School Seminars

The School organises a regular program of colloquia, talks and seminars by external and internal speakers from both industry and academia. For more details about talks, seminars and colloquia at the School, including instructions on how to suggest speakers and previous talks, please see the School Seminars page.

Lewis McMillan (St Andrews): Parallel Computer Simulations of Light-Tissue Interactions for Applications in Medicine, Cosmetics Industry and Biophotonics Research (School Seminar)

Event details

  • When: 23rd April 2019 14:00 - 15:00
  • Where: Cole 1.33a
  • Series: School Seminar Series
  • Format: Seminar

Abstract:

Tissue ablation is a widely used treatment in both the cosmetic and medical sectors, for treating various diseases or to improve cosmetic outlooks. We present our tissue ablation model which can predict the depth of ablation, and the surrounding thermal damage caused by the laser during ablation.

“Non-diffracting” beams have a multitude of uses in physics, from optical manipulation to improved microscopy light sources. For the first time we show that these beams can be modelled using Monte Carlo radiation transport method. Allowing better insight into how these beams propagate in a turbid medium.

Both of these projects use the Monte Carlo radiation transport method (MCRT) to simulate light transport. The MCRT method is a powerful numerical method that can solve light transport though heavily scattering and absorbing mediums, such as biological tissues. The method is extremely flexible and can model arbitrary geometries and light sources. MCRT can also model the various micro-physics of the simulated medium, such as polarisation, fluorescence, and Raman scattering. This talk will give an overview of our group’s work, with particular focus on simulating tissue ablation, and modelling “non-diffracting” beams.

Speaker Bio:

Lewis McMillan is a final year physics PhD student at St Andrews University. His research interests are in using Monte Carlo radiation transport method for various applications within medicine and biophotonics.

Hugh Leather (Edinburgh): Deep Learning for Compilers (School Seminar)

Event details

  • When: 9th April 2019 14:00 - 15:00
  • Where: Cole 1.33a
  • Series: School Seminar Series
  • Format: Seminar

Abstract:

Writing optimising compilers is difficult. The range of programs that may be presented to the compiler is huge and the system on which they run are complex, heterogeneous, non-deterministic, and constantly changing. Machine learning has been shown to make writing compiler heuristics easier, but many issues remain.

In this talk I will discuss recent advances in using deep learning to solve compiler issues: learning heuristics and testing compiler correctness.

Speaker Bio:

Hugh is a reader (associate professor) at the University of Edinburgh. His research involves all elements of compilers and operating systems, usually targeting performance and energy optimisation, often with a focus on using machine learning for those tasks. After his PhD, also at Edinburgh, he was a Fellow of the Royal Society of Engineering. Before returning to academia, he was an engineer at Microsoft and architect and team leader at Trilogy, delivering multi-million dollar projects to Fortune 500 companies.

Rachel Menzies (Dundee): Unlocking Accessible Escape Rooms: Is Technology the Key? (School Seminar)

Event details

  • When: 2nd April 2019 14:00 - 15:00
  • Where: Cole 1.33a
  • Series: School Seminar Series
  • Format: Seminar

Abstract:

Escape rooms are popular recreational activities whereby players are locked in a room and must solve a series of puzzles in order to ‘escape’. Recent years have seen a large expansion technology being used in these rooms in order to provide ever changing and increasingly immersive experiences. This technology could be used to minimise accessibility issues for users, e.g. with hearing or visual impairments, so that they can engage in the same way as their peers without disabilities. Escape room designers and players completed an online questionnaire exploring the use of technology and the accessibility of escape rooms. Results show that accessibility remains a key challenge in the design and implementation of escape rooms, despite the inclusion of technology that could be used to improve the experience of users with disabilities. This presentation will explore the lack of accessibility within Escape Rooms and the potential for technology to bridge this gap.

Speaker Bio:

Dr Rachel Menzies is the Head of Undergraduate Studies for Computing at the University of Dundee and is the current SICSA Director of Education (https://www.sicsa.ac.uk/education/). She co-directs the UX’d research group (https://www.ux-d.co.uk/) and her research interests include user centred design with marginalised user groups, such as users with disabilities, as well as exploring novel interfaces, data visualisation and CS education. Her most recent work focusses on accessibility is in escape rooms, in particular how users with varied disabilities can access and enjoy the experience alongside typical users.

Paul-Olivier Dehaye: From Cambridge Analytica to the future of online services: a personal journey (School Seminar)

Event details

  • When: 19th March 2019 14:00 - 15:00
  • Where: Cole 1.33a
  • Series: School Seminar Series
  • Format: Seminar

Abstract:

2018 was a crazy year for privacy. The General Data Protection Regulation came into force in May, and new revelations on the personal data ecosystem were making headlines on a weekly basis. I will give the behind the scenes for a lot of these events, question why they didn’t happen earlier, and offer some thoughts on the necessary future of online services. This will include a brief discussion of topics such as semantic alignment, interpretable machine learning, or new privacy-preserving data processing techniques.

Speaker Bio:

Paul-Olivier Dehaye is a mathematician by training. Affiliated to the University of Zurich as a SNSF Assistant Professor until 2016, his career then took a turn towards data protection activism and social entrepreneurship. He was the researcher on several news articles who have reached millions of readers (including many with Carole Cadwalladr), and testified in front of the UK and EU Parliaments on multiple occasions. He is on the board of MyData Global, has founded the NGO PersonalData.IO, and the project MyData Geneva.

Marina Romanchikova (NPL): How good are our data? Measuring the data quality at National Physical Laboratory (School Seminar)

Event details

  • When: 12th March 2019 14:00 - 15:00
  • Where: Cole 1.33a
  • Series: School Seminar Series
  • Format: Seminar

Abstract:

From mapping the spread of disease to monitoring climate change, data holds the key to solving some of the world’s biggest challenges. Dependable decisions rely on understanding the provenance and reliability of data. Historically, only a small fraction of the generated data was shared and re-used, while the majority of data were used once and then erased or archived. At NPL Data Science we are defining best practice in measurement data reuse and traceability by developing metadata standards and data storage structures to locate and interpret datasets and make them available for sharing, publication and data mining.

The talk will shed light on the most burning issues in the scientific data management, and illustrate it with examples from industrial and academic practices. It will present several NPL Data Science projects that focus on delivering confidence in data obtained from life science imaging, medicine, geosciences and fundamental physics.

Speaker Bio:

Dr Marina Romanchikova joined the NPL Data Science team in 2017 to work on data quality and metadata standards. She obtained an MSc in Medical Informatics at University of Heidelberg, Germany, where she specialised in medical image processing and in management of hospital information systems. In 2010 she received a PhD on Monte Carlo dosimetry for targeted radionuclide therapy at the Institute of Cancer Research in Sutton, UK. Marina worked six years as a radiotherapy research physicist at Cambridge University Hospitals where she developed methods for curation and analysis of medical images.

Current interests

– Quantitative quality assessment of medical images and medical image segmentation
– Harmonisation of medical and healthcare data from heterogeneous sources
– Applications of machine learning in healthcare
– Automated data quality assurance

Lauren Roberts & Peter Michalák (Newcastle): Automating the Placement of Time Series Models for IoT Healthcare Applications (School Seminar)

Event details

  • When: 26th February 2019 14:00 - 15:00
  • Where: Cole 1.33a
  • Series: School Seminar Series
  • Format: Seminar

Abstract:

There has been a dramatic growth in the number and range of Internet of Things (IoT) sensors that generate healthcare data. These sensors stream high-dimensional time series data that must be analysed in order to provide the insights into medical conditions that can improve patient healthcare. This raises both statistical and computational challenges, including where to deploy the streaming data analytics, given that a typical healthcare IoT system will combine a highly diverse set of components with very varied computational characteristics, e.g. sensors, mobile phones and clouds. Different partitionings of the analytics across these components can dramatically affect key factors such as the battery life of the sensors, and the overall performance. In this work we describe a method for automatically partitioning stream processing across a set of components in order to optimise for a range of factors including sensor battery life and communications bandwidth. We illustrate this using our implementation of a statistical model predicting the glucose levels of type II diabetes patients in order to reduce the risk of hyperglycaemia.

Speaker Bios:

Lauren and Peter are final year PhD students at the CDT in Cloud Computing for Big Data at Newcastle University. Peter has a background in Computer Engineering from University of Žilina, Slovakia and a double-degree in Computer Software Engineering from JAMK University of Applied Sciences, Jyväskylä, Finland. His research interests are within distributed event processing, edge computing and Internet of Things with a special focus on energy and bandwidth constrains. Lauren has an MMath degree from Newcastle University and her research interests lie in statistical modelling of time series data.

Quintin Cutts (Glasgow): Re-imagining software engineering education through the apprenticeship lens (School Seminar)

Event details

  • When: 19th February 2019 14:00 - 15:00
  • Where: Cole 1.33a
  • Series: School Seminar Series
  • Format: Seminar

Abstract:

Apprenticeship degrees have sprung up so fast that there has been little time for us all to reflect on how this apparently new form of education, to universities at least, could significantly affect our educational offerings. The University of Glasgow has been undertaking some preparatory work for Skills Development Scotland prior to running its apprenticeship degree in software engineering, and this has afforded us some time to see what others nationally and internationally have been doing, and to consider relevant aspects of the literature, as well as consult with industry. One view that we are developing of these degrees is as a true evolution of typical, largely campus-based, software engineering degrees, towards a full-blown professional degree such as in medicine, where university and hospitals are in real partnership over the training of doctors. In this talk, I will outline our thinking and raise a number of issues for discussion. In suggesting a closer relationship with industry in a talk in St Andrews, I do not of course miss the irony that industry accreditation was never (I believe) something that St Andrews was particularly bothered about – thinking that my BSc (Hons) 1988 is not accredited!

Ian Gent (St Andrews): The Winnability of Klondike and Many Other Single-Player Card Games (School Seminar)

Event details

  • When: 5th February 2019 14:00 - 15:00
  • Where: Cole 1.33a
  • Series: School Seminar Series
  • Format: Seminar

This is joint work with Charlie Blake.

Abstract:

The most famous single-player card game is ‘Klondike’, but our ignorance of its winnability percentage has been called “one of the embarrassments of applied mathematics”. Klondike is just one of many single-player card games, generically called ‘solitaire’ or ‘patience’ games, for which players have long wanted to know how likely a particular game is to be winnable for a random deal. A number of different games have been studied empirically in the academic literature and by non-academic enthusiasts.

Here we show that a single general purpose Artificial Intelligence program, called “Solvitaire”, can be used to determine the winnability percentage of approximately 30 different single-player card games with a 95% confidence interval of ± 0.1% or better. For example, we report the winnability of Klondike to within 0.10% (in the ‘thoughtful’ variant where the player knows the location of all cards). This is a 30-fold reduction in confidence interval, and almost all our results are either entirely new or represent significant improvements on previous knowledge.

Speaker Bio:

Ian Gent is professor of Computer Science at the University of St Andrews. His mother taught him to play patience and herself showed endless patience when he “helped” her by taking complete control of the game. A program to play a patience game was one of the programs he wrote on his 1982 Sinclair Spectrum now on the wall outside his office.

Emanuele Trucco (Dundee): Retinal image analysis and beyond in Scotland: the VAMPIRE project (School Seminar)

Event details

  • When: 29th January 2019 14:00 - 15:00
  • Where: Cole 1.33a
  • Series: School Seminar Series
  • Format: Seminar

Abstract:

This talk is an overview of the VAMPIRE (Vessel Assessment and Measurement Platform for Images of the REtina) project, an international and interdisciplinary research initiative created and led by the Universities of Dundee and Edinburgh in Scotland, UK, since the early 2000s. VAMPIRE research focuses on the eye as a source of biomarkers for systemic diseases (e.g. cardiovascular, diabetes, dementia) and cognitive decline, as well as on eye-specific diseases. VAMPIRE is highly interdisciplinary, bringing together medical image analysis, machine learning and data analysis, medical research, and data governance and management at scale. The talk introduces concisely the aims, structure and current results of VAMPIRE, the current vision for effective translation to society, and the several non-technical factors complementing technical research needed to achieve effective translation.

Speaker Bio:

Emanuele (Manuel) Trucco, MSc, PhD, FRSA, FIAPR, is the NRP Chair of Computational Vision in Computing, School of Science and Engineering, at the University of Dundee, and an Honorary Clinical Researcher of NHS Tayside. He has been active since 1984 in computer vision, and since 2002 in medical image analysis, publishing more than 270 refereed papers and 2 textbooks, and serving on the organizing or program committee of major international and UK conferences. Manuel is co-director of VAMPIRE (Vessel Assessment and Measurement Platform for Images of the Retina), an international research initiative led by the Universities of Dundee and Edinburgh (co-director Dr Tom MacGillivray), and part of the UK Biobank Eye andVision Consortium. VAMPIRE develops software tools for efficient data and image analysis with a focus on multi-modal retinal images. VAMPIRE has been used in UK and international biomarker studies on cardiovascular risk, stroke, dementia, diabetes and complications, cognitive performance, neurodegenerative diseases, and genetics.

Alexander Konovalov (St Andrews): How to teach basic research computing skills? (School Seminar)

Event details

  • When: 4th December 2018 14:00 - 15:00
  • Where: Cole 1.33a
  • Series: School Seminar Series
  • Format: Seminar

Abstract:

The Carpentries (https://carpentries.org/) is a global community of
volunteers which teach foundational coding and data science skills to researchers
worldwide through Software Carpentry, Data Carpentry, and Library Carpentry
workshops. Being involved in the Carpentries since 2015, I organised and taught
at several workshops, developed new lessons, and trained new Carpentry instructors.
In my talk I will discuss the Carpentries pedagogical approach, and also consider
its applicability to teaching Computer Science students.

Carron Shankland (Stirling): How did I get here? Being and becoming a professor (School Seminar)

Event details

  • When: 27th November 2018 14:00 - 15:00
  • Where: Cole 1.33a
  • Series: School Seminar Series
  • Format: Seminar

Abstract:

2016 was a weird year for Carron. On the plus side she was one of twelve women in Computing and Mathematics to receive a Suffrage Science Award, recognising both scientific achievement and ability to inspire others. She’s involved in lots of work to promote careers in science for women, having initiated and led the Athena SWAN programme of actions at Stirling for four years, and started building Cygnets: a good practice network of UK computing departments engaged in gender equality work. But 2016 was also one of the worst years of her life, with lots of stress, and consequent depression. She’ll talk about her journey from student to professor, with some thoughts about the people and qualities that lead to success, and how those qualities can also be enemies. This should be relevant for everyone, no matter their career stage, academic or professional services, or discipline. (Spoiler alert: she will probably have more questions than answers in this talk!)

