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# Computer Science Summer 2018 Newsletter
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## Department Updates
### Hackathon
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The students of \ruhacksoc{} are organising a hackathon for November, with support from the Department of Computer Science. A hackathon is a programming marathon where people get together to focus on building computing projects from scratch over many hours or days. The previous event organised by the student-led \ruhacksoc{} was extremely successful and we hope to attract external corporate sponsors and speakers again this time.
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### Oculus Rifts for the Department
The department is purchasing two new Oculus Rift headsets with Oculus Touch controllers. These will be used for final year student projects as well as for research projects, and provide a more immersive experience than the current setup which lacks touch controllers. We also plan to make good use of these on our open days.
### New Staff
We welcome \julian{} who joined the Computer Science team in April as a lecturer. He manages several research projects revolving around High-Performance Computing and particularly high-performance storage. Since January we have also been joined by \bryan{} of the UK National Centre for Atmospheric Science and the Department of Meteorology, who performs research on HPC for Environmental Science, and \chris{} from the Met Office, who works on optimising scientific software performance in HPC.
### New Knowledge Transfer Partnership
\richard{} has recently been awarded a Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) Project with Prof. Rachel McCrindle (Biomedical Engineering) and Dr. Yota Dimitriadi (Institute of Education) with Red Whale. Red Whale is a leading provider of primary care medical education in the UK with around 15,000 GP doctors attending their courses each year. The project is to develop a state-of-the-art, engaging and highly effective online teaching provision, innovative course content and assessment methods to compliment the current face to face offering delivered by Red Whale and transform the business into an online operation. The key to the project is to use innovative pedagogic teaching methods and approaches to ensure the new courses are also relevant, challenging and fun.
This project compliments an existing KTP with Rachel McCrindle, with OneSightSolutions, whose aim is to develop drivers and user interfaces for Intelligent Buildings, but crucially also includes the development of suitable online training materials. As such, both KTPs utilised Richard's interest in online courses (as exemplified in the Begin Robotics and Begin Programming MOOCs) and Rachel’s interests in gamification in learning.
### Linux User Group
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The penguins are coming! The aim of this group is to bring together
people interested in Linux from and around the university in order to
exchange information and tips, and to ultimately have fun with Linux
and improve Linux expertise in Reading. We already organized two
meetings to introduce Linux and free software and demonstrating the
installation process. It is really easy to get started!
We are confident thinking outside the Window(s) will boost your
professional abilities and confidence.
Please visit our page and subscribe to the mailing list -- \textcolor{MidnightBlue}{\url{https://hps.vi4io.org/teaching/linux-user-group}}
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### Computing Infrastructure
We are committed to giving you the best experience and support on our infrastructure, hence the optimization of our computing labs (e.g. G56) became a top priority. Therefore, the department created the Strategic Infrastructure Development workgroup. Practically, we are currently conducting a systematic analysis of the situation, and are revisiting the processes to deploy and use software. This process is ongoing but we expect to roll out many changes for the next semester, so stay tuned!
## Coming Soon
A new machine specifically for MSc students to use in their projects has been ordered. It has high specifications for running deep learning algorithms, and can be interfaced with NVIDIA’s cloud computing platform, Digits.
Based on feedback from students we are also investigating setting up a department hosted team chat server to be used on group projects. Currently we are considering open source projects that can be hosted locally and potentially integrated with our GitLab server.
## Careers
The finalist Career Support campaign is now in full swing – please note that Career Support is available for *18 months* after graduation. Please see \textcolor{MidnightBlue}{\url{http://reading.ac.uk/careers/RDGgrad18}}
Final year students:
- Can book 30-minute appointments directly on MJO (no referral needed)
- Can utilise the \href{http://bit.ly/2EDsCHz}{\color{MidnightBlue}Career Passport} workbook
- Can attend all our upcoming workshops, but particularly should be looking at the upcoming \href{http://student.reading.ac.uk/essentials/careers_and_professional_development/finalists/career-hack-sessions.aspx}{\color{MidnightBlue}CareerHack} workshops
- Will be supported via #RDGgrad18 on Twitter
For students graduating this year, if you would like to continue to receive communications about careers, please go to the Leavers' Screen on RISIS *before you graduate* to give us your onwards contact details and to tell us whether you would like us to be in touch with career support emails after graduation.
## Research
The department has now organised research activities into \href{http://www.reading.ac.uk/computer-science/dcs-research.aspx}{\color{MidnightBlue}three groups}, Advanced Computing for Environmental Science (ACES), the Computational Vision Group (CVG) and Data Science and Artificial Intelligence (DSAI). This will help to enhance the department's external visibility, and foster research collaborations within the department.
On Thursday 7th June 2018, \hong{} delivered a talk, titled Introduction to Computer Vision, in the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (DEFRA) Workshop "Computer Vision for the environment: applications for policy and delivery".
\fred{} was an invited speaker at the recent European Conference on Modelling and Simulation in Wilhelmshaven, Germany. He presented work on data mining for streaming data -- for example analysing real time data streams from credit card use, social network data or Internet of Things devices.
\julian{} had the paper "Comparing Clang Abstract Syntax Trees using String Kernels" of his co-supervised PhD student Raul Torres accepted for the CADO 2018 conference.
In a joint work with Tianjin University, \hong{} has published the paper "\href{https://ieeexplore.ieee.org/document/8340231/}{\color{MidnightBlue}Complete initial solutions for iterative pose estimation from planar objects}", in IEEE Access. The paper develops integrated computer vision algorithms for camera pose estimation from images of a planar object.
On May 24th 2018, \elly{} presented her work at the UK Symposium on Knowledge Discovery and Data Mining organised by the BCS specialist group on Artificial Intelligence. She spoke on representation learning approaches to help understand users interests and needs based on their online behaviours.
\julian{} organized a workshop that took place in the department on June 6th to establish a special user group about high-performance storage in the UK. He will also be attending the upcoming ISC HPC conference with 2000+ attendees, and is
chair of the project poster session, member in various committees, and organizes several sessions. Together with colleagues, he submitted \href{https://2018.isc-program.com/?page_id=9&fn=julian&ln=kunkel&uid=671143}{\color{MidnightBlue}various posters and papers for workshops}. At the conference, there is also a student cluster competition that we could participate in 2019 if you seek challenges and fun in a stimulating environment: \textcolor{MidnightBlue}{\url{https://www.isc-hpc.com/student-cluster-competition.html}}. Just reach out to Julian if you are interested.
Ms Eiman Kattan, a PhD student supervised by \hong{}, has a paper entitled “Systematic evaluation of CNN on land cover classification from remotely sensed images” accepted by the SPIE international conference of Remote Sensing 2018 as an oral presentation. The conference will be held in Berlin, Germany, 10-13 September 2018.
\tom{} has published the paper "\href{https://bmcbioinformatics.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12859-018-2125-2}{\color{MidnightBlue}Approximate inference of gene regulatory network models from RNA-Seq time series data}" in the journal BMC Bioinformatics. The paper presents a new approach to learning networks from biological data generated by next generation sequencing technologies.