School of Computer Science

Your weekly round-up of undergraduate life in The University of Manchester School of Computer Science from Toby Howard, Director of Undergraduate Studies.

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Week 9 (B) • Monday 20 November 2017 • #17.10          The Monday Mail

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Good morning UG! It's Monday 20 November and it's Week 9, a B week. We're 3/4 of the way through the Semester, and I hope things are going well. Remember, if you have any concerns or there's anything we can do to help, please let us know. Speak to your Personal Tutor (3rd Years: this is also your Project Supervisor) or pop into SSO. Right, on with today's news and I hope you have a good week!

best wishes,
Toby Howard
Director of Undergraduate Studies


  This from Mike Cruchten (Y3, CM) and Pierre Barnaud (Y3, SE): Hello everyone, this Weds 22 Nov we will be doing something extraordinary for PASS, your PASS leaders will swap for one session! This gives you the opportunity to meet other students and have a different PASS experience! Definitely come along!


  Josh Langley (Y4, CS4wIE) writes: Hi all, I hope you are finding our cracking the coding interview sessions useful. You can find the coding challenges for these here. We will be continuing the theme this week with more complex data structures and some which trip many up in coding interviews. This session will look at Hierarchical Data Structures with a keen focus on trees and heap-like structures. See you in Collab 1 @ 1 on Friday.


  This from Sami Alabed (Y3, CSwIE): thank you all for attending PASS2 and hope you are enjoying the sessions. We are collecting feedback to improve the upcoming sessions. If PASS2 helped you at any point, or if you would like to get more out of PASS2 and you have ideas on how to do that, please give us feedback here. It is very important to the progress of this scheme and for us to know how we are doing!


  In addition to the wins at the Porticode 2.0 hackathon at University College London we reported recently, congratulations to Surya Prasad (Y1, CS4) who we’ve just heard won the GitHub myOctocat contest. Well done Surya!


  Ana-Gabriela Pandrea (Y2, AI4wIE) has a fascinating new blog entry all about her summer trip to Brazil for a 6-day trek across the rainforest, raising money for the charity The Children's Society.

View of Rio


  Application deadline Friday 1 Dec. The Kate Kneebone Acorn Bursary is an annual commemorative award of £500 funded by the Kneebone family and ARM, since 2013. In addition to the funding, the Bursary offers the opportunity to discuss a funded internship placement (with an Engineering bias) with ARM in Cambridge. All current Year 2 UG students in the School are eligible to apply. See full details and how to apply.


  The President of the University, Nancy Rothwell, is visiting the School next Tuesday 28 November and she's holding an informal open 30-minute meeting for students (students only, no staff) at 15:00 in Kilburn 2.15 (second floor). This is a great opportunity to talk to the person that runs the University! If you can’t make it yourself, why not ask a Student Rep to raise an issue on your behalf?


  It’s Wellbeing Week, with lots of free sessions including Manchester Dogs Home (not sure in what capacity, but it sounds great!), Circus Skills, Yoga, Football, Pilates, Badminton, Creative Writing workshops, dance lessons and many more!

Wellbeing week posters


  Speed network with alumni from the University of Manchester who now work in Computing including 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. Tomorrow Tues 21 Nov 17:00-19:30 here in Kilburn. Register here.


  Take part in the University’s annual Library Survey for the chance to win £100 in Amazon vouchers. Deadline: Friday 8 Dec.


   Last week the School’s annual online charity auction raised an amazing £291! Thank you to everyone who contributed!


  What is the lifetime of digital resources? Here’s XKCD's thought-provoking take:

XKCD panel


  Tomorrow Tues 21 Nov in Kilburn 2.19, 12:00-13:00, John Young (Cyfor) on Digital Forensics. All welcome.


   The University offers three travel awards annually for students wishing to travel either as part of their course or outside term time: the Zochonis Special Enterprise Fund (to assist students with the cost of a project or special study), the H.E. David Travelling Scholarship (to foster international understanding and goodwill), and the Pawel Koprowski Memorial Vacation Award (to enhance your studies or for a holiday). Deadline for applying March 2018.


  Deadline for sending in Monday Mail items: 17:00 every Friday.

Week 8 (A) • Monday 13 November 2017 • #17.09          The Monday Mail

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Good morning UG! It’s Monday 13 November, and it’s Week 8, an A week. I hope everything is going well, especially for Year3 students who are doing their project seminars at the moment. Have a good week everyone, and on with today’s news!
best wishes,
Toby Howard
Director of Undergraduate Studies


  This from Teodora Stoleru (Y2, CS): GreatUniHack 2017 happened this weekend! We had over 270 attendees, mentors, and volunteers for 24 hours of intensive hacking, along with games, stand-up comedy, cotton candy, and of course the very popular photobooth. We've seen some really cool hacks this year. The big winner was Smart IOCup:

Smart tea grab

by Karl Lundstig (KTH, Stockholm), Valters Zakrevskis, Bogdan Ionescu, Jakub Mandula  (all The University of Manchester): an internet-connected tea cup that makes you the perfect cup of tea by providing constant temperature monitoring, accelerometer-powered sip detection, automatically dipping your tea bag, and pulling it out of the water when it's done. The MLH Season Champions trophy was awarded to The University of Manchester during the closing ceremony. To all the attendees, volunteers, sponsors, mentors, and organisers: thank you for making this event so great!

