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  • School of CS newsletter

    Published: Monday, 07 November 2016

    Weekly newsletter for the School of CS

    [ top ]News from Head of School

    Dean's Visit - Wednesday 16th November

    A reminder that  Martin Schröder, together with Danielle George and Steve Yeates (Associate Deans for Teaching and Learning and Research respectively) will be visiting the School on Wednesday 16 November in the Atlas rooms. There will be a short presentation and then the opportunity for questions.

    gravatar Robert Stevens

    Mozilla Open Badges for Students

    As you may have seen in the Monday Mail, today a new scheme has been launched for awarding badges to UG students, using the Mozilla Open Badges initiative. A badge is something students earn for doing something cool, and can add value to their CVs & profile. Examples: meeting all their coursework deadlines; being a student Rep or Ambassador; helping to run an event; being a PASS leader/coordinator; best 1st Year Project poster, etc. Physically, a badge is an image file, containing digitally signed metadata which verifies it’s been awarded by the School. Students can do whatever they like with their badges (e.g. put on their CV/Webpage/Facebook etc). Or if they’re not interested, they can just ignore it.

    If you’d like to know more about the tech behind the scheme, have a look at the wiki. As well as high tech, we’re using some low tech too; for awarding badges in-lecture, students will be given a poker chip which they can exchange for a badge later. We’re piloting the scheme in for 1st Year students, as well as some cross-year things like Reps, Ambassadors, etc. and all the “formal” School prizes awarded next summer will also have a badge version. Those staff that need to take action know about it, so nothing to do otherwise.

    Thanks to Steve Pettifer, Toby Howard, Ian Cottam and Chris Page for setting this up.


    gravatar Robert Stevens

    PGR Symposium

    Last week saw the annual PGR Symposium where the School's PGR students present their work to the School. Gordon Blair gave this year's keynote presentation where he spoke bout the "changing face of computer science". In addition this session had the presentation of best thesis and best paper awards; these are sponsored by IBM and presented by Martin Spinks - an alumnus of this School.  Many thanks to Uli Sattler and Giles Reger for organising the symposium.

    Congratulations to the prize winners, who were: 

    Best Paper Award
    Winner:  Nikos Nikolaou, 
    Paper: “Cost Sensitive Boosting Algorithms: Do We really need them?” Nikos Nikolaou, Nara Edakunni  Meelis Kull, Peter Flach, and Gavin Brown, Machine Learning Journal, 104(2), 359 – 384, 2016.

    Runner-up:  James C. Knight 
    Paper: “Large-Scale Simulations of Plastic Neural Networks on Neuromorphic Hardware”, James Courtney Knight, Philip Joseph Tully, Bernhard A. Kaplan, Anders Lansner, Steve B. Furber, Frontiers in Neuroanatomy, 10(37), 2016.

    Runner-up: Sukru Eraslan
    Paper: “Scanpath Trend Analysis on Web Pages:Clustering Eye Tracking Scanpaths”, Yeliz Yesilada, Simon Harper, Transactions on the Web, in press.


    There were two Best Thesis prizes awarded this year:

    Patrick Koopman
    Thesis title: "Practical Uniform Interpolation for Expressive Description Logics"

    Konstantinos Sechidis
    Thesis title: “Hypothesis Testing and Feature Selection in Semi-Supervised Data”.

    gravatar Robert Stevens

    [ top ]News and announcements

    Building maintenance

    This is just to remind staff of how to raise any maintenance issues with Estates:

    • If you need to report a fault please call extension 52424, or email or complete this online form. The Estates Helpdesk is open from 8am to 4pm.
    • Any repairs have to be carried out by Estates, which means that issues reported via the School Environment team are raised as tickets with Estates. So if you are able to, it may be quicker to report straightforward repair issues (lightbulb needs replacing, blocked toilet, temperature issues etc) directly to Estates. 
    • If you have a health and safety concern, please report this to Tony Mcdonald (ext 56118). In Tony’s absence you can report issues to James Fields, Liz Caine or Safety Services
    • If it is a security issue please contact Security on 69966 (0161 306 9966). This number is also on the back of your University ID card.
    gravatar Liz Caine

    [ top ]Events

    "Lo and Behold" Film showing at Home

    For anyone who might be interested, "Lo and Behold" is a film exploring humanity's relationship with technology and the internet, including interviews with many technology pioneers, including Elon Musk, Sebastian Thrun and Danny Hillis.

