Learning to Describe: A New Approach to Computer Vision Based Ancient Coin Analysis

The work on deep learning based understanding of ancient coins by Jessica Cooper, who is a Research Assistant and a part-time PhD student supervised by Oggie Arandjelovic and David Harrison has been chosen as a featured, “title story” article by the Journal Sci where it was published in a Special Issue Machine Learning and Vision for Cultural Heritage.

Zoë Nengite awarded Principal’s Medal

Congratulations to Zoë Nengite who has been awarded The Principal’s Medal in recognition of outstanding academic achievement and exceptional activities within the University and the wider St Andrews community. The Medal is awarded to students who have both excellent academic accomplishments and those who have inspired and supported their peers and who have often undertaken extensive advocacy work, which has improved life for many of their fellow students.

Zoë sent us a reflection on time spent studying in the School and a photo celebrating with Mum.

“I’m really sad that my time at St Andrews has come to an end. I will especially miss the School of Computer Science. We are such a close community of students and staff alike. I will even miss the Jack Cole labs, despite spending many hours with my head in my hands stuck on a problem gripping my mug of coffee. I always knew that help wasn’t too hard to find.

“Some of my best memories are from my time at St Andrews. Most of them spent with my closest friends who also studied Computer Science. Coming from London, I was apprehensive about St Andrews, but it quickly became a place I called home. I think even years from now, it will always be somewhere I call home.”

The award was announced during the virtual conferral of degrees in July. Zoë hopes to attend a rescheduled Class of 2020 Ceremony in the future where we look forward to celebrating with her in person.

Royal Television Society Bursary Scheme 2020

*STV has committed to provide a further ten students with RTS/STV bursary in the 2020/21 academic year.*

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.

Leverhulme Early Career Fellowship for Nguyen Dang

Congratulations to Dr Nguyen Dang, who has been awarded a Leverhulme Trust Early Career Fellowship. The 3 year Fellowships are intended to assist those at an early stage of their academic careers to undertake a significant piece of publishable work. Nguyen will be researching Constraint-based automated generation of synthetic benchmark instances.

Abstract summary: “Combinatorial problems such as routing or timetabling are ubiquitous in society, industry, and academia. In the quest to develop algorithms to solve these problems effectively, we need benchmark instances. An instance is an example of the problems at hand for testing how well an algorithm performs. Having rich benchmarks of instances is essential for algorithm developers to gain understanding about the strengths and weaknesses of their approaches, and ensure successful applications in practice. This fellowship will provide a fully automated system for generating valid and useful synthetic benchmark instances based on a constraint modelling pipeline that supports several algorithmic techniques.”

Winnability of Klondike Solitaire research features in Major Nelson’s video podcast

Research carried out by Charlie Blake and Ian Gent to compute the approximate odds of winning any version of solitaire features in Major Nelson’s Video Podcast [Interview with Ian and Charlie starts 23:56] for XBox news today.

Today is National Solitaire Day and the 30th anniversary of the game. The celebrations include an invitation to participate in a record breaking attempt at the most games of Microsoft Solitaire completed in one day. You can download the collection free or play it through your browser.

The Klondike Solitaire research also featured in the New Scientist last year.
Link to the full paper on arxiv: https://arxiv.org/abs/1906.12314

Online article published in Technology Nov 17th 2019: https://www.newscientist.com/article/2223643-we-finally-know-the-odds-of-winning-a-game-of-solitaire/

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.