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  • Department of CS newsletter

    Published: Tuesday, 10 December 2019

    Weekly newsletter for the Department of CS

    [ top ]News from Head of Department

    Annual Computer Science Christmas Party Thursday 12th December from 3.30pm

    The Famous Computer Science Christmas Party is upon us again. This year we start the party at 3.30pm on Thursday 12th December

    Location: Common Room.

    As usual there will be music and pizza (delivered for 5pm).

    Come and raise a glass and spread some cheer...HoHoHo!

    gravatar Karon Mee

    [ top ]News and announcements

    GSK Hackathon winners

    Students, Ibrahim Sowunmi (University of Manchester, Computer Science and Human Computer Interation) & Artem Butbaev (University of Bath, Computer Science and Business Management) have come first place in a GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) Hackathon. Taking home £3000 between the two of them!

    “In today’s world data volumes are rapidly growing, from varied sources such as videos, reviews, and social media. It is unstructured but extremely valuable and can provide deep insight to drive our product development and package design.” - Denise Pohlhaus, Principal Data Scientist, GSK.

    The aim of the hackathon was to come up with innovative ways to use this data, especially for R&D.

    Each team were given a large set of unstructured data to work with, both internal sources (e.g. interviews) and external sources (e.g. social media posts, competitor products reviews, fragrance trends, etc.) to come up with an innovate solution for how to increase business value using this data by driving new product development and package design.

    Our team “GlaxoSmithKings” came up with an idea for a bespoke machine learning scoring model which categorises reviews, complaints and other unstructured data into "buckets" in line with a lexicon of flagged terms, such as “smell” and “packaging”, along with a sentiment score for each response ranging from very negative to very positive.”

    - Artem

    A search could then be done by sentiment, time and other bucket categories to generate graphs. Planned future work included adding multivariate analysis and cluster analysis.

    “A use case of our application is that it flags up a number of text responses for consideration and/or action. For example, some mentioned a suggestion for using alternate “natural remedies”, such as honey, which customers claimed would make GSKs product Otrivin better. Our tool will allow users to gain insights such as these and present them in a digestible way, such as using it to create honey flavours or themed packaging.”

    - Ibrahim




    gravatar Karon Mee

    RISCV student of the year award - WINNER

    Congratulations to Florin Blanaru (graduated June 2019) who has won the RISC-V Student of the Year award for his work on porting the MaxineVM on RISC-V during his 3rd project last year supervised by Christos Kotselidis and Foivos Zakkak. This prestigious award is awarded by the RISC-V foundation led by UC Berkeley and Alan Turing award winner Professor David Patterson. With his work, Florin managed to achieve the first and fastest Java Virtual Machine that can run on the novel RISC-V architecture using dynamic compilation. In addition since both MaxineVM and RISC-V are fully open source, Florin’s excellent work has resulted in complete free hardware/software stack for research purposes.

    gravatar Ruth Maddocks

    [ top ]Events

    Reminder: CompSci Lecture: Professor Daniel Dresner: The Attack on a Cyber Man -11 Dec

    Reminder for Wednesday's event: Registration: here

    The Attack on a Cyber Man: Finding the threads that bind information together and mending them when they break...

    11 December 2019 5pm in Kilburn 1.1

    Cyber security has become a passion for me over the last 25 years: from editing the first national information security breaches survey in 1994, through to teaching international delegates at the Defence Academy of the United Kingdom.

    In this lecture, I shall map a path from the analogies – and inspiration of – science fiction to a multidisciplinary approach to computer science. I shall talk about balancing technology with people, and discuss the very personal concerns of encouraging students to become a fifth column for good in our interconnected cyber world.

    I shall explain the outcomes of action research that has improved the cyber security posture of small businesses, my work on navigating the increasingly confusing ‘library’ of standards and good cyber security practice, and how we live in a period of inevitable cyber risk. I shall also refer to a sustained attack on my own personal data...

    The journey will take us from Maryland cookies to a security operations centre staffed by neurodiverse cyber specialists. Along the way, I’ll touch on the three laws of cyber security, a triple helix for teaching cyber security, and keeping the revival of The Ratio Club in the Turing family.

    No security clearance required!

    The evening will finish with refreshments in the LF area

    Science and Engineering Inaugural Lecture Series

    gravatar Ruth Maddocks

    Christmas Jumper Day Friday 13th December 2019 at 11am

    Computer Science 'Wear a Christmas jumper Day'

    Friday 13th December at 11am in the Staff Common room.

