Computer Science News Archive

Echoes Around The Home

Echoes Around The Home is a cross disciplinary project conceived and led by Dr Nicholas Firth, UCL Computer Science Research Associate and member of UCL's Centre for Medical Image Computing (CMIC).

In the last two years, major advances in voice recognition have led to an increasing number of people using voice-controlled devices in their homes. The Amazon Echo is currently the most popular voice-controlled device in the home, with 5.1 million devices sold by November 2016.

The Echo’s features include responding to commands and questions to carry out such actions as to playing music, reading an... [more]

Paul Samet, 1930 - 2017

We are very saddened to report the death of Prof Paul Samet, a retired member of UCL Computer Science, and a gentleman of the old school, who passed away on 1st January 2017 aged 86. Paul's wife, Joan, predeceased him.

Paul's funeral will be held on Tuesday 7th February 2017, in the West Chapel at Breakspear Crematorium, Breakspear Road, Ruislip HA4 7SJ at 10.45am. Donations in memory of Paul are invited to "National Gallery Trust", and can be made by visiting

Head of Department Prof Steve Hailes has written the following obituary. Former and cur... [more]

GCHQ accelerator selects UCL cyber security start-up

Seven UK start-ups focused on security issues and threats have been selected for an accelerator run by the UK’s Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ).

The shortlisted companies include CounterCraft, Cyberowl, Cybersmart, FutureScaper, Spherical Defence, StatusToday and Verimuchme. Spherical Defence, a Cyber Security start-up from Pune, was co-founded by UCL MSc Information Security graduate, Dishant Shah.

Alongside the role of co-founder and Cambridge graduate Jack Hopkins, Spherical Defence builds artificial intelligent security for banks. The start-up pioneers an intrusion detection... [more]

Big Data's Unexplored Frontier: Recorded Music

While still a vast field, a huge part of machine learning exists for what may seem to be a relatively narrow subset of problems. These are problems involving visual processing: character recognition, facial recognition, the generation of trippy images dominated by populations of dogslugs, birdlegs, and spidereyes.

This isn't accidental. Image data is unique in its suitability for machine learning tasks. It naturally occurs as multidimensional arrays—tensors, really—of pixel data. It's more at the fringes of machine learning that audio data gets a turn. Part of the problem is that, despite the ... [more]

Bug-finding MaJiCKe finds a home at Facebook

The UCL Computer Science team behind spinout software testing technology MaJiCKe are moving on to work with Facebook in London. The technology uses the academic field of Search Based Software Engineering to remove ‘much of the drudgery’ of testing software, while still finding bugs.

The company’s three co-founders Prof Mark Harman (Scientific Advisor), Dr Yue Jia (CEO), and Ke Mao (CTO) are members of UCL Computer Science's Centre for Research on Evolution, Search and Testing (CREST) and are currently partly funded by the UK’s Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council.

Prof Harman co... [more]

UCL students learn state-of-the-art AI in DeepMind partnership

DeepMind is known internationally as a leader in an area of computer science called machine learning.  Now senior DeepMind staff are joining forces with UCL’s Department of Computer Science to share their knowledge by delivering a state-of-the-art Master’s level training module called Advanced Topics in Machine Learning.

This new module will provide a key component of UCL’s Machine Learning Master’s programmes and will cover some of the most sophisticated topics in artificial intelligence.  The first of these lectures will take place in January 2017.

The course focuses on deep learning and rei... [more]

UCL Media Futures Group discovers Star Wars bots on Twitter

A team from the UCL Media Furures Group, led by Shi Zhou has discovered a Twitter botnet – which they think could comprise more than 350,000 accounts – that has tweeted thousands of random quotations from Star Wars novels. Shi Zhou and his research student Juan Echeverria Guzman accidentally stumbled upon the botnet after taking a random sample of 1 per cent of Twitter users. When plotted on a map, a strange pattern appeared. More than 3000 of them were within two oddly uniform rectangles: one roughly covering Europe and North Africa and one over North America.

The researchers used these 3000... [more]

UCLIC featured in IET Partners Magazine

UCL's Interaction Centre (UCLIC) is featured in the IET's latest Partner Magazine.

Digital Coding: the next big thing beyond coding looks at the new approach to learning, which brings together disparate aspects of computer science, cognition, design and everyday life to provoke curiosity, deep learning and creativity.

It was developed by an interdisciplinary team from UCL Computer Science at UCLIC, led by Prof Yvonne Rogers together with Dr Nic Marquardt, Dr Venus Shum, Dr Rose Johnson and Susan Lechelt (pictured). The team has produced ed an extensive, tangible computing toolkit called Mag... [more]

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