Department of CS newsletterPublished: Wednesday, 15 January 2020
Weekly newsletter for the Department of CS
[ top ]News from Head of Department
On Thursday 9th January, our very own Iain Hart was presented with the University's 2019 Technical Excellence Award. This is an annual award, where all technical staff across all subject disciplines are eligible.
The award was judged by a panel of senior technical staff from UoM and MMU. Iain received the award for his outstanding development of the "REF Explorer", a complex software tool to support the University REF submission, handling the records of over 18,000 research papers drawn from all 2,200 research active staff in the University.
[ top ]News and announcements
Are you wondering if a leadership role in Teaching, Learning and Students may be for you? Or do you already hold a TL&S role, but might benefit from some extra support in completing a key project?
We anticipate opportunities to join the TL&S team at University level arising during 2020. If this might appeal to you, come and trial working with us as an Inaugural Fellow of the University of Manchester Institute for Teaching and Learning. We are offering 3-5 Inaugural Institute Fellowships, involving a commitment of 0.2 FTE, averaged over March – September 2020. We will offer your School (or equivalent) £10,000 to assist with releasing you from some other commitments, and you will also have access to up to £5,000 each which might be used for conference fees, travel, or employing a student intern or researcher. You will also be paired with an Institute Student Partner.
During your Fellowship, you will work closely with April McMahon (VP TL&S) and Judy Williams (Director of the Institute for Teaching and Learning); be a member of the Teaching and Learning Engagement Forum; and attend relevant meetings of our Teaching and Learning Executive Group. You will help us build a broader team in TL&S, and pilot future models of engagement between academic and PS colleagues and the new Institute – these opportunities are open to both academic and PS staff.
During this period, you will work on a project. This may be something you bring with you as part of your current role, but need time and support to complete. Alternatively, you can select a project from the list available, which has been designed by the Institute in discussion with Faculties; these projects are just a starting point, and would be developed and refined with you.
Lucas Cordeiro writes: ESBMC , our verification tool for C and C++, won the 3rd place in the falsification category at SV-COMP 2020 (https://sv-comp.sosy-lab.org/2020/results/results-verified/) and 3rd place in the bug-finding category at Test-Comp 2020 (https://test-comp.sosy-lab.org/2020/results/results-verified/)! ESBMC was also ranked 5th place among 22 state-of-the-art verifiers at SV-COMP 2020! JBMC , our verification tool for Java Bytecode, won the 2nd place in the Java overall category at SV-COMP 2020 (https://sv-comp.sosy-lab.org/2020/results/results-verified/).
 Mikhail Y. R. Gadelha, Felipe R. Monteiro, Jeremy Morse, Lucas C. Cordeiro, Bernd Fischer, Denis A. Nicole: ESBMC 5.0: an industrial-strength C model checker. ASE 2018: 888 891. https://ssvlab.github.io/lucasccordeiro/papers/ase2018.pdf
 Lucas C. Cordeiro, Pascal Kesseli, Daniel Kroening, Peter Schrammel, Marek Trtík: JBMC: A Bounded Model Checking Tool for Verifying Java Bytecode. CAV (1) 2018: 183-190 https://ssvlab.github.io/lucasccordeiro/papers/cav2018.pdf
In response to feedback from research staff forums, the Research Staff Strategy Group (RSSG) has developed a Career Development of Research Staff Statement of Expectations. The statement sets out the expectations and mutual responsibility of research staff, PIs and the University with the aim of creating a supportive environment in which researchers are able to work and develop their careers.
The statement will contribute to meeting the University’s commitment to the Concordat to Support the Career Development of our Researchers.
All research staff and PIs are encouraged to read the statement, be aware of their role and the opportunities for career support, training and development.
[ top ]Events
Venue: Kilburn LT1.5
Title: Automating software development: When will we stop programming?
Abstract: Despite extensive automation in many industries, software systems remain entirely hand-crafted. While this has served us well so far, this approach is now starting to change, driven both by extreme complexity and a desire to support non-expert coding for users. Motivated by these challenges, this talk will introduce some of our recent advances in automating softare development, presenting: (i) self-assembling software systems for high-performance datacentre platforms, which continuously learn to assemble and re-assemble themselves at runtime to best meet an objective; and (ii) automated code synthesis which can write new algorithms based on simple end-user specifications, for integration into our self-assembling systems. Both approaches blend state-of-the-art machine learning with specially-designed computing models to support generalised machine reasoning over the design of computer software.
Speaker: Barry Porter is a computer science researcher and lecturer at Lancaster University. His research is focused on self-reasoning and self-design in computer software, and the fundamental technologies that enable us to explore and develop this. His research fuses novel systems-building models, programming language research, and real-time machine learning, with contributions spanning each of these fields. http://barryfp.com and you can contact him by email on firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dear Key Travel user,
Key Travel are running a new series of webinars with demos of the online booking tool as well as useful hints and tips for our users. This is to provide UoM customers with all the guidance needed for a simple and more efficient booking experience through Key Travel.
If you are interested please register using the verified link below – there are several sessions running until the end of March 2020 to suit users availability.
Please also refer to the University Travel webpages to find out more about booking through Key Travel.
Important points to note are:-
• Accommodation and Rail bookings usually require same day approval
• Only International Car Hire should be booked through Key Travel
• UK Car Hire goes through contracted suppliers via iProcurement
• Simplify pre-travel arrangements with new flowchart
• Approvers should ensure they delegate their approval responsibilities for any planned absences to avoid delays with travel approvals as availability & prices fluctuate.
