School of CS newsletterPublished: Monday, 18 July 2016
Weekly newsletter for the School of CS
[ top ]News from Head of School
Last Tuesday Robert Stevens presented the prizes at our Animation16 Awards Day held at the National Media Museum in Bradford. You can see all the prizewinning entries from kids aged 7-18 on our Youtube channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/AnimationComp. The UK Schools Computer Animation is now in its 9th year, and to date we have had 8,243 entries from 1,401 schools, and 287 winners. Many thanks to the organising team for all their hard work: Graham Gough, Toby Howard, Jez Lloyd and Ruth Maddocks. Animation17 will launch in September.
Graduation Day is this week, the ceremony is at 10:00 Thursday 21st July. Please come along to the reception afterwards to meet the students and their parents.
The newsletter will be taking a break after this edition but will resume before semester 1 of 2016/17.
[ top ]News and announcements
The University needs to hold and process large amounts of personal data about its students, employees, alumni, contractors, research subjects and other individuals in order to carry out its business and administrative functions. Failures or weaknesses in our processing of personal data can result in significant harm and distress to individuals who may be affected and may also cause reputational damage to the University. The Senior Leadership Team (SLT) has agreed that completion of the University’s online Data Protection course is now mandatory for all staff who have an active IT account. For this purpose ‘staff’ also includes temporary, honorary, visiting and casual (including PhD students who are paid as teaching assistants).
If you have not already completed the online course I would be grateful if you could please arrange to do so. It only takes 15-30 minutes to complete. This link will take you to the course details: https://app.manchester.ac.uk/tbf22
Please read the instructions and then click on the “Apply” button at the bottom of the page. This will add the course to your training profile and you will receive an email with a link to the course. You should aim to complete the course within two weeks of receiving the email. Once you have successfully completed the course you will receive another email confirming this – please forward this email to firstname.lastname@example.org for audit purposes.
If you have any questions please contact me at email@example.com. Many thanks for your help with this!
The teams behind Vampire and iProver have won major divisions in the annual World Championship for Theorem Proving (CASC) which was held at the International Joint Conference on Automated Reasoning (IJCAR), Coimbra. The Vampire team consists of Giles Reger, Martin Suda, and Andrei Voronkov and the iProver team consists of Konstantin Korovin.
Manchester led the scoreboard in all 5 of the 8 divisions entered by Vampire and iProver. Vampire came first in 4 divisions and iProver came first in the effectively propositional (Bernays–Schönfinkel) class, a title historically held by iProver but taken by Vampire last year. For a second year Vampire won the arithmetic division, outperforming one of the leading SMT solvers.
Additionally, for the first year Vampire entered SMT-COMP (the World Championship for SMT solvers) and won 5 out 13 divisions entered. The competition contained very hard problems including those ranging over the theories of arrays and non-linear arithmetic. This can have a significant impact on the area as Vampire is not an SMT solver and uses techniques which are fundamentally different from those used by SMT solvers (i.e. instance-based methods).
These successes build on Manchester’s long history of world-leading theorem proving. Vampire has now won the main division (FOF) in CASC for 17 years in a row and in the history of the competition Vampire has won 38 trophies and iProver (starting 9 years later) has won 10.
[ top ]Events
On Wednesday 3rd August from 5.30pm you’re invited to take over the Students’ Union and take part in the first ever University of Manchester staff quiz! £2 entry per person, in aid of scholarships and support for students and researchers - you’ll choose on the night where exactly your entry fee goes. Prizes will be donated by The Union Bar and KRO Bar.
Register your team name in advance by emailing: firstname.lastname@example.org (6 people max. per team)
[ top ]Tech Support News
Change in Arrangements for Software Development Projects Undertaken by School Tech Support Staff
v1.0 Ian Cottam (Technical Support Manager) 15 July 2016
We are introducing a lightweight procedure for submitting proposals from Acstaff to Tech Support where software development is needed in part or whole. This is necessary to avoid feature-creep and its impact on deadlines. The procedure applies from today to any new proposals for work.
The procedure is genuinely light, but necessary, and nothing like the bureaucracy of getting a software project accepted by, for example, central IT Services.
The key to the scope of this is in the phrase "software development". Clearly, asking for web content update is not in scope, but new web development, say with a database backend, is.
1. A written Requirements Specification must exist.
The Technical Support Manager, or one of his staff, will meet with you to write such. You may, of course, write it yourself and pass on to us. It is expected that one to five pages – excluding any existing attachments – should be sufficient to capture requirements. (We will build up a body of these so you can see typical examples.)
2. The Requirements Specification can be in any document format (Wiki, Word, Google Doc, etc.) provided it is kept online and version controlled.
3. Before work starts the Requirements Specification will be agreed and signed-off by the Academic Sponsor of the work and the Technical Support Manager.
4. An outline Development Plan with milestones and delivery date will also be produced by Tech Support staff. It is acceptable for this to be a section of the Requirements Specification, especially for small to medium sized projects. If it is a separate document, points 2 and 3 above also apply to it.
5. The Specification/Plan will include regular review meetings between the Academic Sponsor and Tech Support staff concerned, as well as the Technical Support Manager. Meetings will normally be brief and can be held over Skype. Fortnightly is the expected frequency of such reviews.
6. As part of the review process written Requests for Change (RFCs) will be assessed. Such requests must be agreed by the Academic Sponsor and the Technical Support Manager. Documentation above will be revised as well as any revisions to deadlines and the impact on other work being performed by Tech Support staff (for an agreed and accepted RFC).