GUH montage of 4 shots


  This from Mike Cruchten (Y3, CM) and Pierre Barnaud (Y3, SE): Hello everyone! We’re in the middle of the semester now, so come to PASS (12:00 on Weds as usual) if you have any problems, or want to talk about the maths midterm!


  Josh Langley (Y4, CS4wIE) writes: Hi all, starting this week Sami Alabed (Y3, CSwIE) and I will be walking through Cracking the Coding interview; chopping it up into sections which are particularly prevalent. This week will be Episode 1: Common Data structures. Please come along and bring your laptop, we will be walking through some challenges and pointing you to useful resources on hackerrank which you can use to bolster your skills.


  Last Weds we had the first meeting this Semester of the Staff-Student Committee, and as usual it was constructive and I hope helpful. The issues raised have been added to the tracker board. Next meeting is Weds 6 Dec. In the meantime please contact your reps if you want to raise anything.


  One of the things discussed at SSC was the variability of temperatures in Kilburn rooms, which we know can range from polar to tropical. If you have concerns about temperature, please tell a member of staff, or SSO, who will report it to the University’s engineers.


  The Semester 1 exam feedback session is this Weds 15 Nov at 14:00 in IT407. If you’ve registered but are unable to attend, please tell SSO in advance.


  This from Alexandra Stefanescu (Y1, BMwIE): Now that Reading Week is over, we're back in business with a new CSSoc event! With the help of our friends from VISA, we're organising a Pub Quiz this Thurs 16 Nov. Where? Turning Tap. When? 17:45 (the quiz will start at 18:00 sharp). Teams can be up to 5 people and there's a prize for the winning team! Come check your general knowledge in a fun night out with your CSSoc buddies! See you there!

pub quiz banner


  Also from Alexandra: We’re waiting for you at a new CSSoc event, sponsored by KPMG! Our speaker, William Woof, is a PhD student here in the School, specialising in Reinforcement Learning. He’ll give a brief overview of Machine Learning, Deep Learning and Reinforcement Learning. Afterwards, there'll be time for Q&A and, of course, some free pizza! Save the date: Next Monday 20 Nov at 17:00 in Collab 1. If you’re interested in attending, be sure to fill in this short form. See you there!

Meet a PhD


  Danny Dresner (Cybersecurity Lecturer in the School and cybersecurity consultant) is organising an exciting series of open talks by cybersecurity experts, open to everyone interested. There are four this week, all in Kilburn 2.19: today Mon 13 Nov, 10:00-11:00, Jon Nield (Secarma/Ukfast) on DDoS Mitigation Architecture, 14:00-15:00, Alan Jenkins (IBM) on Leadership in Technology, 15:30-17:00, Tim Armit (Post Office) on Computing after really big bangs: disaster recovery and business continuity. And tomorrow Tues 14 Nov at 12:00-13:00, Paul Vlissidis (NCC Group) on Blue pills, red pills, and penetration testing.


  If you want to develop your cybersecurity skills by taking part in challenges on web security, cryptanalysis, reverse engineering, shell coding and packet analysis etc you’ll need to sign up by this Friday 17 Nov for the BAE Systems Applied Intelligence Capture the Flag event on Saturday 25 Nov. No security experience is required, other than the Computer Science you already know!


  The time has come to start clearing out your cupboards and donating any no-longer-needed items for our annual Children in Need Online Auction (a bit like eBay, only better). Please take your donations (unwanted books, DVDs, computer bits, cameras, golf clubs, anything really) to the lovely people in Kilburn Room 2.127 anytime from today. The online auction will run from this Weds 15 Nov until 17:00 Fri 18 Nov. Last year we raised £400 – help us to beat that this year!

Children in Need banner


  Last two careers fairs of 2017, both at Manchester Central (M2 3GX):  tomorrow Tues 14 Nov 12:30-16:00 is the Law Fair for law and non-law students alike. Meet firms and find the routes into this sector. And this Weds 15 Nov 11:00-15:30 is the Postgraduate Fair: over 90 institutions offering a variety of postgraduate courses.


  Deadline for sending in Monday Mail items: 17:00 every Friday.

