DHSI Seminar Series (Digital Health Science Initiative)

Event details

  • When: 14th June 2017 12:00 - 14:00
  • Where: N Haugh, St Andrews
  • Format: Seminar


Seminar Room 1 School of Medicine

12:00: Alex Baldacchino- Introduction

12:15: Ognjen Arandjelović & Aniqa Aslam- Understanding Fatal and Non-Fatal Drug Overdose Risk Factors in Fife: Overdose Risk (OdRi) tool

12:45: Damien Williams & Fergus Neville- Transdermal alcohol monitoring

13:15: David Harris-Birtill & David Morrison- Narco Cat – waste water analysis in substance misuse – a novel epidemiological tool

13:15 – 14.00: All Questions & Opportunities

Dr. Ornela Dardha’ talk: Session Types Revisited

Event details

  • When: 4th July 2017 14:00 - 15:00
  • Where: N Haugh, St Andrews
  • Format: Seminar

Event Location: School of Medicine, Seminar room 1

Session types are a formalism to model structured communication-based programming. A session type describes communication by specifying the type and direction of data exchanged between two parties. We show that session types are encodable in more primitive and foundational pi-calculus types. Besides providing an expressivity result, the encoding: (i) removes redundancies in the syntax of session types, and (ii) yields standard properties of session types as straightforward corollaries, exploiting the corresponding properties of standard typed pi-calculus. The robustness of the encoding is tested on a few extensions of session types, including subtyping, polymorphism, and higher-order communications. In this talk we present the encoding, some of its applications and recent developments.


Simon Fowler Seminar: First-Class Distributed Session Types

Event details

  • When: 5th June 2017 13:00 - 14:00
  • Where: Cole 1.33a
  • Format: Seminar

Session types codify communication patterns, giving developers guarantees that applications satisfy predefined protocols. Session types have come a long way from their theoretical roots: recent work has seen the implementation of static analysis tools; embeddings into a multitude of programming languages; and the integration of session types into languages as a first-class language construct.

Work at Edinburgh has concentrated on the latter. Lindley and Morris have extended the experimental functional programmming language Links with session-typed hannels in a multithreaded setting.

Distribution, however, brings challenges such as failure and the need for distributed channel delegation algorithms. In this talk, I will demonstrate and discuss the design and implementation of session types in Links. I will describe my recent work on adding support for distribution to Links, allowing the creation of session-typed, multi-user web applications.

Finally, I will describe recent, in-progress, work on a static type system and semantics allowing the controlled relaxation of the requirement of *linearity* (that
every endpoint must be used exactly once) to that of affinity (that every endpoint must be used at most once) in order to account for the question of users leaving a session midway through, and describe how the system still retains core metatheoretic pro

Postgraduate Dinner at Fairmont Hotel

Postgraduate student, Paul Dobra organised an end of semester celebratory dinner at the Fairmont Hotel in April. The social event marked the end of teaching and provided a chance to relax before the commencement of dissertation. Paul supplied comments and shared some photos from the occasion.

“There are rather few occasions not to be happy when you are surrounded by friends and family. Even better so when your friends are like your family, and in true computer science spirit the end of the second semester finished in a grand style: enjoying the scenic view of the North Sea from the balcony of the Fairmont Hotel and Restaurant, approximately 60 postgraduates celebrated their friendship and the successful completion of deadlines. Consisting of a lavish three-course meal and blessed with amazing weather, the event was a reminder of the true, everlasting bonds that can be forged outside university.”

Images and text courtesy of Paul Dobra

Monads and Lenses – Dr James Cheney

Event details

  • When: 17th July 2017 13:00 - 14:00
  • Where: Cole 1.33a
  • Format: Colloquium, Seminar

Talk Title:  Monads and Lenses


Monads are an abstraction that can be used to mathematically model computational effects (among other things).  Lenses are an abstraction for bidirectional computation, a generalization of the view-update problem.  In this talk I will discuss ways to combine them and why it might be interesting to do so.


This talk is on joint work with Faris Abou-Saleh, Jeremy Gibbons, James McKinna and Perdita Stevens conducted as part of the recently-concluded project “A theory of least change for bidirectional transformations”.

