Computer Science News
There are a number of upcoming events and seminars at Warwick that highlight the contribution that the mathematical sciences (Mathematics, Computer Science and Statistics) can make to the understanding of "big data". These include seminars from a number of influential researchers in this area, and one-day events bringing together speakers and researchers from around the world. The potential of "big data" to improve business, healthcare, and government has been greatly discussed in the popular media. These events will focus on new computational and mathematical insights to achieve these goals.
Steven Wright has been commended for teaching in DCS by the WATEPGR (Warwick Awards for Teaching Excellence for Postgraduate Research students).
Steven is a seminar tutor and teaches laboratory classes in the Department of Computer Science. It is testament to his abilities that he was given the responsibility for organising three sets of lab classes and also entrusted to design and set course assignments. He even took it upon himself to develop additional coursework assignments to further develop the students’ skills after reflecting on his own experiences of the taught courses. As his nominator points out “Steven has invariably won the praise of staff and students for his contributions to teaching, particularly for his exceptional ability to create engaging coursework assignments and software projects”
Steven’s focus for his teaching is on concept discovery and the sharing of ideas in order for students to develop a rigorous understanding of the subject. He firmly believes that by creating a relaxed environment where there is a sense of equality between students and teachers, the students are empowered to ask and answer question and discuss problems in depth.
Steven has had a major impact on the department’s activities with his technical innovations in laboratory teaching. He wrote the software required for students to develop hardware projects using the latest ARM microprocessor technology. This meant that students with no experience in microprogramming were able to engage with the latest technology and gain an understanding of systems engineering principles, whilst those who were more confident could stretch themselves against the challenging projects that Steven has personally designed.
This week Warwick University Department of Computer Science hosted the first LEGO® Engineering Conference to feature the 3rd generation of its MINDSTORMS® robots. The event was designed to bring educators together to share experiences about how to get students engaged in computing, science, technology, engineering and maths.
Chris Rogers, Professor at Tufts University in Boston and Co-Director of the Center for Engineering Education and Outreach, is the founder of LEGO Engineering conferences. We were delighted that Chris could attend the event and give a keynote highlighting student innovation and creativity from schools around the world, reflecting on what made it possible. Chris also ran a hand-on workshop looking at applications of the data logging capabilities of the EV3.
Two other hands-on workshops also ran, one on Lego Robotics provided by John Pinkney from Warwickshire LA and one on Teaching Maths with Robots provided by Garry Redrup and Sue Johnston-Wilder.
The day also included presentations by the Institution of Engineering and Technology’s Schools Programme, which is responsible for managing FIRST® LEGO® League in the UK. Dr Nicky Hughes also talked about how RoboCupJnr contests are particularly good for getting girls engaged. Other talks covered LEGO® Therapy used for children in the autistic spectrum, and a presentation about Technocamps, an exciting project that provides free workshops to young people on programming, robotics, game design, app development and much more.
The conference received support from Computing At School, the IET Coventry And Warwickshire Network, LEGO® Education, and OCR.
Academics in the Department of Computer Science recently contributed to the success of the BCS Coventry Computing and ICT Teacher's Conference. The event, organised by Computing at School (CAS), focused on the future of Computer Science education in UK schools and how universities can support schools in delivering effective taught programmes.
Matthew Leeke, Assistant Professor in the Department of Computer Science, delivered a characteristically animated opening keynote. With reference to ongoing research, Matt described a number of key challenges that motivate the development of smart cities, relating these to the changing landscape of Computer Science and ICT in the UK. Matt was also a member of a panel session for teachers and education professionals, focusing on issues such as industrial engagement and inclusiveness in Computer Science.
Claire Rocks, Teaching and Outreach Fellow in the Department of Computer Science, later facilitated a specialist workshop on robotics and a speed networking event that brought together educators and industrials. These sessions complemented a sensor-focused workshop provided by Margaret Low, Principal Teaching Fellow in the Warwick Manufacturing Group, to demonstrate the commitment of universities in the West Midlands enriching UK Computer Science and ICT curricula.
We would like to congratulate our new intake of students on their outstanding exam results. The grade average for our undergraduate intake has been rising consistently in recent years, and we are delighted to report that this year looks to be one of our best.
Warwick has an excellent reputation for attracting top-quality Computer Science students. Indeed, this is one of the reasons why we enjoy excellent statistics for graduate recruitment.
Dr Victor Sanchez, Assistant Professor in the Department of Computer Science, has been awarded a Marie Curie Career Integration Grant from the Research Executive Agency of the EU to fund his research for the next four years. The Integration Grants assist researchers in integrating themselves in the EU with their own research budget. For the first call of 2013, more than 800 proposals from around the EU were submitted of which 22% received funding. Dr Sanchez research will focus on developing methods for storing and manipulating whole-slide images of pathology specimens, which are multi-gigapixel colour images of over 80k × 80k pixel resolutions. He will work in collaboration with the Computational Biology and Bioimaging (COMBI) group, and researchers from Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona and University of Arizona.
Leslie Valiant was awarded Honorary Doctor of Science today during the University of Warwick 2013 summer graduation ceremony.
Leslie Valiant was educated at King's College, Cambridge; Imperial College, London; and at the University of Warwick, where he received his PhD in computer science in 1974. He is currently T. Jefferson Coolidge Professor of Computer Science and Applied Mathematics in the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences at Harvard University, where he has taught since 1982. Before coming to Harvard he had taught at Carnegie Mellon University, Leeds University, and the University of Edinburgh.
His work has ranged over several areas of theoretical computer science, particularly complexity theory, learning, and parallel computation. He also has interests in computational neuroscience, evolution and artificial intelligence. Leslie is the author of two books, Circuits of the Mind, and Probably Approximately Correct.
He received the Nevanlinna Prize at the International Congress of Mathematicians in 1986, the Knuth Award in 1997, the European Association for Theoretical Computer Science EATCS Award in 2008, and the 2010 A. M. Turing Award. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society (London) and a member of the National Academy of Sciences (USA).
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