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  • School of CS newsletter

    Published: Monday, 27 April 2015

    Weekly newsletter for the School of CS

    [ top ]News from Head of School

    Great Uni Hack

    Last week's Great Uni Hack took place at Granada Studios in Manchester. The event was organised by a team of our UG students in conjunction with Major League Hacking (=> As well as running the event four of our teams won! Team Bloomopoly won the best use of Bloomberg API with their stock market-based monopoly game (=> They also won 2nd place overall and a silver MLH medal, plus tickets to the Techsylvania Hackthon in Romania in June. Team Aria won the Funniest Hack and the Barclays Challenge. Team Dungeon Master won the Apadmi Best Retro Challenge. And team PyPly won the Layershift challenge. See all the submissions => Congratulatons to all the winners, and to all the organisers for making this major event such a success:

    gravatar Jim Miles

    Staff vs Students Coding Competition - Wednesday

    The third annual Staff vs Students coding competition ( => ) is next Weds 29 April 15:00–18:30 in Collab. Organize in teams of 2, solve up to 5-6 problems in 3 hours, get some free pizza and win prizes! Pre-registration required => http://goo. gl/forms/oNhf0sshGc

    gravatar Jim Miles

    Student PASS video

    The student PASS video is short and good fun. If you take a look you can vote for the School's PASS team.

    The video entries are here:

    You can vote here:

    Don't be put off by the voting form - staff are entitled to vote. Use your staff ID number where asked for student ID and enter Computer Science for subject.

    gravatar Jim Miles

    [ top ]News and announcements

    PASS video competition 2015. Deadline today - Mon. 27th April!

    This is a message from our PASS Student Coordinators. If you’ve got a minute to watch their video and hopefully vote for them (staff are eligible) it would be appreciated.  The deadline is today, Monday 27th April at midday so get clicking!

    The Computer Science PASS scheme has entered into the annual Peer Support Video competition! If the scheme wins then we receive £100 to help grow the scheme for the future (allowing more socials!).

    We ask that each individual only votes once for their choice, and voting can be by students and staff. As the brief was “Explain what Peer Support means to your discipline”, this should mean the videos are suitable to promote Peer Support throughout the whole University … so get voting! 

    Make sure you watch each video before completing the survey to make the most informed decision:

    Video entries :

    Vote here:



    Dan and Sarah

    CS PASS Coordinators 2014/15

    gravatar Bryony C Quick

    Chancellor nominees announced - message from Will Spinks

    Following the request for nominations that closed on Monday, 13 April, three candidates have been nominated for the office of Chancellor of The University of Manchester:


    ·        Candidates

    The election will open on Tuesday, 26th May and voting instructions will be issued by email and by post (to those that have requested a postal vote) directly by the University’s electoral agent, Electoral Reform Services (ERS).


    Please note members of the General Assembly who are also staff members and/or registered for the election with the Alumni Association, will receive this information in those capacities. Only one set of voting instructions will be issued in the next stage of the election, following additional work on the electoral roll to remove any duplicates.

    gravatar Bryony C Quick

    Reminder: European project support

    Are you interested in support for writing European research projects?

    The faculty are working with PNO, who are available to meet academics (f2f, phone, skype) to talk about support for projects.

    Please let know if you'd like to arrange a meeting.

    gravatar Sarah Chatwin

    [ top ]Events

    Truth is Lie: Rules & Semantics from a Crowd Perspectives

    29th April 2015 14:00, Kilburn Lecture Theatre 1.4

    Speaker: Dr. Lora Aroyo (VU University Amsterdam)

    Host: Stephen Pettifer



    Processing real-world data with the crowd leaves one thing absolutely clear - there is no single notion of truth, but rather a spectrum that has to account for context, opinions, perspectives and shades of grey. CrowdTruth is a new framework for processing of human semantics drawn more from the notion of consensus then from set theory.

    gravatar Bryony C Quick

    Date for your Diary! Friday 10th July - Computer Science Summer Barbecue 2015.

    Whatever you do - put this date into your diaries now!

    Friday 10th July 2015

    Computer Science Summer Barbecue 2015

    Expect thrills, spills, and belly aches!

    gravatar Karon Mee

    IPEXPO Manchester

    Event: 20-21 May 2015, Manchester Central

    Registration is free for the first IPEXPO to be held in Manchester. Our very own Prof. Steve Furber and Prof. John Gooadcre will be speaking at this event, which focuses on IT Infrastructure and Cloud:

    • Cloud
    • Mobility
    • Security
    • Analytics
    • Infrastructure
    • Data Centre

    Have a look at the exhibitor list for any potential future research partners.

    gravatar Sarah Chatwin

    [ top ]Funding Opportunities

    EPSRC IAA 9th call

    Deadline: 22 Jul 2015

    The IAA activities must be based on EPSRC-funded research. They aim to:

    • develop early stage contact and strategic alignment between business and academics through Relationship Incubation (open call) up to £10k

    • bridge the gap in support for early stage commercialisation of ideas through Concept Development and Feasibility Studies - up to £30k

    • increase the exchange of knowledge through mobility of people between the university and user organizations through Exploitation Secondments and Academic Secondments

    • support for development and / or delivery of social impact linked to EPSRC research outputs through an Outreach Fund (open call)

    For more information see

    Computer Science have been very successful with these. We have very strong support for proposals from the Knowledge Exchange Team.

    gravatar Sarah Chatwin

    Call for expressions of interest: Event for mhealth/ ehealth with social applications

    Recently UMIP identified a number of mhealth and ehealth ideas which may have links to social enterprise social application i.e. wellbeing, social inclusion, welfare, awareness raising, diagnosis, treatment  etc. We believe there could be many more ideas waiting to be brought forward that would value UMIP’s support.

