Computer Science News

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]

UCLU TechSoc hosts Porticode

On the 10–11th December, UCLU Tech Soc held its very own Hackathon called Porticode. The workshops and beginner focus meant that UCL welcomed 65% first-time hacker! A total of 120 attendees, 5 winners, 24 hours?—?the hacks that were produced were incredible.

Emily Mears, Tech Soc Vice President, has blogged about Porticode – see below:

"It’s 5am on Sunday morning in the South Cloisters, and I’ve just finished my first can of Monster. In front of me 20 or so students sit at tables, their faces lit by the screens in front of them, with discarded wrappers and water bottles acting as the only proo... [more]

Machine learning to help with searches for concealed weapons

A sample of shipping containers passing through the Port of Rotterdam is X-rayed. The resulting images are inspected by humans who search for anything suspicious - weapons for example. However, the process is time-consuming, so only a small fraction can be sampled.

The Computational Security Science (COMPASS) group at University College London (UCL), led by Lewis Griffin, may soon speed up the process by employing artificial intelligence. Dr Griffin is being sponsored by Rapiscan, who make the X-ray machines, to create software that uses machine-learning techniques to scan the x-ray images. T... [more]

UCL ranked 1st from London universities in NWERC

This year UCL has prepared and sent 3 teams to the NWERC (Northwestern Europe Regional Contest) part of ACM programming competition which was held in Bath on 20th November 2016.

During the contest, the teams consisting of three students had 11 algorithmic problems to solve. They must submit solutions as programs in C, C++, Java or Python (although it is not guaranteed every problem is solvable in Python). Programs are then run on test data. If a program fails to give a correct answer, the team is notified and can submit another program.

The winner is the team which correctly solves most proble... [more]

UCL receives Google grant towards automated fact-checking

Google has given €150,000 to three UK organisations, including UCL, who are working on fact-checking projects to help journalists and the public avoid falling for fake stories and bogus claims.

The funding announcement comes amid heated debate about the role of companies such as Facebook and Google in spreading fake stories that some claim influenced the results of the US election. The money is part of a €24m (£20.5m) round of funding from Google’s digital news initiative, which backs innovative projects in news across Europe.

€50,000 is being given to a project called Factmata, developed at U... [more]

Most updates to mobile apps don’t make a noticeable difference

The majority of updates to mobile apps don’t have a significant impact on user ratings, suggesting developers might release updates too frequently, according to a new study by UCL researchers. They found free apps were less likely to make an impact when their developers release an update compared to paid apps, although among the impactful releases, the impact was more likely to be positive for free apps.

“There’s a culture among app developers of getting more releases out than your competitors, but our research suggests they should think more carefully before putting out a release, as it might... [more]

UCL Student Project at Microsoft Future Decoded

The rise of online retailers, big-box-stores, and the increasingly personalized services offered to online shoppers, in conjunction with the economic downturn of 2008 and its residual economic effects, has meant that more and more British shoppers are turning away from the high street to address their shopping needs.

Although there has been some evidence of better economic performance in recent years, the high street economy has not always followed in step. As a result, there has been a net increase in vacant shop fronts across UK high streets.

To help address the needs of ailing UK high stre... [more]

Computer Science fills UCL liaison role at the Alan Turing Institute

David Pym, Professor of Information, Logic, and Security, and Head of the Programming Principles, Logic and Verification Research Group at UCL Computer Science, has been appointed UCL’s University Liaison Director with the Alan Turing Institute, succeeding Professor Sofia Olhede (UCL Statistical Science). 

UCL is a founding partner of the Turing, the UK’s national data science institute. Its mission is to:

  • undertake data science research at the intersection of computer science, mathematics, statistics and systems engineering
  • provide technically informed advice to policymakers on the wider implic... [more]

Today marks official launch of the second UK Robotics Week

UK Robotics Week 2017 officially launches today, with a range of robotics activities and challenges open to schools, academic institutions and industry sectors. These activities culminate in a national week of celebration being held 24th – 30th June 2017.

The first ever UK Robotics Week proved a huge success, encompassing a host of events up and down the UK, including public lectures, open labs, hackathons, tech weekends, conferences, and a state-of-the-art robotics showcase held on the last day.

The UK Robotics Week initiative is jointly spearheaded by founding supporters, the Engineering and... [more]

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