Speaker Bio:

Carron Shankland is a professor in Computing Science at the University of Stirling. Her research is about understanding the behaviour of biological systems through mathematical and computational models. Current projects include using data mining to understand disease dynamics, and modelling cancer therapies to try to understand how the actions of therapies might combine to greater effect. As a senior academic, she believes in participating in governance: she’s had positions on Academic Council and University Court, and was deputy head of Natural Sciences. Carron is passionate about the promotion of careers in science for women, having initiated and led the Athena SWAN programme of actions at Stirling 2012-2016. She chairs the BCS Women in Computing Research Group and is building DiVERct: a good practice network of ICT (computing and electronic and electrical engineering) departments engaged in diversity and inclusion work. In 2017 she won one of the first Scottish Women’s Awards for services to science and technology, and in 2016 she was one of twelve women in Computing and Mathematics to receive a Suffrage Science Award, recognising both scientific achievement and ability to inspire others. When she’s not doing computing science (or admin!) she likes to play classical chamber music (she plays clarinet and viola), chop things down in the garden, or visit galleries and coffee shops with her partner Pat (they’ve had a civil partnership since 2006).

Judith Rauhofer (Edinburgh): The Internet of Bodies – What could possibly go wrong? (School Seminar)

Event details

  • When: 20th November 2018 14:00 - 15:00
  • Where: Cole 1.33a
  • Series: School Seminar Series
  • Format: Seminar

Abstract:

The “Internet of Bodies” is turning into a popular catchphrase to
describe the next generation of the Internet of Things – the move from
a collection of everyday objects connected to the Internet and each
other to a scenario, where those devices are attached to, or
incorporated into, the human body with a view to collect and provide a
constant stream of information about an individuals’ health or bodily
functions. Those devices could be part of a medical treatment process
(like pace makers, cochlear implants, digital pills, etc.), medical
research or physical enhancement. The choices, as they say, are
endless, as are the potential reasons why individuals may decide to
use or subject their bodies to those devices.

This means that the Internet of Bodies raises much (and many of) of
the same privacy issues and concerns that we have already observed in
connection to the Internet of Things, multiplied by the power of n
because the majority of the data collected and processed will firmly
fall into the category of “sensitive personal data” that has long
received particular protection under EU data protection law. What
measures do we need to put in place to ensure that the established
principles of data minimization, purpose limitation and limited
retention are met? On what legal basis can we justify the collection
of this data in the first place? Where the data collection is based on
the individual’s consent, how can this consent be voluntary in
situations where the choice might be between a life-saving
intervention and a refusal to use IoB devices? What other pressures
– well known from the use of other IoT enabled devices (convenience,
cost-saving, etc.) might motivate an individual to consent to their
use? What further use might the medical establishment, including the
research and the insurance sector envisage for this type of data?
How do we ensure not just device (IT) security but the security of
the information collected?

This talk will look at the prima facie privacy and data protection
issues of “everyday cyborgs” while trying to stay clear – for now –
from some of the more apocalyptic scenarios currently bandied about in
the media. But even on that basis, the question must be asked: The
Internet of Bodies – What could possibly go wrong?

Speaker Bio:

Judith Rauhofer is a Lecturer in IT Law at the University of Edinburgh
and an Associate Director of the Centre for Studies of Intellectual
Property and Technology Law (SCRIPT).

Her research interests include the commercial and fundamental rights
aspects of online privacy and electronic surveillance, data
protection, information security and all areas of e-commerce and
internet law and policy. Judith is particularly interested in
exploring the tensions between privacy as an individual right and as a
common good.

Judith is qualified as a Rechtsanwalt in Germany and as a solicitor in
England and Wales. She has worked in legal practice for several years,
advising clients from the media and new media industries on aspects of
e-commerce, data protection and IT law.

Judith is the founding editor of the European Data Protection Law
Review and a member of the Executive Committee of the British and
Irish Law, Education and Technology Association (BILETA). She also
works closely with digital rights organisations as a member of the
Advisory Councils to the Open Rights Group (ORG) and the foundation
for information policy research (fipr).

Iain Bate (York): Applications of Artificial Intelligence in Embedded Systems and Future Challenges (School Seminar)

Event details

  • When: 30th October 2018 14:00 - 15:00
  • Where: Cole 1.33b
  • Series: School Seminar Series
  • Format: Seminar

Abstract:

This talk will concentrate on some successful applications of search-based and neural network algorithms in two distinctly different areas of real-time embedded systems development: scheduling and timing analysis, and Internet of Things. However it will then motivate some significant challenges for the artificial intelligence community that surprised a user from another research community. The talk will highlight how a seemingly simple-to-use powerful solutions would benefit from a more traditional engineering lifecycles.

Speaker Bio:

Dr Iain Bate is a Reader within the Real-Time Systems (RTS) Research Group at York. His main interests include scheduling and timing analysis, and design assurance to achieve dependable operation even when there are complex failures. His original doctoral work on scheduling and timing analysis was first patented and then adopted by Rolls-Royce for use on current aircraft projects. His work on timing analysis has been used on a large fast jet project.

Recently he has worked on applying the principles of Dependable Real-Time Systems (DRTS) to more complex systems such as automotive systems and Wireless Sensor Networks (WSN) including for environmental monitoring. In particular he has concentrated on producing models of aspects of systems through the building of systematic methods based around multi-variate statistical models. Dr Bate has published over 100 papers and 30 industrial reports, and secured and managed over £5 million worth of grants. He was the Editor-in-Chief for the Journal of Systems Architecture for 10 years.

Alan Dix (Swansea): Sufficient Reason (School Seminar)

Event details

  • When: 16th October 2018 14:00 - 15:00
  • Where: Cole 1.33a
  • Series: School Seminar Series
  • Format: Seminar

Abstract:

A job candidate has been pre-selected for shortlist by a neural net; an autonomous car has suddenly changed lanes almost causing an accident; the intelligent fridge has ordered an extra pint of milk. From the life changing or life threatening to day-to-day living, decisions are made by computer systems on our behalf. If something goes wrong, or even when the decision appears correct, we may need to ask the question, “why?” In the case of failures we need to know whether it is the result of a bug in the software,; a need for more data, sensors or training; or simply one of those things: a decision correct in the context, that happened to turn out badly. Even if the decision appears acceptable, we may wish to understand it for our own curiosity, peace of mind, or for legal compliance. In this talk I will pick up threads of research dating back to early work in the 1990s on gender and ethnic bias in black-box machine-learning systems, as well as more recent developments such as deep learning and concerns such as those that gave rise to the EPSRC human-like computing programme. In particular I will present nascent work on an AIX Toolkit (AI explainability): a structured collection of techniques designed to help developers of intelligent systems create more comprehensible representations of the reasoning. Crucial to the AIX Toolkit is the understanding that human-human explanations are rarely utterly precise or reproducible, but they are sufficient to inspire confidence and trust in a collaborative endeavour.

Speaker Bio:

Alan Dix is Director of the Computational Foundry at Swansea University. Previously he has spent 10 years in a mix of academic and commercial roles, most recently as Professor in the HCI Centre at the University of Birmingham and Senior Researcher at Talis. He has worked in human–computer interaction research since the mid 1980s, and is the author of one of the major international textbooks on HCI as well as of over 450 research publications from formal methods to design creativity, including some of the earliest papers in the HCI literature on topics such as privacy, mobile interaction, and gender and ethnic bias in intelligent algorithms. Issues of space and time in user interaction have been a long term interest, from his “Myth of the Infinitely Fast Machine” in 1987, to his co-authored book, TouchIT, on physicality in a digital age, due to be published in 2018. Alan organises a twice-yearly workshop, Tiree Tech Wave, on the small Scottish island where he has lived for 10 years, and where he has been engaged in a number of community research projects relating to heritage, communications, energy use and open data. In 2013, he walked the complete periphery of Wales, over a thousand miles. This was a personal journey, but also a research expedition, exploring the technology needs of the walker and the people along the way. The data from this including 19,000 images, about 150,000 words of geo-tagged text, and many giga-bytes of bio-data is available in the public domain as an ‘open science’ resource. Alan’s new role at the Computational Foundry has brought him back to his homeland. The Computational Foundry is a 30 million pound initiative to boost computational research in Wales with a strong focus on creating social and economic benefit. Digital technology is at a bifurcation point when it could simply reinforce existing structures of industry, government and health, or could allow us to radically reimagine and transform society. The Foundry is built on the belief that addressing human needs and human values requires and inspires the deepest forms of fundamental science.

Home

Update: The slides from the talk are available here.

Alyssa Goodman (Harvard): Visualization and the Universe (School Seminar)

Event details

  • When: 12th October 2018 12:00 - 13:00
  • Where: Cole 1.33b
  • Series: School Seminar Series
  • Format: Seminar

Full Title

Visualization and the Universe: How and why astronomers, doctors, and you need to work together to understand the world around us.

Abstract:

Astronomy has long been a field reliant on visualization. First, it was literal visualization—looking at the Sky. Today, though, astronomers are faced with the daunting task of understanding gigantic digital images from across the electromagnetic spectrum and contextualizing them with hugely complex physics simulations, in order to make more sense of our Universe. In this talk, I will explain how new approaches to simultaneously exploring and explaining vast data sets allow astronomers—and other scientists—to make sense of what the data have to say, and to communicate what they learn to each other, and to the public. In particular, I will talk about the evolution of the multi-dimensional linked-view data visualization environment known as glue (glueviz.org) and the Universe Information System called WorldWide Telescope (worldwidetelescope.org). I will explain how glue is being used in medical and geographic information sciences, and I will discuss its future potential to expand into all fields where diverse, but related, multi-dimensional data sets can be profitably analyzed together. Toward the aim of bringing the insights to be discussed to a broader audience, I will also introduce the new “10 Questions to Ask When Creating a Visualization” website, 10QViz.org.

Speaker Bio:

Alyssa Goodman is the Robert Wheeler Willson Professor of Applied Astronomy at Harvard University, and a Research Associate of the Smithsonian Institution. Goodman’s research and teaching interests span astronomy, data visualization, and online systems for research and education. Goodman received her undergraduate degree in Physics from MIT in 1984 and a Ph.D. in Physics from Harvard in 1989. Goodman was awarded the Newton Lacy Pierce Prize from the American Astronomical Society in 1997, became full professor at Harvard in 1999, was named a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 2009, and chosen as Scientist of the Year by the Harvard Foundation in 2015. Goodman has served as Chair of the Astronomy Section of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and on the National Academy’s Board on Research Data and Information, and she currently serves on the both the IAU and AAS Working Groups on Astroinformatics and Astrostatistics. Goodman’s personal research presently focuses primarily on new ways to visualize and analyze the tremendous data volumes created by large and/or diverse astronomical surveys, and on improving our understanding of the structure of the Milky Way Galaxy. She is working closely with colleagues at the American Astronomical Society, helping to expand the use of the WorldWide Telescope program, in both research and in education.

Becky Plummer (Bloomberg): Engineering Software to Last (School Seminar)

Event details

  • When: 9th October 2018 14:00 - 15:00
  • Where: Purdie Theatre B
  • Series: School Seminar Series
  • Format: Seminar

Abstract:

The goals of building software in a professional environment are vastly different from those of a course assignment. In this talk, we’ll cover the differences between the environments, best practices during development and tips from years of experience with troubleshooting production issues.

Speaker Bio:

Becky Plummer is the software engineering team leader responsible for content collaboration applications for the Bloomberg Terminal and the Global Head of the Engineering Champions Program. Becky made a name for herself as a software engineer by creating the trade confirmation alerting system that was fully crash recoverable for the Bloomberg Fixed Income Electronic Trading platform. She created the Engineering Champions program in 2011 to empower developers to influence change and collaborate on improving the development environment tools. Finally, she has run both small scale implementation projects as well as cross engineering projects including hundreds of developers. She is a graduate of University of Maine and Columbia University with a Master’s degree in Computer Science. Joined Bloomberg LP in New York in 2006 and moved to London in 2014 to gain a global perspective.

More information at this link.

Michael O’Boyle (Edinburgh): Heteregeneous Thinking (School Seminar)

Event details

  • When: 2nd October 2018 14:00 - 15:00
  • Where: Cole 1.33a
  • Series: School Seminar Series
  • Format: Seminar

Abstract:

Moore’s Law has been the main driver behind the extraordinary success
of computer systems. However, with the technology roadmap showing a
decline in transistor scaling and hence the demise of Moore’s law,
computer systems will be increasingly specialised and diverse. The
consistent ISA contract is beginning to break down. As it stands,
software will simply not fit. Current compiler technology, whose role
is to map software to the underlying hardware is incapable of doing
this. This looming crisis requires a fundamental rethink of how we
design, program and use heterogeneous systems. This talk proposes a
new way of tackling heterogeneity so that, rather than deny and fear
the end of Moore’s law, we embrace and exploit it.

Speaker Bio:

Michael O’Boyle is a Professor of computer science at the University
of Edinburgh. He is best known for his work in incorporating machine
learning into compilation and parallelization, automating the design
and construction of optimizing technology. He has published over 100
papers and received three best paper awards. He was presented with
the ACM CGO Test of Time award in 2017. He is a founding member of
HiPEAC, the Director of the ARM Research Centre of Excellence at
Edinburgh and Director of the EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in
Pervasive Parallelism. He is a senior EPSRC Research Fellow and a
Fellow of the BCS.

Nathan Carter (Bentley University): Lurch: software for immediate feedback for students in a first proof course (School Seminar)

Event details

  • When: 25th September 2018 14:00 - 15:00
  • Where: Cole 1.33a
  • Series: School Seminar Series
  • Format: Seminar

Abstract:

Lurch is an open-source word processor that can check the steps in students’ mathematical proofs. Users write in a natural language, but mark portions of a document as meaningful, so the software can distinguish content for human readers from content it should analyze.

This talk begins with an overview of the most recent release of the system, the ways in which it impacts students’ learning of mathematical proofs, and how it needs to be improved in the future. I will then cover how we are making those improvements in the next version, which will lead naturally to an introduction of the Lurch Web Platform, a foundational set of tools that we will use to bring the project to the web.

That platform is available on GitHub for other mathematical software developers to use in their own projects. It includes a web editor with mathematical typesetting, an interface for marking up documents with mathematical (or other structured) meaning, OpenMath support, meaning visualization tools, and document dependence and sharing features, among others.

Speaker Bio:

Nathan Carter uses computer science to advance mathematics. He writes open source mathematics software for university mathematics education, in areas including mathematical logic and abstract algebra visualization. He is a past winner of the Mathematical Association of America’s Henry L. Alder Award for Distinguished Teaching by a Beginning College or University Mathematics Faculty Member and his first book, Visual Group Theory, won the 2012 Beckenbach Book Prize from that same society. His second book, Introduction to the Mathematics of Computer Graphics, was published in 2016. His current book project will be an edited volume entitled Data Science for Mathematicians, intended to help mathematics faculty make the transition into teaching and doing research in the fast-growing field of data science.

