SICSA DVF Seminar Series – Professor Vincenzo Vespri, The University of Florence

Professor Vincenzo Vespri, from The University of Florence is visiting  Stirling University as SICSA Distinguished Visiting Fellow.

He has kindly offered to give the series of seminars below. He will be in Stirling from Sept.19th to Sept. 30th, happy to meet interested

colleagues- short bio sketch below.

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IOTA, the blockchain of the near future?

Abstract

Iota is not a blockchain but it can represent a potential evolution of blockchain technology. It was certainly born too early and faced technological problems too advanced for the technology of the moment (ternary system, post quantum cryptography, overcoming the linear structure of the blockchain with a tangle). But all these technological challenges must be overcome and the experience of IOTA could prove to be very important for the evolution of this technology.

Strathclyde University

September 21th – 13:00-14:00
Livingstone Tower, 26 Richmond St, Glasgow G1 1XH
Room: LT412

and those joining on zoom use:

https://strath.zoom.us/j/85823842677?pwd=WnUzWFJ1SVdDSW9rU3B6VWZIeTNsUT09

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The potential impact of CBDCs on the banking system

Abstract:

The cryptocurrency revolution will have the natural fallout in the creation of CBDCs (Central Bank Digital Currencies) which will have a significant impact not only in the way money is conceived but also in the structure of the financial markets. In this talk, we will talk about the impact that CBDCs will have on central banks poised between maintaining the status quo and taking advantage of the undeniable advantages offered by a digital currency.

The University of Edinburgh

September 27th  – 16:00-17:00

Room:  IF-G.07

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Financial markets, how is the best way to simulate them? 

Abstract

The probability distribution underlying the performance of the financial markets is not a Guassian one. This implies that mathematical methods for describing market trends either do not always describe financial phenomena well or are too complicated to be implemented. One procedure is to study the probability distribution empirically, simulate it and obtain projections of future behaviors using the Montercarlo method. In this talk, we will talk about the advantages and disadvantages of this very practical approach.

The University of Stirling 

September 28th – 15:00-16:00

Room: Cottrell C4B96

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Vincenzo Vespri is Full Professor in Mathematics at the University of Florence, previously professor at the University of L’Aquila, Pavia, Milano and Tor Vergata-Rome, as well as visiting professor in various universities in US, Europe, Australia, and South America. His work concerns the existence and the regularity of solution to nonlinear equations arising from Mathematical Physics and the application of Functional Analysis to evolution equations. In the last years the research interests were directed also to Mathematical Models and to applications to Finance, Industrial Mathematics and Blockchains (Cryptography). His research has been published in more than 130 scientific papers.

Contact:  Andrea Bracciali – Computing Science and Mathematics.

 

SICSA Conference 2022

Sustainability, Resilience and Recovery

On the 28th & 29th June 2022 we held our 13th Annual SICSA Conference at Glasgow Caledonian University. This was our first in person event since 2019, with an exciting programme of keynote talks, panel sessions, poster and PhD competitions. The Scottish Informatics & Computer Science Alliance (SICSA) Conference has been an annual event since SICSA began in 2008. It marks a time where PhD students and early-career researchers attending universities all around Scotland get together for a couple of days.

The focus this year was on Sustainability, Resilience and Recovery as we emerge from COVID with our opening Keynote Speaker Stephen O’Neil, Head of Digital Economy and Data Driven Business at the Scottish Government, highlighting the leading role of the new Tech Scalars in driving economic recovery.

The Keynote was followed by the SICSA Education Learning and Teaching Network Launch, that brought together colleagues involved in teaching Computing Science across Scottish Institutions. We also heard from participants in our new Learning & Teaching Scholars Programme, which aims to develop and support early-to-mid career CS academics with a focus on education’.

From left to right: Otokwala Uneneibotejit, Michael McKay, Tolga Ünlü, Charly Harbord, Iulia Paun.

We continued with the skills sessions for PhD students, co-developed with the Conference PhD Organisation Committee, starting off with a plenary session from the SICSA Peer Support Network on keeping mentally healthy while doing a PhD. The SICSA Peer Support Network (SPSN) is a group of PhD students who completed a mental health awareness course with the aim to provide additional support from within the PhD community. In this session the SPSN volunteers presented an overview of the network, focusing on what it does, how to access it and how we can all contribute to look after our mental health.

