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Masters News 2017-2018

(see previous years' issues here)

Sent to all postgraduate students in the School of Computer Science at The University of Manchester,
from Norman Paton, Director of Postgraduate Studies.

Masters News • Friday 1 December 2017

Student Representatives...

Student Representatives

There will be a meeting between school staff and PGT student representatives on 13th December.  If you have any issues that you would like to raise, please contact one of your representatives.  You can find out who they are, along with other information about student representative processes in the CS-PGT-Community area on Blackboard.

Also in the CS-PGT-Community area is a My Learning Essentials space that includes materials that should be relevant to your studies.  This includes training material on revision, which may be useful before the exams.

Kilburn / IT Building: Christmas and New Year Access

From Saturday 16th December – Friday 22nd December 2017 inclusive and from Wednesday 3rd January – Sunday 14th January 2018 inclusive, UG and MSc student access is daily between 08:00 - 23:30 hrs for students who have valid Out-of-Hours Passes.

Kilburn Labs open during the vacation period are LF31, Tootill 0 and Tootill 1, Collabs, 1.8.

From Saturday 23rd December 2017 – Tuesday 2nd January 2018 inclusive, when both buildings are closed and there is no student access, The University's Learning Commons and George Kenyon IT Cluster are open throughout this period except for Monday 25th and Tuesday 26th December 2017 if you wish to take the opportunity to use the facilities available there.

Student Support Office Christmas Opening

The School's Student Support Office (SSO) will be open as usual during December 2017 from 09.00 - 17.00 hrs, apart from the following dates and times:

• Wednesday 13th December closed for the day at: 15:30 hrs

• Thursday 14th December closed between: 15:30 – 16:30 hrs

• Monday 18th December closed for the day at: 13:30 hrs

• Tuesday 19th December closed for the day at: 14:15 hrs

• Friday 22nd December closed to student queries at: 15:00 hrs

• Wednesday 3rd January 2018 re-opening after the University's Holiday period at: 9:00 hrs   

Unit Surveys

The Unit Surveys for Period 2 units are open from 4th December to 5th January; please let the staff on the unit and the school hear both what was good (and not so good) about your experience. We reflect and act on these every year.


Masters News • Thursday 16 November 2017

2016/17 Results Published...

2016/17 Results Published

The results from last year's students have been published, and the associated graduation will take place on 14th December.  There will be a fair amount to celebrate; the following table shows the percentage of students who obtained the different levels of qualification:









Postgraduate Diploma


Postgraduate Certificate




Overall, the cohort has done well, with 83% obtaining a Distinction or Merit.

President's Visit to School

Nancy Rothwell, the President and Vice Chancellor of the University will be visiting the school on 28th November.  Her visit will include a session with students, to which all are invited, and to which class representatives are particularly encouraged to attend.  This tends to be mostly an interactive session.  The details are:

Open Meeting with Undergraduate and Postgraduate Students

3.30pm       [Venue: 2.15 Kilburn Building]

CSSoc: Meet a PhD - Machine Learning

William Woof, a PhD student in the School, specialising in Reinforcement Learning will give a brief overview of Machine Learning, Deep Learning and Reinforcement Learning. Afterwards, there'll be time for Q&A and some free pizza ... sponsored by KPMG. Details: Monday 20 Nov at 17:00 in Collab 1. If you’re interested in attending, please fill in this short form.

Wellbeing Week

Next week is Wellbeing Week at the university.  The full programme of events, and descriptions of said events, can be found at:


Masters News • Monday 6 November 2017

Meet the Professionals...

Meet the Professionals

Come and speed network with alumni from the University now working at ARM, PwC, TalkTalk, CACI Ltd, University of Manchester, Ivanti, BBC, Centrica, Cherry Stone Software, Bright Blue Consulting, BJSS, FDM, Marshall Wace Asset Management and d3t. It’s on Tues 21 Nov but register asap.

Wellbeing Champion

Nabya Arshad writes:

Hi everyone, I'm Nabya and I'm the new student Wellbeing Champion for the school of CS.

My main focus will be to help everyone take care of themselves. It's important to maintain a healthy balance in everything you do; working long hours will tire you out (the key is to work efficiently) whereas too much relaxation, well we all know what that leads to ...