Matthew Rice (Open Rights Group): Do we need the Third Sector in the debate about technology and ethics? (School Seminar)

Event details

  • When: 1st May 2018 14:00 - 15:00
  • Where: Cole 1.33a
  • Series: School Seminar Series
  • Format: Seminar

Abstract:

Matthew Rice, Scotland Director for the Open Rights Group, the digital rights campaigning organisation, will lead a seminar discussing the role of civil society organisations in the discourse of technology, rights, regulation, and norms. Computer Scientists sit at an important point in this debate, as individuals affected by changes in norms, but more importantly as builders of the applications and the infrastructure that reflect these norms.

The seminar will discuss the impact civil society has on changing norms and laws around the world, and why these actors matter in the space between governments, companies, and wider society. It will introduce students to the Open Rights Group, the UK’s only technology and human rights grassroots campaigning organisation on t, and its current work in the area of technology and human rights.

Digital technology has transformed the way we live and opened up limitless new ways to communicate, connect, share and learn across the world. But for all the benefits, technological developments have created new threats to our human rights. The Open Rights Group raise awareness of these threats and challenge them through public campaigns, legal actions, policy interventions and tech projects.

Arnau Erola (Oxford): Corporate Insider Threat Detection (School Seminar)

Event details

  • When: 24th April 2018 14:00 - 15:00
  • Where: Cole 1.33a
  • Series: School Seminar Series
  • Format: Seminar

Abstract:

It is widely recognised that the threat to enterprises from insider activities is increasing, and that significant costs are being incurred. Since insider threat and compromising actions can take a multitude of forms, there is a diverse experience and understanding of what insider threats are, and how to detect or prevent them. We investigate the potential for detection of insider threat activities within a large enterprise environment using monitoring tools centred around the information infrastructure. In this seminar we will review our experiences and lessons learnt from the implementation and trial of the Corporate Insider Threat Detection (CITD) tool in real organizations, not only from a technical perspective, but also from the legal and ethical aspects.

Speaker Bio:

Dr Arnau Erola is a cyber security expert with strong background in data analytics, machine learning, data mining and information privacy. He is currently a Research Fellow at the Cyber Analytics group of Oxford University, working on enterprise security, defence systems and better understanding the cyber-threat landscape. Dr Erola holds a Ph. D., M. Sc. and B.Sc. in Computer Science from the Rovira i Virgili University of Tarragona (URV). He is author of several international journal articles on online privacy, anonymity protocols and intrusion detection mechanisms.

Marwan Fayed (St Andrews): Quality of Experience Fairness for Adaptive Video Streams in the Network (School Seminar)

Event details

  • When: 17th April 2018 14:00 - 15:00
  • Where: Cole 1.33a
  • Series: School Seminar Series
  • Format: Seminar

Abstract:

“Why is my kid getting HD on their phone, while I’m stuck with SD on my 50″ TV?” This type of complaint is among the most common directed to streaming services such as Netflix and BBC. Recent studies observe that adaptive video streams, when competing behind a bottleneck link, generate flows that lead to instability, under-utilization, and unfairness. Additional measurements suggest there may also be a negative impact on users’ perceived quality of experience as a consequence. The intuitive response may be, and has been, that application-generated issues should be resolved by the application. In this presentation I shall demonstrate that fairness, by any definition, can only be solved in the network. Moreover, that in an increasingly HTTP-S world, some form of client interaction is required. In support, a new network-layer ‘QoE-fairness’ metric will be be introduced that reflects user experience. Experiments using our open-source implementation in the home environment reinforce the network-layer as the right place to attack the general problem.

Refs-

[1] http://dl.ifip.org/db/conf/networking/networking2015/1570066341.pdf
[2] https://dl.acm.org/citation.cfm?id=2940144

Speaker Bio:
Marwan Fayed joined the University of St Andrews in 2018. He received his MA from Boston University and his PhD from the University of Ottawa, in 2003 and 2009 respectively, and in between worked at Microsoft as a member of the Core Reliability Group. In 2009 he joined the University of Stirling, UK as Scottish Informatics and Computer Science Alliance (SICSA) Lecturer, alongside an appointment to ‘Theme Leader’ for networking research in Scotland, 2014-2016. His current research interests lie in wireless algorithms, as well as general network, transport, and measurement in next generation edge networks. He is a co-founder of HUBS C.i.C., an ISP focussed on rural communities, recipient of an IEEE best paper award, and a Senior Member of both the IEEE and ACM.

Alice Miller (Glasgow): Probabilistic model checking for UAV strategy generation (School Seminar)

Event details

  • When: 10th April 2018 14:00 - 15:00
  • Where: Cole 1.33a
  • Series: School Seminar Series
  • Format: Seminar

Abstract:

I will describe how the PRISM model checker was used to generate strategies for an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV), specifically to determine search strategies for a UAV trying to find objects within a grid, for a range of scenarios. Parameters and probabilities for our models were informed by simulation models developed in the School of Engineering’s Micro Air Systems Technologies (MAST) Laboratory. Our generated controllers can now be used within the simulation models (and ultimately in UAV controller software).

This is joint work with colleagues from the Schools of Computing Science (Gethin Norman, Ruth Hoffmann and Ruben Giaquinta) and the School of Engineering (Murray Ireland).

Speaker Bio:

Alice Miller is a Senior Lecturer in Computing Science at the University of Glasgow. She works in Formal Methods and Graph Theory, with a particular interest in Symmetry. Before working at Glasgow she worked at the Universities of Western Australia, East Anglia and Stirling.

Elliott Brooks (The HUT Group): Technology at The HUT Group (School Seminar)

Event details

  • When: 3rd April 2018 14:00 - 15:00
  • Where: Cole 1.33a
  • Series: School Seminar Series
  • Format: Seminar

Abstract:

The HUT Group have a variety of engineering, UX and data science teams solving real-world customer and logistics problems. This presentation looks at a variety of solutions applied across the business, from continuous release processes to warehouse layout approaches.

Speaker Bio:

Elliott graduated from CS at St Andrews in 2016, and now works within the research and development team at THG.

Karen Petrie (Dundee): A case study of Facebook use: outlining a multi-layer strategy for higher education (School Seminar)

Event details

  • When: 20th February 2018 14:00 - 15:00
  • Where: Cole 1.33a
  • Series: School Seminar Series
  • Format: Seminar

Abstract:

Many students are looking to appropriate social networking sites, amongst them, Facebook, to enhance their learning experience. A growing body of literature reports on the motivation of students and staff to engage with Facebook as a learning platform as well as mapping such activities to pedagogy and curricula. This talk will look through some of the pitfalls of Facebook in HE. I will then present student opinions of the use of a Facebook strategy within higher education through the use of focus groups.

Speaker Bio:

Karen completed her BSc hons degree at St Andrews University in 2000. In the past 17 years she has had a varied carrier that has seen her at: The University of Leeds, The University of Huddersfield, NASA Ames in California, University College Cork, St Andrews University and Oxford University. She is now the Associate Dean for Learning and Teaching at the University of Dundee. In this role she focuses on the student experience for the students who are studying: Anatomy, Biomedical Engineering, Civil Engineering, Computing, Electronic Engineering, Forensic Anthropology, Mathematics and Physics.

Kitty Meeks (Glasgow): Exploiting structure in multi-layer networks: a case study on motif counting (School Seminar)

Event details

  • When: 14th February 2018 14:00 - 15:00
  • Where: Cole 1.33a
  • Series: School Seminar Series
  • Format: Seminar

Abstract:

Many real-world systems are most naturally modelled by “multi-layer” networks, which allow for different types of connections between entities; it is therefore important to develop efficient algorithms to extract information from such networks. However, most existing results concerning the structural properties of graphs/networks which allow us to solve NP-hard problems efficiently consider only the case of a “single-layer” graph (in which each pair of vertices is either adjacent or not). A natural question to ask is whether, if each individual layer has well-understood structure which allows the design of efficient algorithms, we can still exploit this structure to solve problems on the combined, multi-layer network. We address this question for the specific problem of counting small substructures in the network: in most cases the problem becomes intractable on the combined network, but we identify one case in which structural restrictions on the individual layers can be exploited effectively.

This is joint work with Jessica Enright (University of Stirling).

Speaker Bio:

Kitty Meeks obtained her PhD from the University of Oxford in 2013, and from 2012 to 2014 worked as a Postdoctoral Research Assistant at Queen Mary University of London. She joined the University of Glasgow in 2014, initially to the School of Mathematics and Statistics, before moving across the road to the School of Computing Science in 2016. She currently holds a Royal Society of Edinburgh Personal Research Fellowship for the project “Exploiting Realistic Graph Structure”.

Kami Vaniea (Edinburgh): Usable Security: From URLs to Updates (School Seminar)

Event details

  • When: 6th February 2018 14:00 - 15:00
  • Where: Cole 1.33a
  • Series: School Seminar Series
  • Format: Seminar

Abstract:

Usable security is about exploring the relationship between the tools
which are supposed to keep people safe and the ways that people interact
with them. In this talk, I will be discussing two of my recent projects:
URL readability and reasons for avoiding software updates. URLs are a
nearly ubiquitous method of telling another person where to find
content. They are used extensively in emails, social networking and
other communications. The security community complains about people
clicking on fraudulent URLs, yet surprisingly little is known about how
people parse and interpret them. Similarly, software updates are
becoming a common feature of using a computing device, many of which
demand to be updated daily, if not hourly. Security experts agree that
installing updates is one of the best ways to stay safe, yet many people
avoid updating. I will discuss studies my lab has run on both of these
topics.

Speaker Bio:

Dr Kami Vaniea is a Lecturer at the University of Edinburgh studying
human factors of security and privacy. She heads the Technology
Usability Lab In Privacy and Security (TULIPS) which looks at many
different aspects of usability, prvaicy and security including
educational game design, internet of things, and software updating.
Previously Dr Vaniea was an Assistant Professor at Indiana University, a
post doc researcher at Michigan State University and completed her PhD
at Carnegie Mellon University.

Cecilia Mascolo (Cambridge): Systems, Models and Learning: From mobile devices to mobile data (School Seminar)

Event details

  • When: 30th January 2018 14:00 - 15:00
  • Where: Cole 1.33a
  • Series: School Seminar Series
  • Format: Seminar

Abstract:

This talk concentrates on our efforts over the years to make the harvesting of relevant data from mobile devices accurate and efficient, to allow on device data interpretation and to produce models able to interpret the data so that it can be exploited for a wide range of applications. In this sense I will describe specifics of our work which range from fitting mobile sensing inference on devices and how we are able to exploit local device heterogeneous computation resources efficiently to data analytics for mobile health and urban computing. I will discuss challenges and opportunities of the field throughout the talk.

Speaker Bio:

Cecilia Mascolo is a mother of a teenage daughter. She is also Full Professor of Mobile Systems in the Computer Laboratory, University of Cambridge, UK, a Fellow of Jesus College Cambridge and a Faculty Fellow at the Alan Turing Institute for Data Science in London. Prior joining Cambridge in 2008, she has been a faculty member in the Department of Computer Science at University College London. She holds a PhD from the University of Bologna. Her research interests are in human mobility modelling, mobile and sensor systems and networking and spatio-temporal data analysis. She has published in a number of top tier conferences and journals in the area and her investigator experience spans projects funded by Research Councils and industry. She has received numerous best paper awards and in 2016 was listed in “10 Women in Networking /Communications You Should Know”. She has served as steering, organizing and programme committee member of mobile, sensor systems, networking, data science conferences and workshops. She has delivered a number of keynote talks at conferences and workshops in the area of mobility, data science, pervasive computing and systems. She is Associate Editor in Chief for IEEE Pervasive Computing and sits on the editorial boards of IEEE Transactions on Mobile Computing, ACM Transactions on Sensor Networks and ACM Transactions on Interactive, Mobile, Wearable and Ubiquitous Technologies. More details at www.cl.cam.ac.uk/users/cm542.

Adriana Wilde (St Andrews): Rising to challenges in assessment, feedback and encouraging gender diversity in computing (School Seminar)

Event details

  • When: 23rd January 2018 14:00 - 15:00
  • Where: Cole 1.33a
  • Series: School Seminar Series
  • Format: Seminar

Abstract

This talk is in two parts, in the first of which Adriana will focus on her experiences in assessment and feedback in large classes, and in the second part on her work in encouraging gender diversity in computer science.

The focus of the first part will be on her involvement in redesigning an undergraduate module on HCI, where the methods of assessment used were no suitable for increasingly larger classes (up to 160 students). Redesign decisions needed to preserve the validity and reliability of the assessment whilst respecting the need for timely feedback. Adriana will specifically talk about the exam and coursework, and how learning activities in the module were aligned to the assessment, through the use of PeerWise for student-authored MCQs, and the use of video for assessment to foster creativity and application of knowledge. During the talk, there will be an opportunity for discussion on the challenges then encountered.

A (shorter) second part of the talk will present her experiences in supporting women in computing, starting with a very small-scale intervention with staff and students at her previous institution, and concluding with her engagement at the Early Career Women’s Network in St Andrews.

Edgar Chavez (CICESE): The Metric Approach to Reverse Searching (School Seminar)

Event details

  • When: 5th December 2017 14:00 - 15:00
  • Where: Cole 1.33a
  • Series: School Seminar Series
  • Format: Seminar

Abstract:
Searching for complex objects (e.g. images, faces, audio or video), is an everyday problem in computer science, motivated by many applications. Efficient algorithms are demanded for reverse searching, also known as query by content, in large repositories. Current industrial solutions are ad hoc, domain-dependant, hardware intensive and have limited scaling. However, those disparate domains can be modelled, for indexing and searching, as a metric space. This model has been championed to become a solution to generic proximity searching problems. In practice, however, the metric space approach has been limited by the amount of main memory available.

In this talk we will explore the main ideas behind this technology, present a successful example in audio indexing and retrieval. The application scales well for large amounts of audio because the representation is quite compact and the full audio streams are not needed for indexing and searching.

Speaker Bio:
Edgar Chavez received his Phd from the Center for Mathematical Research in Guanajuato, Mexico in 1999. He founded the information retrieval group at Universidad Michoacana where he worked until 2012. After a brief period in the Institute of Mathematics in UNAM, he joined the computer science department in CICESE in 2013, where he founded the data science group. His main research interest include access and retrieval of data and data representation, such as fingerprints and point clouds. In 2009 he obtained the Thompson-Reuters award for having the most cited paper in computer science in Mexico and Latin America. In 2008 he co-funded, with Gonzalo Navarro, the conference Similarity Search and Applications, which is an international reference in the area. He has published more than 100 scientific contributions, with about 3500 citations in google scholar.

