Interdisciplinary PhD studentship available with Management

Dr Tristan Henderson has a St Leonards interdisciplinary PhD studentship available, to be co-supervised by Professor Kirstie Ball of the School of Management. The area of study is to do with ethical values and data science. The student will be part of CRISP (Centre for Research into Information, Surveillance & Privacy), a collaborative research centre involving St Andrews, Edinburgh and Stirling. As an interdisciplinary project, we welcome and will consider applications from students with a wide variety of backgrounds, from computer science to management to technology law and anything in between. More details can be found on the CRISP website.

Computer Science student launches UK-wide app: Shrowze.


“The Human Personal Assistant you summon by text”

Computer Science student Nnamdi Ekwe-Ekwe launches a UK-wide app today, that frees up your time to do what you want to do rather than what you have to do. Shrowze is an app that provides everyone with their own human personal assistant to help them with whatever they need to do. It is the Human Personal Assistant you summon by text.

Nnamdi a PhD student in the School, built Shrowze in response to how long he saw it took people (himself included) to complete tasks that should be simple and straightforward (such as finding accommodation, booking a flight, organising and booking a meal, getting a plumber, etc.)

Nnamdi notes,

“As a full-time student I’ve always wanted to have more time for myself and concentrate on the truly important things, while not neglecting the numerous commitments I have every day – a problem shared by millions the world over. I just remember spending lots of time on routine everyday things that needed doing, when instead I could have been spending my time more usefully.”

With Shrowze, whatever it is you need doing, whatever it is you need getting, from wherever in the world, their team of human personal assistants can help – all you have to do is send a text. Shrowze has been trialed over the past 6 months with the general public and with students, receiving great feedback.

“Hi, I’m looking for accommodation for next year. This is my budget, and it’s going to be 4 of us sharing. Can you give us some potential places and book us viewings?”

“Hi, can you find me cheap flights to Barcelona for next week? And accommodation, and also give me a list of things to do there?”

“Hi, can you book me the best but cheapest taxi to the station? Three of us are going, we have two pieces of luggage!”


Shrowze is now live for all users across the country. For the next two weeks, anybody who signs up with Shrowze, will get 1 hour free time to have access to their own human personal assistant. Additionally, all students get a special 50% discount for as long as they are a student to use Shrowze.


Website – https://www.shrowze.co.uk/

Nnamdi Ekwe-Ekwe completed his undergraduate degree at the University of Leicester before studying for his Masters in Advanced Computer Science at the University of St Andrews and is currently a PhD student with a focus on Cloud Computing.

Text and images courtesy of Darcy Roberts, Communications Team, Shrowze and Nnamdi.

DLS: Functional Foundations for Operating Systems

Event details

  • When: 13th February 2018 09:30 - 15:15
  • Where: Byre Theatre
  • Series: Systems Seminars Series
  • Format: Distinguished lecture

Biography: Dr. Anil Madhavapeddy is a University Lecturer at the Cambridge Computer Laboratory, and a Fellow of Pembroke College where he is Director of Studies for Computer Science. He has worked in industry (NetApp, Citrix, Intel), academia (Cambridge, Imperial, UCLA) and startups (XenSource, Unikernel Systems, Docker) over the past two decades. At Cambridge, he directs the OCaml Labs research group which delves into the intersection of functional programming and systems, and is a maintainer on many open source projects such as OpenBSD, OCaml, Xen and Docker.

Timetable

9:30: Introduction by Professor Saleem Bhatti
9:35: Lecture 1
10:35: Break with tea and coffee
11:15: Lecture 2
12:15: Lunch (not provided)
14:00: Lecture 3
15:00: Close by Professor Simon Dobson

Live Feed

Available here

Lecture 1: Rebuilding Operating Systems with Functional Principles

The software stacks that we deploy across computing devices in the world are based on shaky foundations. Millions of lines of C code crammed into monolithic operating system kernels, mixed with layers of scheduling logic, wrapped in a hypervisor, and served with a dose of nominal security checking on the side. In this talk, I will describe an alternative approach to constructing reliable, specialised systems with a familiar developer experience. We will use modular functional programming to build several services such as a secure web server that have no reliance on conventional operating systems, and explain how to express their logic in a high level, functional fashion. By the end of it, everyone in the audience should be able to build their own so-called unikernels!

Lecture 2: The First Billion Real Deployments of Unikernels

Unikernels offer a path to a more sane basis for driving applications on hardware, but will they ever be adopted for real? For the past fifteen years, an intrepid group of adventurers have been developing the MirageOS application stack in the OCaml programming language. Along the way, it has been deployed in many unusual industrial situations that I will describe in this talk, starting with the Docker container stack, then moving onto the Xen hypervisor that drives billions of servers worldwide. I will explain the challenges of using functional programming in industry, but also the rewards of seeing successful deployments quietly working in mission-critical areas of systems software.

Lecture 3: Programming the Next Trillion Embedded Devices

The unikernel approach of compiling highly specialised applications from high-level source code is perfectly suited to programming the trillions of embedded devices that are making their way around the world. However, this raises new challenges from a programming language perspective: how can we run on a spectrum of devices from the very tiny (with just kilobytes of RAM) to specialised hardware? I will describe the new frontier of functional metaprogramming (programs which generate more programs) that we are using to compile a single application to many heterogenous devices, and a Git-like model to coordinate across thousands of nodes. I will conclude with by motivating the need for a next-generation operating system to power new exciting applications such as augmented and virtual reality in our situated environments, and remove the need for constant centralised coordination via the Internet.

PhD viva success: Alexander Murashko

Congratulations to Alexander Murashko, who successfully defended his thesis last week. Alexander is pictured with External Examiner, Professor Paul McKevitt from Ulster University, Internal Examiner Dr Kasim Terzic, Convener Professor Alan Dearle and Supervisor Dr John Thomson.

Image courtesy of Annemarie Paton.

December Graduation Reception

Congratulations to the Masters Class of 2017, and MPhil student Yunjia Wang, who graduated last week. Each year, students are invited to a reception in Computer Science, to celebrate their achievement and reflect on their time in the School.

Our graduates move on to a wide variety of interesting and challenging employment and further study opportunities, and we wish them all well with their future careers.

Join us for Graduation: Thursday 7th December

The School will celebrate more student successes and accomplishments next week, when our recent MSc and PhD students graduate. We look forward to toasting their success at our graduation reception in the School of Computer Science, next Thursday afternoon, between 12 and 3.30. Over the years graduation has involved cakes, fizz, laughter, changeable weather and lots of reminiscing as pictured below. For family and friends who can’t make it to graduation ceremonies, the University broadcasts each graduation ceremony live.

Summer and Winter Graduations 2010 – 2014

Celebrations, Kilts and Graduation 2010- 2014

PhD viva success: Adam Barwell

Congratulations to Adam Barwell, who successfully defended his thesis yesterday. Adam’s thesis was supervised by Professor Kevin Hammond. He is pictured with second supervisor Dr Christopher Brown, Internal examiner Dr Susmit Sarkar and external examiner Professor Susan Eisenbach from Imperial College, London.

One from the archives: Plans for new Computer Science building

November 2002, and plans were unveiled in the university news, for a new computer science building. Stages of the build were photographed for posterity.

Fast forward to March 2005, and the Jack Cole building was officially opened by the then First Minister, Jack McConnell. The building was named after the founder of Computer Science at St Andrews, Professor Alfred Jack Cole.