Open source contributors sought for an interview


As a part of my, Julia Seeger’s, MSc Dissertation in the School of Computer Science at the University of St Andrews I am looking for volunteers for an interview. This interview is a part of a research project focussed on success factors and performance indicators of managing open source projects hosted on GitHub.

I am looking for core contributors to open source projects hosted on GitHub. Ideally, the project should have configured and make use of Travis CI, and should have a history of pull requests before and after the configuration of Travis CI.

I would firstly be interested in your opinion about success factors and performance indicators that I have identified by analysing the public GitHub repository of your project with the help of the GitHub API. I will ask if, as a core contributor of the project, you would agree or disagree with my findings. Secondly, I am interested in your personal experience in managing a repository of an open source project on GitHub, and the factors and managing techniques you identified to be important for a successful project.

The interview will take place in a form of a video or an audio call via Skype for Business or Microsoft Teams. The interview will take place during July 2020, consists of 6 questions and will last around 25 minutes. If you agree to participate, questions will be given to you at least three days in advance.

If you are willing to participate, please get in touch using the contact details below. You will then be given a Participant Information Sheet that further details my research, and will have the opportunity to ask questions, before being asked whether you consent to participate.

Contact Details

Researcher: Julia Seeger

Supervisor: Dr. Alexander Konovalov

Royal Television Society Bursary Scheme 2020

*STV has committed to provide a further ten students with RTS/STV bursary in the 2020/21 academic year.*

Considering a career in the broadcasting industry? Our students have successfuly secured Royal Television Society technology bursaries in 2019 and in previous years. The venture is intended to address a skills gap and attract some talented young people from top computer science or engineering courses to consider a career in television. Further details of the scheme can be found here:

The RTS Bursary Scheme submission window opened on the 1st of February 2020 and will close on the 30th of June 2020.

Bursary recipients attend a summer tour of the industry, a financial award per year towards their studies, membership of the Royal Television Society and mentoring opportunities within their final year of study. Recipients are selected by a panel of industry professionals following an open call to UK students applying for courses at accredited colleges and universities.

Leverhulme Early Career Fellowship for Nguyen Dang

Congratulations to Dr Nguyen Dang, who has been awarded a Leverhulme Trust Early Career Fellowship. The 3 year Fellowships are intended to assist those at an early stage of their academic careers to undertake a significant piece of publishable work. Nguyen will be researching Constraint-based automated generation of synthetic benchmark instances.

Abstract summary: “Combinatorial problems such as routing or timetabling are ubiquitous in society, industry, and academia. In the quest to develop algorithms to solve these problems effectively, we need benchmark instances. An instance is an example of the problems at hand for testing how well an algorithm performs. Having rich benchmarks of instances is essential for algorithm developers to gain understanding about the strengths and weaknesses of their approaches, and ensure successful applications in practice. This fellowship will provide a fully automated system for generating valid and useful synthetic benchmark instances based on a constraint modelling pipeline that supports several algorithmic techniques.”

Winnability of Klondike Solitaire research features in Major Nelson’s video podcast

Research carried out by Charlie Blake and Ian Gent to compute the approximate odds of winning any version of solitaire features in Major Nelson’s Video Podcast [Interview with Ian and Charlie starts 23:56] for XBox news today.

Today is National Solitaire Day and the 30th anniversary of the game. The celebrations include an invitation to participate in a record breaking attempt at the most games of Microsoft Solitaire completed in one day. You can download the collection free or play it through your browser.

The Klondike Solitaire research also featured in the New Scientist last year.
Link to the full paper on arxiv:

Online article published in Technology Nov 17th 2019:

Professor Simon Dobson elected Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh (FRSE)

Congratulations to Head of School Simon Dobson who has been elected to the Royal Society of Edinburgh for his exceptional achievements in science. This prestigious award recognises expertise which supports the “advancement of learning and knowledge in Scottish public life”. The RSE established in 1783, plays a leading role in “the development of a modern enlightenment that will enable Scotland to contribute significantly to addressing the global challenges facing humanity in the 21st Century”. The RSE announced its newly-elected 2020 Fellows on Tuesday, describing Fellows as “leading thinkers and experts from Scotland and around the world whose work has a significant impact on our nation”.

Simon works on adaptive systems, especially those driven by sensors. He has concentrated recently on how to make robust decisions from sensor data as the sensor system degrades, which is a critical foundation for making best use of the torrent of data coming from the “Internet of Things”. He is also interested in complex processes such as how epidemics spread in a population and how urban transport networks function, where mathematical models need to be complemented by repeatable and validated computational experiments that pose a major software challenge.

The Serums Project Consortium meeting

This Week Dr Juliana Bowles brought together nine leading academic and industry partners for the 4th Consortium meeting for the Serums project.

The project aims to produce tools and technologies to support future-generation healthcare systems that will integrate home-based healthcare into a holistic treatment plan, reducing cost and travel-associated risks and increasing quality of healthcare provision.

For further information on the project visit the Serums website

Image and text provided by Annemarie Paton

Modern practices of sharing computational research

Event details

  • When: 11th February 2020 15:00 - 16:00
  • Where: Phys Theatre C
  • Format: Talk

As a part of the Love Data Week, Alexander Konovalov will give a talk on Tuesday 11 February, 3pm, Physics Lecture Theatre C.

Abstract: Have you been frustrated by trying to use someone else’s code which is non-trivial to install? Have you tried to make supplementary code for your paper to be easily accessible for the reader? If so, you certainly know that this may require non-trivial efforts. I will demonstrate some tools that may help to create reproducible computational experiments, and will explain which skills will be needed to use these tools. The talk will demonstrate examples in Python and R runnable in Jupyter notebooks. You are welcome to bring your laptop to try these examples online. No prior knowledge of programming is required.


  • Templates for reproducible experiments in GAP, Python and R
  • Code4REF guidance on recording research software in Pure