    The film opened last week, and is showing at the HOME Arts Centre Cinema in Manchester.

    More info about the film and screenings are here:

    gravatar Karen Corless

    School Leadership Team meeting

    The School Leadership Team (SLT) will meet this Wednesday at 3pm in KB 2.33. If there are issues you wish to be raised at SLT send an email to Robert Stevens

    gravatar Robert Stevens

    Data-intensive neuroscience workshop

    December 2nd, 2016
    Vaughan House, Manchester

    We are delighted to invite you to participate in a 1-day workshop that aims to showcase the research in applying and developing data-intensive methodologies to support clinical practice and research in the area of neuroscience. In addition to a series of talks on different projects running in Manchester, the workshop will provide an opportunity for networking and brief flash talks (3 min) from the audience showcasing their research and/or ideas for collaboration.

    Please register for the event at:, where you can find a draft programme for the day.

    gravatar Karen Corless

    Benchmarking your research community: Setting up an international (reasoning) competition

    9th November 2016 at 2pm in Kilburn L.T. 1.5

    Speaker: Nicolas Matentzoglu.

    The OWL Reasoner Evaluation (ORE) Competition is an annual competition (with an associated workshop) which pits OWL 2 compliant reasoning systems against each other on various standard reasoning tasks over naturally occurring OWL ontologies. In this talk, we outline the design of the competition and present the infrastructure used for its execution: the corpora of ontologies, the competition framework, and the submitted systems. We will share our experiences from inception of the competition through its design to its uptake by the research community and hope to encourage other research communities to pursue the set up of similar events.

    The paper describing the ORE resources can be found here:

    gravatar Karen Corless

    [ top ]Funding Opportunities

    EPSRC Network Plus: Industrial Systems in the Digital Age. Call for feasibility studies

    Deadline: 9th December 2016

    The recently funded Network Plus: Industrial Systems in the Digital Age, funded through EPSRC's Manufacturing the Future theme, is launching its first call for feasibility studies.

    The funding is available via the Network Plus grant holders, the University of Nottingham . The aim of the feasibility studies is to enable cross-disciplinary, foresight, speculative and risky early-stage research, although building a demonstrative prototype is also welcomed. EPSRC are looking at funding pre-Responsive Mode proposals. Applications from early career researchers will be particularly encouraged, and projects will also be asked to collaborate with industry partners where possible and they are keen to support collaborations that would otherwise not happen.

    A list of thematic areas have been suggested:

    • Industrial Internet of Things
    • People and automation
    • Cyber / physical systems
    • Data analytics and decision making
    • Skills and jobs
    • Service design and customisation
    • Sustainability
    • Cybersecurity
    • Design for future manufacturing

    Whilst these can be used as a guide, this is not an exclusive list and proposals do not need to fall within these areas.

    £600,000 of this Network Plus project has been allocated to funding a series of feasibility studies. Projects can be between 6 and 24 months in length, and should complete by June 2019.

    Further details can be found here:

    Please contact the Research Support team if you wish to apply:

    gravatar Karen Corless

    EPSRC: New Approaches to Data Science

    Deadline: 24th January 2017

    This call aims to support new approaches to data science driven by real world challenges, with projects undertaken in close collaboration by teams of researchers from the Mathematical Sciences and/or ICT, together with researchers in other disciplines and end-users. 