Siobhán Clarke (Trinity College Dublin): Exploring Autonomous Behaviour in Open, Complex Systems (School Seminar)

Event details

  • When: 29th November 2017 14:00 - 15:00
  • Where: Cole 1.33a
  • Series: School Seminar Series
  • Format: Seminar

Abstract:
Modern, complex systems are likely to execute in open environments (e.g., applications running over the Internet of Things), where changes are frequent and have the potential to cause significant negative consequences for the application. A better understanding of the dynamics in the environment will enable applications to better automate planning for change and remain resilient in the face of loss of data sources through, for example, mobility or
battery loss. This talk explores our recent work on autonomous applications in such open, complex systems. The approaches include a brief look at early work on more static, multi-layer system and change modelling, through to multi-agent systems that learn and adapt to changes in the environment, and finally collaborative models for emergent behaviour detection, and for resource sharing. I discuss the work in the context of smart cities applications, such as transport, energy and emergency response.

Speaker Bio:
Siobhán Clarke is a Professor in the School of Computer Science and Statistics at Trinity College Dublin. She joined Trinity in 2000, having previously worked for over ten years as a software engineer for IBM. Her current research focus is on software engineering models for the provision of smart and dynamic software services to urban stakeholders, addressing challenges in the engineering of dynamic software in ad hoc, mobile environments. She has published over 170 papers including in journals such as IEEE/ACM Transactions (TAAS, TSC, TSE, TECS, TMC, TODAES) and conference proceedings including in ICSE, OOPSLA, AAMAS, ICSOC, SEAMS, SASO. She is a Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) Principal Investigator, exploring an Internet of Things middleware for adaptable, urban-scale
software services.

Prof. Clarke is the founding Director of Future Cities, the Trinity Centre for Smart and Sustainable Cities, with contributors from a range of disciplines, including Computer Science, Statistics, Engineering, Social Science, Geography, Law, Business and the Health Sciences. She is also Director for Enable, a national collaboration between industry and seven Higher Education Institutes funded by both SFI and the industry partners, which is
focused on connecting communities to smart urban environments through the Internet of Things. Enable links three SFI Research Centres: Connect, Insight and Lero, bringing together world-class research on future networks, data analytics and software engineering.

Prof. Clarke leads the School’s Distributed Systems Group, and was elected Fellow of Trinity College Dublin in 2006.

Emma Hart (Edinburgh Napier): Lifelong Learning in Optimisation (School Seminar)

Event details

  • When: 14th November 2017 14:00 - 15:00
  • Where: Cole 1.33a
  • Series: School Seminar Series
  • Format: Seminar

Abstract:

The previous two decades have seen significant advances in optimisation techniques that are able to quickly find optimal or near-optimal solutions to problem instances in many combinatorial optimisation domains. Despite many successful applications of both these approaches, some common weaknesses exist in that if the nature of the problems to be solved changes over time, then algorithms needs to be at best periodically re-tuned. In the worst case, new algorithms may need to be periodically redeveloped. Furthermore, many approaches are inefficient, starting from a clean slate every time a problem is solved, therefore failing to exploit previously learned knowledge.

In contrast, in the field of machine-learning, a number of recent proposals suggest that learning algorithms should exhibit life-long learning, retaining knowledge and using it to improve learning in the future. I propose that optimisation algorithms should follow the same approach – looking to nature, we observe that the natural immune system exhibits many properties of a life-long learning system that could be exploited computationally in an optimisation framework. I will give a brief overview of the immune system, focusing on highlighting its relevant computational properties and then show how it can be used to construct a lifelong learning optimisation system. The system exploits genetic programming to continually evolve new optimisation algorithms, which form a continually adapting ensemble of optimisers. The system is shown to adapt to new problems, exhibit memory, and produce efficient and effective solutions when tested in both the bin-packing and scheduling domains.

Speaker Bio:

Emma Hart is a Professor in Natural Computation at Edinburgh Napier University in Scotland, where she also directs the Centre for Algorithms, Visualisation and Evolving Systems. Prior to that, she received a degree in Chemistry from the University of Oxford and a PhD in Artificial Immune Systems for Optimisation and Learning from the University of Edinburgh.

Her research focuses on developing novel bio-inspired techniques for solving a range of real-world optimisation and classification problems, particularly through the application of hyper-heuristic approaches and genetic programming. Her recent research explores optimisation techniques which are capable of continuously improving through experience, as well as ensemble approaches to optimisation for solving large classes of problems.

She is Editor-in-Chief of the journal Evolutionary Computation (MIT Press), ) and an elected member of the ACM SIGEVO Executive Committee. She also edits SIGEVOlution, the magazine of SIGEVO. She was General Chair of PPSN 2016, and regularly acts as Track Chair at GECCO . She has recently given keynotes at EURO 2016, Poland, and IJCCI (Maderia, 2017) on Lifelong Optimisation.

Her work is funded by both national funding agencies (EPSRC) and the European, where has recently led projects in Fundamentals of Collective Adaptive System (FOCAS) and Self-Aware systems (AWARE). She has worked with a range of real-world clients including from the Forestry Industry, Logistics and Personnel Scheduling.

Jessie Kennedy (Edinburgh Napier): Visualization and Taxonomy (School Seminar)

Event details

  • When: 7th November 2017 14:00 - 15:00
  • Where: Cole 1.33a
  • Series: School Seminar Series
  • Format: Seminar

Abstract:

This talk will consider the relationship between visualization and taxonomy from two perspectives. Firstly, how visualization can aid understanding the process of taxonomy, specifically biological taxonomy and the visualization challenges this poses. Secondly, the role of taxonomy in understanding and making sense of the growing field of visualization will be discussed and the challenges facing the visualization community in making this process more rigorous will be considered.

Speaker Bio:

Jessie joined Edinburgh Napier University in 1986 as a lecturer, was promoted to Senior Lecturer, Reader, and then Professor in 2000 Thereafter she held the post of Director of the Institute for Informatics and Digital Innovation from 2010-14 and is currently Dean of Research and Innovation for the University.

Jessie has published widely, with over 100 peer-reviewed publications and over £2 million in research funding from a range of bodies, including EPSRC, BBSRC, National Science Foundation, and KTP, and has had 13 PhD students complete. She has been programme chair, programme committee member and organiser of many international conferences, a reviewer and panel member for many national and international computer science funding bodies, and became a Member of EPSRC Peer Review College in 1996 and a Fellow of the British Computer Society.

Jessie has a long-standing record of contribution to inter-disciplinary research, working to further biological research through the application of novel computing technology.

Her research in the areas of user interfaces to databases and data visualisation in biology contributed to the establishment of the field of biological visualisation. She hosted the first biological visualisation workshop at the Royal Society of Edinburgh in 2008, was an invited speaker at a BBSRC workshop on Challenges in Biological Visualisation in 2010, was a founding member of the International Symposium in Biological Visualisation – being Programme Chair in 2011, General Chair in 2012 and 2013 – and steering committee member since 2014.

She has been keynote speaker at related international conferences and workshops, such as VIZBI, the International Visualisation conference and BioIT World, and is currently leading a BBSRC network on biological visualisation.

Her research in collaboration with taxonomists at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Edinburgh, produced a data model for representing differing taxonomic opinions in Linnaean classification. This work led to collaboration on a large USA-funded project with ecologists from six US universities and resulted in a data standard for the exchange biodiversity data that has been adopted by major global taxonomic and biodiversity organisations.

Barnaby Martin (Durham): The Complexity of Quantified Constraints (School Seminar)

Event details

  • When: 24th October 2017 14:00 - 15:00
  • Where: Cole 1.33a
  • Series: School Seminar Series
  • Format: Seminar

Abstract:

We elaborate the complexity of the Quantified Constraint Satisfaction Problem, QCSP(A), where A is a finite idempotent algebra. Such a problem is either in NP or is co-NP-hard, and the borderline is given precisely according to whether A enjoys the polynomially-generated powers (PGP) property. This reduces the complexity classification problem for QCSPs to that of CSPs, modulo that co-NP-hard cases might have complexity rising up to Pspace-complete. Our result requires infinite languages, but in this realm represents the proof of a slightly weaker form of a conjecture for QCSP complexitymade by Hubie Chen in 2012. The result relies heavily on the algebraic dichotomy between PGP and exponentially-generated powers (EGP), proved by Dmitriy Zhuk in 2015, married carefully to previous work of Chen.

Mark Olleson (Bloomberg): Super-sized mobile apps: getting the foundations right (School Seminar)

Event details

  • When: 17th October 2017 14:00 - 15:00
  • Where: Cole 1.33a
  • Series: School Seminar Series
  • Format: Seminar

Abstract:
An email client. An instant messenger. A real-time financial market data viewer and news reader. A portfolio viewer. A note taker, file manager, media viewer, flight planner, restaurant finder… All built into one secure mobile application. On 4 different mobile operating systems. Does this sound challenging?
Mark from Bloomberg’s Mobile team will discuss how conventional development tools and techniques scale poorly when faced with this challenge, and how Bloomberg tackles the problem.

Speaker Bio:
Mark Olleson is a software engineer working in Bloomberg’s Mobile Professional team. Mark start developing iOS apps around the time the original iPad launched, and since has worked on projects which share common characteristics: scale and complexity. Today he specialises in large-scale and cross-platform mobile-app technology.

Semantics for probabilistic programming, Dr Chris Heunen

Semantics for probabilistic programming, Dr Chris Heunen

03.10.17, 1pm, Room JCB 1.33B

Abstract: Statistical models in e.g. machine learning are traditionally
expressed in some sort of flow charts. Writing sophisticated models
succintly is much easier in a fully fledged programming language. The
programmer can then rely on generic inference algorithms instead of
having to craft one for each model. Several such higher-order functional
probabilistic programming languages exist, but their semantics, and
hence correctness, are not clear. The problem is that the standard
semantics of probability theory, given by measurable spaces, does not
support function types. I will describe how to get around this.

Maja Popović (Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin): (Dis)similarity Metrics for Texts (School Seminar)

Event details

  • When: 29th September 2017 13:00 - 14:00
  • Where: Cole 1.33a
  • Series: School Seminar Series
  • Format: Seminar

Abstract:
Natural language processing (NLP) is a multidisciplinary field closely related to linguistics, machine learning and artificial intelligence. It comprises a number of different subfields dealing with different kinds of analysis and/or generation of natural language texts. All these methods and approaches need some kind of evaluation, i.e. comparison between the obtained result with a given gold standard. For tasks dealing with text generation (such as speech recognition or machine translation), a comparison between two texts has to be carried out. This is usually done either by counting matched words or word sequences (which produces a similarity score) or by calculating edit distance, i.e. a number of operations needed to transform the generated word sequence into a desired word sequence (which produces a “dissimilarity” score called “error rate”). The talk will give an overview of advantages, disadvantages and challenges related to this type of metrics mainly concentrating on machine translation (MT) but also relating to some other NLP tasks.

Speaker bio:
Maja Popović graduated at the Faculty of Electrical Engineering, University of Belgrade and continued her studies at the RWTH Aachen, Germany, where she obtained her PhD with the thesis “Machine Translation: Statistical Approach with Additional Linguistic Knowledge”. After that, she continued her research at the DFKI Institute and thereafter at the Humboldt University of Berlin, mainly related to various approaches for evaluation of machine translation. She has developed two open source evaluation tools, (i) Hjerson, a tool for automatic translation error classification, and (ii) chrF, an automatic metric for machine translation evaluation based on character sequence matching.

SRG Seminar: “Simulating a pulmonary tuberculosis infection using a network-based metapopulation model” by Michael Pitcher and “A Fake City of People: Modeling the Co-evolution of City and Citizens” by Xue Guo

Event details

  • When: 28th September 2017 13:00 - 14:00
  • Where: Cole 1.33b
  • Series: School Seminar Series, Systems Seminars Series
  • Format: Seminar

Event details
When: 28th September 2017 13:00 – 14:00
Where: Cole 1.33b
Series: Systems Seminars Series
Format: Seminar

Michael Pitcher’s abstract

Tuberculosis (TB) is one of the world’s most deadly infectious diseases, claiming over 1.4 million lives every year. TB infections typically affect the lungs and treatment regimens are long and arduous, requiring at least 6 months of daily chemotherapy. Previous investigations have shown TB to have unique localisations within the lung at varying stages of infection. The initial implant and the primary lesion which arises from it can occur anywhere in the lungs, with a greater probability of occurrence in the lower to middle regions of the lung. However, reactivation of a previously latent form of disease always involves cavitation of the tissue at the apical regions. This difference in spatial location of TB infections suggests two important factors: i) bacteria are able to disseminate across the lung in some manner, and ii) the environment at the top of the lung has some properties that make it preferential for TB replication.

In this project, we aim to build a whole-organ model of the lung and surrounding lymphatics which incorporates both bacterial dissemination possibilities and lung tissue spatial heterogeneity in order to understand their impact on TB. We develop ComMeN (Compartmentalised Metapopulation Network), a Python framework designed to allow the easy creation of complex network-based metapopulations with spatial heterogeneity upon which interaction dynamics can be applied, with discrete event modelling using the Gillespie Algorithm. We then extend this framework to create a TB-specific model, PTBComMeN, which models a TB infection occurring over lung tissue which is divided into patches, each of which contains spatial attributes appropriate to its position in the lung, such as ventilation, perfusion and oxygen tension. Events dictate the interactions between cells and bacteria and their interaction with the environment, with dissemination occurring between edges joining patches on the lung network. This model allows experimentation into studying the effects spatial heterogeneities and bacterial dissemination may have on the progression of disease and the model is designed to provide insight into the factors that result in long treatment times for TB.

Xue Guo’s abstract

By the year 2050, the global urban population will reach 2.5 billion. While the fast pace of urbanisation brings improved quality of life initially, the surging population will inevitably lead to unique urban issues. Emerging research fields, with the aim of creating smarter cities, plan to counteract these problems. To facilitate this research, we need solid models to generate ’fake cities’, which cannot be easily produced by existing random graph algorithms due to spatial constraints. Therefore, we propose a new model for the co-evolution of city and population, which can show how street network forms, how population spreads and how settlements emerge and diminish. The new model will be a random city generator, which could be used to backtrack the history and predict the future of a city, or act as test cases for the validation and evaluation of urban optimisation algorithms.

Daniel Sorin (Duke University): Designing Formally Verifiable Cache Coherence Protocol (School Seminar)

Event details

  • When: 26th September 2017 14:00 - 15:00
  • Where: Cole 1.33a
  • Series: School Seminar Series
  • Format: Seminar

Abstract:
The cache coherence protocol is an important but notoriously complicated part of a multicore processor. Typical protocols are far too complicated to verify completely and thus industry relies on extensive testing in hopes of uncovering bugs. In this work, we propose a verification-aware approach to protocol design, in which we design scalable protocols such that they can be completely formally verified. Rather than innovate in verification techniques, we use existing verification techniques and innovate in the design of the protocols. We present two design methodologies that, if followed, facilitate verification of arbitrarily scaled protocols. We discuss the impact of the constraints that must be followed, and we highlight possible future directions in verification-aware microarchitecture.

