Informatics Newsletter August 2017

Issue 7 of our School newsletter for staff and students.

Recent news stories from around the School

New Staff

New support staff who started over the summer:

  • Sarah N Taylor – Communications and Recruitment Officer
  • Allison Taylor - Senior Secretary
  • Julie Whitefield - Receptionist/Events Assistant
  • Aleksandra Zawada - Receptionist/Events Assistant
  • Samantha Stewart - Secretary (PGT)
Left to right: Sarah N Taylor, Allison Taylor, Julie Whitefield, Aleksandra Zawada, Samantha Stewart

Appleton Tower move

The works are nearing the end and the move is in progress.

Latest building updates 

There are tours of the facilities available for the teaching staff.

Book your place on Eventbrite

Recent funding 

Recent events in Informatics

City Deal and Secretary of State visit

Damian Green, First Secretary of State, enjoyed a demonstration of research at the Edinburgh Centre for Robotics - a joint venture involving the University of Edinburgh and Heriot-Watt University - following the announcement of the Edinburgh and South East Scotland City Region Deal.

University to play pivotal role in creating Data Capital of Europe

About the City Deal

Blockchain Meet Up

Charles Hoskinson, CEO, IOHK & Co-Founder of Ethereum, Susan Ramonat, CEO, Spiritus Partners and Professor Aggelos Kiayias, Chair in Cyber Security and Privacy have been speaking at a highly popular Blockchain Meet Up held in the Informatics Forum on 27th July.

Informatics hosts Blockchain Meet Up

Recent awards

Dr Colin Adams, CBE

Dr Colin Adams, former Director of Commercialisation in the School of Informatics and Director of Informatics Ventures, has been made a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE).

Informatics former Director of Commercialisation recognised in Queen’s birthday honours

Skolem most influential paper for Alan Bundy

Alan Bundy’s paper “The Use of Explicit Plans to Guide Inductive Proofs” from CADE-9 won the Skolem award for most influential paper at this year’s CADE-26. The conference on Automated Deduction (CADE) is the major international forum at which research on all aspects of automated deduction is presented.

The first conference was held in 1974. Early CADEs were mostly biennial, and annual conferences started in 1996. The CADE conference series is managed by CADE Inc. which is a subcorporation of the Association for Automated Reasoning (AAR).

The Thoralf Skolem Award was established in 2014 to reward a CADE paper that has passed the test of time, by being a most influential paper in the field. Beginning with CADE-25 (2015), at every CADE the Skolem Award Committee selects a paper presented at the CADE held 10 years earlier to receive the Skolem award.

Thoralf Skolem Wikipedia page

HiPEAC paper awards for teams from ICSA

Papers by two ICSA research teams have been selected to receive 2017 HiPEAC (International Conference on High Performance and Embedded Architecture and Compilation) paper awards.

The HiPEAC conference is the premier European forum for experts in computer architecture, programming models, compilers and operating systems for embedded and general-purpose systems.

Awarded papers: “ATOM: Atomic Durability in Non-volatile Memory through Hardware Logging" authored by Arpit Joshi, Vijay Nagarajan, Marcelo Cintra and Stratis Viglas and "Boomerang: A Metadata-Free Architecture for Control Flow Delivery" authored by Rakesh Kumar, Cheng-Chieh Huang, Boris Grot and Vijay Nagarajan.

In the media

Walid Magdy’s research has gathered a lot of interest from news outlets around the world. Walid has written two research papers on Twitter dynamics during elections (US 2016 and UK 2017), and another one about Detecting Fake Accounts in Social Media.

Fake online profiles easier to fish out with new software tool

WikiLeaks gave Trump edge in campaign race, Twitter study finds

Student successes

Informatics student comes second in C2C ethical hacking competition

Harvey Stocks, Computer Science student, was part of a team who came second in a prestigious ethical hacking competition, Cambridge2Cambridge 2017, with over 100 students from some of the best universities in the US and UK working together over three days.

Cambridge2Cambridge was founded jointly by MIT CSAIL (in Cambridge, Massachusetts) and the University of Cambridge Computer Laboratory (in the original Cambridge) and was first run at MIT in 2016 as a competition involving only students from these two universities. This year it was hosted in Cambridge, UK.