    If you are interested in hearing more about these opportunities perhaps through a lunchtime event in your school or have an idea with a social application we would like to hear from you. Please follow the link to register your interest:

    For further information regarding the UMIP Social Enterprise initiative and the support available please visit our webpages:

    gravatar Sarah Chatwin

    Royal Society Opportunities

    International Scientific Seminars (closes 4 June 2015)
    This scheme is for Royal Society Research Fellows who want to organise a small two-day scientific seminar at the Royal Society at Chicheley Hall.

    Newton Research Collaboration Programme

    This year’s first round of the Newton Research Collaboration Programme is a call for exchanges between UK researchers and their counterparts in Brazil, Mexico, South Africa, Turkey and Vietnam. Exchanges can last from three months up to a year and are funded at a flat rate of £2000 per month of exchange, up to £24,000. All applications must be received by 4pm on Thursday 18 June 2015. For more information please contact


    Distinguished Visiting Fellowships

    These awards provide up to £6,000 to host an international academic expert at an UK university engineering department. Visits can last up to one month and Visiting Fellows can be from any overseas academic centre of excellence. This is great opportunity for researchers or a research community to learn from overseas expertise. The scheme opens Friday 24th April 2015. Applications must be received by 4pm on Thursday 25 June 2015. For more information please contact

    gravatar Sarah Chatwin

    The Biotechnology YES and Environment YES competitions: now open for entries

    Deadline: 29 May 2015

    YES is an innovative competition for early career researchers, which aims to raise awareness of the commercialisation of scientific ideas among the research community. YES has been running for 20 years this year and has a track record of inspiring postgraduates to take their careers somewhere they may not have previously imagined.

    The process

    • Form a team of 4-5 members and apply by Friday 29 May
    • Part of the team attend a briefing session on Monday 3 August in Nottingham
    • Decide upon an innovative idea that could work as a business and think about which areas of the business each team member be responsible for and undertake some market research
    • All team members attend a three day residential workshop encompassing presentations and mentoring sessions from leading figures in industry. Workshops held in October and November
    • Teams with the best business plan are selected to go forward to the final on Thursday 10 December in London

    Benefits of taking part

    • develop enterprise skills
    • cultivate business acumen
    • create new knowledge
    • think creatively to produce innovative solutions to major challenges
    • collaborate with peers and industry experts using a range of networking skills
    • discover how to communicate research with impact to diverse audiences
    • gain project management skills in the context of business planning
    • learn about ethical, legal and health and safety aspects
    • understand how funding is sourced and managed
    • win £2,500 and an opportunity to go to the Rice Business Plan Competition in Texas

    Find out more and APPLY by visiting or

    gravatar Sarah Chatwin

    H2020 FET Open funding opportunities

    Deadline: 29 Sept 2015

    FET Open continues its mission to support early-stage joint science and technology research around new ideas for radically new future technologies (in all areas). It's entirely non-prescriptive with regards to the nature or purpose of the technologies that are envisaged, this call targets the unexpected. It is open to collaborative research that satisfies the FET-Open 'gatekeepers': long-term vision, ambition of the scientific and technological breakthrough, foundational character, novelty, high-risk and deep synergistic interdisciplinary approach. FET-Open aspires to be an early detector of new and promising ideas, but also of the new high-potential actors in research and innovation (such as young researchers and high-tech SMEs) that may become the scientific and industrial leaders of the future.

    FET Open also calls for coordination and support activities to turn Europe into the best place in the world for responsible collaborative research on future and emerging technologies that will make a difference for society in the decades to come. For the next call deadline, FET exchange and FET Take-Up topics are addressed.

    Budget: 38.5M€ for Research and Innovations Actions; 1.5M€ for Coordination and Support Actions.

    More information is available on the Participant Portal.

    Check also the video of the FET Open session presented at the last ICT Proposers' Day event (9-10 October 2014).

    gravatar Sarah Chatwin

    [ top ]Featured Research Outcomes

    VADA Programme Grant: Value Added Data Systems - Principles and Architecture

    Norman Paton, Alvaro Fernandes, John Keane

    The School of Computer Science is a partner on a major 5-year EPSRC Programme Grant worth £5.7M. The VADA programme brings together university researchers from Manchester, Oxford and Edinburgh with commercial partners who are in desperate need of a new generation of data management tools.