Speaker Bio:
Daniel J. Sorin is the Addy Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Duke University. His research interests are in computer architecture, with a focus on fault tolerance, verification, and memory system design. He is the author of “Fault Tolerant Computer Architecture” and a co-author of “A Primer on Memory Consistency and Cache Coherence.” He is the recipient of a SICSA Distinguished Visiting Fellowship, a National Science Foundation Career Award, and Duke’s Imhoff Distinguished Teaching Award. He received a PhD and MS in electrical and computer engineering from the University of Wisconsin, and he received a BSE in electrical engineering from Duke University.

Felipe Meneguzzi (PUCRS): Plan Recognition in the Real World (School Seminar)

Event details

  • When: 19th September 2017 14:00 - 15:00
  • Where: Cole 1.33a
  • Series: School Seminar Series
  • Format: Seminar

Abstract:
Plan and goal recognition is the task of inferring the plan and goal of an agent through the observation of its actions and its environment and has a number of applications on computer-human interaction, assistive technologies and surveillance.
Although such techniques using planning domain theories have developed a number of very accurate and effective techniques, they often rely on assumptions of full observability and noise-free observations.
These assumptions are not necessarily true in the real world, regardless of the technique used to translate sensor data into symbolic logic-based observations.
In this work, we develop plan recognition techniques, based on classical planning domain theories, that can cope with observations that are both incomplete and noisy and show how they can be applied to sensor data processed through deep learning techniques.
We evaluate such techniques on a kitchen video dataset, bridging the gap between symbolic goal recognition and real-world data.

Speaker Bio:
Dr. Felipe Meneguzzi is a researcher on multiagent systems, normative reasoning and automated planning. He is currently an associate professor at Pontifícia Universidade Católica do Rio Grande do Sul (PUCRS). Prior to that appointment he was a Project Scientist at the Robotics Institute at Carnegie Mellon University in the US. Felipe got his PhD at King’s College London in the UK and an undergraduate and masters degree at PUCRS in Brazil. He received the 2016 Google Research Awards for Latin America, and was one of four runners up to 2013 Microsoft Research Awards. His current research interests include plan recognition, hybrid planning and norm reasoning.

Slides from the talk

Seeing the Wood for the Trees – Essential Structure in Model-based Search by Prof. John McCall

Event details

  • When: 4th April 2017 14:00 - 15:00
  • Where: Cole 1.33
  • Series: School Seminar Series
  • Format: Seminar

Problem structure, or linkage, refers to the interaction between variables in a black-box fitness function. Discovering structure is a feature of a range of search algorithms that use structural models at each iteration to determine the trajectory of the search. Examples include Information Geometry Optimisation (IGO), Covariance Matrix Adaptation Evolution Strategy (CMA-ES), Bayesian Evolutionary Learning (BEL) and Estimation of Distribution Algorithms (EDA).

In particular, EDAs use probabilistic graphical models to represent structure learned from evaluated solutions. Various EDA approaches using trees, directed acyclic graphs and undirected graphs have been developed and evaluated on a range of benchmarks with a variety of representations.
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Multi-modal Indoor Positioning: Trends and Challenges by Prof. Niki Trigoni, Oxford University

Event details

  • When: 8th November 2016 14:00 - 15:00
  • Where: Cole 1.33
  • Series: School Seminar Series
  • Format: Seminar, Talk

Abstract:

GPS has enabled a number of location based services outdoors, but the problem of localisation remains open in GPS-denied environments, such as indoors and underground. In this talk, I will discuss the key challenges to accurate and robust position estimation, and will describe a variety of sensor modalities and algorithms developed at Oxford to address this problem.

The talk will cover inertial, radio-based and vision-based localisation approaches and their advantages and disadvantages in different settings.

 

Short Bio:

Niki Trigoni is a Professor at the Oxford University Department of Computer Science and a fellow of Kellogg College. She obtained her PhD at the University of Cambridge (2001), became a postdoctoral researcher at Cornell University (2002-2004), and a Lecturer at Birkbeck College (2004-2007). Since she moved to Oxford in 2007, she established the Sensor Networks Group, and has conducted research in communication, localization and in-network processing algorithms for sensor networks. Her recent and ongoing projects span a wide variety of sensor networks applications, including indoor/underground localization, wildlife sensing, road traffic monitoring, autonomous (aerial and ground) vehicles, and sensor networks for industrial processes.

Quicker Sort by Dietmar Kühl, Bloomberg L.P.

Event details

  • When: 25th October 2016 14:30 - 15:30
  • Where: Cole 1.33
  • Series: School Seminar Series
  • Format: Seminar, Talk

 

Abstract:

Quicksort is a well-known sorting algorithm used to implement sort functionality in many libraries. The presentation isn’t really about the algorithm itself but rather about how to actually create an efficient implementation of the algorithm: a text-book implementation of the algorithm actually is not that quick (even if the pivot is chosen cleverly). It takes paying some attention to detail to improve the implementation significantly. This presentation starts with a simple implementation and makes incremental improvements to eventually yield a proper generic and fast sorting function. All code will be in C++ but it should be possible to follow the majority of the reasoning with knowledge of another programming language.

 

Short Bio:

Dietmar Kühl is a senior software developer at Bloomberg L.P. working on the data distribution environment used both internally and by enterprise installations at clients. Before joining Bloomberg he has done mainly consulting for software projects in the finance area. He is a regular attendee of the ANSI/ISO C++ standards committee, presents at conferences, and he used to be a moderator of the newsgroup comp.lang.c++.moderated. He frequently answers questions on Stackoverflow.

Running Before We have Evolved Legs: The Gap Between Theory and Practice in Evolutionary Algorithms by Prof. John McCall

Event details

  • When: 11th October 2016 14:00 - 15:00
  • Where: Cole 1.33
  • Series: School Seminar Series
  • Format: Seminar

Abstract:

Evolutionary algorithms (EA) has developed as an academic discipline since the 1960s. The subject has spawned major subfields such as swarm intelligence and genetic programming and is applied to a wide variety of practical real world problems in science medicine and engineering. EAs are often the only practical method of solving large combinatorial optimisation problems and have achieved best-known results on a variety of benchmark problems. The global academic EA community is highly active, supporting several large international conferences and high-quality international journals. Despite this activity, sustained over decades, the community has struggled to make significant progress on developing a satisfactory theory of EAs. At the same time, substantial progress has been made on developing more sophisticated EAs that are ever more powerful but ever less amenable to theoretical study. In this talk I will outline some of the main approaches to a theory of EAs and illustrate the gap between those EAs that can be theoretically analysed by those approaches and EAs that are being used in practice. I will conclude with some interesting current developments and key open questions.

 

Short Bio:

John McCall is a Professor of Computing Science at Robert Gordon University.  He works in the Computational Intelligence research group, which he founded in 2003. He has over twenty years research experience in naturally-inspired computing.  His research focuses on the study and analysis of a range of naturally-inspired optimization algorithms (genetic algorithms, particle swarm optimisation, ant colony optimisation, estimation of distribution algorithms etc.) and their application to difficult learning and optimisation problems, particularly real-world problems arising in complex engineering and medical / biological systems. Application areas of this research include medical decision support, data modeling of drilling operations, analysis of biological sequences, staff rostering and scheduling, industrial process optimization and bio-control. He has over 90 publications in books, journals and conferences. He has successfully supervised 13 PhD students and has examined over 15 PhD theses.

School Seminar: “The path to Cellular IoT and the promise of 5G” by Frankie Garcia

Event details

  • When: 27th September 2016 14:00 - 15:00
  • Where: Cole 1.33a
  • Series: School Seminar Series
  • Format: Seminar

The School of Computer Science welcomes Frankie Garcia from Keysight Technologies, Edinburgh. Frankie Garcia

Abstract: Over the last two decades we have witnessed an unprecedented growth in the number of Internet-connected devices via the Cloud (storage, compute and intelligent analytics) generally referred to as the Internet of Things (IoT). This includes both machine-to-machine (M2M) and machine-to-person communications on a massive scale. While this growth has been fuelled through standardisation and engineering of short range wireless systems such as Bluetooth, Wi-Fi and Zigbee, cellular technologies promise wide area coverage, ease of deployment and low-cost/low-energy devices capable of operating for many years on a small battery. However, IoT technologies based on existing cellular systems are not optimized to support the huge number of simultaneous connections needed for widespread adoption. To achieve this, radical changes are required in protocol layer design, radio access techniques, and future integrated platforms that can scale and handle millions of devices efficiently. These devices will themselves exhibit a diverse set of requirements with respect to reliability, latency and availability. For these reasons, Cellular IoT has become one of the most important use case drivers in the evolution of future 5G technologies and architectures.

In this talk we will briefly introduce the audience to existing cellular standards and systems to support IoT communications, including their strengths and limitations. We will then cover the path towards more efficient cellular technologies being developed today under 3GPP, focusing heavily on Narrowband IoT (NB-IoT). This will be followed by a short introduction to 5G mobile network evolution needed to reduce signalling overheads and cater for a diversity of IoT use cases. This evolution is driven by tried and tested technologies used for virtualisation such as Software Defined Networking (SDN) and Network Function Virtualisation (NFV). “Slicing”, is a much discussed design principle that that includes logical access, compute, storage and networking for on demand architectures tailored to individual service requirements. Finally, we will present the development of an agile SDR platform targeting experimentation and prototyping of NBIoT systems.

Bio: Educated at Lancaster University, Frankie Garcia is currently Master Scientist with Keysight Technologies in Edinburgh. In addition he is project scientist with Agilent Technologies and over the last two years he has been working on adaptive radio technologies focusing on test and measurements tools and validation tools for the complex interactions that take place between the PHY and MAC layer of such adaptive radios. In particular his focus has been on Mobile WiMAX and presently on LTE.

His experience, based on academic and industrial research labs settings is quite broad raging from distributed systems, protocol engineering, high speed communications, multimedia systems, wireless sensor networks, adaptive radio and QoS.

He is a Visiting Professor at Strathclyde University, Department of Electronic and Electrical Engineering.

Elise van den Hoven : Materialising Memories: a design research programme to study everyday remembering

Event details

  • When: 20th April 2016 14:00 - 15:00
  • Where: Cole 1.33a
  • Series: School Seminar Series
  • Format: Seminar

Abstract


Perhaps the term computer ‘memory’ has led people to believe that human memory has to be perfect and infallible. Many people worry when they realise they forget and some turn to recording and collecting as much as they can, e.g. photos or videos through life logging. Some people assume that by collecting they can avoid forgetting or at least have access to the information anytime later. And that is where they might be wrong. First of all, recordings are not equivalent to memories, and memories ‘can not be stored’. Secondly it has already been shown that people collect too much and organize too little for them to be able to find information later [1]. Thirdly, human memory works best when we forget… a lot.

What I want to talk about is my vision [2] that we can use design research to support human remembering by supporting our memory’s functions [3], which include a directive function (using the past to guide present and future thoughts and behaviours, e.g. solving problems), a self-representative function (creating a sense of self over time) and a social function (developing and nurturing relationships, through sharing of personal experiences). It is important to realise that in order to support these functions there is no need to improve our remembering capabilities, however it could benefit from the right type of support. Since remembering is a reconstructive process, individual memories are subject to change, continuously, and what someone experiences as a memory does not have to be the same as what happened or what other people remember from the experience.

Bits of information from the original experience can be used to stimulate and facilitate the reconstruction process. These so-called memory cues [4], which can be anything: from a photo, a song to a person or a location, are at the core of our research. We use a people-centred approach to study memory cues in everyday life, which informs the design of interactive systems that present these memory cues. Since these cues are often digital, while people prefer material objects [e.g. 5], we combine material and digital in our studies and designs.

  1. Whittaker, S., Bergman, O., and Clough, P. Easy on that trigger dad: a study of long term family photo retrieval. Personal and Ubiquitous Computing 14,1 (2010), 31-43.
  2. Hoven, E. van den. A future-proof past: Designing for remembering experiences. Memory Studies 7, 3 (2014), 373-387.
  3. Bluck, S., Alea, N., Habermas, T., and Rubin, D. C. A tale of three functions: The self–reported uses of autobiographical memory. Social Cognition 23, 1 (2005), 91-117.
  4. Hoven, E. van den, and Eggen, B. The Cue is Key: Design for Real-Life Remembering. Zeitschrift für Psychologie 222, 2 (2014), 110-117.
  5. Golsteijn, C., Hoven, E. van den, Frohlich, D., and Sellen, A. Towards a More Cherishable Digital Object. In Proc. DIS 2012, ACM Press (2012), 655-664.

 

Bio

Professor Dr Elise van den Hoven MTD is full Professor in the School of Software, Faculty of Engineering and Information Technology, University of Technology Sydney (UTS) and part-time Associate Professor in the Department of Industrial Design, Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e). She has two honorary appointments: Honorary Senior Research Fellow in Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design, University of Dundee and Associate Investigator with the Australian Research Council’s Centre of Excellence in Cognition and its Disorders.

Her research interests span different disciplines, including human-computer interaction, design and psychology, including people-centred design, designing interactive systems, physical interaction and supporting human remembering.

Professor Van den Hoven leads the international research programme Materialising Memories, a collaboration between UTS, TU/e and the University of Dundee, which uses a design research approach to study people in their everyday remembering activities in order to come up with ways to support them.

www.elisevandenhoven.com
www.materialisingmemories.com

Daniel Archambault : Effective Visualisation of Static and Dynamic Graphs

Event details

  • When: 12th April 2016 14:00 - 15:00
  • Where: Cole 1.33a
  • Series: School Seminar Series
  • Format: Seminar

Abstract

Visualising dynamic graphs is important for many application areas.  For social media networks, they can help us understand the interaction and interests of users online.  In biology, they can illustrate the interactions between genes and biological processes.  Understanding and designing effective visualisation methods for dynamic network data is fundamental to these areas as well as many others.  In this talk, we focus on the effective presentation of dynamic networks.  In particular, we summarise recent results on dynamic graph visualisation with respect to animation (presentation of interactive movies of the data), small multiples (presenting the data through several linked windows like a comic book), and drawing stability (the visual stability of the data presentation).  We conclude with some recent work on scalable graph visualisation and in the visualisation of sets and their intersections.

Biography

Daniel Archambault has been working in the field of information visualization for ten years. His work in this area has focused on the development and evaluation of techniques for visualizing dynamic networks and scalable graph visualizations.  His research has been been applied to many areas outside of computer science, including the digital humanities, biology, networking, sociology, and social media analysis.

Keith Cheverst: Investigating the Shared Curation of Locative Media relating to the Local History of a Rural Community

Event details

  • When: 5th April 2016 14:00 - 15:00
  • Where: Cole 1.33a
  • Series: School Seminar Series
  • Format: Seminar

Abstract

In this talk I will present experiences and insights from our studies involving locative media, local history and community. Our work in the village of Wray has involved the longitudinal and ‘in the wild’ deployment of ‘digital noticeboard’ displays (conceived as technology probes) that support the sharing of photos/images. A significant portion of the submitted photo content relates to Wray’s local history and features of Wray’s landscape. Residents of the village have helped shape the system through involvement in co-design workshops. A key motivation of our current studies (as part of the SHARC project) is to explore issues around the co-curation of locative media experiences. A field trial (involving both residents and visitors) and a design workshop revealed both opportunities and challenges for the co-curation approach.