Social media coverage

Picture of Harvey and one of teammates

Picture of Harvey at a computer

Prize photo, Harvey in white shirt

Informatics students win first prize at the Robots for Resilient Infrastructure Competition

Chris Mower, Wolfgang Merkt, and Theodoros Stouraitis, PhD students in Statistical Machine Learning and Motor Control Group won First Prize for Greatest Potential for Positive Impact at the Robots for Resilient Infrastructure Competition, an international robotics challenge held at the University of Leeds on June 27-28, 2017.

They presented their work on Robust Shared Autonomy for Mobile Manipulation in Extreme Environments which allows for shared autonomy operation via limited bandwidth wireless links. It empowers the human operator to use a blend of teleoperation, punctuated and full autonomy. This framework reduces operator fatigue by automatically verifying the validity of intended motions and continuously checking the environment for dynamic changes, altering the robot's behaviour along the way to ensure safety in shared workspaces while minimising dis- and interruptions.

This work has also been accepted to appear at the IEEE Conference for Automation Science and Engineering (CASE) in Xi'an, China in August: Wolfgang Merkt, Yiming Yang, Theodoros Stouraitis, Christopher Mower, Maurice Fallon and Sethu Vijayakumar, Robust Shared Autonomy for Mobile Manipulation with Continuous Scene Monitoring, Proc. 13th IEEE Conference on Automation Science and Engineering, Xian, China (2017).

Brendan Murphy prize for ICSA student

ICSA PhD student Xenofon Foukas, has been awarded the Brendan Murphy prize for 2017 at the 29th Multi-Service workshop (MSN), Coseners 2017, for his work “Towards Programmable and Virtualized Radio Access Networks".

Coseners is the annual UK academic meeting for systems and networks researchers, and has been going on for close to three decades. The prize is awarded in memory of Brendan Murphy, who was an outstanding researcher and mountaineer known to many in the communications and distributed systems research community, and a regular participant at MSN since its inception.

IPAB student wins travel award to 2017 RSS Women in Robotics Workshop

Simona Nobili, PhD candidate in the Institute of Perception, Action and Behaviour, has won a travel award to the 2017 RSS Women in Robotics Workshop.

The workshop will be held as part of the Robotics: Science and Systems (RSS) conference to be held at MIT in Cambridge, MA in July. It is a mixed-audience, women-only speakers workshop that aims to raise visibility of women in robotics, strengthen the community and foster mentorship of female researchers.

Simona will present her research paper "Heterogeneous Sensor Fusion for Accurate State Estimation of Dynamic Legged Robots" during the conference. This paper combines motion estimation for the HyQ Quadruped with Simona's algorithms for robust localisation using LIDAR. The approach was demonstrated on the robot showing that it could trot or walk around an industrial environment while staying accurately positioned relative to a 3D map.

This work is in collaboration with the Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia in Genoa (Italy).

News from the CDTs

Visitors from China in Edinburgh Centre for Robotics

Representatives of the Guangdong Province in China visited Robotarium-East in June to explore potential areas of collaboration between the province and The University

Delegation from China visits Robotarium-East

Management changes in CDT in Data Science

Charles Sutton, previous CDT Director, is on sabbatical this year. As of August, Amos Storkey took on the post of the CDT Director and Adam Lopez stepped in as Co-Director.

In other news

Dean of Diversity and Inclusion

The College Office are looking to appoint a Dean to oversee the development of strategy and policy for promoting diversity and inclusion for academic and professional services staff and students within the College.

The Dean of Diversity and Inclusion will evangelise on the importance of diversity and inclusion within the College. They will chair the College’s Equality and Diversity Committee and represent the College on relevant University-level committees and working groups.

The appointment will be for 12 months in the first instance, but may be extended for a further two years on the basis of satisfactory performance. It is offered as a 10% secondment.

The Head of College and College Registrar are happy to discuss the post with interested parties.

Applications in the form of a CV, a statement on what the applicant believes they would bring to the role, and the names of two referees should reach the College Registrar by 29 September 2017.


Another year, another graduation.

