New EPSRC Grant – Working Together: Constraint Programming and Cloud Computing

We are looking for a Research Fellow to work on this grant! See the job advert (deadline 28 Feb): Research Fellow in Computer Science

Ian Miguel, Adam Barker, and Martin Dominik (of the School of Physics & Astronomy) have been awarded £630K, 3-year grant from the EPSRC for “Working Together: Constraint Programming and Cloud Computing”. Cloud Computing and Constraint Programming are two active, important research streams, both of which will realise significant and sustained benefits from working in concert. Constraint programming is a proven technology for solving complex combinatorial problems. However, the inherent difficulty of these problems means that performance can be variable, often requiring tuning by an expert to obtain best results. One approach to obtaining more robust performance is to employ a portfolio of solvers with complementary strengths. The scalable resource offered by the cloud is perfectly suited to the deployment of such portfolios and presents the opportunity to employ large solver portfolios to tackle challenge problems of exceptional difficulty. Conversely, a major concern in cloud computing is how to deploy an application on the available infrastructure so as to maximise performance and minimise operating costs. Added complexity arises when dealing with Big Data scenarios where it is important to run computation as closely (in terms of network distance) as possible to the data, in order to minimise network latency and maximise the performance of an application. This is a difficult combinatorial problem with a large set of variables including: public cloud provider, cloud configuration, geographical region, pricing etc. to which constraint programming is ideally suited.

Our two primary research streams in ICT will interact and work together with a third in astronomy to deliver a solution to a major challenge application: scheduling telescope observations to measure the abundance of planets throughout the Milky Way. If successful, the benefit to astronomy is clear, but our two primary streams will also benefit greatly from a major evaluation of their ability to work together to solve a large, complex problem.

Alan Frisch Seminar Video

From October to December 2011, the School of Computer Science hosted Dr Alan Frisch from the University of York as a SICSA Distinguished Visiting Fellow. While here, Dr Frisch kindly agreed to give a seminar entitled “Decade of Progress in Constraint Modelling & Reformulation: The Quest for Abstraction and Automation”, the video of which can now be found here.

During his Fellowship Dr Frisch also visited, and spoke at, the universities of Dundee, Edinburgh and Glasgow.

Event details

  • When: 3rd October 2011 - 22nd December 2011
  • Format: Seminar

The 2010/11 CS1006 Othello competition

On Wednesday 11th of May 2011 the first year module CS1006: Programming Projects finished with its traditional competition. The competition centres around a 2-player strategy game (Othello this year) for which the students have developed an Artificial Intelligence player as part of the last of the four projects on the module. These AI players are pitted against each other in order to determine the champion AI of the year.
Here are the competitors (plus a few hangers-on and referees):

CS1006 Othello Competitors

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