School of CS newsletterPublished: Monday, 25 April 2016
Weekly newsletter for the School of CS
[ top ]News from Head of School
A pre-exams"pub quiz" for all will be hosted by CSSoc, held in the Staff Common Room and Atlas 1&2. This will be a ticketed event (£3 per person) but for that price you get pizza and beer, as we usually do in the Christmas party. CSSoc will be selling tickets in Byte Cafe from 12pm-2pm every day this week. Get a team of 3-5 people together, and get your tickets! Not to be missed!
This year’s Cockcroft Rutherford Lecture – the flagship event for friends and alumni of The University of Manchester, will be held on Thursday 26 May at 18:00. Professor Danielle George from the School of Electrical and Electronic Engineering will be asking if it is possible to deliver successful engineering projects by crowdfunding. She’ll also be asking if citizen data scientists can help astrophysicists study the dawn of time. Free registration is open here.
The 2016 Karen Spärck Jones Lecture will be "Mind the many skills gaps: why we keep creating unworkable security" by Professor M. Angela Sasse FREng (University College London). It will be at 6pm 25th May 2016 in the BCS Headquarters, Southampton Street, London.
This is the 6th Karen Spärck Jones Lecture, an evening event, honouring women in computing research. Prof Sasse is the Professor of Human-Centred Technology at UCL, and Director of the UK Research Institute in Science of Cyber Security (RISCS).
The event is free but you must book via the BCS website: http://academy.bcs.org/ksj
The student-led "iOS Development Workshop" in the Mac Lab was a resounding success (20/4/2016).
Around 10 students booked on it, and some 17 turned up! Luckily, several brought their own MacBooks.Adam "Ben" Ormos (Year3) was the course designer and co-presenter. Ben was going to do the full two hours but his fellow student Matt Spear (Year1) presented the first half on the Swift programming language. Ben did the second hour on using Xcode to build an iOS app and link it to specific application code.
To quote Ben "The lab was full of people, there were lots of them who did not even register but came. Fortunately they could manage to understand the material and join up with other people. It went so well that we are planning another workshop. Hopefully we can manage to solve that, since it would be great to teach people more on this subject."Ben is also the first (student or staff) member of the School to present a workshop using wifi projection from his MacBook to two TV monitors at either end of the Lab simultaneously. This meant all the attendees could see the examples and directions without having to stand up or move.Wifi to the two TVs in the Mac Lab is not permanent, but can be set up on demand in the Mac Lab or elsewhere - See Ian's article in this newsletter.
Many thanks Tim Furmston, Steve Rhodes, Tony McDonald and Mike Keeley for their help in creating the Mac Lab and to Ian Cottam, Tim and Steve for preparing the lab for the workshop.
The Modularity Conference (formerly known as the International Conference on Aspect Oriented Software Development) was first held in April 2002, and AOSA has recently been making an annual award for the best submitted paper for the current conference, plus an award for the most influential paper that was published in the conference that was held ten years prior to the current conference. The 15th conference in the series was held recently in Malaga, where this year's Most Influential Paper Award was given to Bruno Harbulot and John Gurd for their paper “A join point for loops in AspectJ” that was published at the 5th Conference in Bonn in 2006. The award stated "This is an influential paper hat explored and solved a limitation of AOP and that inspired the designs of many other aspect oriented languages. Nowadays this paper continues to stimulate new work". Congratulations in particular to Bruno, whose PhD work has received such well-deserved recognition.
The annual Staff versus Students Coding Competition took place on Weds 13 April. The winners were a PhD/RA team (Andrew Webb and Joe Mellor), while second place went to Alan Ramsay and Giles Reger. The youngest contestant was Sophie Paton, age 6, who coded her solution in Scratch for the Alchemy Master problem.
Congratulations again to all the students involved in winning the Major League Hacking (MLH) award for the 2nd time last autumn. The trophy was finally presented to students in School of Computer Science last Wednesday. The new trophy sits proudly in the cabinet next to Byte Cafe, next to the previous one.
[ top ]News and announcements
The University recently joined the Vision 2020 Network.
Vision 2020 is a European networking platform launched in 2013 and was set up to enable universities, SMEs and corporates to collaborate through Horizon 2020. It was launched to foster business-university collaboration across Europe for organisations that wanted to engage with the Horizon 2020 programme building bridges between excellent research organisations and innovating companies.
The research organisation members of Vision2020 are a select group of excellent institutions that are highly active in European research & innovation. Membership for small and medium sized companies is open to any innovating business seeking Horizon 2020 funding.
The list of Vision 2020 members can be found here
The Vision 2020 Helixes
Vision2020 currently hosts eight active communities of researchers and companies that work together in "Helixes" focused on a particular Horizon 2020 research area.
The Current Helixes are:
- Digital Health
- Prosperity and Resilience
Vision2020 also hosts a selected group of Experts that provide members with tailored services that are specific to Horizon 2020.
If you are interested in engaging with Vision 2020 please email:
The PG Cert in Higher Education is aimed at academic staff and senior PSS colleagues at the University of Manchester. Its aim is to help you think more critically about your contribution to the University, as well as to develop a better understanding of the sector-wide changes in the Higher Education landscape.
