Research Ventures 2014

SICSA is happy to be a sponsor once again of the Research Ventures entrepreneurship course, which will take place at the Lighthouse Glasgow on 16th and 17th June 2014. The course, which is free to attend is aimed at early career researchers with an interest in:

Exploring the commercial possibilities of a research idea and how your research might attract industrial funding or be used in setting up a spin-out company

Knowledge exchange, research impact and winning funding for academic career progression

Future employment in industry

Collaboration with researchers from other disciplines

Accommodation will be provided for all participants at the Queen Margaret Residences in Glasgow’s West End.

The course will consist of a mixture of practical activities and case studies as well as talks from experts and entrepreneurs with inspiring stories and first-hand experience of bringing exciting ideas to life. For full details of the course and speakers, please visit our events calendar.

To apply for a place on this course please email stating in no more than 100 words why you wish to attend the course and provide some detail about your research interests, before April 30th 2014.

2nd International Summer School on Advances in Programming Languages

SICSA is happy to sponsor the 2nd International Summer School on Advances in Programming Languages, which takes place 19-22 August 2014 at Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh.

The 2nd International Summer School on Advances in Programming Languages will offer four days of insightful lectures and lab sessions on an engaging blend of cutting-edge theoretical and practical techniques, delivered by international experts. The topics include type systems and dependent types, novel programming models, and domain-specific languages, among others. The School is primarily intended for postgraduate research students and aims to foster international collaboration, and encourages a dialogue among early career researchers and renowned scientists.

Important Dates:

Application deadline: 30 April 2014

Notification: 15   May 2014


Philip Wadler, University of Edinburgh

Jeremy Gibbons, University of Oxford

Fritz Henglein, DIKU, University of Copenhagen

Rita Loogen, Philipps-Universität Marburg

Hans Vandierendonck, Queen’s University Belfast

Jeremy Singer, University of Glasgow

Conor McBride, University of Strathclyde

Michele Weiland, Edinburgh Parallel Computing Centre

Sven-Bodo Scholz, Heriot-Watt University Edinburgh

Greg Michaelson, Heriot-Watt University Edinburgh


550 GBP – residential

350 GBP – no accommodation included

There are 8 SICSA-funded places available.  Please contact the organisers for details.

‘Big data’ innovation centre set to add over 300 jobs and £150m to Scottish economy

A new £11.3 million innovation centre dedicated to helping Scotland capitalise on the growing market in analytics and ‘big data’ technology is set to open later this year. The investment is projected to return a minimum of 345 new jobs and an additional £155 million of value to the Scottish Economy.

The Data Lab, funded by the Scottish Funding Council (SFC) with support from Scottish Enterprise and Highlands and Islands Enterprise, will revolutionise the way in which Scottish industry develops and applies cutting-edge analytics and data science techniques to capture new market opportunities and boost productivity.

The centre will build on innovation from Scotland’s world-leading university sector and transform the way in which industry, public sector and academic institutions collaborate. The Data Lab bid was industry-led, headed by the Scottish Technology Advisory Group’s Big Data Lead, ScotlandIS, Lockheed Martin, DC Thomson-owned brightsolid and SAS, one of the world’s largest software companies. With Hub locations in Aberdeen, Edinburgh and Glasgow, Data Lab’s focus will be on the Digital Technology, Energy, Financial Services, Healthcare, and Public Sector markets.

Professor Aaron Quigley, Director for Knowledge Exchange for the Scottish Informatics and Computer Science Alliance, said, “The launch of this Data Science Innovation Centre presents us the vital opportunity to connect growing, data-attuned industries with world-leading academic expertise in all areas of data science. It positions the Data Lab to become a world leader in Data Science, and the place academia and industry come for Data Science innovation and leadership. Across 14 Universities we are looking forward to working with industry on breakthrough innovation, by drawing on cutting-edge research to produce new products, jobs, services and insights.”

Data Lab will focus on delivering 100+ new collaborative innovation projects; educating 1,000+ professionals through a range of education programmes; and strengthening the local community through workshops and high-profile events. The Data Lab will launch later this year.

For more information and to register your interest in The Data Lab please visit: or contact David Richardson via

Third SICSA Workshop on Technology for Health and Well Being (THAW)

The Third SICSA Workshop on Technology for Health and Well Being will take place on Friday 20th June 2014 at the LT1415 Seminar Room, Livingstone Tower, University of Strathclyde and will be organised by Dr Marilyn McGee-Lennon (Mobiquitous Group, UoS) and Professor Lynne Baillie (ITT Group, GCU).