So, whether you're a first year, postgrad, international or UK student - I'm here to help you all. If you have any queries, be it with finances, health concerns or uni is just stressing you out, and you're unsure of who to go to, get in touch with me and I can point you in the right direction.
Don't hesitate to contact me at

Linux on Your Laptop

This from Ian Cottam, the School’s Technical Support Manager: Interested in running Linux on your personal Windows machine? See our wiki for how to do it, either by via dual booting or in a virtual machine. If you have Win10 there’s a third option: Windows Subsystem Linux (WSL – 64bit Win only). It provides command line Linux within the Win GUI. If you need X, download the free Xming for Windows. I’ll be writing a longer HOWTO about all this, but you can get a long way by reading the Walking Randomly blog. It you’re a Mac user, you probably know that it has Unix as its foundation (accessed via Terminal), although it is not fully compatible with Linux.

World Antibiotic Awareness Week

The University Programme ‘One Student, One Campus, One Life – Action on Antibiotic Drug Resistance’, in partnership with Manchester Metropolitan University, invites staff and students to attend a number of events to mark World Antibiotics Awareness Week and European Antibiotic Awareness Day. More information about these events, including links to register, can be found here.

Google Talk

A reminder that Todd Davies (BSc CS alumnus, now a Software Engineer at Google in Munich) will be talking about life at Google this Weds 8 Nov at 13:00 in LT1.1. Get your seat.

Github Workshop

This from Hendrik Molder (Y2, BM): Building a portfolio with GitHub pages. HackSoc is organising a hands-on workshop, definitely join us tomorrow Tues 7 Nov 16:00-18:00 in Collab 1 if you’d like to learn more about git and GitHub. We'll also briefly go over some basic HTML.

BAE Capture The Flag

CTF returns on Sat 25 Nov in the Kilburn building. Sign up to learn more about shell coding, cryptanalysis, forensics, reverse engineering, problem solving, packet analysis, hacking trivia and more.


Thoughtworks is hosting an evening of networking and digital discovery at their new Federation House site in Manchester, this Weds 8 Nov, free registration.


Masters News • Thursday 19 October 2017

Industrial Action As you may be aware, on the 23 and 24 October UCU, the principal union for academic staff, will be taking strike action.

Industrial Action

As you may be aware, on the 23 and 24 October UCU, the principal union for academic staff, will be taking strike action. Reasons for this action can be found in this UCU leaflet

This industrial action may mean that some teaching activities in the School or in the Alliance Manchester Business School may be disrupted (some staff may strike, others may choose not to).

The Kilburn and IT buildings will be open as normal, but there may be picket lines on campus.

Individual lecturers have been asked to inform you in advance of any scheduled teaching activities which might be disrupted.

As and when we receive further information, we will add it to the wikipage at

Regarding labs and submission of work:

1. All labs on 23 and 24 October will be open as normal, so that students can continue their lab work.

2. Staff and TAs may, or may not, be available at these sessions.

3. Unless or until you are told otherwise, deadlines for lab/coursework submissions remain unaltered.

Period 1 Course Unit Surveys

The Period 1 Unit Surveys will be open from 23rd October until 12th November.  This an anonymous process enables students to score each unit and to comment in any way they wish. 

We would be most grateful if you could complete the survey, as course unit organisers find this an invaluable way to make improvements to their course units.  For example, between last year and this year we have provided new guidance to staff about feedback based on last year's surveys. Members of staff will provide responses after the survey has closed.

Hardware Library

Do you like to tinker with hardware? Is there a special project for which you need some hardware? The School’s Hardware Library has a wide range of components for you to borrow. Everything from Raspberry Pis to Drones, Arduinos to Kinects, basic electronic components to robots, for you to play with.

Ada Lovelace

Last Tuesday was Ada Lovelace Day and the School marked this by unveiling a portrait which hangs near the walkway entrance to Kilburn. In case you haven’t heard of her, Ada Lovelace is widely credited as being the first ever computer programmer, for her program written in 1842 for Babbage’s Analytical Engine.

