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  • School of CS newsletter

    Published: Monday, 03 April 2017

    Weekly newsletter for the School of CS

    [ top ]News from Head of School

    Two weeks left to complete the Staff Survey

    The Staff Survey 2017 will be open until 18th April.  So far almost 60% of staff have completed the survey and over £5000 has been raised for charity. This is an important route by which your views about the School, Faculty and University are made known so please do participate.

    All staff will have been sent a link and a password. If you haven’t received this email and it isn't in your spam/junk email, please contact Capita on 0800 587 3115.

    gravatar Liz Caine

    [ top ]News and announcements

    New Deep Learning Mailing List

    A new mailing list has been set up for researchers in the department who are actively interested in deep learning.

    The mailing list is, and it can be subscribed to at

    It's an open-discussion mailing list (anyone on the list can post to it), to be used as a discussion group for sharing recent deep learning papers, troubleshooting deep network architectures or frameworks, arranging occasional seminars, etc.

    gravatar Karen Corless

    Royal Society use of ORCID

    From April you’ll be required to disclose your ORCID identifier when applying for Royal Society grants. For more information, visit the website.

    gravatar Sarah Chatwin

    Reminder - peer review

    Remember that proposals at any stage can be reviewed in the School through or, either for specialist or lay-review.

    gravatar Sarah Chatwin

    [ top ]Events

    2017 Karen Spärck Jones Lecture

    2017 Karen Spärck Jones Lecture
    25th May 2017 at BCS Headquarters Southampton Street, London

    Creating Robots That Care - Professor Maja Matarić (University of Southern California)

    To honour the pioneering work of Karen Spärck Jones, the BCS holds a distinguished lecture in her name each year, celebrating a prominent female computing researcher. Dr Matarić is the Professor and Chan Soon-Shiong Chair of Computer science, Neuroscience & Pediatrics; Founding Director at the USC's Robotics and Autonomous Systems Center; and Director of the USC's Robotics Research Lab.

    The event is open to all and free but you must book via the BCS website:

    The lecture is from 6pm-7.30pm and will be followed by a networking reception.

    Abstract: How can human-robot interaction be improved by making robots more socially intelligent? This is the key question at the heart of socially assistive robotics (SAR): a new field of intelligent robotics that focuses on developing machines capable of assisting users through social rather than physical interaction, in order to encourage people to have the drive and motivation to do their own work, for improved health and wellness. Our research brings together engineering, health sciences, neuroscience, social, developmental, and cognitive sciences to create robots that can serve as coaches, motivators, and companions. This requires personalising human-robot interaction through appropriate speech, gesture, and body language; the embodiment is the most important even without physical work. Our successes include coaching stroke patients to perform rehabilitation activities, helping children with autism to learn social skills, encouraging teens at risk for type-2 diabetes to exercise, motivating first graders to make healthy food choices, and helping elderly patients with Alzheimer's disease to stay engaged.

    This talk will describe those projects and the associated research into embodiment, modelling and steering of social dynamics, and long-term user adaptation for SAR, illustrated with many videos.

    About the Lecturer: Dr. Maja Matarić is inspired by the vast potential for affordable human-centered technologies, especially socially assistive robotics, as means of improving human quality of life. Founder and director of the Interaction Lab<> at the University of Southern California, her research is aimed at endowing robots with the ability to help people, especially those with special needs. She is passionate about conveying the importance and promise of interdisciplinary engineering research and careers in STEM to all who should know more, including K-12 students and teachers, women and other underrepresented groups in engineering, the media, and policy makers.

