Funded PhD Project in Machine Learning for Portfolio Optimisation

The School of Computing is currently inviting applications for a three-year funded PhD studentship in Machine Learning for Portfolio Optimisation,

The research, partially funded by Wealth Objects Ltd, will be supervised by Dr Michael Kampouridis.

The student will be registered as a full-time student at the University of Kent with occasional meetings with Wealth Objects Ltd as they have a particular interest in the area of portfolio optimisation.

The School is a welcoming and supportive environment that has been recognised with a Bronze Athena SWAN award. We are a well-balanced, inclusive and diverse community that aims to further enhance our achievements and reputation in teaching, research and innovation.

We provide comprehensive support for our research students including:
• regular supervision meetings
• a research training programme
• computer equipment
• a desk in an office
• funds for conference travel

The REF 2014 ranked us in the top quartile of 89 UK Computing departments, coming 22nd for Research Power and 12th for Research Intensity.

Further details of the PhD studentship are available at: www.cs.kent.ac.uk/research/studyingforaphd/PhD-machine-learning-portfolio-optimisation-2018

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Dr Fernando Otero to help develop next generation of social planning tools

Dr Fernando Otero is to lead a group of academics working on a new project to develop the next generation of social planning tools. This exciting 30 month project with PlanSnap has been awarded funding through the Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) programme.

PlanSnap, based in London, has developed and launched an app which enables social planning on any platform. The platform gets everyone to agree quickly on the details of any kind of social plan – who, what, where and when – in just a few taps. PlanSnap was interested in working with the University to gain valuable expertise in order to embed expert data analytics and a deep understanding of social networking theories. This new knowledge will enable PlanSnap to develop the next generation of social planning tools.

The KTP is the first of its kind for the University as expertise will be provided by a team of four academics across three different academic disciplines; Computing, Engineering and Psychology. Dr Fernando Otero and the academic team will supervise a recently qualified postgraduate who will work day-to-day at PlanSnap’s offices embedding this innovative new capability and upskilling PlanSnap’s employees.

Louise Doherty, CEO, PlanSnap is really looking forward to the collaboration and said “We’re thrilled to be working with the incredible academic team at the University of Kent. It’s an exciting partnership with complementary skills and goals that will help us on our mission to be the global go-to way to get groups together.”

KTPs are a UK-wide Government programme helping businesses to improve their competitiveness and productivity through better use of knowledge, technology and skills that reside within the UK academic knowledge base. The project was developed with the support of KTP staff within the University’s Innovation & Enterprise Department (KIE).

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Improve your skills with a Year in Computing

Many students are keen to learn the tech skills that will make them stand out to a graduate employer, or simply want to learn more about computing for their own interests.

The School of Computing offers a ‘Year in Computing‘ for all Kent undergraduate students*. This extra year can be taken after stage 2 or the final year of a students’ current degree programme.

The Year in Computing will especially be of interest to you if;

  • you are interested in studying computing AND your current degree,
  • you would like to get prepared for a career in tech,
  • you are interested in exploring the frontiers of your subject and computing,
  • you want to learn how to be creative with computing.

The Year in Computing’s cohort of students have come from a wide range of academic disciplines and have been very positive about learning computing in addition to their original degree.

In anonymous feedback students listed the aspects of the programme they liked, including:

  • when my code actually works
  • the range of different subjects/information behind Computing
    learning different programming languages
  • the photo examples in lectures
  • engaging with my lecturers both in and out of classes
  • I really understand the content and don’t feel stupid for asking questions

Applications are now open. Find out more about the Year in Computing or come along to our information event in January.

*with the exception of students from the School of Computing and School of Psychology

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PhD student wins 2nd prize at London Hopper Colloquium

PhD student, Joanna Sharrad, recently won 2nd place in the Research Spotlight Competition at the British Computing Society’s London Hopper Colloquium, and was presented with a certificate and £100.

The Research Spotlight competition focuses on women research masters students and PhD students, providing them with a friendly forum for communicating the essence of their work via short presentations to other postgraduate students and postdoc’s.

Joanna entered a 300 word abstract entitled ‘Type Errors, Delta Debugging, and the Blackbox Compiler’  and was chosen as one of 14 finalists who presented their research in a three and a half minute presentation.

Her presentation looked at how, when using statically typed functional programming languages, novice and expert programmers have to debug type errors. To add to this burden compilers often report the location of a type error inaccurately. Joanna’s research is about creating a new method for locating these type errors by applying the Isolating Delta Debugging algorithm coupled with a blackbox compiler to work directly on Haskell source code. Currently, she has a method that finds 77% of type errors compared to the compiler that only finds 50%. The next stage is to improve the algorithm so it finds even more type error locations.

Joanna commented ‘Overall, the entire day was fantastic and I would recommend going, you get to meet lots of people and listen to some brilliant research being produced by amazing women.’

 

 

 

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Athena Swan Bronze award

The School of Computing is delighted to announce it has been awarded an Athena SWAN Bronze Award for its gender equality work.

The Athena Swan Charter is designed to encourage and recognise commitment to advancing the careers of women in science, technology, engineering, maths and medicine (STEMM) employment in higher education and research.

Bronze awards recognise that the school has a solid foundation for eliminating gender bias and developing an inclusive culture that values all staff. This includes initiatives such as working to promote the number of female students on courses, ensuring an even balance of male and female teaching and academic staff, and putting equality policies in place for all staff.

The School of Computing was one of four Schools in the University to be given the Bronze award along with The School of Psychology, the School of Engineering and Digital Arts and the School of Social Policy, Sociology and Social Research.