The Plenary session was followed by a number of parallel panel sessions and workshops focusing on PhD skills, CS Education and Early Career Researchers, including:

Post-pandemic computing science education
With focus on new approaches to delivering Computing Science Education that have emerged during the pandemic. The session was chaired by Dr Matthew Barr, SICSA Director of Education, joined by Dr Khristin Fabian (Edinburgh Napier University), Dr Hebatallah Shoukry (Herriot Watt University), Dr Mark Zarb (Robert Gordon University), Dr Gule Saman (Heriot Watt University) and Dr Martin Goodfellow (Strathclyde University).

PhD workshop: Intellectual Property Rights
With focus on the issues related to Intellectual Property (IP) Rights and the procedural aspects for how IP from research work may be identified, protected and commercialised. The session was chaired by Dr Andrei Petrovski, SGA Director, with Graham Carter (Robert Gordon University) presenting. 

PhD workshop: Getting the job you want after finishing your PhD
With focus on the 3 different aspects of further employability: Resume Construction, Interview Techniques, and Networking skills. This workshop was led by Robin Huggins, Director of MBN Academy.

PhD workshop: Build your own – Bricolage for Blended Spaces
With focus on the benefits of methodological bricolage, where the researcher tailors tasks, tools, and approaches to understand the subject at hand. This workshop was led by Dr Emilia Sobolewska (Edinburgh Napier University) and Mr Calum Egan (Edinburgh Napier University). 

Early Career Research Panel Session
With focus on different options for PhD graduates who are intending to continue into early career research roles. A wide variety of career steps exist, including going straight into an academic role, an independent research fellowship, a research associate working on a specific project, knowledge transfer, the emerging research software engineering. The session was chaired by Dr Mujeeb Ahmed (University of Strathclyde), joined by Dr Anjana Wijekoon (Robert Gordon University), Dr Elaine Farrow (University of Edinburgh) and Dr Sofiat Olaosebikan (University of Glasgow). 

Careers Fair and Conference Dinner at Merchants House 
The first day of the Conference concluded with a Careers Fair at the Glasgow Merchants House. We were very excited to welcome a number of companies including our sponsors Arista and The DataLab, the start – ups netAI and Crover, and also Huwei, Amazon Development Scotland and Leonardo. The session provided opportunities for PhD students to meet and network with companies in a relaxing and informal way.

As the night came to a closure we moved to the main hall in Merchants House for our Conference Dinner. We were very honoured for the warm welcome to the Conference dinner by Bailie Linda Pike.  Bailie Pike is one of the local councillors for the Calton area of Glasgow and represented the Lord Provost at the Conference Civic Reception.  We would like to thank Bailie Pike and the Lord Provost’s & International Office for their generous support of the PhD Conference.

The Journey from Research to Tech Start-Up
The second day of the Conference started with a panel session on the Journey from Research to Tech Start – up with focus on experiences of a diverse set of innovative and successful start-up founders, exploring their journeys from academia into entrepreneurialism. The session was chaired by our very own Dr Tim Storer, SICSA Deputy Director & Director of KE.  He was joined by Dr Stewart Whiting, Chief Innovation Officer and Co-Founder of Current Health and Dr Kyle White, CEO at VeryConnect membership, CRM and Community Software.  The session was extremely popular and created lots of questions and conversations from our students; they had to opportunity to chat with both Stewart and Kyle afterwards. Thanks to our Speakers for taking the time to join us at the conference.Poster Competition
The Poster Competition at the SCISA PhD Conference is always very popular.  It provides an opportunity for our students of all years to showcase and explain their research to ECR, academic and Industry colleagues throughout the two day event.  This year 28 posters were submitted as part of the poster competition. The judging panel consisted of our academic colleagues and representatives from The DataLab; they were extremely impressed by the quality of presentations, skills, the rigor and innovative research which is evidently taking place from PhD students across Scotland.  The winners, presented with their award certificates and prize vouchers of £250 each by Heather Thompson and Cheryl Stewart from The DataLab, were: 