    Come for a mince pie and to show off your Christmas jumper...maybe you will make one this year?


    gravatar Karon Mee

    Mercury Talk: Data-Driven Modelling of Technology Acceptance: A Machine Learning Perspective

    Join us for the next Computer Science Mercury Talk with speaker Asim Alwabel in Kilburn L.T 1.5 at 2pm on Wednesday 11th December 2019

    Forecasting and understanding technology adoption have dominated research of Information Systems (IS) for more than two decades. Although structural equation modelling is suitable for explanatory modelling, it was regarded by majority of IS research as a predictive technique. On the other hand, despite development and utility of predictive analytics, its use in estimating technology usability remains scarce. This research demonstrates a unique data driven approach utilising linear and non-linear machine learning (ML) techniques, predictive analytics-based modelling, to advance technology adoption modelling, assess its predictability, evaluate relevance of its current determinants, and introduce new ones. Inspired by current literature, the resulting model comprised 37 features and was tested on 32 technologies with heterogeneous subjects. Content validity of the model was attained applying Twitter API, text-mining technique and interviews. Before modelling, the discriminant validity was accomplished applying multitrait-multimethod analysis. Performance of the proposed model was estimated employing multiple linear regression, k-nearest neighbour, decision tree, multilayer perceptron, and support vector machine with mean absolute percentage error as loss metric. The model was benchmarked against the current literature to highlight differences and similarities. As a result, ML-based modelling revealed the distance between theory and practice.

    gravatar Karon Mee

    [ top ]Research News

    Introducing the Africa Research Group

    The ARG is a multi-disciplinary group that seeks to bring together PGRs, researchers and academics with interests in Africa. Our aim is to host reading groups, lectures series, master classes and other exciting events to share and engage with Africa-focused research.

    What's coming up?

    We will be hosting a Research Networking Event/African Christmas Lunch which will bring together everyone who is interested in joining the Africa Research Group. This will take place on the 5th of December from 12-2pm, Venue TBC.

    Please we are requesting that anyone who is interested in attending should send an email stating 3 keywordsthat describes your research or interest in Africa [for instance: Poverty; Governance; Gender]. This will help us to map out the broad themes to categorise member's interest and inform how the group is organised going forward. 

    Also, please indicate if you would like us to add you to our mailing list.

    Many thanks,

    Bookie Ezeomah

    [Convener, Africa Research Group]

    Bookie Ezeomah | Doctoral Researcher | Global Development Institute | Arthur Lewis Building | The University of Manchester | Oxford Road | M13 9PL | | the Africa Research Group

    gravatar Karon Mee

    [ top ]Prize and award Opportunities

    Erasmus and Staff Mobility Scheme

    Erasmus+ Staff Mobility Scheme

    Dear Colleagues,

    As you may be aware, the International Programmes Office bid for funding each year to enable both academic and PS staff to participate in the Erasmus+ Staff Mobility scheme.  This scheme is funded by the European Commission, and allows staff to participate in a short period of teaching or training in a participating European country.  The Staff Mobility scheme provides a financial contribution towards the costs associated with undertaking such a mobility.

    Erasmus+ Staff Mobility is a long-standing scheme in which the University has participated, with the skills and knowledge that staff obtain during their experience benefitting their division/department through knowledge exchange and the implementation of new ideas/skills.  Time spent undertaking a period of teaching or training under Erasmus+ Staff Mobility can also contribute towards broader strategic aims of developing internationalisation and collaboration within your School/Department.  Furthermore, many staff choose to participate in order to achieve their personal and professional development goals.  100% of participants from the 2018/19 cohort reported that they had gained new ways of working and an enhanced understanding of their role.  In addition, all reported that they had forged a close network with their host university.

    Both academic and PS staff can apply for the “training” strand of the scheme, and can participate in activities such as workshops, job shadowing, and courses (please note that conference attendance is not covered). The “teaching” strand is only open to academic staff who wish to teach at a university which holds an ECHE charter.  The minimum duration of any mobility must be at least 2 days, with a minimum of 8 hours of teaching/training delivered/undertaken during the course of any 2-7 day period.

    Examples of previous activities funded through Erasmus+ Staff Mobility include:

    -          A Graduate Intern who spent 3 days at a university in Sweden to learn about their mentoring scheme for international students, with the aim of implementing a similar scheme at Manchester.

    -          A Research Grant Writer from SALC visited colleagues at a German university to gain insight into the techniques and strategies used to secure funding for a multi-million € project.

    -          An academic from the Physics department spent 2 weeks teaching at a Portuguese university to gain experience of teaching at postgraduate level, and across cultural/linguistic barriers.

    The Erasmus+ Staff Mobility scheme provides a financial contribution to cover the costs of flights, accommodation and food – the exact amount of funding is dependent upon the host country, but on average, staff can expect to receive £250 towards travel expenses, and £150 per day towards food and accommodation. Additional funding may be available for staff with a disability or other additional needs.

    We are currently accepting applications for the 19/20 academic year, and it would be most appreciated if you could forward details of this opportunity onto the staff in your School. We are holding an information session on Tuesday 10th December at 12pm for anybody interested in submitting an application – to sign up, please email



    gravatar Karon Mee

    [ top ]Health and Safety

    Locking meeting rooms after meetings

    Just a reminder please from James:

    Please close doors and make sure they are locked after use - as there is expensive equipment which could be taken if rooms are left open.


    gravatar Ruth Maddocks

    [ top ]Social Responsibility

    FSE Better World Funding Competition Success!

    Our Project Malawi application has been successful again and been awarded funding of £3000!    

    This funding competition is to support SR initiatives which have a positive social or environmental impact, as such an important component of each successful project is to measure and record the impact.   The project ran in 2019 for the third year, building on the hard work of the previous years, and it is clearly having a positive impact in the region.

    gravatar Ruth Maddocks

    gravatar Ruth Maddocks
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Last change: Tuesday, 10 December 2019 12:16:37