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.

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.

Donald Robertson awarded Brendan Murphy Prize at MSN/Cosener’s 2019!

Each year in July, the (broadly-defined) computer networking community converges at Cosener’s House for the MSN workshop. The workshop is an informal gathering where attendees – students in particular – are encouraged to present on-going work and/or crazy ideas. From among the  presentations, the Brendan Murphy Award is given to the best student presentation, generally for work that has yet to be scrutinized or peer-reviewed.

Congratulations to Donald Robertson who, this year, has brought that honour to St Andrews as co-recipient of the award (alongside Naomi Arnold from QMUL).


(In the interest of transparency, Marwan Fayed was on the judging panel but recused himself during discussion of Donald’s presentation.)

Scholarships and bursaries: student perspectives and experiences

Applying to study at university includes many financial considerations. Scholarships and bursaries can help reward academic achievement and provide financial awards enabling students to undertake or further their education. Students in Computer Science have secured a variety of bursaries to help fund their passion for the subject. Successful undergraduate and postgraduate student perspectives are highlighted below.

Sherlock Cruz , the first recipient of The London Scholarship reflected on his time at St Andrews and how scholarships can transform lives. The scholarship encourages young students from the Greater London area to study at St Andrews by equipping them with accommodation and living costs.

The School is fortunate in receiving on-going support from Adobe for undergraduate students studying Computer Science by way of Adobe Prize Bursaries. Successful applicants receive an award each year for the duration of their degree.

Henry Hargreaves was the successful recipient of a Royal Television Society Technology Bursary. The bursary encourages the most talented Engineering and Computer Sciences undergraduates to consider a career in television.

Royal Television Society Bursary: Henry Hargreaves

Alice Herbison secured a Carnegie-Cameron Bursary to support postgraduate study enabling her to undertake our MSc in Human Computer Interaction.

Carnegie-Cameron Taught Postgraduate Bursaries 2013

Arkwright Awards for budding young engineers nurtures high-potential A-level and Scottish Advanced Higher students who have a desire to be future leaders in engineering disciplines, including computing, software, communications and product design. More information on Arkwright engineering awards and who can apply can be located on their website.

Arkwright Awards for budding young engineers

The scholarships and funding catalogue has up-to-date information on eligibility for undergraduate and postgraduate applicants.

Ott: Effective Tool Support for the Working Semanticist

ACM SIGPLAN has judged Ott: Effective Tool Support for the Working Semanticist, by Peter Sewell, Francesco Zappa Nardelli, Scott Owens, Gilles Peskine, Thomas Ridge, Susmit Sarkar, and Rok Strniša, to be the recipient of the Most Influential ICFP Paper Award for 2017. From the citation:

“Over the past ten years, ICFP researchers have benefitted tremendously from the open-source tool and the effective design space exploration that it promotes.”

Best Final Year Student at Lovelace 2017

We are delighted to congratulate Iveta Dulova, who attended the 10th BCSWomen  Lovelace Colloquium, and walked away with the prize for “Best Final Year Student”. Iveta’s poster, titled “SensorCube: An end-to-end framework for conducting research via mobile sensing“, was based on her final year project supervised by Dr Juan Ye.

The event was held at Aberystwyth University on April 12, 2017. Also attending from St Andrews were Chloe Collins, competing in the second year category with the poster “Pedal to the metal – the role of technology in transportation” and Laura Brewis with her poster “What percentage of solitaire games are actually winnable?”.

It showed great commitment for these three students to undertake the lengthy trip at a busy time of semester. Like St Andrews, Aberystwyth, is a beautiful small seaside town with an excellent Computer Science department.  Iveta took a couple of photos showing off the beach and the campus.

Success in the Laidlaw Undergraduate Internship Programme in Research and Leadership

Congratulations to Patrick Schrempf and Billy Brown who have been successful in their applications for a Laidlaw Undergraduate Internship in Research and Leadership for 2017. You can read further details about Billy and Patrick below.

Billy Brown:

I’m a fourth year Computer Science student from Belgium with too much interest for the subject. I play and referee korfball for the university, and I am fascinated by Old English and Norse history and mythology. I plan on using the Laidlaw Internship programme to get into the field of Computer Science research.

Project summary:

The Essence Domain Inference project aims to improve automated decision making by optimising the understanding of the statements used to define a problem specification. As part of the compilation of the high level Essence specification language, this project would tighten the domains to which a specified problem applies, with a domain inference algorithm.

The work is very much in the context of the recently-announced EPSRC grant working on automated constraint modelling in an attempt to advance the state of the art in solving complex combinatorial search problems. The modelling pipeline is akin to a compiler in that we refine a specification in the Essence language Billy mentions down to a number of powerful solving formalisms. The work Billy plan is to improve the refinement process and therefore the performance of the solvers, leading to higher quality solutions more quickly.

Patrick Schrempf:
I am currently a third year Computer Science student from Vienna. After enjoying doing research with the St Andrews Computer Human Interaction (SACHI) group last year, I am looking forward to the Laidlaw Internship Programme. Apart from research and studying, I enjoy training and competing with the Triathlon Club and the Pool Society.
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Kamran Razavi: Bloomberg CodeCon winner

Congratulations to Kamran Razavi, one of our MSc in Dependable Software Systems (Erasmus Mundus) students, who won the recent Bloomberg CodeCon. CodeCon is a UK wide programming contest organised by Bloomberg and is hosted locally across multiple locations in the UK, one of which was located in the department of Physics at the University of St Andrews.

Kamran emerged first from 20 other contestants at the University of St Andrews and was ranked 19th among 217 other contestants UK-wide, coming from universities such as Cambridge, Oxford and Edinburgh. He was awarded with a championship trophy, Bluetooth speakers, travel accessories and a ticket to London for the main contest, where the top three contestants from each local site will compete against each other.


The competition is highlighted through the University emails and after registering students can prepare themselves by solving previous problems.The competition itself, lasted 2 hours with 8 questions in total, which were algorithmic in nature, and required knowledge of data structures.

Kamran was able to solve 7 questions but was only able to submit 6, due to technical problems with the contest host website. The contest could have been taken in 15 programming languages including Java, C++, C, Python etc. Kamran used Java on this occasion and thanked Bloomberg, The School of Computer Science and The University for providing opportunities such as CodeCon. We wish him every success for the final contest.