of attracting them. Although very competitive it's also a good way of building a good working relationship through supporting their proposals.

    gravatar Bryony C Quick

    [ top ]Featured Research Outcomes

    Semantic Web Journal top paper for Sean Bechhofer

    Congratulations to Sean Bechhofer and Matthew Horridge!

    Back in March 2014 we reported that Senior Lecturer Sean Bechhofer was the author of the most cited paper in 2013 in the Semantic Web Journal (SWJ).

    The OWL API: A Java API for OWL ontologies paper continues to make an impact and is now listed as the top most cited papers of all time in SWJ.

    For more information see the SWJ news pages.

    gravatar Sarah Chatwin

    Congratulations to the following successful PhD students!

    • Ken Yap Ng (supervised by Dr Kung Kiu Lau ) for the theis: Incremental construction of component-based Systems: A study based on Software Component Models


    • Fabio Papacchini (supervised by Dr Renate Schmidt) for his thesis: Minimal Model Reasoning for Modal Logic
    gravatar Sarah Chatwin

    IDInteraction: Capturing Indicative Usage Models in Software for Implicit Device Interaction

    Dr Caroline Jay
    Funding body: EPSRC First Grant Scheme
    Award amount: £125k

    The project asks whether we can exploit models of human behaviour to move away from direct, unambiguous user commands, towards seamless user-device interaction? It will investigate and develop the techniques to capture 'Indicative Usage Models (IUMs), behavioural patterns or cues that precede a particular activity, and translate these into software- based 'Indicative Usage Patterns' (IUPs), to drive interaction with an app. For more information see the Winter Research Newsletter (p.7)

    gravatar Sarah Chatwin

    Data Science Meets Creative Media: Building Links Between the University of Manchester and the BBC

    Funder: UMRI and BBC
    Funding amount: £22,760 (plus support from the BBC)


    UoM Investigators
    School of Computer ScienceDr Caroline Jay, Professor Robert Stevens, Dr Simon Harper, Dr Goran Nenadic, Professor Allan Ramsay, Professor Uli Sattler, Professor Carole Goble
    Faculty of Life Sciences: Professor Kathryn Else, Professor Andy Brass, Dr Sheena Cruickshank
    Manchester Business School: Professor Peter Kawelek
    School of Psychological Sciences: Dr Ellen Poliakoff, Professor Wael El-Deredy, Dr Deborah Talmi, Dr Paul Warren

    This project will support a large-scale, cross-faculty industrial networking activity with BBC partners involved in User Experience, News Labs and My BBC. The network aims to exploit the joint interests of the BBC and UoM with regard to data science, and the associated computational algorithms that support its analysis.

    Within the BBC, and the creative industries generally, extending the application of data science is rapidly becoming an important part of improving the audience experience. The BBC is interested in working with its own rich data sets representing:

    • the media themselves, and the video, audio, scripts, subtitles and other material comprising the content;
    • the audience’s interaction with the media – what they watch and listen to, and how they use it;
    • creative interaction with media during its production, including directorial decisions and editing decision lists;
    • audience interaction with third party systems as part of using BBC content, e.g. on social networks.

    The project includes staff placements at the BBC and five networking events (one inaugural plenary event, and four themed workshops) to support research community building, across both the University and the BBC. The workshops will be run as industry study groups for 10-15 participants with presentations from the BBC and researchers in the morning, and a facilitated session focused on generating research questions and potential solutions in the afternoon.
    Contact Caroline Jay if you're interested in networking events.

    gravatar Sarah Chatwin

    gravatar Jim Miles
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Last change: Wednesday, 18 February 2015 21:09:09