SACHI Seminar: Benjamin Bach – Between Exploration and Explanation: Visualizations for Insights, Curiosity, and Storytelling

Event details

  • When: 5th July 2017 15:00 - 16:00
  • Where: Cole 1.33a
  • Format: Seminar

Please note that this seminar will now take place in Jack Cole 1.33A on Wednesday 5th July between 15:00 and 16:00

Title: Between Exploration and Explanation: Visualizations for Insights, Curiosity, and Storytelling.

Abstract: This talk presents a set of interactive visualizations for exploration and recent work in how to communicate insights through data-driven stories. In particular, I will present work on visualizing networks including an open-source online platform. Then, I will discuss comics as an approach to communicate not only changes in temporal data but to weave narration, textual explanations, and data visualizations. The questions raised by the talk are about effective ways to engage a larger audience in understanding, learning, and use of visualizations for exploration and communication. As visualizations are becoming more and more commonplace and familiar to people, we can see more and more aspects of our daily lives being potentially enriched with information presented visually. Eventually, I want to raise the question of which role novel technology such as Augmented and Virtual Reality can play in exploring, communicating, and interacting with visualizations.

Biography: Benjamin is a Lecturer in Design Informatics and Visualization at the University of Edinburgh. His research designs and investigates interactive information visualizations to help people explore, present, and understand information hidden in data. He focuses on the visualization of dynamic networks (e.g., social networks, brain connectivity networks), as well as temporal data (e.g., changes in videos and Wikipedia articles, events on timelines), comics for storytelling with visualizations, as well as visualization and interaction in Augmented and Virtual Reality. Before joining the University of Edinburgh in 2017, Benjamin worked as a postdoc at Harvard University, Monash University, as well as the Microsoft-Research Inria Joint Centre. Benjamin was visiting researcher at the University of Washington and Microsoft Research in 2015. He obtained his PhD in 2014 from the Université Paris Sud where he worked at the Aviz Group at Inria.

First ever Computer Science Ball

We would like to cordially invite all staff, students, and alumni to this historic CS event in the making. As you know, other schools in St Andrews have their own annual ball e.g. chem-ball, physics-ball, bull-and-bear (economics) ball etc. For a while, we have wanted our own CS ball – and thanks to a team of keen MSc students and sponsorship from the School of Computer Science – the ball is finally happening!

The tickets available from https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/first-ever-cs-ball-smurfalicious-blue-ball-tickets-35035549271 are priced at £39.95, which includes:

  • Full 3 course dinner (starter, main, dessert) with 4 options each to choose from – including vegan/vegetarian/pescaterian options and adjustments for Halal etc.
  • A glass of champagne or a non-alcoholic mocktail
  • A Ceilidh till midnight
  • Return transport by coach from St Andrews to The Old Manor Hotel

The ball will strengthen our sense of fellowship, between all staff and students, and not least as a school. But as you all know very well, we are not just a school, we are a family – the St Andrews #csfamily. Hope to see many of you there!



Info and files provided by Shyam Reyal

Computer Science: June Graduation 2017

Congratulations to our Senior Honours Class of 2017, MSci Honours students and our PhD students Dr Anne-Marie Mann, Dr Ildiko Pete, Dr Yuchen Zhao and Dr Michael Mauderer, who graduated on Wednesday. Students were invited to a reception in the School prior to the ceremony, to celebrate their achievement with staff, friends and family. We echo the sentiments expressed by our Head of School, Professor Steve Linton, during his Graduation address.

“For what you have achieved here, we are so proud of you. For what you will achieve, we wait eagerly and will always be proud. And wherever you are, we hope you will always regard St Andrews as a place you can call home.”

Our graduates will indeed move on to a wide variety of interesting and challenging employment and further study opportunities, and we wish them all well with their future careers.

Images courtesy of Annemarie Paton and Ryo Yanagida.

Containers for HPC environments

Rethinking High performance computing Platforms: Challenges, Opportunities and Recommendations, co-authored by Adam Barker and a team (Ole Weidner, Malcolm Atkinson, Rosa Filgueira Vicente) in the School of Informatics, University of Edinburgh was recently featured in the Communications of the ACM and HPC Wire.

The paper focuses on container technology and argues that a number of “second generation” high-performance computing applications with heterogeneous, dynamic and data-intensive properties have an extended set of requirements, which are not met by the current production HPC platform models and policies. These applications (and users) require a new approach to supporting infrastructure, which draws on container-like technology and services. The paper then goes on to describe cHPC: an early prototype of an implementation based on Linux Containers (LXC).