Week 7 (B) • Monday 6 November 2017 • #17.08          The Monday Mail

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Good morning UG! It’s Monday 6 November, and it’s Week 7, a B week. I hope you had a bit of a break last week. Now it’s back to business as usual, and we’re on the home stretch towards Xmas – 6 weeks to go! And good luck to all 3rd Year students whose project seminars start this week. Have a great week, and on with today’s news!

Best wishes,
Toby Howard
Director of Undergraduate Studies


  The first meeting of the Staff-Student Committee this academic year is this Weds 8 Nov at 14:00 in IT407. If you'd like to raise anything, please contact one of your reps ASAP. They're pictured below, and you can find contact details on the Blackboard SSC page. Reps: I look forward to seeing you again. Our Head of School Prof Robert Stevens will also be there.

mugshots of all the reps


  This from Mike Cruchten (Y3, CM) and Pierre Barnaud (Y3, SE): Hello everyone! Hope you all had a bit of a rest during Reading Week, come around to PASS on Weds from 12:00-13:00 if you have issues with anything!


  Josh Langley (Y4, CS4wIE) writes: Welcome back! Hope you are recuperated from Reading Week. There will be no PASS2 session this week to allow for the Google talk on Wednesday. Feel free to get in touch if you need a hand with anything, we will be running a CV workshop at GreatUniHack this coming weekend 11/12 Nov on Sunday @ 10:00.


  The Kate Kneebone Acorn Bursary is an annual commemorative award of £500 funded by the Kneebone family and ARM, since 2013. In addition to the funding, the Bursary offers the opportunity to discuss a funded internship placement (with an Engineering bias) with ARM in Cambridge. All current Year 2 UG students in the School are eligible to apply, deadline Friday 1 Dec. See full details and how to apply.


  A reminder that Todd Davies (BSc CS alumnus, the legend behind Todd's notes, now 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.


  Our two Tootill labs are named in honour of Geoff Tootill, one of the team of three pioneers – with Tom Kilburn and Freddie Williams – who created the original "Baby" computer here at the University. It was the world’s first stored-program digital computer, and ran its first program on 21 June 1948. It changed the world. Sadly Geoff passed away recently, aged 95. Below, the Baby in 1949, and Geoff here in the School in 2005 for the opening of the Tootill labs.

SSEM (left), Geoff (right)


  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.


  HackSoc goes to dinner with GitHub. GitHub is coming to Manchester and we're inviting everybody to a dinner tomorrow Tues 7 Nov, 19:00 at TOPS Buffet (Portland Street, M1 4RJ). Come and find out how GitHub uses GitHub and how you can use it. Places are limited so please register.


  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.


  They’re back tomorrow Tues 7 Nov. Pete Moore, founder of, talks in plain English about the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). Free registration.

tech nights logo


  Following on from Ada Lovelace day last month, there’s tonnes of stuff happening in Manchester and London that will interest our female students during November.


  Hendrik Molder (Y2, BM) recently attended the Cambridge Baltic Conference on cyberwarfare, populism & security. His trip was supported by the School’s Student Activity Fund (check it out). He’s blogged about his experience.


  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.


  Fancy some free outdoor education on Fri/Sat 24/25 Nov? The Careers Service is taking 16 students on a free trip to Whitehough Outdoor Education Centre on Friday 24 Nov. High rope activities, archery, map reading/orienteering skills, pub food.


  WIN ME SOME MONEY! Is there a game that you love that you’d like to make available for Alexa? Do you have an idea for an all new, original game? Whether it’s a single-player or multi-player game, be creative and build a top-ranking gaming skill for a chance to win $1K and an Amazon Echo.


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


  Deadline for sending in Monday Mail items: 17:00 every Friday.

Week 6 (Reading Week) • Monday 30 October 2017 • #17.07          The Monday Mail

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Good morning UG! It’s Monday 30 October, and it’s Week 6 – Reading Week. There are no scheduled teaching activities this week – it's a chance for you to have a break and recharge your batteries and maybe do some catchup. Usual teaching and timetabled activities resume next Monday 6 Nov (Week 7B). But this week is as busy as usual, so on with today’s news! And enjoy Halloween tomorrow!
best wishes,
Toby Howard
Director of Undergraduate Studies


  Congratulations to all our students who took part in HackManchester at the weekend at the Museum of Science and Industry. Melanie Cattell (Y2, CM), seen below, won the Mentor's Prize, and Jonathan Cowling's (Y2, CSwIE) team won the CarbonCoop challenge. Thank you to Benjamin Possible (Y3, CSwIE) for his amazing organisational skills which helped make the event such a success.

