School of CS newsletterPublished: Monday, 07 March 2016
Weekly newsletter for the School of CS
[ top ]News from Head of School
This summer’s graduation will be at 10:00 on Thursday 21st July with a reception in the School afterwards. There will be a School Barbecue on the afternoon of 22nd July.
Students from the School have won the Fall 2016 European Major League Hackathon for the second year running. Over 2000 students from 300 universities all over Europe spent their weekends learning to build and share code at hackathons: http://news.mlh.io/eu-fall-2015-standings-03-02-2016. Manchester students narrowly beat the University of Birmingham by 343 to 325 points, with UCL in third place on 201 points.
“It is exciting to know that the hacker spirit is still going strong in Manchester. . . I believe it is all due to the people around us and their endless support,” said Sami Alabed, Director of StudentHack and a student at Manchester. “We want to get as many passionate people involved in this wonderful experience, and we hope this victory inspires those who haven’t been to a hackathon to attend one and embrace this widespread movement.”
The School’s students have had a long string of successes in competitions and hackathons in recent years and I would like to express my appreciation to Gavin Brown (Reader) who has consistently encouraged and enabled the students to go out, compete and succeed, which has been a great benefit to the students as well as the School.
Some of you will have noticed that we have wireless projection capability in IT401. This is part of a larger piece of work to improve A-V/projection in the School. Please try it, and send Ian Cottam comments. (Note: traditional wires are still provided.)
Instructions are in the room. It uses an Apple TV box. Any Apple device with AirPlay should just work with it (phone, tablet, laptop). Windows laptop and tablet users need to install AirParrot2 from here http://tinyurl.com/ozltbte Make sure you get either 64-bit or 32 depending on the version of Windows you have installed. Our licence key is UZ9VV5-UNGVYH-Q6W56G-XM8PDY-HPZGNA-HS9HVT Please don't enter the key until you actually use it for the first time, as we have a limited number.
Some, but not all, Android users have had success with Mirroring360 Sender/Basic http://tinyurl.com/jy4o9os
I am sorry to announce that John Sargeant will permanently retire on health grounds on the 31st March 2016. John graduated with a 1st class BSc in Computer Science and Mathematics in 1981, an MSc in Computer Science in 1982 and a PhD in Computer Science in 1985, all at the University of Manchester. He has worked for the School since that time in a range of capacities including Research Fellow, Lecturer, and Technical Director for Course Development, a role that he developed from his active involvement in Continuing Education and Training. I wish John all the best in his retirement.
[ top ]News and announcements
All will be aware of the problem of gender balance in our subject, and there have been many studies examining this. The figures are clear. From our Animation Competition, at Primary level the entries are 50% girls, there is a steep decline in entries from girls in the age range 12-14 and by the age of 16, girls account for the same as our undergraduate population, namely about 15%. Not only, as a School, are we recruiting students from approximately half the population, but women are missing out on this important component of modern life.
Can we change this? As a Computing at School Regional Centre, we hope to have influence. Carol Murray, Sarah Zaman and myself (David Rydeheard) have hosted a series of meetings with organisations and schools that have been successful in attracting women into the subject (some schools have more girls that boys taking computing qualifications!). Following this, we have a series of actions for local schools, schools across the region and then schools nationwide. The first of these is an “Ada Lovelace Day” - a girls-only day to be held here on Wednesday March 16th, in which we roll-out some of the many activities and case-studies which are known to work as a means of schools engaging girls.
If you would like to be involved in general, or help at the Ada Lovelace Day, please contact Sarah (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Carol (email@example.com).
As many of you know, Ruqaiyah Pandor has finished her 6 month apprenticeship in the Academic Support Office and has now joined Faculty finance for her last 6 months of the apprenticeship.
Bryony Quick will be leaving ACSO on Thursday 17 March and interviews for the replacement will take place as soon as possible.
Stacey Kendall has joined ACSO on a three month secondment with us to cover timetabling, duties allocation, and general admin.
Hannah James has joined ACSO on a temp basis to cover general duties.
Karon Mee and Karen Corless are still here and ready to help with your requests!
