Computer Science Student Representatives 2017

Congratulations to our student representatives for 2017/8, elected by their peers last month. Our Reps are integral to the proactive communication channel between staff and the students and also chair and run the Staff-Student Consultative Committee (SSCC) held each semester within the School.


The reps are pictured outside the Jack Cole Building, after this semester’s SSCC meeting and are (from left to right)

  • Lewis Mazzei (1st year, minutes)
  • Beatrice Olivera (1st year, minutes)
  • Jamie Bell (2nd year, careers)
  • ​Gergely Flamich (School President)
  • Arnold Haidu (MSc, library)
  • Stacey Izmaylova (3rd year, social)
  • Xu Zhu (PhD, Postgrad)
  • Keno Schwalb (4th year)
  • Paul McKay (Evening)

Image courtesy of Ula Rustamova

Computer Science Ball 2017

Postgraduate students, led by Paul Dobra, organised the first ever CS Ball in August. The celebration coincided with finishing summer dissertations and the annual poster and demo session. The school sponsored Smurfalicious Blue Ball proved very popular and sold out of tickets earlier in August. The theme was blue and the location was The old Manor Hotel, in Lundin Links. The evening comprised of champagne, dinner and a Ceilidh till midnight. Students are pictured enjoying the 3 course dinner and fully embracing the spirit of a Cèilidh. We look forward to seeing them at December Graduation.


Images courtesy of Paul Dobra, Ula Rustamova, Nick Tikhonov, and Xu Zhu.
– Main Organisers: Paul Dobra & Shyam Reyal
– Promotion (online): Yin Noe, Nouchali Reyal
– Promotion (offline): Gillian Baird, Fiona George, Midhat Un Nisa
– Material Design: Yin Noe
– Photography: Ula Rustamova and Nick Tikhonov
– Decorations: Fiona George, Midhat Un Nisa, Anke Shi, Masha Nedjalkova, Sihan Li
– Electronics / Multimedia / Drone: Xu Zhu
– Music for Disco: Blair Fyfe

https://www.facebook.com/csball.standrews/

DLS: What Every Computer Scientist Should Know About Computer History

Event details

  • When: 10th October 2017 09:30 - 16:00
  • Where: Byre Theatre
  • Series: Distinguished Lectures Series
  • Format: Distinguished lecture

What Every Computer Scientist Should Know About Computer History

Prof Ursula Martin

Update: Lectures will be live streamed at this link.

Distinguished Lecture Series, Semester 1, 2017-18

Biography:

Professor Ursula Martin CBE FREng FRSE joined the University of Oxford as Professor of Computer Science in 2014, and is a member of the Mathematical Institute.  She holds an EPSRC Established Career Fellowship, and a Senior Research Fellowship at Wadham College. Her research, initially in algebra, logic and the use of computers to create mathematical proofs, now focuses on wider social and cultural approaches to understanding the success and impact of current and historical computer science research.

Prof Ursula Martin

Prof Ursula Martin

Before joining Oxford she worked at  Queen Mary University of London, where she was Vice-Principal for Science and Engineering (2005-2009), and Director of the impactQM project (2009-2012), an innovative knowledge transfer initiative. She serves on numerous international committees, including the Royal Society’s Diversity Committee and the UK Defence Science Advisory Council.  She worked  at the University of St Andrews from 1992 – 2002, as only its second female professor, and its first in over 50 years. She holds an MA in Mathematics from Cambridge, and a PhD in Mathematics from Warwick.

Timetable:

9.30 Introduction

9.35 Lecture 1:  The early history of computing: Ada Lovelace, Charles Babbage, and the history of programming

10.35 Break with Refreshments Provided

11.15 Lecture 2: Case study, Alan Turing,  Grace Hopper, and the history of getting things right

12.15 Lunch (not provided)

2.30 Welcome by the Principal, Prof Sally Mapstone

2.35 Lecture 3: What do historians of computing do, and why is it  important for computer scientists today

3.30 Close

Lecture 1. The early history of computing: Ada Lovelace, Charles Babbage, and the history of programming

IN 1843 Ada Lovelace published a remarkable paper in which she explained  Charles Babbage’s designs for his Analytical Engine. Had it been built, it would have had in principle the same capabilities  as a modern general purpose computer. Lovelace’s paper is famous for its insights into more general questions, as well as for its detailed account of how the machine performed its calculations – illustrated with a large table which is often called, incorrectly, the “first programme”.   I’ll talk about the wider context; why people were interested in computing engines; and some of the other work that was going on at the time, for example Babbage’s remarkable hardware description language. I’ll  look at different explanations for why Babbage’s ideas did not take off, and give a quick overview of what did happen over the next 100 years, before  the invention of the first digital computers.

Lecture 2. Case study, Alan Turing,  Grace Hopper, and the history of getting things right

Getting software right was a theme of programming for the days of Babbage onwards. I’ll look at the work of pioneers Alan Turing and Grace Hopper, and talk about the long interaction of computer science with logic, which has led to better programming languages, new ways to prove programmes correct, and sophisticated mathematical theories of importance in their own right.  I’ll look at the history of the age-old debate about whether computer science needs mathematics to explain its main ideas, or whether practical skills, building things and making things simple for the user are more important.

Lecture 3: What do historians of computing do, and why is it  important for computer scientists today

When people think about computer science, they think about ideas and technologies that are transforming the future – smaller faster smarter connected devices, powered by, AI, and big data – and looking at the past can be seen as a bit of a waste of time. In this lecture I’ll look at what historians do and why it is important; how we get history wrong; and in particular often miss the contribution of of women.  I’ll illustrate my talk with  my own work on Ada Lovelace’s papers, to show how  detailed historical work is needed to debunk popular myths – it is often claimed that Lovelace’s talent was  “poetical science” rather than maths, but I’ve shown that she was a gifted perceptive and knowledgeable mathematician. I’ll explain how the historian’s techniques of getting it right can help us get to grip with  topical problems like “Fake news”, and give us new ways of thinking about the future.

