Computer Science News

Athena SWAN Silver Award for UCL Computer Science

UCL Computer Science has been awarded an Athena SWAN Silver Award. This builds on our earlier success in obtaining a bronze award in 2012. We are one of only three Computer Science Departments in the UK to have achieved a Silver Award – none have as yet been awarded Gold.

The Silver Award recognises that we have gone beyond simply identifying problem areas in relation to gender inequality, but that we have been successful in implementing strategies that address these issues; and furthermore have been able to measure our progress towards our goals.

The Athena SWAN Charter was established in 200... [more]

Public events announced for first ever UK Robotics Week: 25 June - 1 July 2016

UK robotics innovation is taking centre stage this summer, with the announcement of a nationwide programme of exciting events for the first ever UK Robotics Week (25 June – 1 July 2016). Events for people of all ages are being held up and down the country, spanning public lectures, open labs, schools and academic competitions, hackathons, tech weekends for children, and cutting-edge robotics showcases.

TheEPSRC UK Robotics and Autonomous Systems Network (UK-RAS Network) was established in March 2015 with the mission to provide academic leadership in Robotics and Autonomous Systems (RAS), expan... [more]

Anthony Steed wins 2016 VGTC Virtual Reality Technical Achievement Award

The  2016  Virtual  Reality  Technical  Achievement  Award  has been awarded to  Anthony  Steed, Head of the Virtual Environments and Computer Graphics group at UCL Computer Science, in  recognition  of  developments  that  have  significantly advanced research, engineering and applications of virtual reality systems.

The IEEE VGTC Virtual Reality Technical Achievement Award was established in 2005. It is given every year to recognize an individual for a seminal technical achievement in virtual and augmented reality, and VGTC members nominate individuals for the Virtual Reality Technical Achi... [more]

UCL partnership to explore the future of 'Connected' Healthcare

Nuffield Health has announced a partnership with UCL Faculty of Engineering to study and strongly evidence the social and economic benefits of connected healthcare – a process that brings together inputs, delivery, diagnostics, treatment, care, rehabilitation and health promotion.

Alan Payne, Chief Digital and Information Officer commented: “Nuffield Health is a unique organisation that brings health and wellbeing together through our network of hospitals and fitness & wellbeing centres. We see connected healthcare as a natural foundation for the future of how we deliver health services throu... [more]

UCL sheds light on phishing scam

Dr Steven Murdoch, Principal Research Fellow at UCL Computer Science, has responded on the BBC to a new type of phishing email that includes the recipient's home address has been received by thousands of people.

Members of the BBC Radio 4's You and Yours team were among those who received the scam emails, claiming they owed hundreds of pounds to UK firms. The firms involved have been inundated with phone calls from worried members of the public.

You and Yours reporter Shari Vahl was one of the first on the team to receive an email.

"The email has good spelling and grammar and my exact home ad... [more]

Saving Bletchley Park: out on 17 March

Saving Bletchley Park, by Sue Black, Honorary Senior Research Associate at UCL Computer Science, is released tomorrow (17 March 2016). See http://www.amazon.co.uk/Saving-Bletchley-Park-socialmedia-codebreakers/dp/1908717920.

Imagine a Britain where the most important sites of historical significance are replaced with housing estates and supermarkets. Imagine a Britain without Bletchley Park, where Alan Turing and a team of code-breakers changed the course of World War II and where thousands of women inspired future generations with their work in the fields of computing and technology. 

Now im... [more]

UCL join forces with the English National Opera and Holition

UCL Computer Science third year student Delia Gander's dissertation project is investigating how state of the art face-tracking technology combined with a novel user experience can benefit make-up artists, costume designers, performers and young audiences to the ENO. Together with Ana Moutinho, lead UX Designer, Professor Yvonne Rogers, Director of UCLIC, and Natasha Freedman, Head of Baylis, ENO, Delia has been helping to create a virtual make up app to explore how people can engage and interact with new technology in order to ’step into character’. The MagicFace app, that was developed, app... [more]

Computer Science students run first ever inspiration event for children

On Saturday 12th March, more than 40 children aged 10-18 from outer city schools gathered at UCL Engineering for HackStart, a day of tech demos, talks and workshops organised and run solely by first year Computer Science students and members of UCLU TechSoc.

Over 20 first year CS students conducted self-designed workshops and demos hoping to inspire attendees to take up STEM or Computer Science at the University level.  The topics included game development, cryptography with Python and Virtual Reality with the Oculus. Some made use of their high quality Coding Curriculum projects such as the J... [more]

Bank of England & UCL working on bitcoin alternative RSCoin

The Bank of England has partnered with UCL Computer Science to create the centrally controlled digital currency RSCoin, as reports in iT news today.

The UCL researchers involved in the project, Dr Sarah Meiklejohn and Dr George Danezis, published a paper last year at the request of the Bank of England in which they presented a framework on how a central bank can maintain monetary policy over the RSCoin without sacrificing transparency. SiliconAngle explained RSCoin would use the blockchain just like bitcoin, but that the Bank of England would hold an encryption key “that could be used to contr... [more]

Staff & students star in UCL’s International Women’s Day

The exhibition ‘Women at UCL: Presence and Absence’ was created as part of UCL's International Women's Day events to celebrate and recognise women at UCL who inspire those they work with. There was a fantastic response to the call for nominations, with over 200 submissions, which shows the real impact UCL women have on their colleagues.