    Watch Maja in action

    More information on the Karen Spärck Jones lecture

    gravatar Liz Caine

    Advances in Data Science 2017 MOSI 15 & 16/05/17

    Advances in Data Science 2017 
    Registration now open!
    Date: Monday 15th - Tuesday 16th May 2017
    Venue: Museum of Science & Industry, Manchester 

    Registration is now open for this year's Advances in Data Science 2017. The event is a two-day meeting to present recent developments in data science, with a focus on advanced analytics (machine learning, Bayesian statistics, scalable algorithms), privacy, visualisation, software and diverse applications. Speakers include leading data scientists from industry and academia. 
    Confirmed speakers: 
    •         Mark Girolami, Imperial College London and The Alan Turing Institute
    •         Raia Hadsell, DeepMind
    •         Zoubin Ghahramani, University of Cambridge and Uber AI
    •         Yves-Alexandre de Montjoye, Imperial College London
    •         Borja de Balle Pigem, Lancaster University
    •         Jean-Pierre Hubaux, EPFL
    •         StJohn Deakins, CitizenMe
    •         Ruth King, University of Edinburgh
    •         Gaël Varoquaux, INRIA
    •         Sophie Sparkes, Tableau Software
    •         Caroline Jay, University of Manchester
    •         Idris Eckley, Lancaster University
    •         David van Dyk, Imperial College London 
    •         Niall Robinson, Met Office Informatics Lab

    This event is organised by Magnus Rattray (University of Manchester) & Neil Lawrence (Amazon).
    The registration fee is £100 and the cost of the optional workshop dinner on Monday evening is £50. 

    Call for Submissions 
    To be considered for a short oral presentation or poster please submit an abstract describing new or recently published data science research. Relevant topics for the meeting include advances in machine learning and computational statistics, data science applications, privacy, visualisation and software. The deadline for submissions is Monday 3rd April 2017
    We will keep a small number of spaces available until after decisions on submissions are released to ensure that speakers for accepted contributed talks can register. However, space at the venue is limited and therefore we encourage people to register as soon as possible to avoid disappointment. 
    If you have any queries please contact    

    This event is sponsored and co-organized by University of Manchester Data Science Institute

    gravatar Karon Mee

    Meetings that deliver results

    Staff Learning and Development are hosting a pilot half day course on Friday 12th May

    Are you an Academic member of staff who has to chair meetings and wish to improve the efficiency and effectiveness? If so, the Meetings that Deliver Results course could be for you. Staff Learning and Development are hosting a pilot half day course on Friday, 12 May 9.30 – 12.30 titled ‘Meetings that Deliver Results’ aimed at experienced academics.

    This workshop will help you extend and develop the skills and knowledge you have to facilitate and contribute to meetings confidently and effectively.  The content will cover:

    • Exploring ways to handle unexpected situations, contentious issues and disruptions that can throw meetings off track.
    • Discussing ways to deal with different levels of participation ranging from people dominating the meeting to non-participators.
    • Reviewing the role of the Chair at a meeting and the skills required to do that successful.
    • Ensuring actions result from the meeting.
    • Calculating the true cost of meetings and assessing their value.
    • Using a structured decision making approach to ensure that action results from meetings
    • The skills of being an effective meeting participant.

    If you wish to enrol visit: SLD Training Catalogue

    Or email:

    gravatar Liz Caine

    Accelerating Innovation in Rail 4 Funding Competition briefing events

    Events: Wed, 29 Mar, Cardiff  |  Thu, 6 Apr, Manchester

    Register now

    Innovate UK are managing a collaborative research and development competition on behalf of the Department for Transport to accelerate innovation in the UK rail sector. Businesses will be able to apply for significant levels of funding to develop technology prototypes in the broad areas of ‘high-value, low cost railways’ and ‘Improving customer experience through stations’. 

    This competition call will offer an opportunity for businesses of all sizes (micro, small, medium and large) as well as academics, researchers and public sector. The competition will appeal particularly to businesses not currently supplying the rail industry, but which have technologies and innovations that meet the scope of ‘high value low cost railways’ and ‘improving customer experience through stations’.

    gravatar Sarah Chatwin

    RAEng Visit

    On Wednesday 24th May, the Faculty will host a visit by the RAEng’s grants team, which will include Christina Guindy (Head of Research), Ana Avaliani (Head of Enterprise) and Suzannah Laver (Program Manager, Research).
    The visit will begin with a session at 10.45-12.15, which will take place in C14 SSB and is open to everyone. Following a short presentation from Steve Yeates on engineering research in Manchester, colleagues from the RAEng will discuss their funding strategy and priorities. Space is limited, so if you want to attend you must register:
    Password: RAEng
    In the afternoon, we will run a session focussed on early-career researchers, including new academic staff and postdocs, who are likely to apply to the RAEng at some point in the next couple of years, e.g. for fellowships. Attendance at the afternoon session is by invitation: if you, or someone you know, would benefit from attending, please contact your Research Support Manager. Further details of this session will be provided in due course.
    gravatar Sarah Chatwin