Workshop Outline:

A clear opportunity can be found in the fact that health and social care is currently moving from being hospital and clinic focused to being embedded in the community and in people’s lives and homes. This introduces research challenges around the use of technology (sensing, displays, security, privacy, accessibility, and usability) and the appropriateness of current and emerging technologies for the home and how they can make an impact on health, wellbeing and lifestyle (e.g. engagement, immersion, motivation, persuasion, visualisation, self-management, behaviour modification, gamification) at scale.

The organisers invite leading researchers in the area of technology for health and wellbeing to the third SICSA funded workshop in this area. This area requires innovative research ideas and solutions from a large multidisciplinary group of researchers in order to determine how we can best lead the way in Scotland in identifying the grand research challenges in this area.

The recent workshop on 20th March brought together researchers working in the area of mobile and/or multimodal technologies for health and wellbeing to collectively define the research roadmap in this area.

The third THAW workshop (Fri 20th June, University of Strathclyde) will have two themes:

1. Widening the Network (scoping of potential synergies with other cognate areas (e.g. security, sensors, future cities, big data, digital health, stratified medicine etc) and

2. Confirming the Way Forward (e.g. confirming the grand challenges from the second workshop, discussing funding and possible future collaboration on a Scotland and EU level and forming ideas for how to take forward the key research agendas in this area).

To register email on or before Friday 30th May 2014.

This event is free to those attending from SICSA institutions.

SICSA launches new “Data Science” research theme

Following the recent announcement about the Data Lab Innovation Centre, we are pleased to confirm the launch of a brand new SICSA Research Theme in Data Science.  The theme will run initially for 12 months and is set to deliver a range of activities and workshops across Scotland – bringing together researchers and stakeholders working within this growing area.

The Data Science Theme Leaders are Professor David W. Corne of Heriot-Watt University and Dr Amos Storkey, of the University of Edinburgh.

A full programme of events will be announced shortly but for further information please see or follow @DataSciTheme on Twitter.

Cyber-Security Challenge UK, Glasgow

The Cyber-security Challenge UK began in 2010 as three competitions run by a small group of supporters from industry, government and academia to address the growing skills gap in the UK cyber-security profession. Now in its fourth year, the Challenge has grown its range of competitions to better represent the variety of skills currently demanded within the profession and is backed by over 75 sponsors from across government, industry and academia.


The 2013 Cyber-Camps at Glasgow Caledonian University and Defence Academy Shrivenam follow a hugely successful pilot run last year at Lancaster University and offered those who took part a chance to qualify for the grand final of the Challenge’s core programme of competitions – “the Master-class”.

The Glasgow Caledonian Cyber-camp started off with an evening reception hosted and attended by local security related SMEs. Informatics Ventures and Scottish Enterprise sponsored the first full day with a business-related cyber-challenge run by members of Strathclyde University’s Business School. This Dragons den style challenge was aimed to foster innovation and entrepreneurship in Scottish informatics and computer science.

The following day candidates took part in a Digital Forensics – eCrime Day run by the Scottish Police and the new National Crime Agency at the Police Training College in Tulliallan. A simulated crimes-scene was created and the candidates had to recover and analyse mobile devices for information that will assist a police investigation. As well as analysing the evidence, candidates were also be taught by the National Crime Agency how to present their findings as an expert witness in a trial scenario within a mock-court session (with real Sherriff and fiscals) in a court-room at the Scottish Police Training College. Candidates were also treated to an evening dinner and industry talks from RBS.

The camp culminated in a camp-versus-camp online game of attack and defence through the popular SANS Netwars platform, used to train cyber-security professionals in government departments and major corporations around the world. We are pleased to report that in the hacking head to head against the sister camp in Shrivenam that Scotland won by a clear 17%.

The camp will be run in a similar format next year and we will be looking for a new SICSA University to capitalise on this opportunity.

Darren Brooke, who qualified from the Glasgow Caledonian University camp said: “It’s been an unbelievable few days and getting through to the Masterclass is just awesome. Even without this, the whole camp has taught us so much about the profession, the career opportunities that are out there and the exciting job these guys have in cyber-security. If the Masterclass is anything like what we have been through in the Cyber-camp, it’s going to be a great day and we cannot wait!”