  • Narinder Kaur,  University of Glasgow – SICSA Best Poster Award 2022 – 1st Year
  • Nurudeen Salau, University of the West of Scotland – SICSA Best Poster Award 2022 – 2nd Year
  • Ashish Upadhyay, Robert Gordon University – SICSA Best Poster Award 2022 – 3rd Year 
  • Liangfei Zhang, University of St Andrews – SICSA Best Poster Award 2022 – People’s Choice
Reverse Viva Session 
This is the first time we have ran this workshop so we were very excited to see how it went.  The idea of the workshop was to give our PhD students a chance to be exposed to the kind of questions and answers they will face in their own vivas when the time comes.  To do this, we invited established academic colleagues to have their own PhD thesis examined by PhD students.  Three parallel workshops covering Artificial Intelligence, Networking & Systems and Theory Modelling and Computation were organised as part of the session. We have received very positive feedback from the session so this will be a definite in next year’s conference schedule.
 A huge thank you to
for putting forward their thesis for “examination” and to the following students who agreed to act as chairs and examiners: 
  • Malavika Suresh, Robert Gordon University
  • Jude Haris, University of Glasgow
  • Otokwala Uneneibotejit, Robert Gordon University
  • Stefano Sarti, University of Stirling 
  • Narinder Kaur, University of Glasgow
  • Alexander Carmichael, University of Stirling 

Per Hammer, Vice-President at JPMorgan Chase and Professor in Practice at the University of Glasgow

For our second Keynote Talk, we were very honoured to have Per Hammer, Vice-President at JPMorgan Chase and Professor in Practice at the University of Glasgow. Per discussed how sustainability affects the Computing Science field. With the aid of the Karlskrona Manifesto, he went over the many aspects in which practitioners should pay attention to sustainability in their work, and how they should use their own morals to keep themselves from becoming complicit in decisions they don’t believe are sustainable. The talk was closed with a discussion involving the students where they were able to enquire about how these recommendations can be applied in practice.

 

Best Paper Award 

Kyle Simpson, University of Glasgow, while receiving his award from Dr. Olufemi Komolafe, Arista.

Introduced for the first time and sponsored by Arista, we were extremely happy to receive a number of submissions for the Best Paper Competition. The award was introduced as a way to provide a platform for PhD students to showcase their work and get a well-deserved recognition for the hard work that goes into writing and publishing papers. Thank you to all the PhD students who submitted their work for the competition! The winner was Kyle Simpson, University of Glasgow, who received his award from Dr Olufemi Komolafe, Manager, Professional Services (Software) at Arista

PhD Award for Best Dissertation in Scotland 

We received a number of submissions from across the Scottish research student community which demonstrated the high quality, innovative and ground-breaking research taking place in Computing Science across Scotland. The review process was rigorous and we would like to thank our academic colleagues from the SICSA member institutions who provided detailed comments and feedback on each submission.  

Following the review process four submissions were identified as finalists.  In the last session of the Conference we were very proud to have the finalists present their 5 minute talk to the conference delegates.   This was the third year running the competition as part of the SICSA Conference and  we are very grateful to Arista for sponsoring the award this year. 

The four finalists were: 

  • Natascha Harth, University of Glasgow – Thesis: Quality-Aware Predictive Modelling and Inferential Analysis at the Network Edge 
  • Ioannis Chalkiadakis, Heriot –Watt University – Thesis: Statistical ML for NLP and Sentiment Modelling
  • Ratish Puduppully, University of Edinburgh – Thesis: Data-to-Text Generation with Neural Planning
  • Alessandro Suglia, Heriot-Watt University – Thesis: Visually Grounded Representation Learning using Language Games for Embodied AI
The ultimate winner was Ratish Puduppully, University of Edinburgh, who received the award certificate from Dr Olufemi Komolafe, Manager, Professional Services (Software) at Arista, along with the prize of £2,000 (photo below).

Ratish Puduppully, University of Edinburgh, while receiving his award from Dr Olufemi Komolafe, Arista.

Thank you! 
We would like to thank our sponsors, Arista and The DataLab for their generous sponsorship, continuous support and engagement for delivering a very special event for our PhD students. 