Computer Science: June Graduation 2017

Congratulations to our Senior Honours Class of 2017, MSci Honours students and our PhD students Dr Anne-Marie Mann, Dr Ildiko Pete, Dr Yuchen Zhao and Dr Michael Mauderer, who graduated on Wednesday. Students were invited to a reception in the School prior to the ceremony, to celebrate their achievement with staff, friends and family. We echo the sentiments expressed by our Head of School, Professor Steve Linton, during his Graduation address.

“For what you have achieved here, we are so proud of you. For what you will achieve, we wait eagerly and will always be proud. And wherever you are, we hope you will always regard St Andrews as a place you can call home.”

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


Images courtesy of Annemarie Paton and Ryo Yanagida.

Computer Science Student Reps 2016

reps

We are delighted to congratulate the student representatives for 2016/7, elected by their peers. Reps play a very important part in the life of the school by providing a healthy communication channel between staff and the students they represent, and also by chairing and running the Staff-Student Consultative Committee, amongst many other roles.

The reps are shown outside the Jack Cole Building in November 2016, and are (from left to right)

  • Juris Bogusevs (1st year)
  • Seamus Bonner (1st year, library)
  • Keno Schwalb (3rd year, careers)
  • Christa-Awa Kollen (welfare)
  • Vika Anisimova (4th year)
  • Anastasiia Izmailova (2nd year, social)
  • Masha Nedjalkova (masters, careers, minutes)
  • Fearn Bishop (postgraduate research)
  • Robin Nabel (school president)

Many thanks to the reps for arranging this photo (taken by Alex Bain who can be seen in the reflection), which should help staff and students put faces to the names.

Thanks to everyone who volunteered to be a student rep.

 

 

Watch some video, win a Netflix or Amazon voucher

experiment_screenshot2

Tell us what you think of our videos and you could win a £20 Netflix or Amazon voucher!

You will be asked to watch and assess the video quality of four 1-minute online video clips, as well as complete a short questionnaire related to your regular video usage and your energy-saving awareness and preferences. Your participation should take around 20 to 30 minutes.

Optionally, you will be entered into a prize draw for a £20 Netflix or Amazon voucher.

You must be 18 years or over.

Please contact Oche Ejembi <ooe@st-andrews.ac.uk>

UTREC approval code: CS12016

Contact Details

Researcher: Oche Ejembi
email: ooe@st-andrews.ac.uk

Supervisor: Prof. Saleem Bhatti
email: saleem@st-andrews.ac.uk

 

Distinguished Lecture Series: Reminder of next event – ‘CS for All’ by President Maria Klawe

Event details

  • When: 31st March 2016 09:00 - 16:00
  • Where: Byre Theatre
  • Series: Distinguished Lectures Series
  • Format: Distinguished lecture

Reminder that President Maria Klawe will be speaking at our Distinguished Lecture Series on March 31st 2016 in St Andrews.KlaweMaria

During this event Maria  will discuss the challenges in CS for all, including CS education in K-12, computing for all in undergraduate education, and CS research aimed at people with accessibility challenges and creating educational and research opportunities around the applications of computational technologies in almost every discipline and economic sector.

Programme of events:

  • 09:00 – 09:30
    • Introduction: By Professor Aaron Quigley
  • 09:30 – 10:30
    • Lecture 1: Computing for all in K-12 education
  • 10:30 – 11:00
    • Coffee Break: Refreshments served in foyer
  • 11:00 – 12:00
    • Lecture 2: Computing for all in undergraduate education
  • 12:00 – 14:00
    • Lunch Break: Free time
  • 14:00 – 15:00
    • Lecture 3: Computing for all in research
  • 15:00 – 15:30
    • Q & A: Open forum in the auditorium
  • 15:30 – 16:00
    • Informal time with Speaker: In the foyer

Distinguished Lecture: ‘Scalability and Fault-tolerance, are they the same?’ by Joe Armstrong

Event details

  • When: 16th November 2015 09:15 - 15:30
  • Where: Byre Theatre
  • Series: Distinguished Lectures Series
  • Format: Distinguished lecture

The first of this academic year’s distinguished lectures will be given by Professor Joe Armstrong, co-inventor of Erlang, on Monday 16th November 2015 at The Byre Theatre.Joe Armstrong

Abstract:

To build a scalable system the important thing is to make small isolated independent units. To scale up we just add more units. To build a fault-tolerant system the important thing to do is make small isolated independent units…. Does that sound familiar? Haven’t I seen that somewhere before? Oh yes, in the first paragraph! So maybe scalability and fault tolerance are really different names for the same thing.

This property of systems, namely that fault-tolerant systems were also scalable, was noticed years ago, notably in the design of the Tandem computer system. The Tandem was design for fault tolerance but rapidly became a leading supplier of scalable computer platforms. Thus it was with Erlang.

Erlang followed  a lot of the Tandem design, it was built for fault-tolerance but some of the most successful applications  (such as WhatsApp) use it for its scalability.

In this lecture I’ll talk about the intimate relationship between scalability and fault-tolerance and why they are architecturally the same thing.

I’ll talk about the design of Erlang and why scalable systems have to be built on non-shared memory abstractions.

Bio:

Joe Armstrong has been programming since 1967. He invented the programming language Erlang. He has worked as a programmer, founded a few successful companies and written a few books. He has a PHD in Computer Science from KTH. He is currently Adjunct Professor of Computer Science at the KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm.

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.