The programme is free to University of Manchester staff and full details are available at:
It should take you no longer than a few minutes to apply. The deadline for applications is 30th June 2016. We’ll let you know if you've been successful in early August.
[ top ]Events
Where: Kilburn L.T. 1.4
Time: 14:00 - 15:00
Speaker: Dr. David White (University of Glasgow)
Host: Caroline Jay
Genetic Improvement (GI) is the application of search methods to improve existing source code, most notably in the areas of bug fixing and execution time optimisation. Much work in GI employs search over large spaces of unconstrained program transformations, which makes it a potentially powerful tool but also places heavy emphasis on testing to validate results. As a consequence, GI is often a controversial topic! In this talk I will explain how GI is usually applied, how it compares to related work in program synthesis, and outline some of the achievements and controversies of recent GI research.
The Faculty is holding an Early Career Fellowship Workshop on Monday 23 May 2016, 9:30am -1:00pm.
Priority will be given to those in the process of applying, or seriously considering applying for an external fellowship.
Places are limited and on a first come first served basis and those interested should contact Rupa Sharma directly (firstname.lastname@example.org).
In its capacity as UK National Contact Point for the European Research Council (ERC), the UK Research Office, in partnership with the hosting institutions, is holding two events for researchers who are interested in applying to the 2016 ERC Advanced Grant call. The events are scheduled as follows:
- University of Leeds, Tuesday 7 June 2016, 10:45-13:45
- Natural History Museum, London, Thursday 9 June 2016, 10.30-12.45
Further information and registration are available at the links to the events given above.
The 2016 Advanced Grant call will open on 24 May 2016 and close on 1 September 2016. Applicants are expected to be active researchers and to have a track record of significant research achievements in the last ten years. The scheme is designed to support Principal Investigators (PIs) at the career stage at which they are already established research leaders with a recognised track record of research achievements.
[ top ]Funding Opportunities
Deadline for submissions: 15th May 2016
The Siemens Process Industries and Drives Process Automation (PD PA) has recently posted technical challenges and is looking for innovative business partners.
The main goal of PD DA is to find business partners who can solve the technical challenges with mature products and services. As some of the challenges are complex Siemens would be interested university start-ups or research centers that may offer potential solutions. Further information can be found at https://ninesights.ninesigma.com/web/siemens-gallery.
Programmable Logic Controllers:
Data Analysis and Transmission:
Other Innovations in Sensors, Data Analysis and Visualisation, and Housing:
PD DA kindly invites innovative business partners to submit ideas online on the Siemens NineSights gallery until May 15th, 2016.
The best submissions will be invited to present at PD DA’s supplier innovation day on June 6th, 2016 in Karlsruhe, Germany. For more information, click here.
If you wish to be nominated please let me know as soon as possible (email@example.com).
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/
The call deadline is 17:00 Brussels time (16:00 UK time) on 14 September 2016.
Please distribute this to any suitable applicants you may have in mind. If you know of or are sponsoring any applications to this call, please inform the Research Office as soon as possible (firstname.lastname@example.org)
[ top ]Featured Research Outcomes
The University of Manchester is leading a new project to collect and analyse patient feedback to make it more useful for improving NHS services.
The work is a joint two-year £500k project with Salford Royal NHS Foundation Trust and Manchester Mental Health and Social Care Trust and is funded by the NIHR’s Health Service and Delivery Research programme. As part of the project, a team from the School of Computer Science (led by Goran Nenadic, CI) will explore how patient comments and stories can be analysed quickly and effectively through text analytics, and look at how patients’ views can best be presented to staff alongside other information the NHS collects on quality, safety and symptoms of patients.
[ top ]Tech Support News
Your Tech Support Team continue to work on upgrading projection facilities in rooms that have not been looked at for some time.
If you find a somewhat upgraded facility in a room, please don't think that we have finished; we are working in phases to both avoid lengthy periods of room closures and also factoring what work we can do and what requires Estates to schedule their time to help us.
Atlas 1 and IT401 now both have new, higher quality projectors. These two rooms also have wifi projection capability as well as traditional wires (Atlas 1 will get wired HDMI in its next phase of work). IT401 is due to have the projection equipment ceiling-mounted by Estates any day now. Mercury is likely to be the next target for a new projector / wifi.
We also have a couple of pop-up or on demand wifi projection facilities. The first is with a TV on a trolley that Prof Uli Sattler and colleagues will trial in the MSc Lab. The other one was a pop-up in the Mac Lab that was successfully used by students, just the other day for the first iOS Workshop, where the content was wirelessly transmitted to both TVs in the Lab simultaneously. Workshops are currently infrequent in the Mac Lab so we have not left the wifi equipment in there permanently.
All modern Apple mobile and laptop devices can just connect with built-in AirPlay (Bluetooth should also be on to act as a channel for finding what facilities are available in the area). Windows devices can use AirParrot2, for which we have some licences, and all details are in Atlas 1 and IT401. Non-Apple devices (or some older Apple ones) also need to use the wifi hotspot "IDC".
Contact Ian Cottam x61851 with any questions.