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  • School of CS newsletter

    Published: Tuesday, 22 September 2015

    Weekly newsletter for the School of CS

    [ top ]News from Head of School

    Welcome week is here

    …and with it come our students. Monday was a big day for the School with around 450 new UG, PGT and PGR students being welcomed to the School. Thanks to all the staff in Recruitment and SSO and to the many academic staff involved for their hard work in making it go so smoothly. Initial guesses suggest that we will have about met the targets, more  concrete numbers should be available next week.

    gravatar Jim Miles

    Computing Britain on Radio 4

    This BBC Radio 4 series looks at the history of computing in Britain. The first episode covers the race to create a working electronic memory – the store in the ‘World’s first stored program computer’ created by Williams and Kilburn in Manchester. Some episodes have already been broadcast but the podcasts are still available here:  

    For those interested in computer history the North-West branch of the Computer Conservation Society (CCS-NW) has a series of talks each year, the first this year is this evening: Air Commodore Norman Bonnor will describe “The Development of Satellite Navigation Technology” Tuesday 22nd September 2015 18:00  Museum of Science & Industry (MoSI). The programme of events is here.

    gravatar Jim Miles

    [ top ]News and announcements

    Eva Navarro López appointed to BCS Women in Computing Research group

    Eva Navarro López ( has been appointed to the BCS Women in Computing Research group, a committee of the BCS Academy of Computing. This committee is formed by prominent researchers in computing and aims to promote women in computing research.


    Eva Navarro López ( will give a plenary talk entitled "Hybrid systems neuroscience" in the conference "Encuentro Nacional de Ciencias de la Computación" (ENC2015, National Congres of Computer Science) in Ensenada, Baja California, México. ENC is the most important scientific event organised by the Mexican Association of Computer Science and is supported by the Mexican Academy of Sciences. For more information, check

    gravatar Bryony C Quick

    IT Newsletter

    The new edition of the Research IT newsletter is now available at including:

    • Call for proposals to access national and international HPC resources
    • iSPEX-EU: Take part in gathering air pollution data using your iPhone
    • Research virtual machine infrastructure (RVMI) initiative
    • Training, events and much more!

    We are also pleased to announce the launch of the Research IT Twitter account -

    gravatar Sarah Chatwin

    Join the Personal Data and Trust Network

    The Personal Data and Trust network aims to build and nurture a community that brings together industry, the public sector, funders, research organisations, individual researchers and innovators to support the UK in becoming the global leader in trust and responsible innovation with personal data. The network is jointly supported by the Digital Economy Theme, Innovate UK, Digital Catapult and Knowledge Transfer Network. If you are interested in getting involved, attending our events, publicising your work in the area or just want to find out more, please do consider registering here

    gravatar Sarah Chatwin

    Episode 4 of CS@Manchester podcast

    Episode four of the CS@Manchester podcast has now been released and features an interview with Professor Steve Furber from the School of Computer Science at The University of Manchester. Steve talks us through his time before joining the University, his research with The Human Brain Project, SpiNNaker and his interest in historical computer science pioneers Ada Lovelace and Alan Turing.


    Upcoming episodes in the series include features on Human Computer Interaction, Women in CS - as part of Ada Lovelace day and an interview with ex-students Peter Sutton and Lloyd Henning and their experiences performing at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.


    If you have any ideas for the podcast series, including any interesting upcoming events or if you'd like to be interviewed, then please contact

    Subscribe on itunes:

    Or Stream through soundcloud:

    gravatar Bryony C Quick

    [ top ]Events

    AMBS Big Data Forum - kick-off meeting

    Event: 22 Sept 2015 (12.30-4pm), Room 10.02, Harold Hankins Building

    The Alliance Manchester Business School (AMBS) is launching a research network in the area of Big Data. The Big Data Forum is funded for two years and its primary aim is to bring together the multitude of existing activities within MBS related to Big Data theories, techniques and applications.
    The kick-off meeting will provide an opportunity for academic staff within and outside of AMBS to familiarise themselves with the way in which the Forum can help them, to shape the first two pilot projects supported by the network and to decide what other pilot projects should be supported.

    Please click here to view the agenda. 

    gravatar Sarah Chatwin

    School Seminar: Fine-grained language composition

    14:00, Kilburn lecture theatre 1.4, 30 September 2015
    Speaker: Dr  Laurie Tratt  (Kings College London)
    Host: Mikel Lujan

    gravatar Bryony C Quick

    Call for Participants: Digital Young Entrepreneurs Scheme (YES) 2015

    Deadline: 04 Oct 2015
    Online briefing 05 Oct 2015
    Event: 30 Nov (Eve/PM) – 01 Dec 2015 (Imperial War Museum North, Manchester)

    Digital YES, funded by Research Councils UK through the Digital Economy Network, offers a valuable learning experience for teams of Digital Economy postgraduate and postdoctoral researchers to gain a general understanding of the aspects involved in commercialising an innovation or idea, and an insight into processes involved in a business start-up. Competition places (for Teams of 3) and overnight accommodation on 30 November in Manchester will be funded by the EPSRC Digital Economy Network.