    Partners include:

    • Developers of data management technologies: LogicBlox; Microsoft; Neo
    • Data user organisations in healthcare: The Christie
    • e-commerce: LambdaTek; PricePanda
    • Finance: AllianceBernstein
    • Social networks: Facebook
    • Security: Horus
    • Smart cities: FutureEverything
    • Telecommunications: Huawei

    Data is everywhere, generated by increasing numbers of applications, devices and users, with few or no guarantees on the format, semantics, and quality. The economic potential of data-driven innovation is enormous, estimated to reach as much as £40B in 2017, by the Centre for Economics and Business Research.

    To realise this potential, and to provide meaningful data analyses, data scientists must first spend a significant portion of their time (estimated as 50% to 80%) on "data wrangling" - the process of collection, reorganising, and cleaning data. This heavy toll is due to the four Vs of big data: Volume - the scale of the data, Velocity - speed of change, Variety - different forms of data, and Veracity - uncertainty of data.

    There is an urgent need to provide data scientists with a new generation of tools that will unlock the potential of data assets and significantly reduce the data wrangling component. As many traditional tools are no longer applicable in the 4 V's environment, a radical paradigm shift is required. The VADA Programme Grant aims to add value to data by:

    • carrying out data management tasks in an environment that takes fully account of data and user contexts, and
    • integrating and automating key data management tasks in a way not yet attempted, but desperately needed by many innovative companies in today's data-driven economy.


    The VADA research programme will define principles and solutions for Value Added Data Systems, which support users in discovering, extracting, integrating, accessing and interpreting the data of relevance to their questions. In so doing, it uses the context of the user, e.g., requirements in terms of the trade-off between completeness and correctness, and the data context, e.g., its cost, provenance and quality. The user context characterises not only what data is relevant, but also the properties it must exhibit to be fit for purpose. 


    VADA Partners

    VADA is an EPSRC Programme Grant, awarded to:

    Georg Gottlob (Principal Investigator), Thomas Lukasiewicz, Dan Olteanu, Giorgio Orsi, Tim Furche

    University of Oxford


    Leonid Libkin, Wenfei Fan, Peter Buneman, Sebastian Maneth

    University of Edinburgh


    Norman Paton, Alvaro Fernandes, John Keane

    University of Manchester


    VADA runs from 1st April 2015 for 5 years, with total support from the EPSRC of £5.7M and from industry partners of £2M.

    gravatar Sarah Chatwin

    Inaccurate reporting jeopardising IBS clinical trials

    A team led by Dr Sheena Cruickshank (FLS) and Professor Andy Brass analysed 58 papers on research into inflammatory bowel disease published between 2000 and 2014. They found a wide variety in how methods were reported and that vital information about experiments were missing, meaning they couldn’t be accurately reproduced in animal or human models.

    In several instances the gender of the animal used wasn’t recorded which can have a bearing on the result as female mice have a stronger immune response to males. How the animals were housed will also impact on the results in experiments about the gut.

    Dr Cruickshank says she was shocked at the lack of information provided in papers: “What our research has uncovered is that this lack of data makes it difficult to validate the experiment and the result. Crucially this is having an impact of the reproducibility of experiments, both in the animal model and when transferred to human trials.”

    The problem first became clear to the researchers when they were looking at building a knowledge base to help pull together research on inflammatory bowel disease (colitis). Working with computer scientists it became clear to the biologists that the data couldn’t be understood by colleagues from different disciplines.

    Professor Andy Brass says: “So much research is now being carried out across disciplines so it’s vital that experiments can be understood by as many scientists as possible. Relying on the reader to make assumptions based on their own experience will only lead to errors, but this is what many papers are asking people to do when they come to replicate the research.”

    To address the issue the team have developed a critical checklist of what information should be included. It covers nine areas ranging from information about the animals, their housing condition, genetics, how colitis is induced, experiment design and monitoring. The checklist is included in their paper “Quality of Methods Reporting in Animal Models of Colitis” due to be published in the journal Inflammatory Bowel Diseases.

    Moving forward the Manchester team is recommending the adoption of their checklist as a requirement for publication to improve the quality, comparability and standardization of studies into inflammatory bowel disease. They believe it will make the interpretation and translation of data to human disease more reliable and ultimately contribute to making clinical trials more successful.

    For more information see the full press release at 

    gravatar Sarah Chatwin

    Did you know…

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

    gravatar Sarah Chatwin

    [ top ]Prize and award Opportunities

    Pictures tell a thousand words. What would your research picture say?

    Deadline: 8 May 2015

    The theme for this year’s Image Awards is “Research in Action”. You are free to interpret this theme as broadly as you like. However, you must show how your photo represents your research and its impact, or potential impact, whether that is at the individual, local, national or international level. All images should be accompanied by a title (no more than 50 words) and a caption (no more than 150 words) both of which should clearly explain your image.

    Three winners, will be chosen:

    • Best overall image (£150)
    • Runner up (£100)
    • People's choice winner (£50)

    Submit your images here:

    gravatar Sarah Chatwin

    gravatar Sarah Chatwin
Generated: Friday, 10 April 2020 11:25:23
Last change: Monday, 27 April 2015 12:38:49