D3T Drop-in

Award winning game and software development company d3t is based in Runcorn and creates software for the games and interactive sectors. If you'd like to make games and interactive software at one of ‘The Best Places to Work’ in the games industry meet them in Kilburn this Thurs 19 Oct, 12:00-14:00.


Masters News • Tuesday 3 October 2017

Assorted Events

There are lots of computing-related events in Manchester that you may be interested in participating in; this message gives some examples and links that may be useful.


This from Hendrik Molder (Y2, CSBM): next Tues 10 Oct, 17:30-19:00, Hacksoc presents the HackSoc & American Express Networking Event. #freepizza. We're glad to have American Express coming down and spending an awesome evening with us! The main focus of the event is on a topical & technical presentation by AMEX, which is followed by a short overview of career opportunities at American Express, after which there's a chance to have a chat with AMEX engineers and recruiters over PIZZA and drinks. Places are limited, so register now!

Great Uni Hack

Teodora Stoleru (Y2, CS) writes: We’re excited to announce that GreatUniHack is back for the fifth time on 11-12 November at the MMU Business School here in Manchester. Apply now and get the chance to express your ideas and build new connections. Don’t worry if you are new to programming. Everyone is welcome, from very beginners to students who have already gathered experience in the past years. Updates about the event, our sponsors and tips for the hackathon can be found on our facebook / twitter / website.

School Seminar

As part of the School’s regular seminar programme, This Weds 4 Oct at 13:30 in Kilburn LT1.4 Prof Er Meng Joo of Nanyang Technological University, Singapore will talk about “Cognitive Robotics: Recent Developments and Futuristic Trends”. All welcome.

Events Calendar

Sami Alabed (Y3, CSwIE) writes: Are you overwhelmed by the amount of events Kilburn and tech scene has in Manchester? Subscribe to the Kilburn Events calendar, which contains the UG events calendar, HackSoc events, CSSoc Events, TechNW (the wider tech scene in Manchester) events, and Europe-wide hackathons. It is highly modular so you can choose which calendar to sync with your own.


Masters News • Saturday 30 September 2017

Careers Fair: 3rd & 4th October 2017

School of Computer Science Careers Fair

There will be a Careers Fair in the Kilburn Building on from 12:00 to 3:00 on 3rd and 4th October, with different employers attending each day.  This is a good opportunity to meet with companies who often employ our graduates.  Details are at:

Exhibitors this year include Accenture, Amazon, American Express, Apadmi, ARM, Autodesk, Avecto, Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Bloomberg, Cantarus, Cisco, Cyberscience, D3T, Deloitte, DigitalBridge, Fujitsu, IBM, Intechnica, Jaguar Land Rover, N Brown Group, KPMG, Late Rooms, Morgan Stanley, NCC Group, Ocado Technology, Royal Bank of Scotland,, The Hut Group, ThoughtWorks and Top Cash Back.


Masters News • Friday 22 September 2017

Welcome I hope that you have had an interesting and enjoyable Welcome Week, and feel all ready to get started on your chosen units next week.  This is the first Masters News of the new academic year.  In general, there will be ...


I hope that you have had an interesting and enjoyable Welcome Week, and feel all ready to get started on your chosen units next week. 

This is the first Masters News of the new academic year.  In general, there will be an issue every 2 weeks, although there may be some interim posts to advertise events, etc.  If there is something you would like to advertise to your class mates, please let me know.

Timetable Clashes

Please be aware that it is possible to select course units that have timetable clashes.  As such, please check that there are no such clashes between units you have selected.  The Student Support Office will seek to contact everyone with a clash today, but it would be good if you could also check.

Hack Manchester

HM takes place this year on 28-29 October at the Museum of Science and Industry. Teams of up to four turn up with an idea and have just 24 hours to create a working product. Interested? Tickets are selling fast!

Alan Turing Letters

Professor Jim Miles, who looks after the School’s important history archives, found some previously unknown letters from Alan Turing in a filing cabinet in the Kilburn building! This important discovery was widely reported by The Guardian, Nature, Sky News and many others.

iOS 11

Please be aware that this week's Apple's iOS 11 release is blocking Microsoft email accounts from sending messages using the default Mail app for iPhone and iPad.  As such, please check that this issue has been resolved before upgrading.


