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

Royal Television Society Bursary Scheme 2020

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: https://rts.org.uk/education-and-training-pages/bursaries

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.

PhD viva success: Michael Pitcher

Congratulations to Michael Pitcher, who successfully defended his thesis today. He is pictured with Dr Ruth Bowness, Internal examiner Prof Tom Kelsey, external examiner Professor Marc Lipman from University College London and Supervisor Prof Simon Dobson. Michael’s thesis was co-supervised by Prof Stephen Gillespie from the School of Medicine.

Winnability of Klondike Solitaire research featured in New Scientist

Research carried out by Charlie Blake and Ian Gent to compute the approximate odds of winning any version of solitaire featured in New Scientist last week (print edition November 23rd ). Ian emphasised the calibre of research carried out by our undergraduate students and his early interaction with card games.

“This research has been hugely satisfying to me because my mother taught me games like King Albert as a child and I loved to play them with her. Now I know for the first time the chance of winning that game is about 68.5%.

It is wonderful to see work which started as an undergraduate student project feature in the New Scientist. This obviously reflects Charlie’s fantastic programming that he did. But it also shows the research-level quality work that undergraduate students can do as part of their studies in St Andrews.”

Link to the full paper on arxiv: https://arxiv.org/abs/1906.12314

Online article published in Technology Nov 17th: https://www.newscientist.com/article/2223643-we-finally-know-the-odds-of-winning-a-game-of-solitaire/

Computer donation to United Kingdom Jarra Association (UKJA)

The School received the following letter of appreciation from UKJA for a recent donation of computers and IT equipment.

Dear Sir,
I am writing on behalf of The United Kingdom Jarra Association (UKJA) to thank the prestigious School of Computer Science of The University of St Andrews for their recent donation of Computers to our Association. We hereby thank Dr Stuart Nacroos, the entire Systems team and Sheriffo Ceesay (a native of Jarra and current Computer Science PhD Student at your reputable institution) for facilitating this donation. The team also devoted their time to assist in moving the items securely for collection last Saturday – we are very grateful.

The UKJA was formed by Gambians resident in the UK in August 2015 and attained full charitable status in May 2017 with number 1173058. Our aim is to support development initiatives of Jarra in rural Gambia – Jarra comprises Jarra West, Jarra Central and Jarra East where we hail from. We aim to do this through the promotion of education, health and Poverty alleviation.

In the area of education, our focus is on STEM related subjects. ​The association believes that every child deserves a better learning environment to assist them reach their maximum potential and fulfil their dreams irrespective of their background. The association, cognisant of the above challenges conceived the “Educate Jarra” programme. At the core of this intervention is Science, Technology, English and Mathematics with physics, Chemistry, Biology.

Two years ago, the charity, in partnership with Islamic Cooperation for Development (ICO) based in Jeddah Saudi Arabia established our first Science and Computer Laboratory in Soma also in Jarra. In 2019, we expanded our intervention to Bureng where the construction of a new science and computer laboratory is now complete. The donated equipment will directly be used to equip Bureng.

Your intervention arrived at a time when we are vigorously raising the required funds to furnish the facility. Use the link below for further information about our ongoing fundraising: https://www.gofundme.com/f/better-educational-facilities-for-kids-in-jarra?utm_source= whatsApp&utm_medium=chat&utm_campaign=p_cp+share-sheet​. We will also donate some of the computers to the region’s Senior Secondary School and other secondary schools that have access to electricity. We acknowledge the importance of computers and technology in the modern world and our goal is to nurture and prepare the younger generation to be challengers of the future by producing Scientists, Doctors and engineers through the education programme.

In the area of health, the UKJA currently supports the Soma Referral Hospital’s maternity unit. In partnership with FAR – an oil company working in The Gambia – in 2018 we embarked on a project to improve conditions of service at the maternity unit of the hospital. Through this we have been able to expand capacity of the labour ward and provided equipment including those for the operating theatre. Some of the computers received will be donated to this hospital as a step to digitalise the hospital and help improve patient management system. The importance of electronic health information system in the era of technology cannot be overemphasised. Record keeping in The Gambia has always been approached in the traditional. These computers will change that trend in Soma.

With this brief, you will be convinced that your donation will be put to good through the UKJA. Therefore, as a charitable institution, we are always looking for possible collaboration in the aforementioned areas with the aim to help improve our communities. We look forward to continuously working with your reputable institution in the best interest of our community.

Please be assured of our highest consideration.

Sulayman A. Bah
Secretary General

United Kingdom Jarra Association (UKJA) is a registered Charity in England and Wales. Registered number 1173058