    Further information is available from Dr Angela Martinez-Dy, Digital YES Advocate, at or at 2015.aspx

    gravatar Sarah Chatwin

    Horizon 2020 face2face brokerage event

    Registration deadline: 01 Oct 2015
    Event: 20-22 Oct 2015 (Lisbon, Portugal)

    The free event will be held at ICT 2015 and is aimed at matching up potential collaboration partners with face-to-face meetings of 20 minutes long.

    Why participate?

    • get the latest information from the EC
    • build quality partnerships for participating in ICT across Horizon 2020
    • facilitate the setup of project consortia for the 2016/17 H2020 call
    • discuss and develop new project ideas on ICT at international level
    • acquire new cross-border contacts and initiate collaborations
    • promote your research results, technologies and know-how

    Register through: Ideal-ist face2face brokerage event

    For full information contact funding is available through the School to attend events with funders when you feedback information to the School.

    gravatar Sarah Chatwin

    Interested in Bioformatics?

    Event: 29 Oct 2015

    This year's EMBL-EBI Open Day is ideal for early-career scientists who would like to find out more about careers and training in bioinformatics. It is free to attend but delegates must register in advance.

    Come along and learn about EMBL-EBI’s:

    • Comprehensive collection of bioinformatics resources;
    • Cutting-edge research;
    • PhD programme, Postdoc opportunities and training programme.

    Full information and registration available through:

    gravatar Sarah Chatwin

    H2020 Societal Challenges events

    The UK National Contact Points for Societal Challenge 2 and 5 have joined to run a number of theme-focused events on Horizon 2020 funding opportunities in 2016/2017. The events offer a great opportunity to learn about the upcoming funding calls as well as meet other interested UK organisations. 

    'Climate change, environment, resource efficiency and raw materials'

    1. Nature-based solutions – re-naturing cities (30th Sept in London, registrationlink, focus on: 
    - large scale demonstration activities (both urban and rural) for disaster risk management (flood, drought, storm surges, landslide) 
    - large scale demonstration activities focusing on water resilience in cities, sustainable urban regeneration,
    - city-based demonstration activities on cultural and industrial heritage (regeneration and re-use)

    2. Funding for water innovation (1st October in Manchester): focus on water/wastewater management, both in urban and rural context, nutrient recovery, development of new water services                                                            

    3. Resource efficient value chains (13th October in Manchester), details yet to be announced 

    4. Climate resilient business (2nd November in Exeter): focus on the use of data for climate adaptation and mitigation as well as new climate services – both cities and rural areas, Blue Growth, and Earth Observation

    Please also note the following European, Brussels-based events:

    Please register as soon as possible as places for both UK and Brussels events are filling fast. 

    gravatar Sarah Chatwin

    [ top ]Funding Opportunities

    Resilience of the UK food system in a global context

    Deadline: 4pm 27 Oct 2015

    Global Food Security interdisciplinary research programme on the ‘Resilience of the UK food system in a global context’ has launched its first call for applications. This programme (£14M) has been co-designed by BBSRC, ESRC, NERC, Defra, FSA and the Scottish Government. The programme will fund high quality research projects which integrate science areas from all of the research councils involved and address one or more of the following interlinked themes:

    • Optimising the productivity, resilience and sustainability of agricultural and landscapes
    • Optimising resilience of food supply chains both locally and globally
    • Influencing food choice for health, sustainability and resilience at the individual and household level

    For details and applications visit the call page on the BBSRC website.

    gravatar Sarah Chatwin

    Royal Society funding opportunities

      Industry Fellowship (closes 24 September 2015)
    This scheme is for academic scientists who want to work on a collaborative project with industry and for scientists in industry who want to work on a collaborative project with an academic organisation.
        International Exchanges (closes 12 October 2015)
    This scheme is for scientists in the UK who want to stimulate new collaborations with leading scientists overseas through either a one-off visit or bilateral travel.
        Newton Mobility Grants (closes 13 October 2015)
    This scheme provides international researchers with funding towards travel, subsistence and research expenses for either a one-off short visit to explore opportunities for building lasting networks or for bilateral visits to strengthen emerging collaborations.
        Royal Society Research Professorship (closes 3 November 2015)
    This scheme is for world-class scientists who would benefit from a period of long-term support to allow them to focus on research and collaboration based at an institution in the UK.
    gravatar Sarah Chatwin

    Researcher Links Travel Grants: Colombia, Egypt, Kazakhstan, Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam

    Deadline: 28 Sep 15

    Researcher Links Travel Grants provide financial support for early-career researchers to undertake an international research placement to strengthen links for future collaboration, build research capacity in developing economies, and enhance the researcher's career opportunities.

    These grants are funded under the Newton Fund, which aims to promote the economic development and welfare of either the partner countries or, through working with the partner country, to address the problems of poor people around the world.

