General Research Students Arrive at Computer Science

As the new academic year gets underway we welcome the following new PhD students to the School. Good luck guys!

Awada

Uchechukwu Awada

Awada
My name is Awada Uchechukwu, I am starting a PhD program with the Systems Research Group at the School of Computer Science, University of St Andrews, where I will be researching on innovative technologies that addresses the current and future data-intensive challenges. Prior to this, I was a PhD research assistant with the Network and Cloud Computing Laboratory at the School of Computer Science and Technology, Dalian University of Technology, China. I received my MEng degree in Computer Applied Technology, from Harbin Engineering University (China) and my BSc in Computer Science from Ebonyi State University (Nigeria).

 

Fearn

Fearn Bishop

Fearn
Fearn is interested in the creation of information visualizations. Primarily her research is looking at how children visually represent datasets, and how this knowledge can be used to aid the creation of new visualizations, perhaps also aiding in their accessibility. She also has an interest in tangibles and the physicalization of data. She has blue hair and plays more board games than are necessarily advisable.

 

 

Tom Dalton

Tom
I’m a new PhD student in the department working on Data linkage with direction from Graham and Al. My research is likely to focus on the preservation of provenance in our linkages and how we handle the associated uncertainties while still trying to produce high quality linkage solutions – obviously it’s still month one and we haven’t yet nailed down an exact research question yet, so things are liable to change slightly.My undergrad was also here in the department and so the place, and the people, isn’t all that different to me – but having an office is definitely something that I’m enjoying. I’m originally from Manchester where I spent all of my life before escaping to St Andrews.In my free time I enjoy climbing mountains, watching cycling and cricket, I’m also involved in the CU and the Free Church in town; otherwise I’ll be hidden behind my new camera or in the pub.

Michael Pitcher

Mike
I’m Mike, and I’m originally from the North Wales-Shropshire border region. I graduated from Keele University in 2010 with a dual honours degree in Mathematics and Computer Science. I then worked for 4 years as a computer programmer before coming to St. Andrews in 2014 to complete a Masters in Artificial Intelligence, after which I started my PhD. My hobbies include football, rugby and video gaming and I’m also Secretary of the University’s Real Ale Society.

For my PhD, I’m working with both the School of Computer Science and the School of Medicine, and my research is investigating the use of complex network based computer models to study diseases, in particular tuberculosis. The aim is to create realistic models of human physiology and disease dynamics within the body to aid the testing and discovery of new treatments.

Hui-Shyong Yeo

Yo

My name is Hui-Shyong Yeo, but feel free to just call me YO. I am from Malaysia which has the best food in the world.

I graduated from Multimedia University in Malaysia for my undergrad and Dongseo University in Korea for my master. Before coming to St Andrews. I worked as a researcher for one year in UVR Lab, KAIST, Korea.

I am starting my PhD in SACHI, under Prof. Aaron Quigley. I am particularly interested in exploring and developing novel interaction techniques that transcend the barrier between human and computers, especially on topics such as gestural/mid-air interaction, mobile/wearable interaction, augmented/virtual reality and text entry. For my PhD, I am likely to focus on Around Body Interaction with free-hand gestures.

I like to talk about latest research in HCI and I actually maintain a educational fan-page on Facebook for sharing interesting HCI news/papers. Please feel free to have a look.

Distinguished Lecture: ‘Scalability and Fault-tolerance, are they the same?’ by Joe Armstrong

Event details

  • When: 16th November 2015 09:15 - 15:30
  • Where: Byre Theatre
  • Series: Distinguished Lectures Series
  • Format: Distinguished lecture

The first of this academic year’s distinguished lectures will be given by Professor Joe Armstrong, co-inventor of Erlang, on Monday 16th November 2015 at The Byre Theatre.Joe Armstrong

Abstract:

To build a scalable system the important thing is to make small isolated independent units. To scale up we just add more units. To build a fault-tolerant system the important thing to do is make small isolated independent units…. Does that sound familiar? Haven’t I seen that somewhere before? Oh yes, in the first paragraph! So maybe scalability and fault tolerance are really different names for the same thing.

This property of systems, namely that fault-tolerant systems were also scalable, was noticed years ago, notably in the design of the Tandem computer system. The Tandem was design for fault tolerance but rapidly became a leading supplier of scalable computer platforms. Thus it was with Erlang.

Erlang followed  a lot of the Tandem design, it was built for fault-tolerance but some of the most successful applications  (such as WhatsApp) use it for its scalability.

In this lecture I’ll talk about the intimate relationship between scalability and fault-tolerance and why they are architecturally the same thing.

I’ll talk about the design of Erlang and why scalable systems have to be built on non-shared memory abstractions.

Bio:

Joe Armstrong has been programming since 1967. He invented the programming language Erlang. He has worked as a programmer, founded a few successful companies and written a few books. He has a PHD in Computer Science from KTH. He is currently Adjunct Professor of Computer Science at the KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm.

Seminar: ‘How to deliver Software Projects and be a Brilliant Software Developer’ by Howard Simms (Apadmi)

Event details

  • When: 3rd November 2015 14:00 - 15:00
  • Where: Cole 1.33a
  • Series: School Seminar Series
  • Format: Seminar

Abstract:

This talk will cover a wide range of issues in the practical aspects of delivering software projects, including cohesion and coupling, design patterns, software engineering models, and native vs. hybrid apps. The second part will give an overview of the desirable and undesirable attributes of software developers and how to make your career future proof.

Howard Simms

 

Bio:

 

With more than 15 years’ experience working in the mobile industry, creating technology solutions, building brilliant teams, and delivering continual growth, Howard’s journey at the forefront of one of the world’s most dynamic and exciting technology booms has been exhilarating.

 

 

About Apadmi:

Apadmi is now the UK’s leading mobile software development company, working with organisations such as the NHS and the BBC, as well as a range of business including Lexus and Skyscanner. The business has also spun out technology companies in several different areas, including Market Research, Retail, Loyalty schemes within football and the Internet of Things.
Apadmi has now launched Apadmi Ventures, a formalisation of their spinout business model that is bringing their technical excellence, experience and significant investment capacity to all business sectors.

Seminar: ‘Trading Programs – How the Finance industry has become so complex that today’s products are similar to programs’ by Joel Bjornson

Event details

  • When: 20th October 2015 14:00 - 15:00
  • Where: Cole 1.33a
  • Series: School Seminar Series
  • Format: Seminar

Abstract:

In this presentation, we’ll explore the ways in which Bloomberg uses functional programming to solve financial problems. In particular, we’ll focus on the challenges involved in the development of the Bloomberg Derivatives Library – an application for structuring and pricing financial contracts.

Bio:

Joel Bjornson is a developer at the Bloomberg Derivatives Library team, specializing in the usage of OCaml for modelling financial contracts. Joel has been interested in functional programming since discovering Haskell at an introductory programming course in university.

 

Seminar: ‘Measuring Personalization of Online Services’ by Alan Mislove

Event details

  • When: 13th October 2015 14:00 - 15:00
  • Where: Cole 1.33a
  • Series: School Seminar Series
  • Format: Seminar

The School of Computer Science is delighted to welcome Alan Mislove from Northeastern University Boston to give his talk on ‘Measuring Personalization of Online Services

Abstract: Today, many web services personalize their content, including Netflix (movie recommendations), Amazon (product suggestions), and Yelp (business reviews). In many cases, personalization provides advantages for users: for example, when a user searches for an ambiguous query such as “router,” Amazon may be able to suggest the woodworking tool instead of the networking device. However, personalization is rarely transparent (or even labeled), and has the potential be used to the user’s disadvantage. For example, on e-commerce sites, personalization could be used to manipulate the set of products shown (price steering) or by customizing the prices of products (price discrimination). Unfortunately, today, we lack the tools and techniques necessary to be able to detect when personalization is occurring, as well as what inputs are used to perform personalization.

In this talk, I discuss my group’s recent work that aims to address this problem. First, we develop a methodology for accurately measuring when web services are personalizing their content. While conceptually simple, there are numerous details that our methodology must handle in order to accurately attribute differences in results to personalization (as opposed to other sources of noise). Second, we apply this methodology to two domains: Web search services (e.g., Google, Bing) and e-commerce sites (e.g., BestBuy.com, Expedia). We find evidence of personalization for real users on both Google search and nine of the popular e-commerce sites. Third, using fake accounts, we investigate the effect of user attributes and behaviors on personalization; we find that the choice of browser, logging in, and a user’s previously content can significantly affect the results presented.

Bio: Alan Mislove is an Associate Professor at the College of Computer and Information Science at Northeastern University. He received his Ph.D. from Rice University in 2009. Prof. Mislove’s research concerns distributed systems and networks, with a focus on using social networks to enhance the security, privacy, and efficiency of newly emerging systems. He is a recipient of an NSF CAREER Award (2011), and his work has been covered by the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, and the CBS Evening News.

This seminar is part of our ongoing series from researchers in HCI. See here for our current schedule.

Seminar: ‘Designing trusted and engaging forms of peer to peer healthcare’ by Pam Briggs

Event details

  • When: 29th September 2015 14:00 - 15:00
  • Where: Cole 1.33a
  • Series: School Seminar Series
  • Format: Seminar

The School of Computer Science are delighted to welcome Pam Briggs from Northumbria University, Newcastle who will deliver her talk on Trust and Engagement.

Abstract: Patients now generate a significant amount of online material about health.  This raises questions about how we should design websites featuring patient knowledge and experience in order to ensure those sites provide a good match to patient needs.  In this presentation I describe a structured participatory methodology for the development and evaluation of a set of patient experience websites that took place over three phases, consistent with experience based co-design:

(1) a capture phase in which we wBriggs_Pamorked with patients to understand their reactions to existing websites; (2) an understand phase in which we translated this information into a patient-engagement framework and accompanying set of design guidelines and (3) an improve phase, where we used these guidelines to create three new health websites that were then assessed as patient experience interventions in a range of empirical studies.

Bio: Pam holds a Chair in Applied Psychology, delivering innovative research and consultancy around issues of identity, trust and security in new social media. Her research seeks answers to three main questions: Why and when do we feel secure in disclosing sensitive identity information about ourselves? What makes us trust an electronic message? How and when do we seek to protect our privacy?

In the last five years, Pam has published over forty articles on human perceptions of trust, privacy and security in computer-mediated communication and has recently developed, with colleagues, an innovative model of health advice-seeking online (ESRC funded). She has given a number of invited addresses on online trust and e-health, including an invited address on e-health to the World Health Summit 2009, the opening address at the Second International Conference on Privacy, Security and Trust (Canada) and the keynote to the 2010 IFIP Trust Management conference in Morioka, Japan. She has been a member of ESRC’s fellowship and CASE studentship committees and has recently made a contribution to the Govt. Office for Science’s Technology Foresight programme on the Future of Identity. She is currently a member of EPSRC’s new Identity Futures Network and also EPSRC’s Cybersecurity Network. She is one of the founder members of the UK’s new ‘Science of Cybersecurity’ Institute, funded by GCHQ in association with RCUK’s Global Uncertainty Programme.

This seminar is part of our ongoing series from researchers in HCI. See here for our current schedule.

Talk: ‘This is a Google Talk’ – by James Smith

Event details

  • When: 13th October 2015 20:00 - 21:00
  • Where: Cole 1.33
  • Format: Talk

The School of Computer Science is pleased to welcome back one of its former PhD students, James Smith, who is currently Google Product Manager, London to talk about Google @ St Andrews. FB_20150916_14_52_25_Saved_Picture

Abstract: Google’s mission is to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful. It’s an enormous goal to accomplish and we need great people to help us achieve it. We invite you to come learn about Google and some of the engineering challenges we’re tackling.

Sign up: goo.gl/GXXiWp

Toward Workflow Management for Experimental Science?

Event details

  • When: 14th August 2015 14:00 - 15:00
  • Where: Cole 1.33a
  • Format: Seminar

The School of Computer Science welcomes the opportunity to hear from Dr Babak Esfandiari from Carleton University, CBabak Esfandiarianada who will be delivering his talk on ‘Toward Workflow Management for Experimental Science?’.

Abstract: Data, code, and other digital scientific artifacts are often found (at least by this presenter) to be out-of-synch, unreliable, poorly organized and only partially available. This makes science often hard to reproduce. In this talk, I demo an online tool to manage the workflow of a scientific project, and I speculate over how or whether it can help address these issues.

Bio: Babak Esfandiari is an Associate Professor at Carleton University, a comprehensive university located in the capital of Canada, Ottawa, Ontario. He obtained his PhD from Montpellier II, which specializes in Science and Technologies. His research is in agent-based systems; network computing; object-oriented design and languages.

Seminar ‘TODAY’: Brand Objects and Gradual Contracts by Timothy Jones

Event details

  • When: 23rd July 2015 14:00 - 15:00
  • Where: Cole 1.04
  • Format: Seminar

The School of Computer Science welcomes Timothy Jones, a PhD student from Victoria University of Wellington,New ZealandTimothy Jones.

Abstract: Adding object branding to an existing structural system integrates nominal and structural typing without excessively complicating the type system. We have implemented brand objects to explicitly type objects, using existing features of the structurally typed language Grace, along with a static type checker which treats the brands as nominal types. We intend to extend this approach to arbitrary, gradually enforced contracts and investigate the language features necessary for their implementation.

Bio:

Grace

I am currently involved in the Grace programming language project, through the Hopper implementation of the language, as well as formalising the language’s semantics. You can find an online editor for Grace at grace/editor, and the Gribber music system (a Grace plugin for Gibber) at grace/gibber.

Haskell

I’m also an avid Haskeller. My most successful contribution is the http-media library, part of a larger attempt to simplify REST resources in the Snap web framework. I’ve tutored the Programming Languages (Haskell and Prolog) course at VUW for several years, as well as taught the Advanced Programming Languages course.

School Seminar: Efficient Privacy Preserving Data Mining via Secure Computation by Dr Changyu Dong

Event details

  • When: 1st July 2015 14:00 - 15:00
  • Where: Cole 1.33a
  • Series: School Seminar Series
  • Format: Seminar

The School of Computer Science welcomes the opportunity to hear from Dr Changyu Dong, from the Department of Computer and Information Sciences University of Strathclyde, who will be delivering his talk on ‘Efficient Privacy Preserving Data Mining via Secure Computation’. Chanyu Dong

Abstract: Loosely speaking, secure computation allows parties to compute a function jointly while keeping their inputs private. Participants of secure computation learns only the output of the function, but nothing about the others’ private inputs. An oblivious application of secure computation is privacy preserving data mining. Imagine a scenario in which Amazon and Facebook want to find correlations between their users’ activities. With current technology, this cannot happen because none of the companies is willing to disclose its own data to the other. Secure computation can remove this barrier because data remains private during  and after the computation. In the past, secure computation is considered to be only theoretical because of its inefficiency. Recently much effort has been made to make secure computation practical. In this talk, I will present some recent advancements in this area. I will first introduce Private Set Intersection (PSI), an important secure computation primitive, and how it can be realised efficiently. I will show how PSI can be applied to linking record in databases (private record linkage) and finding association rules. I will then show how fully homomorphic encryption, an emerging cryptographic technology, can be used in building efficient secure computation protocols, and in turn be used for privacy preserving data mining.

Bio: Changyu Dong is a lecturer at the University of Strathclyde. He obtained his PhD from the Department of Computing at Imperial College London in 2009. His research is in cyber security, specifically in applied cryptography. Since 2006, He has published 27 research papers in major journals and international conferences, including the most prestigious venues in security such as ACM CCS, ESORICS and Journal of Computer Security. He has served on and chaired program committees for many conferences and workshops, and is a regular invited reviewer for top international journals including Journal of Computer Security, IEEE Transactions on Dependable and Secure Computing and IEEE Transactions on Information Forensics and Security. Shortly after moving to Strathclyde in 2011, he started his research on efficient secure computation. This research direction has led to some breakthroughs in secure computing for Private Set Intersection and Private Information Retrieval protocols, which he applied in domains such as data mining.