The Academic Support Office are aiming to stop using the following ACSO email addresses within two weeks:
Please use the new email address for ACSO from now on, firstname.lastname@example.org and make your subject line meaningful (eg: ‘room request 10 March’ or ‘flight request 18 March’) as we find this makes sorting through our emails much easier! Please note that none of our new starters receive mail to the old addresses.
[ top ]Events
EPS will be celebrating Environmental Sustainability with the Big Green Gathering: Sustainability Festival on Tuesday 08 March.
There should be something of interest for everyone from TED style debates, a clothes swap, biodiversity walks to a research poster competition, can crushing competition and cycling training from our very own instructor.
We have also linked in with some of our students who are going to host a pop-up version of their charity clothes shop The Closet.
Find out more in the full programme.
The next School Board meeting will be held on Wednesday 09 March at 15:00 in room 407, IT building. Please send any apologies to Bryony Quick. HEFCE OA policy (Helen Dobson, library); External Affairs (John Keane); and Web Strategy (Simon Harper) will be discussed along with the usual standing items.
Presented by Faculty and the Design Team, the open meeting will be a great opportunity for staff to find out more about the project’s vision and the architectural aspects of the developed design. We are also encouraging staff to send their questions in advance of the event by either emailing askMECD@manchester.ac.uk or tweeting @uom_mecd – there will be a 30 minute Q&A session following on from the presentations.
Distributed Ledger Technology aka 'Blockchain'
When? Friday 8th April, 1-3pm
Where? The Congregation, Vaughan House, Portsmouth Street, M13 9GB, (72 on campus map)
‘A block chain or blockchain is a permissionless distributed database based on the bitcoin protocol that maintains a continuously growing list of data records hardened against tampering and revision, even by its operators’*
Released in 2009, the open source bitcoin protocol remains the foremost example of so called block chain technology, providing a permissionless, decentralized and indelible public ledger, collectively maintained and validated by a network of participants, of all transactions undertaken across the network.
Still in its relative infancy, the potential for applications and innovations using ‘block chains’ is being considered across numerous fields. For example the possibility of creating databases to store property titles, contracts, shares, or voting decisions, as well as more complex innovations such as ‘smart’ contracts through the use of the Ethereum platform.
Earlier this year in January, the Government Chief Scientific Adviser, Sir Mark Walport, published his report on distributed ledger technology, outlining a series of recommendations for how the UK should take a leading role in the research and development of how this disruptive innovation could transform the delivery of public and private services and enhance productivity through a wide range of applications.
The technology and its potential impact cover a number of fields and interests, across computer science, cryptography, mathematics, economics, law, politics and beyond.
This workshop is intended for researchers with an interest in this emerging field to explore and share the work that is currently being undertaken at the University and understand what cross-cutting inter-disciplinary research could be taken forward.
[ top ]Funding Opportunities
Application deadline: 8th June 2016
EPSRC has up to £5 million available to support collaborative, international and problem-driven projects which address the human dimensions of cyber security.
We are inviting proposals which address the challenges identified at the 'Human Dimensions of Cyber Security' (HDoCS) workshop in 2014. The challenges are titled:
- Design, build and measure
- A theory of everyone
- Risk, trust and response
- Understanding people
- Evolution of cybercrime
These challenges must be the sole or main focus of any proposal submitted to this call and proposals must clearly and directly address one or more of them. All proposals should have advances in our understanding of cyber security, as represented by the contents of the technical scope, as their main aim.
Details of EPSRCs Cybersecurity sub-theme can be found here: https://www.epsrc.ac.uk/research/ourportfolio/themes/globaluncertainties/subthemes/cybersecurity/
Application deadline: 11th May 2016
This are science-led, responsive mode grants where an industrial partner contributes in cash at least 10% of the full economic cost of the project.
The company partner should be registered in the UK or have a UK R&D or manufacturing site. Where a suitable company cannot be found in the UK, an overseas company may be used.
Further information, including case studies and costing examples, can be found at the BBSRC website:
The Japan Society for the Promotion of Science have produced a comprehensive guide to funding sources available to facilitate UK-Japan research collaboration. This booklet is available in English and Japanese and can be downloaded from the JSPS London website at the following link: