Donald Robertson awarded Brendan Murphy Prize at MSN/Cosener’s 2019!

Each year in July, the (broadly-defined) computer networking community converges at Cosener’s House for the MSN workshop. The workshop is an informal gathering where attendees – students in particular – are encouraged to present on-going work and/or crazy ideas. From among the  presentations, the Brendan Murphy Award is given to the best student presentation, generally for work that has yet to be scrutinized or peer-reviewed.

Congratulations to Donald Robertson who, this year, has brought that honour to St Andrews as co-recipient of the award (alongside Naomi Arnold from QMUL).

http://coseners.net/history/brendan-murphy-prize/

(In the interest of transparency, Marwan Fayed was on the judging panel but recused himself during discussion of Donald’s presentation.)

The Melville Trust for the Care and Cure of Cancer PhD award

The Melville Trust for the Care and Cure of Cancer have funded a PGR Studentship relative to the project entitled ‘Detecting high-risk smokers in Primary Care Electronic Health Records: An automatic classification, data extraction and predictive modelling approach’.

The supervisors are Prof. Frank Sullivan of the School of Medicine and Prof. Tom Kelsey of the School of Computer Science, with work commencing in September 2019. The award is for £83,875.

A First – CodeFirst:Girls courses recognised on academic transcript at the University of St Andrews

CodeFirst:Girls is an organisation which runs free coding courses for young women, with partner universities and companies across the UK. The University of St Andrews, School of Computer Science has been a keen supporter of CodeFirst:Girls for the past 5 years. We run their community courses in our premises with our students and staff volunteering as instructors, course ambassadors and presentation judges. Since partnering with CodeFirst:Girls in 2014, we have taught over 700 young women to code within St Andrews alone, contributing to the organisation’s vision of training 20,000 young women across the UK by the year 2020. The coding courses are very popular among the female students of St Andrews and receive a staggering 140 applications on average per semester.

This year, we further strengthened this collaboration between St Andrews and CodeFirst:Girls by recognising the training programmes on the students’ academic transcripts. St Andrews students who successfully complete a CodeFirst:Girls training programme (either the beginners HTML course, or advanced Python course) by fulfilling the attendance and assessment requirements, can have this listed in their academic transcript under “Prizes and Achievements”, thereby obtaining official recognition for the invaluable coding skills they gained through this training.
This idea was innovated by St Andrews student and CodeFirst:Girls course ambassador Nicola Sobieraj (MSc Research Methods in Psychology 2019); Bonnie Hacking (Enterprise Adviser, Careers Centre); and Shyam Reyal (Associate Lecturer in Computer Science).

In her own words, Nicola mentioned that “It was a privilege being an ambassador and to propose this idea to acknowledge the courses on the academic transcript. I have truly enjoyed being involved in the process and collaborating with inspiring people from CF:G and St Andrews. I’d love to see this idea in universities across the country and would definitely support this process”. Bonnie added “I’m delighted we are now able to recognise our student’s achievements through CodeFirst:Girls officially. I’ve been judging the presentations of their projects for several years and am always impressed by what they achieve.”

Ewa Magiera, Head of Communities of CodeFirst:Girls, expressed her contentment with this collaboration as “a milestone in our cooperation with St Andrews, a great way for students to receive recognition for their efforts, and an important step forward in our cooperation with academic institutions which host our courses”.

This definitely marks an important milestone for both St Andrews and CodeFirst:Girls – for St Andrews students’ to have this skill development programme added to the degree transcripts – and for CodeFirst:Girls, to be validated by Scotland’s oldest and highest ranked university for Computer Science. We believe this will immensely boost the student’s CV and portfolio, as their achievements and skills are validated and recognized by the university, thus increasing their employability.

Further information and key milestones in the St Andrews and CodeFirst:Girls collaboration journey can be found here.

MIP Modelling Made Manageable

Event details

  • When: 19th June 2019 11:00 - 12:00
  • Where: Cole 1.33a
  • Series: AI Seminar Series
  • Format: Lecture, Seminar

Can a user write a good MIP model without understanding linearization? Modelling languages such as AMPL and AIMMS are being extended to support more features, with the goal of making MIP modelling easier. A big step is the incorporation of predicates, such a “cycle” which encapsulate MIP sub-models. This talk explores the impact of such predicates in the MiniZinc modelling language when it is used as a MIP front-end. It reports on the performance of the resulting models, and the features of MiniZinc that make this possible.

Professor Mark Wallace is Professor of Data Science & AI at Monash University, Australia. We gratefully acknowledge support from a SICSA Distinguished Visiting Fellowship which helped finance his visit.

Professor Wallace graduated from Oxford University in Mathematics and Philosophy. He worked for the UK computer company ICL for 21 years while completing a Masters degree in Artificial Intelligence at the University of London and a PhD sponsored by ICL at Southampton University. For his PhD, Professor Wallace designed a natural language processing system which ICL turned into a product. He moved to Imperial College in 2002, taking a Chair at Monash University in 2004.

His research interests span different techniques and algorithms for optimisation and their integration and application to solving complex resource planning and scheduling problems. He was a co-founder of the hybrid algorithms research area and is a leader in the research areas of Constraint Programming (CP) and hybrid techniques (CPAIOR). The outcomes of his research in these areas include practical applications in transport optimisation.