Ali Khajeh-Hosseini, Co-founder of AbarCloud and former co-founder of ShopForCloud (acquired by RightScale as PlanForCloud) said of this research, “Containers have helped speed-up the development and deployment of applications in heterogeneous environments found in larger enterprises. It’s interesting to investigate their applications in similar types of environments in newer HPC applications.

Please take part in our 10 minute survey about the use of Open Researcher and Contributor IDs (ORCID):

Are you a researcher or research student? Please take part in our 10 minute survey about the use of Open Researcher and Contributor IDs (ORCID):

This survey aims to establish the extent to which researchers at the University of St Andrews are using ORCID identifiers during their work. The survey will collect anonymous data about the awareness and use of ORCID iDs amongst researchers and will only take 5 – 10 minutes to complete.

You will be able to indicate your interest in taking part in a follow-up interview. This is entirely voluntary and does not affect participation in the online survey or its results.

You will also have a chance to win a £100 Amazon voucher by providing your email address at the end of the survey. Again, this is entirely voluntary and will be independent from participation in the voluntary follow-up interviews.

This research is carried out in the context of an MSc project by Eva Borger at the School of Computer Science in collaboration with the University Library. For more information, contact Eva at eb427@st-andrews.ac.uk .

To access the survey, follow this link:


Responses will be collected until 14th July 2017.

Ethics approval: CS12882

If you would like help setting up an ORCID ID or linking it to your Pure Profile, you can contact Jennifer Pritchard or Norman Stewart at purelive@st-andrews.ac.uk .

The Library’s Digital Research division also holds Open Office Hours every Wednesday 2pm-4pm, in the Old Union Diner, Butts Wynd (off North Street) where the team are available for advice regarding Open Access, Research Data Management, Pure, ORCID, Research Computing and Digital Humanities

Thank you!


Eva Borger

PhD (Neuroscience)

MSc Student Management and IT

University of St Andrews

School of Computer Science



SACHI Seminar: Dr. Christopher Collins – Finding What to Read: Visual Text Analytics Tools and Techniques to Guide Investigation

Event details

  • When: 27th June 2017 14:00 - 15:00
  • Where: Cole 1.33b
  • Format: Seminar

Title:  Finding What to Read: Visual Text Analytics Tools and Techniques to Guide Investigation

Abstract:  Text is one of the most prominent forms of open data available, from social media to legal cases. Text visualizations are often critiqued for not being useful, for being unstructured and presenting data out of context (think: word clouds). I argue that we should not expect them to be a replacement for reading. In this talk I will briefly discuss the close/distant reading debate then focus on where I think text visualization can be useful: hypothesis generation and guiding investigation. Text visualization can help someone form questions about a large text collection, then drill down to investigate through targeted reading of the underlying source texts. Over the past 10 years my research focus has been primarily on creating techniques and systems for text analytics using visualization, across domains as diverse as legal studies, poetics, social media, and automotive safety.  I will review several of my past projects with particular attention to the capabilities and limitations of the technologies and tools we used, how we use semantics to structure visualizations, and the importance of providing interactive links to the source materials. In addition, I will discuss the design challenges which, while common across visualization, are particularly important with text (legibility, label fitting, finding appropriate levels of ‘zoom’).

Biography:  Dr. Christopher Collins is the Canada Research Chair in Linguistic Information Visualization and an Associate Professor of Computer Science at the University of Ontario Institute of Technology (UOIT).  His research focus is interdisciplinary, combining information visualization and human-computer interaction with natural language processing to address the challenges of information management and the problems of information overload.  His work has been published in many venues including IEEE Transactions on Visualization and Computer Graphics, and has been featured in popular media such as the Toronto Star and the New York Times Magazine.  He received his PhD in Computer Science from the University of Toronto.  Dr. Collins is a past member of the executive of the IEEE Visualization and Graphics Technical Committee and sits on the IEEE VIS Conference Organizing Committee.

Graduation Celebrations

Wednesday 21st June

As usual the school will host a small reception in the Jack Cole coffee area between 10.30 and 12.30, come along and enjoy a glass of bubbly and a cream cake or two in true Computer Science fashion!

All graduating students, their guests and staff members are invited.