    Ultrafast and Very Small: Discover Nanoscale Magnetism With Picosecond Time Resolution Using X-Rays

    We are delighted to welcome one of this year's IEEE Magnetics Society's distinguished lectures to Manchester, details are below. Following the lecture there will be an opportunity to talk to Dr. Ohldag over coffee and biscuits.

    Ultrafast and Very Small: Discover Nanoscale Magnetism With Picosecond Time Resolution Using X-Rays Hendrik Ohldag - SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory, Menlo Park, California, USA

    Date - 6 April

    Time - 14:00

    Place - IT407 (IT building)


    Today’s magnetic device technology is based on complex magnetic alloys or multilayers that are patterned at the nanoscale and operate at gigahertz frequencies. To better understand the behavior of such devices one needs an experimental approach that is capable of detecting magnetization with nanometer and picosecond sensitivity. In addition, since devices contain different magnetic elements, a technique is needed that provides element-specific information about not only ferromagnetic but antiferromagnetic materials as well. Synchrotron based X-ray microscopy provides exactly these capabilities because a synchrotron produces tunable and fully polarized X-rays with energies between several tens of electron volts up to tens of kiloelectron volts. The interaction of tunable X-rays with matter is element-specific, allowing us to separately address different elements in a device. The polarization dependence or dichroism of the X-ray interaction provides a path to measure a ferromagnetic moment and its orientation or determine the orientation of the spin axis in an antiferromagnet. The wavelength of X-rays is on the order of nanometers, which enables microscopy with nanometer spatial resolution. And finally, a synchrotron is a pulsed X-ray source, with a pulse length of tens of picoseconds, which enables us to study magnetization dynamics with a time resolution given by the X-ray pulse length in a pump-probe fashion. The goal of this talk is to present an introduction to the field and explain the capabilities of synchrotron based X-ray microscopy, which is becoming a tool available at every synchrotron, to a diverse audience. The general introduction will be followed by a set of examples, depending on the audience, that may include properties of magnetic materials in rocks and meteorites, magnetic inclusions in magnetic oxides, interfacial magnetism in magnetic multilayers, and dynamics of nanostructured devices due to field and current pulses and microwave excitations.


    gravatar Karon Mee

    Free tickets for Cyber Security Conference 2017 at Old Trafford Stadium on 17th May 2017

    Free tickets for Cyber Security Conference 2017 at Old Trafford Stadium on 17th May 2017 Salford University are offering complimentary places to the upcoming Cyber Security Conference 2017 which is titled Defending the Public from Cyber-Attacks taking place on 17th May 2017 at Old Trafford Stadium, Manchester, which Dr Daniel Dresner, Information and Cyber Security Governance Lecturer, University of Manchester will be presenting at. The University Professional Development office are offering up to 25 complimentary tickets for staff and some students, all that is required is name, job title, email address and phone number for joining instructions and also because there is a fee for non-attendance as a deterrent to no shows. The new National Cyber Security Centre has been tasked with bringing the UK’s digital expertise together to rethink the way the country deals with online threats. Despite this progress, the National Audit Office has raised major concerns about the cost effectiveness of Government IT security and questioned the readiness of the public sector to resist a serious attack. Launching the new National Cyber Security Strategy in November 2016, Chancellor Philip Hammond pledged £1.9 billion of investment to deter attacks and strengthen the Government’s digital defences. The new National Cyber Security Centre has been tasked with bringing the UK’s digital expertise together to rethink the way the country deals with online threats. Despite this progress, the National Audit Office has raised major concerns about the cost effectiveness of Government IT security and questioned the readiness of the public sector to resist a serious attack. Key points addressed on the day will include: · Appreciate the extent of the threat that cybercrime poses to all public sector institutions. · Can the cyber-threat be equated with the physical threat of conflict? · What extent is the UK prepared for a cyber-attack from a foreign power? · The growing threat of cyber-crime and how it can affect all individuals, organisations and industries Public sector cyber security: why, what and how? · Identify the many opportunities created by the £1.9 billion in additional cyber-security funding as part of the National Cyber Security Strategy. · The impact of NHS England’s digital reforms · How well prepared is the UK against interference from international competitors? · Understand the risks associated with the public sector data sharing proposals outlined in Digital Economy Bill and how to mitigate against them. · How to foster essential collaboration between the public sector and private tech firms to improve security. · How to safely and effectively store sensitive public data, including NHS patient records, without compromising digital safety. Speakers inlcude: Ian Bryant, Branch Chief for Information and info-cyber Systems Protection Policy, Ministry of Defence Dr Ali Dehghantanha, Lecturer in Cyber Security and Forensics, University of Salford Vanessa Smith, Detective Chief Inspector, Cyber Security Lead, Regional Cyber Crime Unit – Yorkshire and Humber Dan Taylor, Head of Cyber Security, NHS Digital {invited} Professor Nick Jennings CB, FREng, Vice-Provost {Research} at Imperial College London {invited} Who would like to attend? Please send your name, job title or student, email address and phone number to: Deadline: 10th May 2017