He is passionate about modelling and optimisation and the benefits they bring.  His focus both in industry and University has been on application-driven research and development, where industry funding is essential both to ensure research impact and to support sufficient research effort to build software systems that are robust enough for application developers to use.

He led the team that developed the ECLiPSe constraint programming platform, which was bought by Cisco Systems in 2004. Moving to Australia, he worked on a novel hybrid optimisation software platform called G12, and founded the company Opturion to commercialise it.  He also established the Monash-CTI Centre for optimisation in travel, transport and logistics.   He has developed solutions for major companies such as BA, RAC, CFA, and Qantas.  He is currently involved in the Alertness CRC, plant design for Woodside planning, optimisation for Melbourne Water, and work allocation for the Alfred hospital.

St Andrews Bioinformatics Workshop 10/06/19

Event details

  • When: 10th June 2019 14:00 - 17:00
  • Format: Lecture, Talk, Workshop

Next Monday is the annual St Andrews Bioinformatics workshop in Seminar Room 1, School of Medicine. Some of the presentations are very relevant to Computer Science, and all should be interesting. More information below:

Agenda:

14:00  – 14:15: Valeria MontanoThe PreNeolithic evolutionary history of human genetic resistance to Plasmodium falciparum

14:15 – 14:30: Chloe Hequet: Estimation of Polygenic Risk with Machine Learning

14:30 – 14:45: Roopam Gupta: Label-free optical hemogram of granulocytes enhanced by artificial neural networks

15:00 – 15:15: Damilola Oresegun: Nanopore: Research; then, now and the future

15:15 – 15:30: Xiao Zhang: Functional and population genomics of extremely rapid evolution in Hawaiian crickets

15:30 – 16:00: Networking with refreshments

16:00 – 17:00: Chris Ponting: The power of One: Single variants, single factors, single cells

You can register your interest in attending here.

Professor Aaron Quigley new SICSA Director

Congratulations to Professor Aaron Quigley who has been appointed as the new Director of SICSA. Aaron, the Chair of Human Computer Interaction co-founded SACHI, the St Andrews Computer Human Interaction research group and served as its director from 2011-2018.

In his volunteer roles he is the ACM SIGCHI Vice President for Conferences (on the ACM SIGCHI Executive Committee), member of the ACM Europe Council Conferences Working Group, a board member of ScotlandIS and an ACM Distinguished Speaker. Aaron will be general co-chair for the ACM CHI conference in Asia in 2021.

For more information about Professor Quigley, please see https://aaronquigley.org.

Virtual Reconstruction of Medieval Home of the Lords of the Isles

The School of Computer Science’s Open Virtual Worlds team has created a digital reconstruction of the medieval home of the Lords of the Isles at Finlaggan on Islay. The new reconstruction will form part of a virtual reality exhibit at the Finlaggan Trust Visitor Centre. A preview can be seen on Vimeo.

Today, Finlaggan seems a peaceful backwater. Yet, in the Middle Ages it was a major power base. The two islands of Eilean Mor (or Large Isle) and Eilean na Comhairle (or Council Isle) on Loch Finlaggan were once the ceremonial and political heart of the Lordship of the Isles – which covered the Hebrides and parts of mainland Scotland and Ulster.

Traditionally the Lordship was held by the MacDonald family. However, following disputes in the fifteenth century the Scottish kings sought to curtail the MacDonalds’ influence, and in the 1490s James IV sent a military expedition to sack Finlaggan. Many of the buildings at Finlaggan were destroyed at this time, and over the centuries that followed the site sank into relative obscurity.

The reconstruction by the Open Virtual Worlds team (and its spin-out company Smart History) shows Finlaggan as it may have appeared in the fifteenth century. It is based on discoveries made by the Finlaggan Archaeological Project, led by archaeologist Dr David Caldwell (formerly of the National Museum of Scotland), who provided advice to the St Andrews researchers.

The digital project was led by Dr Alan Miller of the School of Computer Science, while digital modelling was undertaken by Sarah Kennedy of the School of Computer Science, with additional historical research by Dr Bess Rhodes of the School of History and the School of Computer Science. Drone footage of the site and photogrammetry of historic artefacts were also undertaken by the project team, including work by Computer Science’s Dr CJ Davies, Dr Iain Oliver, and Catherine Anne Cassidy. A short video about the project can be viewed here.

Discover more about the Finlaggan Trust and how to visit this historic place at: finlaggan.org/

Graduation Reception: Wednesday 26th June

Event details

  • When: 26th June 2019 11:00 - 13:00
  • Where: Cole Coffee Area
  • Format: graduation

The School of Computer Science will host a graduation reception on Wednesday 26th June, in the Jack Cole building, between 11.00 and 13.00. Graduating students and their guests are invited to the School to celebrate with a glass of bubbly and a cream cake. Computer Science degrees will be conferred in an afternoon ceremony in the Younger Hall. Family and friends who can’t make it on the day can watch a live broadcast of graduation. Graduation receptions have been held in the school from 2010.

A class photo will be taken at 12.00 outside the Jack Cole building.