Bio

Dr Keith Cheverst is a Reader in HCI at Lancaster University where he obtained his PhD in 1999. Keith has also held the position of visiting scientist at Newcastle University’s Culture Lab, at Microsoft Research, Cambridge (working with the Socio-Digital systems group), and at the University of Melbourne (Department of Computing and Information Systems).

Keith’s primary research focus is in exploring the obdurate problems associated with the user-centered design of interactive systems in complex or semi-wild settings and the deployment and longitudinal study of these systems in order to gain insights into issues of user adoption and appropriation. He is particularly interested in the design interactive systems that feature locative media and associated mobile/pervasive technologies

School Seminar ‘Closure Experiences in Digital Product Design’ by Joe Macleod

Event details

  • When: 29th March 2016 14:00 - 15:00
  • Where: Cole 1.33
  • Series: School Seminar Series
  • Format: Seminar, Talk

“Closure Experiences in Digital Product Design. The loss of the resolution in the shop of abundance”

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Abstract
Most experiences in life are punctuated by a closure experience. In the past these were profound; however, over generations we have distanced ourselves from meaningful closure experiences thanks to our lifestyles increasing in comfort, the church weakening and medicine advancing. This has seemingly freed us from the shackles of the ultimate closure experience – death – and sanctioning our personal pursuit of heaven on earth in the form of consumption. We are now encouraged to drunkenly stumble from purchase to purchase, with any sense of longevity and responsibility removed. Long term side effects of this are exampled in the Product, Service and Digital landscapes that we frequent. The consequences of our behaviour results in a changing climate, industries fined billions for mis-selling and individuals casually eroding their personal online reputations. Many of us are active in the creation of services, products or digital products; making them attractive, engaging and usable for consumers, but we often overlook concluding these experiences for the user in a responsible way. Closure Experiences offers a model to frame this change.

Bio
Joe Macleod has been working in the mobile design space since 1998 and has been involved in a pretty diverse range of projects. At Nokia he helped develop some of the most streamlined packaging in the world, he created a hack team to disrupt the corporate drone of powerpoint, produced mobile services for pregnant women in Africa and pioneered lighting behavior for millions of phones. For the last four years he has been key to establishing ustwo as the UKs best digital product studio, with 180 people globally in London, New York, Sydney and Sweden, while also successfully building education initiatives, curriculums and courses on the back of the IncludeDesign campaign which launched in 2013. He now works independently on projects and has recently established established Closure Experiences, a new business looking at issues around consumption, consumerism and designing the end of things.

Seminar: “Data Exploration on Smart watches” by Dr Rachel Menzies

Event details

  • When: 23rd February 2016 14:00 - 15:00
  • Where: Cole 1.33
  • Series: School Seminar Series
  • Format: Seminar, Talk

rachel menzies

Abstract:

For many of us, interacting with data on mobile devices such as phones and tablets is commonplace in our lives, e.g. phone call data, TV guide, maps, fitness and wearable data. With the introduction of smart watches, the screen size of mobile devices has dramatically decreased. This reduction in screen real estate provides challenges for the design of interfaces, including the presentation and exploration of data visualisations. Using bar charts as an example, this presentation will explore the shortcomings of current zooming techniques on very small screens and consider proposed guidelines for the development of simple data exploration applications. Key design features such as the need for overview and context will be considered in respect to a simple and effective data exploration task.

 

Biography:

Rachel Menzies is a lecturer and Head of Undergraduate Studies (Computing) at the School of Science and Engineering at the University of Dundee. Her research interests include user centred design with marginalised user groups, such as users with disabilities, as well as exploring novel interfaces, data visualisation and CS education. Rachel is an Accessibility and Usability Consultant with the Human Centred Computing Consultancy, run by the University of Dundee, and has worked for many large international clients as well as providing bespoke training sessions to small companies.

School Seminar: ‘Probabilistic Formal Analysis of App Usage to Inform Redesign’ by Oana Andrei

Event details

  • When: 9th February 2016 14:00 - 15:00
  • Where: Cole 1.33a
  • Series: School Seminar Series
  • Format: Seminar

The School of Computer Science are delighted to welcome Dr Oana Andrei, from the University of Glasgow, to give her talk on Probabilistic Formal Analysis of App Usage to Inform Redesign.

Oana-portrait-180width

Abstract: Good design of mobile apps is challenging because users are seldom homogeneous or predictable in the ways they navigate around and use the functionality presented to them. Recently we set out a process of app analysis intended to support understanding of use but also redesign using probabilistic model checking. In this talk I will show how to infer admixture models of activity patterns from various time cuts of app usage logs, characterise the activity patterns by probabilistic temporal logic properties using model checking, and compare the admixture models longitudinally and structurally. I will illustrate this work via a case study of a mobile app presenting analytic findings and discussing how they are feeding into redesign. We had posited that two activity patterns indicated two separable sets of users, each of which might benefit from a differently tailored app version, but our subsequent analysis detailed users’ interleaving of activity patterns over time – evidence speaking more in favour of redesign that supports each pattern in an integrated way. We uncover patterns consisting of brief glances at particular data and recommend them as possible candidates for new design work on widget extensions: small displays available while users use other apps.

Bio: Oana Andrei is a Research Fellow at the School of Computing Science, University of Glasgow. Her research interests involve fundamental aspects of theoretical computer science, mainly formal modelling and analysis of concurrent and stochastic systems. The applications I study concern mobile app analytics, vehicular networks, sensor systems, biochemical networks, and autonomic computing.

 

School Seminar ‘Paraphrase Generation from Latent-Variable PCFGs for Semantic Parsing’ by Shashi Narayan

Event details

  • When: 26th January 2016 14:00 - 15:00
  • Where: Cole 1.33
  • Series: School Seminar Series
  • Format: Seminar, Talk

Abstract:

One of the limitations of semantic parsing approaches to open-domain question answering is the lexicosyntactic gap between natural language questions and knowledge base entries — there are many ways to ask a question, all with the same answer. In this paper we propose to bridge this gap by generating paraphrases to the input question with the goal that at least one of them will be correctly mapped to a correct knowledge-base query. We introduce a novel grammar model for paraphrase generation that does not require any sentence-aligned paraphrase corpus. Our key idea is to leverage the flexibility and scalability of latent-variable probabilistic context-free grammars to sample paraphrases. We do an extrinsic evaluation of our paraphrases by plugging them into a semantic parser for Freebase. Our evaluation experiments on WebQuestions benchmark dataset show that the performance of the semantic parser significantly improves over strong
baselines.

Bio:

Shashi Narayan is a research associate at School of Informatics at the University of Edinburgh. He is currently working with Shay Cohen onthe problems of spectral methods for parsing and generation. Before,he earned his doctoral degree in 2014 from Université de Lorraine,under the supervision of Claire Gardent. He received Erasmus MundusMasters scholarship (2009-2011) in Language and CommunicationTechnology (EM-LCT). He did his major in Computer Science and Engineeringfrom Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Kharagpur India. He is interested in the application of syntax and semantics to solvevarious NLP problems, in particular, natural language generation,parsing, sentence simplification, paraphrase generation and questionanswering.

Seminar: “Interaction, Embodiment and Technologies in Early Learning” by Dr Andrew Manches

Event details

  • When: 24th November 2015 14:00 - 15:00
  • Where: Cole 1.33a
  • Series: School Seminar Series
  • Format: Seminar, Talk

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Abstract: 

 

Most of us might agree that ‘hands-on learning’ is good for children in the early years. But why? Is it simply more fun and sociable, or are there any more direct cognitive benefits? And what determines definitions of ‘hands-on’? Can we include iPads? This talk will draw upon an ESRC-funded project to examine the educational implications of recent theoretical arguments about the embodied nature of cognition. Video data from the project will be used to illustrate the methodological significance of the way children gesture when describing mathematical concepts and evaluate a hypothesis that numerical development is grounded upon two particular embodied metaphors. If correct, this presents a serious challenge to traditional approaches to the types of learning materials we offer children. The talk then demonstrates two embodied technologies to consider the potential of new forms of digital interaction to further our understanding of embodied cognition as well as support early learning.

 

 Bio:  

 

Dr Andrew Manches is a Chancellor’s Fellow in the School of Education and leads the Children and Technology group at the University of Edinburgh.  He has 20 years experience working with children, first as a teacher, then as an academic. His recent research, funded by an ESRC Future Research Leader grant, focuses on the role of interaction in thinking, and the implications this has for early learning and new forms of technology.  When not being an academic, Andrew is a parent of two young children and directs an early learning technology start-up that was awarded a SMART grant this year to build an early years maths tangible technology.

Seminar: ‘How to deliver Software Projects and be a Brilliant Software Developer’ by Howard Simms (Apadmi)

Event details

  • When: 3rd November 2015 14:00 - 15:00
  • Where: Cole 1.33a
  • Series: School Seminar Series
  • Format: Seminar

Abstract:

This talk will cover a wide range of issues in the practical aspects of delivering software projects, including cohesion and coupling, design patterns, software engineering models, and native vs. hybrid apps. The second part will give an overview of the desirable and undesirable attributes of software developers and how to make your career future proof.

Howard Simms

 

Bio:

 

With more than 15 years’ experience working in the mobile industry, creating technology solutions, building brilliant teams, and delivering continual growth, Howard’s journey at the forefront of one of the world’s most dynamic and exciting technology booms has been exhilarating.

 

 

About Apadmi:

Apadmi is now the UK’s leading mobile software development company, working with organisations such as the NHS and the BBC, as well as a range of business including Lexus and Skyscanner. The business has also spun out technology companies in several different areas, including Market Research, Retail, Loyalty schemes within football and the Internet of Things.
Apadmi has now launched Apadmi Ventures, a formalisation of their spinout business model that is bringing their technical excellence, experience and significant investment capacity to all business sectors.

Seminar: ‘Trading Programs – How the Finance industry has become so complex that today’s products are similar to programs’ by Joel Bjornson

Event details

  • When: 20th October 2015 14:00 - 15:00
  • Where: Cole 1.33a
  • Series: School Seminar Series
  • Format: Seminar

Abstract:

In this presentation, we’ll explore the ways in which Bloomberg uses functional programming to solve financial problems. In particular, we’ll focus on the challenges involved in the development of the Bloomberg Derivatives Library – an application for structuring and pricing financial contracts.

Bio:

Joel Bjornson is a developer at the Bloomberg Derivatives Library team, specializing in the usage of OCaml for modelling financial contracts. Joel has been interested in functional programming since discovering Haskell at an introductory programming course in university.

 

Seminar: ‘Measuring Personalization of Online Services’ by Alan Mislove

Event details

  • When: 13th October 2015 14:00 - 15:00
  • Where: Cole 1.33a
  • Series: School Seminar Series
  • Format: Seminar

The School of Computer Science is delighted to welcome Alan Mislove from Northeastern University Boston to give his talk on ‘Measuring Personalization of Online Services

Abstract: Today, many web services personalize their content, including Netflix (movie recommendations), Amazon (product suggestions), and Yelp (business reviews). In many cases, personalization provides advantages for users: for example, when a user searches for an ambiguous query such as “router,” Amazon may be able to suggest the woodworking tool instead of the networking device. However, personalization is rarely transparent (or even labeled), and has the potential be used to the user’s disadvantage. For example, on e-commerce sites, personalization could be used to manipulate the set of products shown (price steering) or by customizing the prices of products (price discrimination). Unfortunately, today, we lack the tools and techniques necessary to be able to detect when personalization is occurring, as well as what inputs are used to perform personalization.

In this talk, I discuss my group’s recent work that aims to address this problem. First, we develop a methodology for accurately measuring when web services are personalizing their content. While conceptually simple, there are numerous details that our methodology must handle in order to accurately attribute differences in results to personalization (as opposed to other sources of noise). Second, we apply this methodology to two domains: Web search services (e.g., Google, Bing) and e-commerce sites (e.g., BestBuy.com, Expedia). We find evidence of personalization for real users on both Google search and nine of the popular e-commerce sites. Third, using fake accounts, we investigate the effect of user attributes and behaviors on personalization; we find that the choice of browser, logging in, and a user’s previously content can significantly affect the results presented.

Bio: Alan Mislove is an Associate Professor at the College of Computer and Information Science at Northeastern University. He received his Ph.D. from Rice University in 2009. Prof. Mislove’s research concerns distributed systems and networks, with a focus on using social networks to enhance the security, privacy, and efficiency of newly emerging systems. He is a recipient of an NSF CAREER Award (2011), and his work has been covered by the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, and the CBS Evening News.

This seminar is part of our ongoing series from researchers in HCI. See here for our current schedule.

Seminar: ‘Formalizing Garbage: Mathematical Models of Memory Management’ by Jeremy Singer

Event details

  • When: 6th October 2015 14:00 - 15:00
  • Where: Cole 1.33a
  • Series: School Seminar Series
  • Format: Seminar, Talk

Abstract:

Garbage collection is no longer an esoteric research interest. Mainstream programming languages like Java and C# rely on high-performance memory managed run time systems. In this talk, I will motivate the need for rigorous models of memory management to enable more powerful analysis and optimization techniques. I will draw on a diverse range of topics including thermodynamics, economics, machine learning and control theory.

Bio:

Jeremy Singer is a lecturer at the School of Computing Science, University of Glasgow, Scotland. He has research interests in programming languages,compilation, run time code optimization and memory management. Singer received his PhD from Cambridge in 2006. Website:http://www.dcs.gla.ac.uk/~jsinger

 

Seminar: ‘Designing trusted and engaging forms of peer to peer healthcare’ by Pam Briggs

Event details

  • When: 29th September 2015 14:00 - 15:00
  • Where: Cole 1.33a
  • Series: School Seminar Series
  • Format: Seminar

The School of Computer Science are delighted to welcome Pam Briggs from Northumbria University, Newcastle who will deliver her talk on Trust and Engagement.

Abstract: Patients now generate a significant amount of online material about health.  This raises questions about how we should design websites featuring patient knowledge and experience in order to ensure those sites provide a good match to patient needs.  In this presentation I describe a structured participatory methodology for the development and evaluation of a set of patient experience websites that took place over three phases, consistent with experience based co-design:

(1) a capture phase in which we wBriggs_Pamorked with patients to understand their reactions to existing websites; (2) an understand phase in which we translated this information into a patient-engagement framework and accompanying set of design guidelines and (3) an improve phase, where we used these guidelines to create three new health websites that were then assessed as patient experience interventions in a range of empirical studies.