    gravatar Karon Mee

    [ top ]PGR News

    Nikolaos Nikolaou and Sukru Eraslan Win Outstanding PGR Thesis Award

    Posted on behalf of Alvaro A A Fernandes (PGR Awards Chair)

    The PGR Awards panel has met and has awarded an Outstanding PGR Thesis Award to two dissertations completed since 1 January 2016. They are:

    by Nikolaos Nikolaou
    supervised by Gavin Brown


    by Sukru Eraslan
    supervised by Simon Harper

    The panel also recommended that both theses be submitted to the 2017 BCS Distinguished Dissertation Award.

    On Nikolaos's dissertation, Prof. Fabio Roli, from the University of Cagliari, wrote: "This PhD dissertation crystallizes the 'big picture' of a vast scientific theme, it is a great example of 'umbrella' type of studies, where past and current literature are viewed in a new light, making way for cross-disciplinary research, and drawing upon the latest achievements of seemingly disparate areas.". Nikolaos also won last year's award for best PGR student paper.

    On Sukru's dissertation, Prof. Luis Carriço, from the University of Lisbon, wrote that the thesis reports "a quite significant contribution in [its] specific area [...] and more generally in the computer science context". Sukru also won a best PGR student paper runner-up award last year.

    Congratulations to the winners and their supervisors!

    gravatar Simon Harper

    [ top ]Funding Opportunities

    Japan Society for the Promotion of Science Opportunity

    Deadline: Friday, 19th May 2017 

    The scheme supports young Japanese researchers to work in universities and research institutes in the UK. Awards must be started between August 2017 to the end of March 2018, over a period of three months to one year.

    To be eligible applicants need to be enrolled in a doctoral program at a Japanese university as of 1st April of the year of selection, be a citizen of Japan or have permanent residency status in Japan and have not already experienced a continuous stay of 90 days or more overseas.

    gravatar Sarah Chatwin

    Fellowship opportunities

    The faculty Funding Scheme Planner is available on the faculty Research Support web pages including the following Fellowship schemes:
    13 April 2017:         Royal Society Industry Fellowships
    11 May 2017:          BBSRC David Phillips Fellowships
    11 May 2017:          BBSRC Future Leader Fellowships
    gravatar Sarah Chatwin

    Upcoming Royal Society Equipment Funding

    This scheme is for scientists in the UK who are at an early stage in their career and want to purchase specialised equipment and consumables, or for academics to research the history of science: up to £15k for 1 year.

    You must:

    • hold a PhD or be of equivalent standing in your profession
    • be within the first 5 years of the start date of your first permanent or limited-tenured academic position
    • be holding a permanent position or a limited-tenure academic position at an eligible institution (or have been appointed to one of these positions)
    • be a UK resident at the time of application
    gravatar Sarah Chatwin

    gravatar Karen Corless
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Last change: Monday, 03 April 2017 13:04:12