    • Duration of visit: 1-6 months depending on the country
    • Priority areas: Partner countries may specify priority areas and will only accept applications within these. Priority areas are listed in the Guidelines document (Downloads section).
    • ODA requirement: All applications must meet the required relevance to economic development or social welfare (see Guidelines for further information) of the partner country. 

    Researchers that reside in the UK can apply for funding to visit a university or research institution in one of the listed countries, and those residing in one of the listed countries can apply for funding to come to the UK. 

    gravatar Sarah Chatwin

    RCUK-CONICYT Research Partnerships Call: UK – Chile Call for Proposals

    Deadline: 16:00 GMT 08 Oct 2015

    Research Councils UK (RCUK) and National Commission for Scientific Research and Technology (CONICYT) are pleased to invite applications to the RCUK-CONICYT Research Partnerships Call.

    This initiative will provide funding for high-quality collaborative research projects between UK and Chilean researchers which contribute to the economic development and welfare of Chile and to developing countries more broadly.  We invite proposals which address the following topics and encourage mulitidisciplinary work:

    • Disaster Management
    • Diet and health
    • Education, Inequality and Social Reform
    • Sustainable Aquaculture for Nutrition and Food Security

    The objective is to deliver significant 2-3 year research funding for internationally competitive and innovative collaborative projects between researchers from Chile and the UK that will allow the pursuit of shared research interests.

    Consortia should consider how their proposal makes the best use of available expertise in the UK and Chile, the added value of collaboration and how the proposal will contribute towards the economic development and welfare of Chile and articulate a broader applicability to the issues of poor people globally.

    gravatar Sarah Chatwin

    [ top ]Featured Research Outcomes

    Front cover feature for research on magnetisation reversal

    PhD student Craig Barton and Prof. Tom Thomson's work has recently been published in the Journal of Applied Physics as a featured article which made the front cover. The image shows the magnetisation reversal data for multiple thin layers of directional colbalt/ palladium. The reversibility of these systems is important for the development of future nanoscale technologies such as bit patterned media (BPM) recording and spin-torque transfer (STT) devices.

    The full paper is available through: Magnetisation reversal in anisotropy graded Co/Pd multilayers



    gravatar Sarah Chatwin

    PhD successes

    Congratulations to the following PhD students who have recently successfully completed:

    • Tahani Alsubait (supervised by Dr Bijan Parsia) with her thesis entitled: Ontology-based Multiple-Choice Question Generation
    • Mohsen Ghasempour (supervised by Dr MIkel Lujan) with his thesis: Workload-adaptation in Memory Controllers
    gravatar Sarah Chatwin

    NaCTeM success for the third time at the BioCreative Challenge Evaluation Workshop

    In the recently completed fifth workshop, BioCreative V, various biomedical text mining tracks were organised, including the chemical-disease relations (CDR) track, which aimed to improve the state of the art for automatic extraction of biomarker chemical-disease relations. NaCTeM participated in the Disease Named Entity Recognition and Normalisation (DNER) task of the CDR track, together with 15 other teams, and obtained the best precision (89.89%) amongst the three top-performing teams.

    Of further note is the fact that NaCTeM's Web-based workbench, Argo, was one of only three text mining systems selected for presentation in BioCreative V's User Interactive Track. Argo's ability to facilitate the curation of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) phenotypes was demonstrated and evaluated as part of the workshop.

    Below are the relevant workshop proceedings:

    Batista-Navarro, R. T. B. and Ananiadou, S.(2015). Augmenting the Medical Subject Headings vocabulary with semantically rich variants to improve disease mention normalisation. Proceedings of the Fifth BioCreative Challenge Evaluation Workshop, Seville, Spain, pp. 311-316

    Batista-Navarro, R. T. B., Carter, J. and Ananiadou, S. (2015). Semi-automatic curation of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease phenotypes using Argo. Proceedings of the Fifth BioCreative Challenge Evaluation Workshop, Seville, Spain, pp. 403-408

    gravatar Sarah Chatwin

    ICT Pioneers success

    Mahdi Jelodari’s proposal "eTeak: A Software/Hardware Framework for Productivity Enhancement" has been selected for the final round of UK ICT Pioneers 2015 under the category 'Technology Everywhere'. The final event will take place on the 29th October 2015 at the QE2 Conference Centre, Central London. UK ICT Pioneers is a partnership between EPSRC and Dstl, HP, EPSRC, BCS, BT, Facebook and Samsung that aims to recognise the most exceptional UK doctoral students in ICT-related topics who are able to communicate and demonstrate the excellence and exploitation potential of their research. Mahdi is a PhD student in the APT group.

    gravatar Jim Miles

    In the news...

    A survey has found 81 percent of us are now fearful of cyber-criminals.  Dr Daniel Dresner discussed these technology problems with BBC Radio 5 Live (16th September).

    gravatar Jim Miles

    gravatar Jim Miles
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Last change: Tuesday, 22 September 2015 09:44:15