Stephanie Daman, CEO, Cyber-Security Challenge: “The quality of candidates across the two camps has been really encouraging, and it’s more than just the pure technical skills on show. What’s really heartening has been the enthusiasm for the subject and the appetite to learn more that has been obvious from all in attendance. That thirst for knowledge is a vital part of the makeup of a cyber-security professional and with a high quality line-up of cyber experts from the likes of Glasgow Caledonian University, Blackberry, GCHQ, Encription and many more, there has certainly been a lot of expertise for them to soak up. The whole weekend has demonstrated how people with talent but little idea how to apply it in a professional sense can very quickly begin to transform themselves into very good candidates for jobs, simply from spending some time with those already in the industry.”

SICSA Deep Learning Workshop

On the 6 May 2014 we will be running a workshop on Deep Learning to bring together those who are working in Machine Learning, Statistics, and the wider community, who are working on, using or interested in Deep Machine Learning Methods.

These include methods such as Deep Belief Networks, Deep Boltzmann Machines, Deep Convolutional Networks, Deep Autoencoders or any other related methods, including other methods of automated representation learning. This workshop will be a benefit to those currently utilising or developing such methods, those wanting to know what can be done and understand some of the practical issues hidden behind the hype, or those who are just interested in finding out more. It will also be of interest to those in early stage businesses who wish to harness this exciting technology.

SICSA Deep Learning Workshop

The workshop will be held at the School of Informatics, University of Edinburgh. The outline of the event is:

  • 08.45 Welcome and Coffee
  • 09.00 Introductory Talk
  • 09.20 Contributed Talk
  • 09.40 Contributed Talk
  • 10.00 Coffee, Discussion and Ideas Factory
  • 11.00 Invited Speaker: Ruslan Salakhutdinov (University of Toronto, confirmed)
  • 12.00 Catered Lunch.
  • 13:00 Contributed Talk
  • 13:30 Contributed Talk
  • 14:00 Coffee, Discussion Period and Breakout, Posters
  • 15:00 Invited Speaker: Volodymyr Mnih (Google DeepMind, confirmed)
  • 16:00 Contributed Talk
  • 16:30 Round Table Application Directed Discussion
  • 17:30 Summary, and Action Plan
  • 18:00 Evening pub trip for those who don’t need to leave

You can find full details of the workshop at or register directly at

SICSA PhD Conference 2014

SICSA is pleased to announce that the 6th annual SICSA PhD Conference will be held at the University of St Andrews on 9th and 10th June 2014.

SICSA PhD Conference 2014

The SICSA PhD Conference is open to all PhD students in Computer Science and Informatics working in Scotland. The programme has been designed to cater for students at every stage of their PhD and in every area of Computing Science research. En-suite accommodation will be available for all delegates coming from outside of St Andrews; on-campus at the University of St Andrews. There will be a conference dinner and social activities on the evening of 9th June.

There are no registration fees, conference dinner, or accommodation costs – these are funded for all delegates entirely by SICSA.  Travel expenses to attend the conference should be covered by your University – but you are advised to check locally with your School Administrator.

The conference is now a well-established forum for PhD students working within the SICSA research community and has grown year-on-year.  The conference is organised by a hard-working committee of PhD Students and SICSA staff.  This year the event will be themed around the SICSA Research Themes and the programme will include:

  • Student Hub
  • Keynote talks by Professor Michael Edmunds (University of Cardiff) and Professor Nitin Vaidya (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign)
  • Poster Session with prizes
  • A range of skills workshops
  • Sessions on Defending your Research
  • An industry led panel focussing on the skills required by industrial employers
  • Conference dinner and social evening at Lower College Hall, University of St Andrews
  • Student presentations with prizes

For full details and to register your place please visit

Registration will close on 5th May 2014 and we advise early registration to avoid disappointment, as places are limited.  

Forthcoming Distinguished Visitor Events

Speaker: Professor John Soldatos, Associate Professor at the Athens Information Technology

Title: Internet of Things (IoT) Technologies for Integrated Smart Cities Applications

Details: Monday 31st March at 4.00pm at the University of Glasgow (Room 422, Sir Alwyn Williams Building, Lilybank Gardens G12 8QQ)

Wednesday 2nd April at 1.00pm, University of St Andrews, (Cole 1:33b, Jack Cole Building KY16 9SX)

Abstract: The aim of this talk is to illustrate the use of Internet-of-Things (IoT) technologies as building blocks of smart city applications. As a first step the talk will present the pertinence of IoT and smart cities and accordingly it will introduce a range of smart city challenges that could be remedied based on recent advances in IoT technologies. Specifically, we will present how IoT/cloud convergence and IoT semantic interoperability can be used to facilitate the integration of existing silo developments in smart city developments, while at the same time providing new opportunities for innovative applications. The talk will also include the presentation of three practical smart city applications that make use of IoT technologies, notably applications in the areas of smart security, live news and urban planning. These applications are developed in the scope of (on-going) FP7 projects PROACTIVE (FP7-285320), SMART (FP7-287583) and VITAL (FP7- 608682-VITAL) and deployment in European cities (Santander (Spain), Camden/London (UK), Istanbul (Turkey)).