    In this call EPSRC seeks to support collaborative research programmes to develop new, holistic approaches to data science, driving advances in underpinning data science through real world challenges. Applicants should demonstrate how their approach is new in the data science landscape and explain how their proposal complements previous investments and current activities in this space. Proposals are expected to cover multiple aspects of data science, but need not necessarily advance the state of the art in all areas. Proposals are expected to involve novel research linked to the ICT and Mathematical Sciences research areas, including (but not limited to) areas such as Theoretical Computer Science, Artificial Intelligence Technologies, Databases, Graphics and Visualisation, Statistics and Applied Probability, Logic and Combinatorics, Numerical Analysis, Operational Research, Information Systems and Architectures and Operating Systems.

    There is up to £10 million available for this call and EPSRC expect to fund three to four programmes of research. Outline applications will be accepted with a deadline of 24th January 2017.

    Further details can be found on the EPSRC website.

    If you wish to apply, please contact

    gravatar Thomas Wise

    JSPS London Pre/Postdoctoral Fellowship for Foreign Researchers (Short Term)

    Deadline:  1st December 2016

    Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS) is the leading research funding agency in Japan, established by the Japanese Government for the purpose of contributing to the advancement of science. Their Pre/Postdoctoral Fellowship for Foreign Researchers (Short Term) provides the opportunity for researchers based outside of Japan to conduct collaborative research activities with leading research groups at Japanese Universities and Research Institutions for visits of between 1 to 12 months. Eligible applicants need to be either within 2 years of finishing their PhD at the time of applying to start their fellowship in Japan or have obtained their PhD after 2nd April 2011. Eligible research fields are not limited.

    The fellowship includes:

    • Monthly maintenance allowance of 362,000 JPY (for Post-doctoral Fellows) 200,000 JPY (for Doctoral Fellows).
    • Settling-in allowance of 200,000JPY (only for awardees with a tenure of four or more months).
    • Overseas travel, accident and sickness insurance coverage (based on JSPS regulations.

    Further details can be found at the JSPS website. Please pass these details on to anyone you think may be interested.

    gravatar Thomas Wise

    Research Funding Opportunities

    Some useful resources for bid preparation as well as the updated Funding Scheme Planner can be found here:

    gravatar Thomas Wise

    Toshiba Fellowship Programme: Call for applications

    Deadline: 16th December 2016

    The Toshiba Fellowship Programme (TFP), in association with EPSRC, offers outstanding scientists an opportunity to apply to join Toshiba’s research and development laboratories in Japan, initially for one year, on a Research Fellowship Contract.

    This year, the TFP is inviting proposals in the areas of Artificial Intelligence and Deep Learning. Details of the research topics can be found here:

    To be eligible for the TFP, candidates must:

    • Be of EU nationality 
    • Be based in a UK academic or Government institution at the time of application (studying or working) 
    • Have no more than 10 years’ post-Doctoral experience 
    • Have completed their PhD by the time they begin the Fellowship in Japan.

    Applications are via an online form, please forward this to  anyone you think may be interested in applying. 

    Further details and application form can be found here:


    gravatar Thomas Wise

    London Mathematical Society small grant scheme

    The London Mathematical Society "Scheme 7" grant programme provides small financial awards (max 500 pounds) to help support a visit for collaborative research at the interface of Mathematics and Computer Science. This is a great opportunity to cover the costs of a brief visit with a (named) Computer Scientist or Mathematician - either travelling to see them at another institution within the U.K. or abroad, or having them come to you. The scheme is overseen by the Computer Science Committee of the LMS, which exists to promote the development of links between Mathematics and Computer Science.

    The application and reporting processes are deliberately very lightweight.

    See the LMS website for details:  

    The next deadline for applications is 15 November 2016, and we usually aim to make decisions quickly.

    gravatar Karen Corless

    gravatar Karen Corless
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Last change: Monday, 07 November 2016 12:57:28