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.
The iVoLVER system, created by Gonzalo Méndez and Miguel Nacenta from the SACHI group at the School of Computer Science, University of St Andrews, received Best Demo Jury Award at the ACM Interactive Surfaces and Spaces (ACM ISS) conference last week.
ACM ISS 2017, took place in Brighton, UK and selects a different location each year, with Tokyo, Japan selected as next year’s destination. The conference is a premier venue for research that studies how people interact in smart spaces and surfaces and how to design and engineer solutions for novel interfaces.
iVoLVER is a web-based visual programming environment that enables anyone to transform visualizations that they find in-the-wild (e.g., in a poster or a newspaper) into new visualizations that are more useful for them. Congratulations to the iVoLVER team. You can try out the open source iVoLVER prototype using a browser.
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.”
Ian Gent, Christopher Jefferson and Peter Nightingale have shown that a classic chess puzzle is NP-Complete. Their paper “Complexity of n-Queens Completion” was published in the Journal of Artificial Intelligence Research on August 30.
The new work follows a challenge on Facebook on New Year’s Day, 2015, when a friend of Ian’s asked him how hard n-Queens is if some queens were already placed on the board. It turns out, this version (dating from 1850) of the puzzle is only two years younger than the more famous n-Queens problem. The picture shows Peter (left) and Ian (right) with queens on the board at positions suggested by Nauck in 1850, the squares b4 and d5. Can you put another 6 queens on the board so that the entire board is a solution of 8-Queens? The general version with some number of queens preplaced on an n by n board is the n-Queens Completion puzzle.
Our talented hard working SH students from CS4099: Major Software Project and CS4098: Minor Software Project presented their posters and final year software artifact to staff and students earlier this week.
As Illustrated in the above collage, the busy poster session is the perfect opportunity to discuss output from their year long project with markers, and provides time to share research ideas and reflect on the experience with their peer group. We wish them success with forthcoming exams and look forward to seeing them during June graduation celebrations.
A new book, Type-Driven Development with Idris has just been published by Manning Publications. Written by Dr Edwin Brady, the creator of Idris, Type-Driven Development with Idris teaches you how to improve the performance and accuracy of your programs by taking advantage of a state-of-the-art type system.
Type-driven development is an approach to programming that embraces types as the foundation of your code. It is based on the concept of “dependent types”, which allow you to express relationships and other assumptions directly in your code, and have these assumptions checked by the compiler. With this approach, you can define specifications early in development and write code that’s easy to maintain, test, and extend.
Dr Brady said:
“Idris arose as a result of my own research into program verification and language design with advanced type systems. After spending several years immersed in the concept of programming with dependent types, I felt there was a need for a language designed for developers and practitioners as well as researchers. By teaching the concept of type-driven development using Idris, the book aims to make state-of-the-art verification techniques accessible to software practitioners.”
The book is currently available via MANNING publications: https://www.manning.com/books/type-driven-development-with-idris. ePub and Kindle versions available from April 10th. The source code, chapter 1 and chapter 13 are available as free downloads.
On March 31st, Dr David Manlove from the University of Glasgow, delivered the semester two distinguished lectures in Lower and Upper College Hall. The overall title was algorithms for healthcare-related matching problems.
David started with an overview of complexity theory and solving hard problems. He gave examples of this in practice, for example how researchers constructed a best-possible tour around the best 20,000 pubs in the UK. The second lecture focussed on how to assign junior doctors to hospitals in the best way, a very practical problem but with interesting complexity issues. The final lecture focussed on the life-changing topic of how to set up exchanges of kidneys between healthy donors and patients needing transplants. David talked about how his expertise in algorithms has been translated into regularly finding the best possible matches which then result in real transplants taking place.
Images courtesy of Ryo Yanagida.
Congratulations to PhD students Shyam Reyal and Simone Conte , from Computer Science and Senior Scientific Officer Tomas Lebl, from Chemistry who presented NOMAD (NMR Online Management and Datastore) at IDEA Explosion 2017 and emerged victorious. Shyam delivered a five-minute elevator pitch, whilst Simone and Tomas responded to questions. Judges acknowledged that NOMAD has huge potential with researchers, and were impressed that it has been used in St Andrews for the past 5 years, with other universities now lined-up to make use of its services, fully supporting the use of the prize money to set-up a company.
One of our PhD students Esma Mansouri Benssassi and her supervisor Dr Erica Ye defined a requirement for a wrist worn device to group a number of Haptic feedback elements for an experiment they wished to carry out. The on-board Haptic elements are two eccentric rotating mass micro motors and an linear resonant actuator. Initial circuit schematics and printed circuit board designs were created in an Open Source Electronics Design Automation Suite KiCAD EDA. The resulting printed circuit board (PCB) design was made on the CS CNC Router , this produces the PCB by engraving the copper clad fibreglass-epoxy board with a Vee cutter.
The case for the PCB was created in Autodesk Inventor and was 3D printed using the CS Makerbot 2X 3D printer.
The wrist worn Haptic feedback device will be connected via an umbilical cable to the main control Feather M0 embedded ARM and Haptic Driver breadboard. This is an ARM microcontroller and wifi module which can be programmed using the Arduino IDE. Code for the ARM processor will enable stored and custom waveforms to be played on the haptic devices on the wrist.