Bio: Pam holds a Chair in Applied Psychology, delivering innovative research and consultancy around issues of identity, trust and security in new social media. Her research seeks answers to three main questions: Why and when do we feel secure in disclosing sensitive identity information about ourselves? What makes us trust an electronic message? How and when do we seek to protect our privacy?

In the last five years, Pam has published over forty articles on human perceptions of trust, privacy and security in computer-mediated communication and has recently developed, with colleagues, an innovative model of health advice-seeking online (ESRC funded). She has given a number of invited addresses on online trust and e-health, including an invited address on e-health to the World Health Summit 2009, the opening address at the Second International Conference on Privacy, Security and Trust (Canada) and the keynote to the 2010 IFIP Trust Management conference in Morioka, Japan. She has been a member of ESRC’s fellowship and CASE studentship committees and has recently made a contribution to the Govt. Office for Science’s Technology Foresight programme on the Future of Identity. She is currently a member of EPSRC’s new Identity Futures Network and also EPSRC’s Cybersecurity Network. She is one of the founder members of the UK’s new ‘Science of Cybersecurity’ Institute, funded by GCHQ in association with RCUK’s Global Uncertainty Programme.

This seminar is part of our ongoing series from researchers in HCI. See here for our current schedule.

Seminar: ‘Disrupting trillion dollar industries using low power wireless sensor networks’ by Raphael Scheps and Gideon Farrell

Event details

  • When: 22nd September 2015 14:00 - 15:00
  • Where: Cole 1.33a
  • Series: School Seminar Series
  • Format: Seminar

Abstract:
Some of the world’s most important industries are intrinsically grounded in the physical world, yet their interaction with it is still almost completely manual. Converge is a young startup, forged in the fires of Entrepreneurs First, that is building wireless, distributed sensor networks to revolutionise how these industries operate. We (Raph and Gideon, founders) will talk about our tech (and what makes it a fun challenge to build), the difficulties of working in enormous and complex industries and our first 10 months as a company.

Bio:
Gideon and Raphael co-founded Converge to deal with the huge amounts of data that will be produced by connected devices. Two Physicists from Cambridge, they are obsessed with instrumenting the world with connected sensors to drive a smarter physical environment. Gideon read Astrophysics at the University of Cambridge, and obtained his M.Sci with a thesis on Solar Jets. He has been writing software for over 10 years, working for companies such as Primary Energy Research and Softeam Cadextan. He worked on the first generation of IoT connected sensors at the Georgia Tech Research Institute (The WISP project) in 2009. Raphael read Theoretical Physics, obtaining an M.Math with a thesis on String Theory and Quantum Gravity. He has worked on high speed interconnect within the hardware engineering team at Mellanox as well as the experimental astrophysics team at the Weizmann Institute of Science. He was Vice President at Cambridge University Entrepreneurs, the oldest student entrepreneurship society in Europe. They both met at Cambridge five years ago and started Converge in 2014.

This seminar is part of our ongoing school series. To see all our upcoming seminar follow this link: here.

School Seminar: Efficient Privacy Preserving Data Mining via Secure Computation by Dr Changyu Dong

Event details

  • When: 1st July 2015 14:00 - 15:00
  • Where: Cole 1.33a
  • Series: School Seminar Series
  • Format: Seminar

The School of Computer Science welcomes the opportunity to hear from Dr Changyu Dong, from the Department of Computer and Information Sciences University of Strathclyde, who will be delivering his talk on ‘Efficient Privacy Preserving Data Mining via Secure Computation’. Chanyu Dong

Abstract: Loosely speaking, secure computation allows parties to compute a function jointly while keeping their inputs private. Participants of secure computation learns only the output of the function, but nothing about the others’ private inputs. An oblivious application of secure computation is privacy preserving data mining. Imagine a scenario in which Amazon and Facebook want to find correlations between their users’ activities. With current technology, this cannot happen because none of the companies is willing to disclose its own data to the other. Secure computation can remove this barrier because data remains private during  and after the computation. In the past, secure computation is considered to be only theoretical because of its inefficiency. Recently much effort has been made to make secure computation practical. In this talk, I will present some recent advancements in this area. I will first introduce Private Set Intersection (PSI), an important secure computation primitive, and how it can be realised efficiently. I will show how PSI can be applied to linking record in databases (private record linkage) and finding association rules. I will then show how fully homomorphic encryption, an emerging cryptographic technology, can be used in building efficient secure computation protocols, and in turn be used for privacy preserving data mining.

Bio: Changyu Dong is a lecturer at the University of Strathclyde. He obtained his PhD from the Department of Computing at Imperial College London in 2009. His research is in cyber security, specifically in applied cryptography. Since 2006, He has published 27 research papers in major journals and international conferences, including the most prestigious venues in security such as ACM CCS, ESORICS and Journal of Computer Security. He has served on and chaired program committees for many conferences and workshops, and is a regular invited reviewer for top international journals including Journal of Computer Security, IEEE Transactions on Dependable and Secure Computing and IEEE Transactions on Information Forensics and Security. Shortly after moving to Strathclyde in 2011, he started his research on efficient secure computation. This research direction has led to some breakthroughs in secure computing for Private Set Intersection and Private Information Retrieval protocols, which he applied in domains such as data mining.

Type-driven Verification of Communicating Systems in Idris

Event details

  • When: 7th April 2015 14:00 - 15:00
  • Where: Cole 1.33a
  • Series: School Seminar Series
  • Format: Seminar

Speaker: Edwin Brady

Abstract: Idris (http://idris-lang.org/) is a general-purpose programming language with an expressive type system which allows a programmer to state properties of a program precisely in its type. Type checking is equivalent to formally and mechanically checking a program’s correctness. Introductory examples of programs verified in this way typically involve length preserving operations on lists, or ordering invariants on sorting.

Realistically, though, programming is not so simple: programs interact with users, communicate over networks, manipulate state, deal with erroneous input, and so on. In this talk I will give an introduction to programming in Idris, with demonstrations, and show how its advanced type systems allows us to express such interactions precisely. I will show how it supports verification of stateful and communicating systems, in particular giving an example showing how to verify properties of concurrent communicating systems.

Bio: Edwin Brady is a Lecturer in Computer Science at the University of St Andrews. His research interests include programming language design, in particular type systems and domain specific languages. He leads the design and implementation of the Idris programming language, a general purpose functional programming language with dependent types, which he uses to implement verified domain specific languages. When he’s not doing that, he’s likely to be playing a game of Go, wrestling with the crossword, or stuck on a train somewhere.

 

School Seminars: Building the News Search Engine – Bloomberg

Event details

  • When: 3rd March 2015 14:00 - 15:00
  • Where: Cole 1.33
  • Series: CS Colloquia Series, School Seminar Series
  • Format: Seminar, Talk
Building the news search engine, by Ramkumar Aiyengar, Bloomberg
Abstract:
This talk provides an insight into the challenges involved in providing near real-time news search to Bloomberg customers. Our News team is in the process of migrating to using Solr/Lucene as its search and alerting backend. This talk starts with a picture of what’s involved in building such a backend, then delves into what makes up a search engine, and then discusses the challenges of scaling up for low-latency and high-load.
Bio:
Ramkumar leads the News Search backend team at the Bloomberg R&D office in London. He joined Bloomberg from his university in India and has been with the News R&D team for 7 years now. For the last couple of years, his team has focussed on rewriting almost the entire search/alert backend, used by almost every Bloomberg user to get near-real time access to news with sub-second latencies. A geek at heart, he considers himself a Linux evangelist, an open source enthusiast, and one of those weird creatures who believes that Emacs is an operating system and had once got his music player and playlists to be controlled through a library written in Lisp.

School Seminar Series: Matching in Practice: Junior Doctor Allocation and Kidney Exchange

Event details

  • When: 3rd February 2015 14:00 - 15:00
  • Where: Cole 1.33a
  • Series: School Seminar Series
  • Format: Talk

Matching in Practice: Junior Doctor Allocation and Kidney Exchange by Dr. David Manlove

Abstract:
Matching problems typically involve assigning agents to commodities, possibly on the basis of ordinal preferences or other metrics. These problems have large-scale applications to centralised matching schemes in many countries and contexts. In this talk I will describe the matching problems featuring in two such schemes in the UK that have involved collaborations between the National Health Service and the University of Glasgow. One of these dealt with the allocation of junior doctors to Scottish hospitals (1999-2012), and the other is concerned with finding kidney exchanges among incompatible donor-patient pairs across the UK (2007-date). In each case I will describe the applications, present the underlying algorithmic problems, outline the computational methods for their solution and give an overview of results arising from real data connected with the matching schemes in recent years.

BIO:
David Manlove is a Senior Lecturer at the School of Computing Science, University of Glasgow, where he has been since 1995. His research interests lie mainly in the field of algorithms and complexity, and include algorithms for matching problems involving preferences. These arise in applications such as the assignment of school leavers to universities, kidney patients to donors and junior doctors to hospitals. He and his colleagues have been involved in collaborations with the NHS in relation to the Scottish Foundation Allocation Scheme (for matching junior doctors to hospitals) and the National Living Donor Kidney Sharing Schemes (for enabling kidney “swaps” between incompatible donor-patient pairs) where optimal matching algorithms developed by him and colleagues have been deployed. He has over 50 publications in this area including his book “Algorithmics of Matching Under Preferences”, published in 2013.

School Seminar Series: Statistically Consistent Estimation and Efficient Inference for Natural Language Parsing

Event details

  • When: 21st January 2015 14:00 - 15:00
  • Where: Cole 1.33a
  • Series: School Seminar Series
  • Format: Talk

Statistically Consistent Estimation and Efficient Inference for
Natural Language Parsing
By Shay Cohen, University of Edinburgh.

Abstract:
In the past few years, there has been an increased interest in the machinel earning community in spectral algorithms for estimating models with latent variables. Examples include algorithms for estimating mixture of Gaussians or for estimating the parameters of a hidden Markov model.

The EM algorithm has been the mainstay for estimation with latent variables, but because it is guaranteed to converge to a local maximum of the likelihood, it is not a consistent estimator. Spectral algorithms, on the other hand, are often shown to be consistent. They are often more computationally efficient than EM.

In this talk, I am interested in presenting two types for spectral algorithms for latent-variable PCFGs, a model widely used in the NLP community for parsing. One algorithm is for consistent estimation of L-PCFGs, and the other is for efficient inference with L-PCFGs (or PCFGs). Both algorithms are based on linear-algebraic formulation of L-PCFGs and PCFGs.

BIO:
Shay Cohen is a Chancellor’s fellow (assistant professor) at the University of Edinburgh (School of Informatics). Before that, he was a postdoctoral research scientist in the Department of Computer Science at Columbia University, and held an NSF/CRA Computing Innovation Fellowship. He received his B.Sc. and M.Sc. from Tel Aviv University in 2000 and 2004, and his Ph.D. from Carnegie Mellon University in 2011. His research interests span a range of topics in natural language processing and machine learning, with a focus on structured prediction. He is especially interested in developing efficient and scalable parsing algorithms as well as learning algorithms for probabilistic grammars.

School Seminar: Cloud Platform in Financial Services – Allan Beck, J.P. Morgan

Event details

  • When: 18th November 2014 14:00 - 15:00
  • Where: Cole 1.33
  • Series: School Seminar Series
  • Format: Seminar, Talk

Title: Cloud Platform in Financial Services

Presenter: Allan Beck, Cloud Platform and Strategy Lead from JPMorgan Chase

Abstract: Cloud Computing is revolutionising the delivery of compute services and driving the next generation of web-scale application design. This presents enormous opportunities but also challenges, particularly in heavily regulated sectors such as Financial Services.
Allan Beck, Cloud Platform and Strategy Lead from JPMorgan Chase, will discuss the current approach and challenges to Cloud in Financial Services. This will include an overview of available Cloud services and capabilities, the specific challenges to Cloud in Financial Services (private and public Cloud) and an overview of the next-generation Cloud platform and developer experience at JPMorgan Chase.

School Seminar: Complex Networks and Complex Processes

Event details

  • When: 4th November 2014 14:00 - 15:00
  • Where: Cole 1.33
  • Series: School Seminar Series
  • Format: Talk

Simon Dobson, School of Computer Science, University of St Andrews

Abstract:

Complex networks provide a way of modelling systems with lots of
dependent elements, such as traffic networks or social networks. By
running processes over these networks we can explore how the topology of
the network affects the way the process evolves, and potentially
identify factors that accelerate or impede it. This opens-up
possibilities both for study (science) and control (engineering).

This talk will briefly introduce the mechanics of complex networks and
the processes that run on them, review some recent results we have
obtained, and look to future research programme where we will combine
simulation with sensing to give us new ways of looking at the world.

The Design and Implementation of Feldspar

Event details

  • When: 21st October 2014 14:00 - 20th October 2014 15:00
  • Where: Cole 1.33
  • Series: School Seminar Series
  • Format: Seminar

By: Josef Svenningsson, Chalmers University of Technology, Sweden

Feldspar is a domain specific language with the goal of raising the
level of abstraction for performance sensitive, low-level code.
Feldspar is a functional language embedded in Haskell, which offers a
high-level style of programming. The key to generating generating
efficient code from such descriptions is to use a high-level
optimisation technique called vector fusion. Feldspar achieves
vector fusion for free by employing a particular way of embedding the
language in Haskell by combining deep and shallow embeddings.

Bio: Josef Svenningsson is an Assistant Professor in the Functional
Programming group at Chalmers University of Technology. He has a broad
range of interest and has published papers on wide variety of topics,
including: program analysis, constraint solving, security, programming
language design, testing and high-performance computing.

Talk: Internship Experiences 2014

Event details

  • When: 7th October 2014 14:00 - 15:00
  • Where: Cole 1.33b
  • Series: School Seminar Series
  • Format: Seminar

Many St Andrews CS students do internships in the summer, but we very rarely get the opportunity to learn about them.

If you are interested in what some outstanding fourth year students did this summer, including tips and hints on how to do this yourself, you cannot miss this!

Hear them talk at 2:00pm on Tuesday.

 

Details:

Andrew McCallum worked at Inclusiq on “E-learning games for diversity”

Emily Dick worked at Accenture as a “business and system analysis to help a large government client move from a paper to an online process”

Aleksejs Sazonovs worked at Microsoft Research Cambridge (Systems and Networking group) “using insights gathered from the data, to develop an effective storage and content retrieval policy for OneDrive”

Robert Dixon worked at McLaren Racing using neural networks on a tool to help the race strategy team.

 

The speaker interns at a subsequent meal with the Head of School. From left to right, Steve Linton (HOS), Aleksejs Sazonovs, Robert Dixon, and Andrew McCallum (Emily Dick could not attend the meal).

The speaker interns at a subsequent meal with the Head of School. From left to right, Steve Linton (HOS), Aleksejs Sazonovs, Robert Dixon, and Andrew McCallum (Emily Dick could not attend the meal).