Prize Winners 2017
  • BSc Artificial Intelligence and Computer Science: Marek Strelec 
  • BSc Artificial Intelligence and Computer Science: Luca Scimeca
  • BSc Cognitive Science: Christina Bremer 
  • BEng Computer Science: Mohammed Tahir
  • BSc Computer Science: Split JP Morgan and Class Prize: Thomas Kerber, Martin Kristien
  • BSc Computer Science and Electronics: Jingxi Xu
  • BSc Computer Science and Mathematics: Dimitros Vamvourellis
  • BSc Computer Science and Physics: Iskren Vankov
  • BEng Computer Science with Management: Keith Donaldson
  • MInf Informatics: Lena Reisinger
  • BEng Software Engineering: Craig Walton
Special Prizes
  • Sidney Michaelson Prize for Most Deserving Student: Emma O’Neill & Bartek Malon
  • Kevin Clarke Memorial Prize: Dimitros Vamvourellis
  • Howe Undergraduate Prize: Luca Scimeca
External Prizes
  • Microsoft Research Prize for Best Student Project: Iskren Vankov
  • Best Final Year Performance by Female Student: Lena Reisinger

Edinburgh Fringe

With the Edinburgh Fringe literally on the doorstep of Informatics Forum, and The Fringe Central’s head quarters being based in Appleton Tower once again, no wonder the Fringe fever spilled into the Informatics Forum as well.

The Edinburgh Fringe Meet the Media event took place in the Forum in the beginning of August and saw journalists meeting the Fringe performers


Personal Relationships and Conflict of Interest Guidance

Guidance produced by College HR on dealing with personal relationships and conflict of interest is available of InfWeb now.

Predatory Journals

Theo Andrew from Scholarly Communications Team on how to avoid predatory journals.

For more guidance

For your diary

Next General Meeting

19th September at 11am

Training opportunities

Copyright training 08th Sep 2017 (10:00-12:30) G43 - Paterson Land (Moray House)
'Just Write' for Research and Academic Staff 11th Sep 2017 (13:15-16:30) Room B.09, Institute for Academic Development, 1 Morgan Lane (Holyrood)
Adobe Workshop: Photoshop 13th Sep 2017 (14:00-16:00) EW13, Argyle House, 3 Lady Lawson Stree (Central Area) [Now fully booked, but there will be other sessions available soon]
Unconscious Bias Workshop 07th Feb 2018 (09:30-13:30) Cuillin Room, Charles Stewart House, 9-16 Chambers Street (Central Area)

Book via MyEd

Funding opportunity

Apply for an Innovation Initiative Grant today and get up to £5000 to support your project, research, club or society.

Open for student and staff applications from 14th September until 26th October 2017.

Innovation Initiative Grants page

Outreach and Public Engagement Opportunities

  • Academics Unplugged: the organisers are seeking speakers who are able to talk about an area of their work which is of potential interest to all staff/students across the College, and ideally has an element of interdisciplinarity.

More details

Please get in touch with us if you’re interested

  • Internal call is now open for event proposals for the University family programme at the National Museum of Scotland for Edinburgh International Science Festival 2018 (31st March to 14th April 2018).

Please send the proposals to by 13th September

Please let us know if you want to apply

  • Open call for ideas is also open for Edinburgh International Science festival 2018. Deadline 15th September

More details

EISF 2018 Themes

Please let us know if you want to apply

Sad news

It is with great sorrow that we’ve learnt of passing of Mike Gordon.

Mike was a professor at Cambridge who did his PhD in Edinburgh and was an academic collaborator to many in the School of Informatics. He died peacefully on 22nd August after a short illness. He is survived by his wife of 38 years Avra Cohn and by his sons Katriel and Reuben.

He'll be greatly missed by his family and friends, but equally by the academic community of which he was such a long-standing pillar. There will be a memorial service in Cambridge in due course to celebrate his life.

Inform us

Add your name to the directory of experts

Tell us about your outreach and public engagement activities

Join the Communications Advisory Forum

Guess who?

Can you guess the identity of the mysterious inhabitant of the Comms Team Office?

  • Enjoys playing football, dancing and wiggling, can sometimes get quite impatient and is very expressive.

The one and only...


Keep in Touch

For all the latest news, keep an eye on our website and social media!

Informatics Communications team website



Edinburgh Informatics Alumni group on LinkedIn


The newsletter is produced by Communications Team.

If you have any questions or comments please get in touch!


Share your news