Speaker: Professor John Soldatos, Associate Professor at the Athens Information Technology

Title: OpenIoT: The Open Source Internet-of-Things

Details: Thursday 3rd April at 4.00pm at the University of Edinburgh (Centre for Design Informatics, T-Room, 1st Floor Evo House, 8 Westport, Edinburgh, EH1 2LE)

Abstract: This talk will introduce OpenIoT, a Free Open Source Software project for developing/integrating Internet-of-Things (IoT) applications and services, which has been recently selected (by Black Duck) as one of the top open source rookie projects for 2013). The main goal of the OpenIoT FP7 project ( is to develop a blueprint middleware infrastructure for implementing IoT solutions. It is a joint effort of several developer teams around Europe, including open source enthusiasts and developers of other prominent open source IoT platforms such as Global Sensor Networks (GSN) and AspireRfid. OpenIoT features several unique properties, since it provides the means for: (a) collecting and processing data from virtually any sensor/ data stream, including physical devices, sensor processing algorithms, social media processing algorithms and more, (b) semantically annotating sensor data, according to the W3C Semantic Sensor Networks (SSN) specifications, (c) streaming data of the various sensors to a cloud computing infrastructure, (d) dynamically discovering/querying sensors and their data, (e) composing and delivering IoT services that comprise data from multiple sensors based on minimal programming and through the use of visual tools, (f) visualizing IoT data based on appropriate mashups (charts, graphs, maps etc.) (g) optimizing resources within the middleware and cloud computing infrastructure. Based on the above features OpenIoT is radically differentiated from state-of-the-art IoT middleware projects.

Speaker: Professor John Bass, University of Tasmania

Title: National and International Data Linkage – top down or bottom up?

Details: Friday 23rd May at 4pm at the University of Glasgow, Level 5 Meeting Room, Sir Alwyn Williams Building, Lilybank Gardens, G12 8QQ

Abstract: How do we create a national, let alone international, linkage? At the national level, projects rarely have the time and willingness to pay attention to detail, and tend to create “broad brush” data. Small local entities often take pride in making use of local knowledge to create high-quality linkage. Is it possible to have a big picture that still reflects the quality of linkage found in a local cancer registry? It’s easier than you might think!

3000 Kids attend SICSA Cyber-Security Christmas Lectures

Teenagers from across Scotland recently attended a series of Cyber-Security lectures organised by the Scottish Informatics and Computer Science Alliance (SICSA). The lectures took place at the Universities of Glasgow; Edinburgh Napier; Abertay; and RGU between the 16th and 19th of December 2013 and were be attended by 3000 pupils from High Schools across the country.

The SICSA Christmas Cyber-Security Lecture series was first established in 2012 with the aim of bringing children together for an exciting session of talks on Cyber-Security, led by some of the country’s foremost experts in the area. Speakers at the recent events included some of the brightest academics in the field; along with representatives from Police Scotland and security experts from Dell SecureWorks and TrendMicro.

The SICSA Director, Professor Rod Murray-Smith, commented: “We are keen to attract the brightest students to study computing science. It is well-known that the shortfall in skilled software in the workplace in Scotland makes studying computing a good start to a career. With the choice of the Cyber-Security theme for the 2013 lectures we also aimed to excite school children about the important role of Computing Science in making the benefits of our increasingly high-tech society resilient to natural disasters, as well as criminal and terrorist threats. It is great to see that every group of lectures has been a complete sell-out!”

The UK Government National Security Strategy categorizes Cyber-Crime as a Tier 1 threat to our national security alongside terrorism and it pledged £650m in 2011 to tackle the problem. In parallel with this however, the UK is grappling with a massive skills gap; with many UK companies struggling to recruit adequately skilled Cyber-Security professionals.

Event organizer, Dr Martin Beaton, says: “It is a great pleasure to be touring these lectures around Scotland. We hope that by getting School pupils interested in Cyber-Security and raising the profile of the career through entertaining talks, we can start to address the 20 year Cyber-Security Skills Gap that the UK Government has identified. This year’s lecture series is now 5 times larger than last year and we hope it will continue to grow year on year.”