Any feedback should be sent to the travel helpdesk
Event: 24-Jan-29, 1-3pm
NERC will be visiting the University to talk about their new delivery plan and future research priorities. There will be a Q&A opportunity with members from the Executive Team and a showcase of research relevant to the NERC portfolio at The University of Manchester.
13.00 - 14.00 - NERC funding priorities with Q&A session
14.00 - 15.00 - Research showcase & discussion
Event: 18-Feb-20, 12-1pm (MIB Lecture Theatre MLG.001)
Prof. Lynn Gladden, EPSRC Executive Chair, will be hosting an open meeting at the University. The meeting will include a formal presentation around the EPSRC Delivery Plan. There will also be the opportunity for a Q&A session with Prof Gladden and the team from EPSRC, which will include Dr Kathryn Magnay, Deputy Director, EPSRC and Dr Rachel Woolley, Head of Region Engagement (NW), EPSRC.
Register via: www.eventbrite.com/e/epsrc-open-meeting-plenary-talk-by-prof-lynn-gladden-epsrc-exec-chair-tickets-86661860959
[ top ]Research Funding Opportunities
Five annual endowments of £15K are available, towards research in your STEM field (including computer science). Open to postdoctoral researchers contracted to a UK or Irish University for 12 months (Jun-20 to May-21).
Deadline for outline: 20-Feb-20
Deadline for full proposal 18-Jun-20
UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) invites outline proposals for the research nodes as part of the UKRI Trustworthy Autonomous Systems programme. Up to £20.5 million (at 80% fEC) funded through the Strategic Priorities Fund (SPF), is available to support seven research nodes (approximately £3 million UKRI contribution each) for 42 months, starting from 1 October 2020 (fixed start date). Each node will focus on one of the following research topics: trust, responsibility, resilience, security, functionality, verifiability and governance & regulation. Please note that the UKRI Trustworthy Autonomous Systems programme is being delivered in two discrete, interconnected parts, the coordination Hub and seven research nodes. Information on the Hub call can be found here.
The nodes will be separate entities connected to the Hub and they will be expected to collaborate broadly with other nodes, the Hub and the wider autonomous systems community.
Please note that this is a cross-UKRI programme, and it is expected that applications will be multidisciplinary, led by and involving any discipline from across the UKRI portfolio.
A two-stage application process will be used in this call. The first stage requires the applicants to submit an outline proposal. Successful outline applicants will be invited to submit a full proposal.
Intent to submit deadline: 02-Feb-20 to email@example.com
Outline deadline: 20-Feb-20
The EPSRC Prosperity Partnerships Fourth Round Invitation for Outlines has now opened. This is a two stage call, with the initial Outline Interview Stage followed by Full Proposal Stage, which is a change to previous rounds.
Prosperity partnerships are business-led research partnerships between leading UK based businesses and their long term strategic university partners. There is up to £20M available for this fourth round call to support 4-8 programmes. EPSRC are seeking to fund world class business-led research partnerships in low technology readiness programmes that will deliver economic, social and cultural prosperity for the UK.
Prosperity Partnerships support existing, strategic, research-based partnerships between business and universities. They are an opportunity for co-investment in large-scale, long term, user-inspired basic research programmes at TRL 1-3. These partnerships must clearly address EPSRC's delivery plan priority framework and, in particular, those aligned with delivering economic and social prosperity for the UK.
Prosperity Partnerships programmes must build on the strategies of the business(es) and universities involved, and clearly articulate how the partnership will enable these to be delivered. All Prosperity Partnerships must generate value in some form for the UK, for instance we anticipate that businesses will have an active research base and R&D presence in the UK, or clear plans to grow this in-line with the Prosperity Partnership.
This call requires the business and university partners to commit substantial cash contributions to the programme, by matching the financial investment made in each award by EPSRC.
[ top ]Research News
Prof. Stephen Furber was interviewed by the Telegraph. Prof Furber comments on why Moore’s Law no longer applies, as transistors hit their smallest functional size. Prof Furber says transistors below 20nm “cease to get more efficient or more cost-effective as you continue to shrink them”. The story was republished by Yahoo news.
Times Higher Education pays tribute to Prof Tony Brooker, who has died at the age of 94. Prof Brooker was an early pioneer of computer technology at the University, working with the famous Prof Alan Turing. Prof Brooker developed the world’s first easily usable programming language, and was instrumental in establishing courses for computer science.
[ top ]Prize and award Opportunities
The MacRobert Award is the UK's longest-running and most prestigious national prize for engineering innovation.
It honours the winning organisation with a gold medal, and the team members a cash prize of £50k. The presentation of the Award recognises outstanding innovation, tangible societal benefit and proven commercial success. In 2017 the Award was won by the team behind the Raspberry Pi microcomputer.
Applications are welcomed from right across the breadth of engineering from small and large companies, as well as newcomers and those well-established in their industries. We welcome applications that showcase the diversity of talent supporting UK engineering innovation.
Deadline: rolling with application reviews every 2 weeks
The School of Engineering has a range of funds available to support cross-departmental research activity. Applications are invited from all staff, all postdocs, and all PhD students. Applications should be made jointly with at least one individual *not* in the Dept of Computer Science, but somewhere else in the University. You can also involve colleagues outside of the School. All expenditure must take place between January and July 2020.
In brief the funds will support the following:
- Events/activities to explore the development of new cross-departmental research areas, develop major funding bids, raise internal awareness of
our research and engage with external stakeholders
- The purchase of equipment (hardware/software) that will contribute to cross-departmental research across the School of Engineering
- Engagement with industry including the secondment of staff/students into an industrial setting and exhibiting at business focused events