Masters News • Wednesday 26 July 2017

Our of Hours Laboratory Access

The ongoing work on the windows is changing which labs are available. I understand that MSc students have taken to relocating into 1.8, during the out-of-hours period (6pm – 11.30pm). However, it has been arranged that relocated PhD students will have exclusive access to 1.8 while their offices are being refurbished (27th July – 20th August).

As a result, please for this period can MSc students make use of the masters lab until 11.30pm weekdays, and between 8am – 11.30pm during weekends. Thanks.

I hope this is not too inconvenient.


Masters News • Monday 12 June 2017

Release of Exam Marks I hope the exams went smoothly, and that you are enjoying the chance to work full time on your project.  It is expected that exam marks should be available on 10th July.

Release of Exam Marks

I hope the exams went smoothly, and that you are enjoying the chance to work full time on your project.  It is expected that exam marks should be available on 10th July.

Relocation of Student Support Office

Due to the ongoing building work in Kilburn the Student Support Office (SSO) has temporarily relocated from LF21 to LF7/8 (opposite Byte Cafe). 

Centre for Doctoral Training in Data Analytics and Society

16 funded PhD positions are available for 2017 in the Centre for Data Analytics and Society at the Universities of Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester and Sheffield.

This is an exciting opportunity to undertake a 4-year funded integrated PhD and MSc in Data Analytics and Society.

The programme will include an integrated MSc in Data Analytics over the first two years which will provide you with the foundation skills to complete your research project, all of which have been developed in conjunction with an external partner.

The CDT will encourage significant advances which bring together social science with methods from computing, mathematics and the natural sciences.

The Centre will focus on

• Promoting the creation and analysis of new longitudinal and streamed data resources for socio-economic investigations.

• Creating new methods (e.g. scaling up existing methods for real time big data analytics),

• Investigating social processes (e.g. virtualisation of retailing; data-driven decision making and social behaviours)

• Facilitating interventions (e.g. resource targeting, network planning, social media apps for diet, travel, lifestyle planning).

Projects are available across a range of subject areas including Demographics, Transport, Health, Retail, and Politics. All projects have been developed in conjunction with external organisations and can be seen here -

Blue Dot Festival

Our colleagues in the School of Physics and Astronomy have organised a summer festival with a difference. The Blue Dot festival is an intergalactic festival of music, science, arts, culture and the exploration of space. It takes place 7-9 July with performances from Alt-J, The Pixies and Orbital at Jodrell Bank Observatory near Macclesfield in Cheshire.


The UK’s biggest professional game jam is on 23-25 June at The Studio event space in the heart of Manchester. It’s an annual, weekend-long video game and VR creation competition. There’s a few tickets left, so hurry!




Masters News • Tuesday 25 April 2017

Generic Exam Feedback You may be interested to review some generic feedback that has been produced on past exams, which is available from:

Generic Exam Feedback

You may be interested to review some generic feedback that has been produced on past exams, which is available from:

Postgraduate Taught Student Image Competition

There will be a Postgraduate Summer Research Showcase ( in June to highlight student research in the university, for which registration is already open.  As part of this there is an image competition for postgraduate taught students (, which is an opportunity for you to practice communicating your work to a wider audience, and potentially to win a prize.

One-to-One English Language Sessions

This is to advise you that the University Language Centre’s new term of tutorials will begin on 24th April 2017. This provision is free to students at the University of Manchester and ideal for anyone hoping to improve their written English.

These one to one sessions last approximately one hour and give you the opportunity to receive expert help in improving your academic work. To apply, please fill out a request form: and email with a recent sample of your writing (it must be 900 - 1500 words in length). Click on this link for further information:

Class Representatives Meeting

There will be a staff / class representatives meeting on Friday; if you have topics that you would like to have discussed there, please bring them to the attention of your representatives:

MSc in Advanced Computer Science: Chatzikyriakou Kyriakos
MSc in Advanced Computer Science: Ali Syed Abdullah
MSc in Advanced Computer Science: Kynigos Markos
MSc in Advanced Computer Science: Rafi Naveed
MSc in Advanced Computer Science: Pieris Kyriakos
MSc in Advanced Computer Science: Wan Kunxin
MSc in Advanced Computer Science & IT Management: Kun Ju
MSc in Advanced Computer Science & IT Management: Qiuyu Li
Modular MSc in Advanced Computer Science & IT Management: Hanady Ahmed
Modular MSc in Advanced Computer Science & IT Management: Jon Halliday
Modular MSc in Advanced Computer Science: Pejman Saeghe


Masters News • Friday 17 March 2017

PTES (Postgraduate Taught Experience Survey)...