We would also like to thank Jacob Koening, the Academic Chair of the Conference for his  input in the months leading up to the Conference and for his energy during the two days of delivery.

Huge thank you to the SICSA Conference PhD Organisation Committee for coordinating the PhD Skills Workshop Sessions and for their enthusiasm during the two days of the Conference.

The members of the Committee were: 

Always grateful to Dr Mike Crabb, University of Dundee, for his help with the poster competition and continuous engagement with SICSA.  

Thank you to the Events Team at Glasgow Caledonian University for helping us deliver a smooth experience for our delegates  and meeting our demands. 

And finally we are extremely grateful to all the research students, academic colleagues and industry partners for joining us! We hope that you all enjoyed the Conference and we are looking forward to seeing you again!

Research Excellence Framework 2021

The Scottish Informatics and Computer Science Alliance (SICSA) welcomes the publication of the 2021 Research Excellence Framework results.  The THE world university rankings table for the UK has also been recalculated on the basis of the 2021 REF and is published today.  For SICSA institutions:

  • 45% of research was world-leading (4*) and 43% internationally excellent (3*).
  • Over 90% of impact is judged outstanding or very considerable.
  • Overall SICSA departments were responsible for over 15% of high-quality research in the UK.
  • Over 70% of Scottish-based researchers entered in REF 2021 are working in Departments that have improved their THE ranking in a competitive and active discipline.

Stuart Anderson (SICSA Director) said:

“The REF 2021 results confirm the strength of Informatics and Computer Science in Scotland with a significant majority of researchers working in departments that have improved their overall ranking.  That SICSA departments contribute 15% of the high-quality research in the UK clearly demonstrates again that Scotland punches far above its weight in the discipline. Scotland has great strengths in this key area for our economy and society. 

This is a tremendous achievement on the part of the staff across all our Scottish departments, my congratulations to all involved in the continuing success of Informatics and Computer Science research in Scotland”.

 

SICSA Conference 2022 – PhD Award for Best Dissertation in Scotland- Deadline Extended

As part of the SICSA Conference in the last two years, we have established the SICSA PhD Award for Best Dissertation in Scotland, inviting submissions from our vibrant research student community in order to celebrate ground-breaking research across Scottish Institutions. Chris Cummings (University of Edinburgh) was the winner in 2020 and Ryan Gibson (University of Strathclyde) was the winner of the Award in 2021.

Our commitment to support and showcase the work of PhD students is continuous and we are thrilled to invite submissions from doctoral researchers from all Scottish Institutions. Shortlisted candidates will be invited to present their work in person at the SICSA Conference 2022, taking place at Glasgow Caledonian University on the 28th & 29th June 2022.

The ultimate winner will receive a prize of £2,000 sponsored this year by Arista; all shortlisted candidates will receive a £50 voucher and a certificate.

Selection Criteria:

The award is intended to recognise and honour outstanding research and exposition in Computer Science. Specifically, to be considered for this award, the dissertation should:

  • make an original and noteworthy technical contribution; and
  • have a high-quality exposition accessible to a general computer-science audience.
Eligibility:

All doctoral dissertations with a focus on Computer Science and Informatics successfully completed in the period 1st July 2021 to 11th May 2022 are eligible. The date of the viva or final thesis acceptance date can be treated as the completion date.

Nominations should include:
  • Copy of dissertation.
  • Nominating statement from an advisor (2 pages max) addressing why the nominee’s dissertation should receive this award. This should address the significance of the dissertation, not simply repeat the information in the abstract. Nomination must come from the advisor; self-nomination is not allowed.
  • One letter of support (2 pages max). The supporting letter should be from an expert in the field (for example, the external examiner) who can provide additional insights or evidence of the dissertation’s impact. (The nominator/advisor may not write a letter of support.) If a letter writer is supporting more than one nomination, they may be asked to rank those nominations.
  • List of publications contributing to thesis.
  • Suggested award citation if the candidate is selected. This should be a concise statement of no more than 200 words.
Deadline for submissions:
Review process:

Submissions will be reviewed by a selection committee consisting of senior researchers in Computer Science and Informatics and chaired by the SICSA Graduate Academy Director.