Accelerating Datacenter Services with Reconfigurable Logic

Event details

  • When: 2nd October 2014 12:00 - 13:00
  • Where: Cole 1.33b
  • Series: School Seminar Series
  • Format: Seminar

by Aaron Smith, Microsoft Research

Datacenter workloads demand high computational capabilities, flexibility, power efficiency, and low cost. It is challenging to improve all of these factors simultaneously. To advance datacenter capabilities beyond what commodity server designs can provide, we have designed and built a composable, reconfigurable fabric at Microsoft to accelerate portions of large-scale software services. In this talk I will describe a medium-scale deployment of this fabric on a bed of 1,632 servers, and discuss its efficacy in accelerating the Bing web search engine along with future plans to improve the programmability of the fabric.

Bio: Aaron Smith is a member of the Computer Architecture Group at Microsoft Research. He is broadly interested in optimizing compilers, computer architecture and reconfigurable computing. Over the past 15 years he has led multiple industrial and research compiler projects at Metrowerks/Freescale Semiconductor, The University of Texas at Austin and Microsoft. He received his PhD in Computer Science from UT-Austin in 2009 and is currently serving as co-General Chair of CGO 2015.

Enterprise NoSQL in the BBC

Event details

  • When: 16th September 2014 14:00 - 15:00
  • Where: Cole 1.33a
  • Series: School Seminar Series
  • Format: Seminar

Hear why MarkLogic was chosen as the 2012 Olympic website content store to ingest, store and deliver the data and content assets to the BBC¹s mobile app and thousands of web pages.
Speaker: Paul Preuveneers, Director, Sales Engineering, MarkLogic

Paul Preuveneers has more than 9 years of development experience with MarkLogic, with expertise in running software teams as well as spearheading the European office of MarkLogic UK. Paul Preuveneers joined MarkLogic from Elsevier Science, where he led the Agile Development Team, working on leading edge products including the many CONSULT sites and the main strategic elsevierhealth.com site. Trained in Extreme Programming and Agile Techniques, Paul has been on the forefront of many of the most innovative applications using MarkLogic in Europe. Prior to Elsevier Science, Paul held positions at Action Information Management and gained his Bsc in Computer Science at Southampton University.

Big data, the Cloud and the future of computing by Dr Kenji Takeda, Microsoft Research

Event details

  • When: 5th August 2014 14:00 - 15:00
  • Where: Cole 1.33a
  • Series: School Seminar Series
  • Format: Seminar

Abstract: We live in an information society, with cloud computing is changing the way we live, work and play in a world of devices and services. In this talk we’ll explore what, why and how this new era of computing is changing the way we think about conceiving, developing and delivering software and services. We’ll then look at how the concept of Big Data is transforming science, and the opportunities it presents for the future.

Bio: Dr Kenji Takeda is Solutions Architect and Technical Manager in Microsoft Research. He is currently focussed on Azure for Research and Environmental Science tools and technologies. The Azure for Research programme currently supports over 300 projects worldwide, including two at the University of St Andrews – see

http://www.azure4research.com

Kenji has extensive experience in Cloud Computing, High Performance and High Productivity Computing, Data-intensive Science, Scientific Workflows, Scholarly Communication, Engineering and Educational Outreach. He has a passion for developing novel computational approaches to tackle fundamental and applied problems in science and engineering.

Design Frontiers in Parallel Languages: The Role of Determinism

Event details

  • When: 12th June 2014 14:00 - 15:00
  • Where: Cole 1.33a
  • Series: School Seminar Series
  • Format: Seminar

Constraints can be a source of inspiration; their role in creative art forms is well-recognized, with poetry as the quintessential example.  We argue that the requirement of determinism can play the same role in the design of parallel programming languages. This talk describes a series of design explorations that begin with determinism as the constraint, introduce the concept of monotonically-changing concurrent data structures (LVars), and end in some interesting places—flirting with the boundaries to yield quasideterminism, and revealing synergies between parallel effects, such as cancelation and memoization, when used in a deterministic context.

Our goal is for guaranteed-deterministic parallel programming to be practical and efficient for a wide range of applications. One challenge is simply to integrate the known forms of deterministic-by-construction parallelism, which we overview in this talk: Kahn process networks, pure data-parallelism, single assignment languages, functional programming, and type-effect systems that enforce limited access to state by threads. My group, together with many others around the world, are developing libraries such as LVish and Accelerate that add these capabilities to the programming language Haskell. It is early days yet, but already possible to build programs that mix concurrent, lock-free data structures, blocking data-flow, callbacks, and GPU-based data-parallelism, without ever compromising determinism or referential transparency.

Doing Research in the Wild – Paul Marshall, UCL

Event details

  • When: 1st April 2014 14:00 - 15:00
  • Where: Maths Theatre B
  • Series: School Seminar Series

Abstract: There has been
significant growth in interest in ‘research in the wild’ as an approach to
developing and understanding novel technologies in real world contexts.
However, the concept remains underdeveloped and it is unclear how it differs
from previous technology deployments and in situ studies. In this talk, I will
attempt an initial characterisation of research in the wild. I will discuss
some of the benefits of studying novel technologies in situ as well as some of
the challenges inherent in encouraging and studying sustained use.

Bio: Paul Marshall is a lecturer in interaction design in the UCL
Interaction Centre. His research interests focus on understanding how
ubiquitous computing technologies are used in everyday contexts such as the
home, in education or in public spaces. Prior to joining UCL he worked as a
post doc at the University of Warwick (2010-11) researching participatory
design approaches in healthcare and at the Open University (2006-10) where he
ran ethnographic and laboratory studies of shareable interfaces and sensory
extension devices. He completed a PhD project on learning with tangible
interfaces as part of the Equator project at the University of Sussex, and
prior to that a BSc (Hons) in psychology at the University of Edinburgh.

Cigna: Technology enabling Health & Well being provision across the Globe

Event details

  • When: 4th March 2014 14:00 - 15:00
  • Where: Maths Theatre B
  • Series: School Seminar Series
  • Format: Seminar

Cigna – a global health services company is dedicated to helping those we serve to improve their health and well being. Cigna provides globally connected healthcare services with access to a global network of clinical providers through leveraging the use of pioneering and innovative technology. Find out how you can get engaged and join the team driving innovation in Healthcare!

Maths Lecture Theatre B
Time: 14:00 to 15:00
Date: Tuesday 4th March

Cybersecurity for Critical Infrastructure

Event details

  • When: 18th February 2014 14:00 - 15:00
  • Where: Maths Theatre B
  • Series: School Seminar Series
  • Format: Seminar

Cybersecurity for Critical Infrastructure, or ‘how to break into a nuclear power station for fun & profit’

Dr Richard Gold, Cisco Systems, UK

Cyber Security for Critical Infrastructures such as the power grid, oil & gas pipelines and dams has become a hot topic since the Stuxnet malware attack against the nuclear enrichment centrifuges in Iran. However, due to intrinsic issues with the field of Critical Infrastructure (a.k.a., ICS or SCADA), it is difficult to deploy standard IT security solutions “as is” to these systems. In this talk I discuss the problems associated with deploying effective security processes in Critical Infrastructures, the various types of security holes which these system contain and a step-by-step approach to exploiting a Critical Infrastructure installation. Thinking from the attacker’s perspective allows us to get an insight into how these systems are vulnerable and how a potential attacker might exploit them.

Evaluation of Network Resilience and Survivability: Analysis, Simulation, Tools, and Experimentation by James P. G. Sterbenz, ITTC, University of Kansas

Event details

  • When: 28th January 2014 14:00 - 15:00
  • Where: Maths Theatre B
  • Series: School Seminar Series
  • Format: Seminar

As the Internet becomes increasingly important to all aspects of society, the consequences of disruption are increasingly severe. Thus it is critical to increase the resilience and survivability of the future networks in general, and the Internet in particular. We define resilience as the ability of the network to provide desired service even when the network is challenged by attacks, large-scale disasters, and other failures. Resilience subsumes the disciplines of survivability, fault-tolerance, disruption-tolerance, traffic-tolerance, dependability, performability, and security. After an introduction to the disciplines and challenges to network resilience, this presentation will discuss analytical, simulation, and experimental emulation techniques for understanding, evaluating, and improving the resilience of the Future Internet. This includes a multilevel state-space based approach that plots network service delivery against operational state that is the basis for both mathematical- and simulation-based analysis, and graph-theoretic complex-system approaches that embed fundamental properties such as redundancy and diversity into all aspects of network structure, mechanism, and protocols. A set of tools to help in this analysis has been developed: KU-LoCGen (Location and Cost-Constrained Topology Generation), KU-TopView (Topology Viewer), and KU-CSM (Challenge Simulation Module). Plans to experimentally evaluate resilience include using the international programmable testbed GpENI: Great Plains Environment for Network Innovation. A new composable, cross-layered resilient transport protocol (ResTP) and geodiverse multipath routing protocol (GeoDivRP) are being developed.

Evolution of our existing institutional research information infrastructure : a facilitator for Open Science?

Event details

  • When: 19th November 2013 14:00 - 15:00
  • Where: Purdie Theatre C
  • Series: School Seminar Series

Anna Clements, Head of Research Data and Information Services, University of St Andrews.

Open Science’ seems to be one of the hottest topics around with organisations and funders from the G8 downwards stressing the importance of open data in driving everything from global innovation through to more accountable governance; not to mention the more direct possibility that non-compliance could result in research grant income drying up.
Here at St Andrews we have had an institutional research information system (CRIS) since 2006 which has evolved in tandem with the rapidly changing research policies and slower cultural shifts towards more and more open access to research outputs, outcomes and impact. But, we now face, perhaps, the biggest challenge so far in determining the extent to which Institutional infrastructure and services can support this transition to an ‘open by default’ culture. I will argue that this challenge cannot be met without researchers engaging with the debate and driving the agenda forward with the support services here at St Andrews – there is a joint responsibility very clearly articulated in the EPSRC policy framework on research data. So there will be some suggestions on what we could do by building on our existing infrastructure, including examples of best practice from elsewhere, but also an invitation to the audience for suggestions on how to respond to this incessant and increasing clamour for access to research outputs and, in particular, research data.

Intellectual Property – What, why, and how?

Event details

  • When: 5th November 2013 14:00 - 15:00
  • Where: Purdie Theatre C
  • Series: School Seminar Series
  • Format: Seminar

Dr Alan Boyd and Dr Nicholas Malden, D Young & Co LLP (Patent Attorneys)
Intellectual Property – What, why, and how?
In many technological fields, especially computer science, output isn’t a physical object that can be sold, but is an idea or an expression of an idea that comes from your mind. But how can industry take advantage of such ideas or expressions, and what’s to stop a competitor from simply copying your hard work and benefiting from it at your expense? In this talk, we’ll take you through the basics of Intellectual Property (IP) and look at how it can be used by a computer scientist, its importance to new start-ups and large multinationals alike, and also introduce you to the patent attorney profession. We’ll give you a chance to try your hand at writing a patent claim, and we’ll give a prize to the best one!

Some Limits of Language: A Perspective from Formal Grammars and Languages by Prof Arvind Joshi, School of Engineering and Applied Science, University of Pennsylvania, USA

Event details

  • When: 15th October 2013 14:00 - 15:00
  • Where: Purdie Theatre C
  • Series: School Seminar Series
  • Format: Seminar

Limits of language can be studied from various perspectives such as morphology, syntax, and semantics, among others. At the syntactic level, one direction that has been pursued very actively is via the theory of formal languages, beginning with the so-called Chomsky hierarchy. In this hierarchy, the finite state languages (regular languages) and the context free languages (CFL) have been studied very extensively, leading to many important results relevant to syntax as well as parsing. At the same time, inadequacy of these two classes of grammars (languages) for capturing natural languages has been well documented by now.
A careful look at the pumping lemma for context free languages led to the discovery of the so-called tree adjoining grammars (TAG) and to the notion of mildly context sensitive languages (MCSL), which has served as a framework for showing equivalences among other systems (such as Combinatory Categorial Grammars, CCG and Head Grammars (HG), for example). This has led to a deeper understanding of the limits of language, more specifically, by trying to provide an answer to the question: how far do we need to be beyond CFL to achieve syntactic adequacy.
I will try to describe some of this recent work by a number of researchers in the past few years.

Aravind Joshi did his undergraduate work in India and his graduate work at the University of Pennsylvania in Electrical Engineering, while simultaneously attending some courses in Linguistics at the same University. Since 1961 he has been a faculty member in the Department of Computer and Information Science and the Department of Linguistics. At present, he is a Professor of Computer and Cognitive Science and a Member of the Institute for Research in Cognitive Science.
Besides working on some problems in the mathematics of language, at present, he is involved in a project on discourse annotation, jointly with Bonnie Webber (Edinburgh U.) and Rashmi Prasad (U. Wisconsin), for creating the Penn Discourse Treebank (PDTB).

St Andrews Students – Experience with Industrial Internships

Event details

  • When: 1st October 2013 14:00 - 15:00
  • Where: Purdie Theatre C
  • Series: School Seminar Series
  • Format: Seminar

Internships are fantastic opportunities to gain some practical experience as well as find out what is happening the real world of computer science! Come and hear some our UG students share their experiences of their 2013 summer internships.
Melissa Mozifian: Adobe
Waqas Arshad: AIG
Mariya Hristova: Google STEP
Sam Koch: Facebook

Scaling Skyscanner’s Flight Search & Making Mobile Applications at Skyscanner

Event details

  • When: 24th September 2013 14:00 - 15:30
  • Where: Purdie Theatre C
  • Series: School Seminar Series
  • Format: Seminar

Welcome to the first presentation in the School of Computer Science’s Seminar Series.

Please join us on for a seminar on Skyscanner’s technology this Tuesday (September 24) at 14:00 in Purdie Lecture Theatre C.

The two talks combined will take about 50 minutes with time for questions, and combine two topics presented by Skyscanner experts:

Grzegorz Janas- Project Manager Mobile Applications
Simon Thorogood- Senior Architect Development Engineering
Scott Krueger- Technical Manager Databases
Skyscanner: http://www.skyscanner.net/

Abstract:
Come and hear from Skyscanner Engineers on the Challenges behind engineering the world’s fastest growing Metasearch product and our journey towards being the “most trusted online travel company in the world” Skyscanner has 24 million unique monthly visitors and 25 million installed apps generating one-third of its traffic through mobile.

Everybody welcome.

Computational Social Choice: an Overview by Edith Elkind, University of Oxford

Event details

  • When: 15th April 2014 - 15:00
  • Where: Maths Theatre B
  • Series: School Seminar Series
  • Format: Seminar

ABSTRACT
In this talk, we will provide a self-contained introduction to the field of computational social choice – an emerging research area that applies tools and techniques of computer science (most notably, algorithms, complexity and artificial intelligence) to problems that arise in voting theory, fair division, and other subfields of social choice theory. We will give a high-level overview of this research area, and mention some open problems that may be of interest to mathematicians and computer scientists.