PTES (Postgraduate Taught Experience Survey)

You may have noticed that there are a lot of surveys relating to your experience here; perhaps there are too many, but here is one more!  PTES is a national survey of postgraduate student experience, and we try to take actions that take into account the results of this survey.  For example, a few years ago we had quite bad results under PTES for our ACS and IT Management programme;  we made a whole series of changes the following year, and the result improved.

To encourage you to complete yet another survey, everyone who completes the survey can have a #5 voucher for the Byte Cafe ... so a coffee and a cake, or a sandwich and a drink. Please bring along evidence that you have completed the survey to the Student Support Office.

Complete the survey at:

Teaching Awards

The Student's Union is organising The Manchester Teaching Awards to allow you as students to recognize teachers who have gone the extra mile to enhance your learning. These awards are designed to give you a say over your education by highlighting the student-perspective on good teaching practice.  If you would like to nominate someone, please see the additional information at:

Careers Support

Rachel Mutters writes: As your School’s Careers Consultant, I want to ensure you are all getting the support you need from myself and the Careers team about what to do when you graduate. If you’re leaving us this summer it would be great to know. I have created a couple of questions for you which will determine how we can assist you. If you have no idea what you want to do, we are the best port of call, as we can talk through your options and help point you in the right direction. Also check out our Mock Assessment Centre, open to all year groups. Employers will be asking you to assessment centre and one of the tricky parts is the group exercise, working in teams to establish and outcome on a time restraint. Students often struggle with this as they haven't had a practice before. Come along to our popular Mock Group Assessment Centre to get to know what to expect from employers. Accenture and BAE Systems will be here to provide hints and tips from an employer perspective. To confirm your attendance visit Careerslink and search for event ID 3974. We will be feeding you too!


Masters News • Monday 30 January 2017

Semester 2 I hope that the exams have gone smoothy, and that you are settling in well to your 2nd semester units.

Semester 2

I hope that the exams have gone smoothy, and that you are settling in well to your 2nd semester units. Early in the new semester you should take the chance to discuss any issues with your choices and plans with your Programme Director.  To support this, we will have an event for our masters students on Monday 6th February. The details are:

• 13:00 Session with Programme Directors:

• MSc in Advanced Computer Science, Sandra Sampaio, 2.19.

• MSc in Advanced Computer Science and IT Management, Goran Nenadic, IT 407.

• Part Time and MRes students should meet with their Programme Directors, Renate and Konstantin, 1-to-1.

• 13:30 Pizza in PGT Breakout Room.

Exam Feedback

There will be a feedback session at 14:00 on Weds 15 March to give you the opportunity to view your marked COMP exam answer books for the Semester 1 exams. Advance registration is required; please email SSO with your ID, name and the list of courses you’d like to view. The deadline for registration 12:00 Weds 1 March.

Seminar Programmes

As part of the School’s regular seminar programme, this Weds 1 Feb at 14:00 in Kilburn LT1.5, Prof Bronis R. de Supinski (Lawrence Livermoore National Laboratory) will talk about A Standards-Based Approach to Effective Use of Future Large Scale Systems: "Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) has a long history of leadership in large-scale computing. Our next platform, Sierra, will be a heterogeneous system delivered by a partnership between IBM, NVIDIA and Mellanox. A major consideration is how we will access Sierra's significant performance potential. This talk will provide an overview of the Sierra architecture, our reasons for selecting it and progress towards its deployment." Everyone welcome.

The Data Science Institute invites you to their next Advanced Data Analytics Seminar taking place on 7 February at 13:00-14:00 in the Kanaris Lecture Theatre (Manchester Museum). Dr Joris Bierkens from TU Delft will present “The Zig-Zag Process and Super-Efficient Sampling for Bayesian Analysis of Big Data”. Full details. All welcome.