SICSA Data Science Research Theme – Call for Research Grants is now closed

We had a fantastic response to the SICSA Data Science Research Theme – Call for Research Grants.  The call is now closed.  Thank you to those who submitted applications, we will be in contact with your shortly to let you know the outcome of your application

The SICSA Data Science Theme invites proposals to support Data Science research across Scottish Universities to carry out research activities completed by 31 July 2022. We support the following activities:

  • Travel/networking  (max £250);
  • Face-To-Face Event Organization, including workshops and presentations, for funding toward catering or speaker travel (max £250);
  • Online events/Webinars Organization (max £250);
  • Computational resources  including cloud credits (max £500); and
  • Other small grants to support specific Data Science projects (max £500).

These smaller applications will be considered shortly after being submitted, and we aim to have a decision within a week. The closing date for this call is 27 April 2022, at noon.

We also sponsor two larger grants for the following activities:

  • Studentship, including research visit or extension to existing PhD (max £1000); or
  • Data set curation, including collection and processing (max £1000).

These larger grants will be awarded on merit. The closing date for this call is 11 April 2022, at noon.

There is no restriction on the topics, but we encourage applications to research into new Data Science related areas and those that are difficult to find funding elsewhere. Evidence of attempts to find additional or alternative funding would be considered a strength. Proposals that demonstrate value-for-money will be preferred.

For more information on the Data Science Theme please click here. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to get in touch with the Data Science Theme leaders, Yashar Moshfeghi and Stewart Massie. If you need help organising an event, please contact Anastasia Fliatoura.

SICSA Data Science Small Grants Application Form

 

Logic4Peace: fundraising online Logic event for Peace

Logic4Peace  (Fundraising online Logic event for Peace)

Friday 22 and Saturday 23 April 2022

Venue: Online (information will be provided to registered participants)

Call for Abstracts:
Logicians participating in this conference stand united for Peace. The on-going Russian military invasion in Ukraine is causing death, destruction and it is the direct cause of a gigantic humanitarian crisis. Educational facilities have been hit, supply chains have been broken and people have lost their families and homes. By organizing this conference, we offer our moral and financial support to our colleagues in Ukraine in this time of war.

This event is used to collect financial aid for two specific causes:

  • We financially help our colleagues at universities in Ukraine, who are either displaced or have lost their homes, and thus are in urgent financial need.
  • We support the charitable fund ‘Voices of children‘ which provides humanitarian aid and assists in Ukraine with the on-going evacuation processes.

As the world urgently needs more logic and rationality, Logic4Peace creates a platform for logicians from around the world to present their work in any area of logic, including:

  • philosophical logic, philosophy of logic and history of logic,
  • mathematical and computational logic,
  • applied logic and logical structures used in science and the humanities.

Abstracts should be short, maximum 1 page or 500 words, not including the references and can be uploaded in PDF format via easychair by 11 April 2022 (9AM Central European Time).

We welcome participants from all nationalities to submit an abstract. We welcome new ideas as well as on-going work and reports about already published results.

The registration page for this conference is estimated to open on 31st March, please check our website. The registration fees will be entirely used to offer financial aid to Ukraine to help our colleagues and the Voices of Children. We also invite academic institutions and organizations to sponsor this online logic event.

On behalf of the Organization of Logic4Peace. 

SICSA Education Learning & Teaching Scholars Programme

Early to mid-career colleagues involved in teaching Computing Science and related subjects at SICSA member institutions are invited to apply for the SICSA Education Learning & Teaching Scholars programme.

The Scholars programme is designed to develop and support early-to-mid career CS academics with a focus on education. Successful applicants will take part in a series of online and in-person activities to develop their scholarship, culminating in the presentation of an idea that can be taken forward into a publication. Please see below for an indicative schedule.

The programme will also include an online workshop on Learning & Teaching leadership, delivered by an experienced external partner. In addition, Scholars will be assigned a mentor, with whom they will meet a minimum of twice over the course of the programme. At the end  of the programme, Scholars will be invited to write about their experience for the SICSA Education blog.