The exhibition profiled women from across the UCL community. A call went out asking staff and students to nominate a woman at UCL who had influenced them – either by inspiring or encouraging, or helping them to think differently about their work or study. A pa... [more]

Classical physics in a spin

Simple “spin models” used to explain magnetism can precisely reproduce any possible phenomenon in classical, non-quantum physics, according to scientists at UCL and the Max Planck Institute for Quantum Optics (MPQ).

This is the first time such simple ‘universal models’ have been found to exist.

The study, published this week Science, builds on pioneering work from the ‘80s which is at the interface between theoretical computer science and physics. Extremely simple computers are universal: they can in principle compute anything that can be computed. These new results show that something analog... [more]

UCL research student strikes silver for engineering display in Parliament

Thomas Rogers, a PhD student at UCL, took the silver certificate at a competition in the House of Commons yesterday (7 March), for his engineering research on cargo inspection, which earned him a £2,000 prize.

Thomas presented a poster about his research into automating and streamlining cargo inspection to MPs, Peers and a panel of expert judges, as part of the annual SET for Britain competition. His work was judged against 59 other shortlisted engineering researchers’ work.

Thomas said: “Although it was very tough and highly intense, I've thoroughly enjoyed this competition. The organisers, M... [more]

UCL Students win Google Firebase Hackathon

A team of four UCL Computer Science students - Tobias Büschel (MSc Computer Scienc), Kimeshan Naidoo (MSc Computer Science),  Jia Shern Tan (BEng Mechanical Engineering) and Edward Mothershaw (MSc Computer Science) has won the third annual "Static Showdown" competition presented by Google Firebase. 40 teams and about a hundred people from around the world competed.

Static Showdown is a worldwide virtual competition where teams of up to four have 48 hours to build a web app - with one catch: entries must be built without any custom server-side code. That means 100% HTML, JS, CSS and off-the-she... [more]

Virtual reality study examines GP responses when patients demand antibiotics

New UCL research finds that both trainee and senior GPs prescribed antibiotics without clinical need when faced with a virtual reality (VR) scenario where patients angrily demanded them.

The study, authored by an interdisciplinary team from UCL Laws, UCL Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience, UCL Computer Science and ICREA-University of Barcelona, is published today in PLOS One. It highlights how VR could be of significant use in the education and training of GPs and other professionals who encounter ethical dilemmas.

The scenario, which used the Oculus Rift VR system, placed both trainee and mo... [more]

Information Security MSc students second in Deloitte competition.

Capture the Flag competitions are used in computer security in order to give participants experience in securing a machine as well as conducting and reacting to the sort of attacks found in the real world.

This game was part of Deloitte's strategy of identifying promising talent in computer security. It lasted for 6 hours and included challenges on web and binary security, computer forensics, as well as some real world lock-picking challenges. Seven teams from UK universities participated. The UCL-CS team were drawn from the MSc Information Security programme and organised by Gianluca Stringh... [more]

Google Research Award winners

Dr Emiliano de Cristofaro, with co-Investigator Dr Christophe Dessimoz, is the recipient of a prestigious  Google Research Award. Their proposal, "Enabling Progress in Genomic Research via Privacy-Preserving Data Sharing", will now be supported with a $70,625.00 USD award.

Google's Reseach Award Programme is extremely competitive and receives many strong proposals in every round. All submissions are subjected to a thorough review involving several teams of Google engineers and researchers.

Congratulations to Dr Cristofaro and Dr Dessimoz.

UCL's Data Science Hackathon is the first of its kind in the UK

UCLU TechSoc and UCL Computer Science have hosted the UCL Data Science Student Challenge, powered by Microsoft Azure Machine Learning. The UCL DSSC is the fourth of its kind in the global series of hackathons, previously been held at Columbia University in New York, ENSAE in Paris, the Indian Institute of Science in Bangalore. Through these events, Microsoft aim to ignite a passion for data science, machine learning, analytics and to help students learn and develop valuable technical skills.

Rohan Kopparapu and Kok-Pin Chi, both students at UCL Computer Science, led a dream team of 18 TechSoc ... [more]

EPSRC Autonomous Manufacturing Research Grant

UCL Computer Science is contributing to an EPSRC funded research on Aerial Additive Building Manufacturing (Aerial ABM).  The research will develop an aerial robotic construction system that enables aerial robots to 3D print building structures autonomously.

Additive Building Manufacturing (ABM) is already being trialled in many parts of the world by the construction industry. It involves the use of large robots on a building site that extrude building materials to construct buildings, similar to a 3D printer. This process has the advantage of reducing construction times, material and transpor... [more]

UCLB spinout Satalia backs optimisation research unit

Satalia, a UCL Business spin out from the Department of Computer Science at UCL has awarded funding of €465,000 to academics at University of Klagenfurt’s Institute of Mathematics. Award-winning researcher Assistant Professor Dr. Phillip Hungerlander leads the team on this two-year project, which will generate disruptive innovations in Artificial Intelligence and Optimisation Solutions.

The pairing of the Hungerländer academics with Satalia’s own scientists forms a strong multidisciplinary research team of optimisation experts, which will apply methods such as constraint programming and hybrid... [more]