The Vice-Chancellor, Professor Karen Cox and The Dean of Sciences, Professor Mark Burchell passed on their congratulations.

The awards will be officially presented at a ceremony to be held at the University of Southampton on 10 December 2018.

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Funded PhD studentship in Human-Machine Teaming in Cyber Security

The School of Computing is currently inviting applications for a three-year PhD scholarship in Human-machine teaming for supporting human decision making to enhance security of cyber-physical systems.

We invite applications for a three year, funded PhD studentship from UK or French nationals only, as it is a joint UK-France project.

The research will be supervised by Prof Shujun Li, Director of Kent Interdisciplinary Research Centre in Cyber Security (KirCCS) and Professor of Cyber Security at the University of Kent, UK and Prof Joaquin Garcia-Alfaro, Télécom SudParis, Institut Mines-Telecom, France.

The student will be registered as a full-time student at the University of Kent but will spend 50% of their time at the French institution.

The School is a welcoming and supportive environment that has been recognised with a Bronze Athena SWAN award. We are a well-balanced, inclusive and diverse community that aims to further enhance our achievements and reputation in teaching, research and innovation. We provide comprehensive support for our research students including:
• regular supervision meetings
• a research training programme
• computer equipment
• a desk in an office
• funds for conference travel

The REF 2014 ranked us in the top quartile of 89 UK Computing departments, coming 22nd for Research Power and 12th for Research Intensity.

Further details of the PhD studentship are available at: www.cs.kent.ac.uk/research/studyingforaphd/PhD-human-machine-teaming-2018.html

 

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Promotion to Professor for Peter Rodgers

Congratulations to Peter Rodgers who has been promoted to Professor in the School of Computing with effect from 1 October 2018.

Peter researches information visualization. This involves the automatic generation of diagrams that represent complex interactions. In particular, Euler Diagrams and Graphs have interesting properties and are applied in a great variety of areas. He also studies network data mining methods and applications of artificial intelligence to visualization and data mining. His work covers the theory, implementation and evaluation of these computer systems.

Peter commented ‘Going ahead, big data and advanced artificial intelligence systems are widely seen as a global challenge in computer science. Getting software systems to work with ever larger data sets will be a major focus of my research efforts.’

The Head of School said ‘Peter has a great reputation for his work on diagramming, an area that is surprisingly challenging but has real world impact, e.g. in creating more comprehensible Metro maps. This promotion is a very well deserved recognition of a colleague who contributed strongly to the leadership in the School of Computing.’

 

 

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Kent computing expert featured in children’s book on amazing careers

A children’s book aimed at explaining what sorts of careers are available to them in the future includes an interview with Dr Jason Nurse from the School of Computing.

Dr Nurse is featured in the book called Fantastic jobs and how to get them, which has a particular focus on jobs in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). Dr Nurse is included as a ‘social media scientist’ which makes reference to his work examining how we use the internet, stay safe online, and identify and avoid fake news.

He also talks about what his research involves to understand these, and other complex topics – such as cyber crime and connected smart devices – as they evolve.
The book also includes advice for children interested in a career in these sorts of areas, such as understanding as much as they can about computers, learning to code and the importance of mathematics.

Jason Nurse cartoon

Dr Nurse said: ‘It’s fantastic to have been asked to be included in the book and a great chance to explain what I and others working in STEM subjects do to encourage children to consider a career in these areas.’

The book is published by Oxford University Press as part of its TreeTops range aimed at primary schools.

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KirCCS Public Engagement Event in Cyber Security

Kent Interdisciplinary Research Centre in Cyber Security (KirCCS) at the University of Kent, representing the University of Kent as a UK government recognised ACE-CSR (Academic Centre of Excellence in Cyber Security Research), will host its first Public Engagement Event in Cyber Security at the Canterbury campus on Wednesday 5th December 2018 from 1-6pm.

The event will be opened by Prof Karen Cox, the Vice-Chancellor and President of the University, at 2.30pm after a buffet lunch reception, together with posters, stands, and demonstrations on various topics in Cyber Security.

The event will also include a talk by Prof Philippe De Wilde, Deputy Vice-Chancellor Research & Innovation of the University, on the University’s activities, achievements and future plans in research and innovation. There will be an introduction to KirCCS, followed by a number of invited talks given by external speakers from government, industry and academia.

Please book your place at this event here as places are limited.

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Students win Innovation and Bright Idea award while on placement

Two students from the School of Computing at Medway have won an award while on placement at Medway Council.

Direna Rugnato and Devesh Patel, Computing with a Year in Industry BSc students, were part of a team who won the Innovation and Bright Idea award for their work on the Social Care Mobile Working project.

The project involved introducing the latest technologies to improve paper-based and manual processes within the Children and Adults directorate. The project enables social workers to have greater flexibility in their work life and, as a result, would also improve the quality of the service that is provided to the most vulnerable people in Medway. The result of this project has transformed the Council’s way of working.

Direna said ‘It’s an amazing feeling to be part of such a successful project and team! It’s been an honour to be recognised in the workplace, it just goes to show how much impact you can have whilst on a placement year.

The School of Computing sends over 100 students on placements every year. The School has strong links with industry in Kent, nationally and internationally and has two dedicated placement officers who help students secure roles. The Industrial placement programme is available to all undergraduates and taught Master’s students in the School.

Direna and Devesh join several other students who have won awards while on placement including Sam Cordner-Matthews, Jade Donaldson, Jordan Norris and Hubert Dziedziczak.

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