Applications from academics on Learning & Teaching contracts are particularly welcome. If you’re not sure if this is right for you, or if you have any questions about the programme, please contact our Director of Education, Dr Matthew Barr.

Apply here: https://forms.office.com/r/EmwS8vVnNC

Schedule

28 March 2022Applications open
22 April 2022Applications close
29 April 2022Scholars announced
Week beginning 9 May 2022Speed networking event for scholars (online)
20 May 2022Mentors assigned
Week beginning 6 June 2022Presentations and groupwork (in-person)
28/29 June 2022Network launch at SICSA Conference, including scholar introductions
September 2022L&T Leadership Workshop (online)
Week beginning 2 December 2022Final poster presentations (online/in-person TBC)
January/February 2023Scholar blog posts published.

Computing Science and Informatics Student Survey – March 2022

Tech Start-Ups and the Scottish Tech Ecosystem – A role for Scottish Universities and SICSA

Students of Computing Science, Informatics and related subjects are invited to participate in a short survey about support for students forming start-ups while they are at University.  This survey will be used to help inform SICSA’s* strategy for supporting technology entrepreneurship within Scottish Universities, as part of our response to the Scottish Government’s review of the Tech Ecosystem in Scotland (“the Logan Review”, 2020).

Participation is optional and can be anonymous.  Completing the survey will take approximately 5 minutes.  Results will be aggregated into a report to be shared with SICSA, its partners and funders. There will be further opportunities to participate in a focus group on this topic.

Please complete the survey here: https://glasgow.onlinesurveys.ac.uk/sicsa-startup-survey-students-2022

The survey is open from 12pm, 9th March – 12pm 1st April 2022

 

SICSA HCI Sustainable Challenge Fund

The SICSA HCI Theme is proud to announce the 2022 HCI Sustainable Challenge Fund. This fund intends to bring together researchers involved in work surrounding the UN Sustainable Development Goals that involve HCI methods and thinking. We anticipate that this fund will be helpful for researchers interested in running a series of events that will culminate in larger, multidisciplinary research applications.

In this first round, we anticipate funding a maximum of two challenge bids and have £3,000 to support this. Funding can facilitate a series of events linked to a specific challenge theme, and we would encourage applicants to be creative in their approach to this. We also encourage applicants to reach outside of the HCI theme and find collaborators from other academic areas that would add value to their application.

The first round of this funding closes on Friday, 29th April. We will communicate decisions to applicants by 13 May, and all budgets must be spent by the end of July 2022.

Any applications should follow the SICSA Research Theme Event Sponsorship Guidelines.

Applications should be made to Anastasia.Fliatoura@glasgow.ac.uk and should detail:

The application should be a maximum of 2 sides of A4 paper and should detail:

  • The team involved in the bid (including affiliations),
  • The specific UN Sustainability Goals that the work links to, and how the work promotes these goals,
  • An outline of events planned as part of the Challenge Fund,
  • A brief breakdown of costs for the application

Potential applicants can send any questions surrounding the 2022 HCI SCF Fund to Mary-Ellen Foster  and Michael Crabb.

SICSA AI Research Theme – Call for Small Research Grants

The SICSA Artificial Intelligence Research Theme invites proposals to support Scottish AI researchers in carrying out research activities over the summer of 2022. We anticipate applications for three types of activities (or a combination):

  • Travel/networking (max £250)
  • Equipment including cloud credits (max £500)
  • Studentship (max £1000)

While there is no restriction on the topics, we encourage applications to research into new AI-related areas and those that are difficult to find funding for. We are particularly keen to support proposals that also align with the emerging SFC challenge areas of:

  • Future Health and Wellbeing
  • Tackling the Climate Emergency and the Just Transition to
    Net Zero
  • Transition to a Sustainable economy

Projects can also be topped up by host institutions. Total funds are limited so we will have a preference for projects that show good value for money, and we don’t expect to award more than 2 summer studentships.

The closing date for this call is 29 April 2022.

Please send questions on the scheme to Dimitra Gkatzia and Sandy Brownlee.

SICSA AI Small Grants Sponsorship Guidelines.

SICSA AI Small Grants Application Form.