Melanie Cattell


  Well done to all those who took part in the UKIEPC 2017 programming contest at the University last week! Teams from British and foreign universities tried their luck at 12 problems which had to be solved at the computer in the space of five hours. Manchester fielded 34 in teams total – a fantastic response. Here are the final standings. You can filter by institution to see the Manchester teams. Of these, 33 solved at least 3 problems, 15 at least 4, and 6 at least 5. Special mention must go to Team 404 (Andrei Alexandru Iordache (Y2, AI4), Dragos Petru Taraban (Y2, CS4wIE), Silviu Troscot (Y2, CS4)) and Team Spirit Monkeys (Sean Joseph Parker (Y1, CSwIE), Ivan Donat Pupovac (Y1, CM), Kristijonas Zalys (Y1, CS)), who solved 6 problems, and most of all, to Team Abracadabra (Robert Mccann (Y2, CS), Vlad-Andrei Munteanu (Y1, CS), Patrick Catalin Alexandru Sava (Y1, CS)), seen below, who topped the Manchester table with 10 solved problems, earning them 11th place in the UK rankings – a fantastic achievement for a team that has only been together for a few weeks. Well done everyone!

Pic of the room, and of team Abracadabra


  Fantastic news from the Porticode 2.0 hackathon at University College London at the weekend. Congratulations to Alex Dumitru (Y1, CS), Zuka Murvanidze (Y1, CS@UCL), Petros Xenofontos (Y1, CS@UCL) who won First Prize (Best Team) with “PLOG – A visual experience platform for discovering the perfect holiday”. And congratulations to Team Space Noodles – Ioana Dumitrescu (Y1, CS), Paul Stefanescu (Y1, CS4wIE), Mihai Tataru (Y1, CS) and Vlad Alexandru Alexe (Y1, CS@UCL), who won the Bloomberg prize for “Platformer – A captivating two player 2D battle arena”. Well done all!

SHots of the two winning teams


  This from Mike Cruchten (Y3, CM) and Pierre Barnaud (Y3, SE): Hello everyone, we want to wish you a good Reading Week. As you probably know there will be no PASS1 session this week but we're looking forward to seeing you again next week.


  Josh Langley (Y4, CS4wIE) writes: Have a good reading week all, and good luck with any interviews and the likes. While there is no PASS2 session this week, we will try to update the PASS2 website throughout Reading Week and we are only an email away if you need to get hold of us.


  You’ve heard of TED? Well next week it’s TODD. Todd Davies (BSc CS alumnus, the legend behind Todd's notes) now Software Engineer at Google in Munich, is coming to give a talk on Google's internal developer experience. He’ll discuss how their tools scale to 25,000+ engineers, what their development processes look like and what it's like to be a Software Engineer at Google. He will also leave lots of time for Q&A at the end and will bring plenty of swag! Next Weds 8 Nov at 13:00 in LT1.1. Sign up to reserve your seat.


  The SU is currently running elections for Part-Time Officer Roles and NUS Conferences, and there are several students from the School standing for a variety of positions. Do have a look.


  A reminder of the feedback session for you to look at AY16 COMP exam answerbooks at 14:00 on Weds 15 Nov in IT407. Email SSO with your name, student ID number, programme of study, and the list of scripts you wish to view. Returning placement students: to view AY15 scripts please give details in your request. Deadline for requests: 12:00 this Weds 1 November. If you wish to view scripts from other Schools please contact them separately.


  This from Nabya Arshad (Y2, CS): Hi everyone, I'm Nabya and I'm the new Student Wellbeing Champion for the School. 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, whetever your year,  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 and I can point you in the right direction.


  Danny Dresner (Cybersecurity Lecturer in the School and cybersecurity consultant) is organising an exciting series of open talks by cybersecurity experts. These are part of the PGT programme but are open to everyone interested. There are 3 next week, all in Kilburn 2.19: on Mon 6 Nov, 11:00-13:00, Prof Colin Williams (University of Warwick) on “Meat The Machine: How to Learn to ​Stop Worrying, Love Your Robot and Survive The Singularity”; also on Mon 6 Nov 16:00-17:00, Adrian Davies on “Becoming a Cyber Security Professional”; and on Tues 7 Nov 12:00-13:00, Jon Noel (McAfee) on “Malware Evolution”.


   And speaking of cybersecurity, the Bank of England today launches a cybersecurity competition. The winners will have the opportunity to undertake a paid internship at the BOE. More info. Deadline for applying: 12:00 Mon 20 Nov.


  And if you’re interested in cybersecurity, check out this Microsoft blogpost Browser security beyond sandboxing about tracking down a vulnerability in a Chrome Javascript engine. Fascinating detective work and an interesting example of fuzzy testing.


  This from Ian Cottam, the School’s Tech Support Manager: last year we awarded over 500 badges to 150 students, celebrating all kinds of achievements, from academic successes in course units, to PASS Coordinators and Leaders, SSC Reps, and School Ambassadors, and more! We’ll soon be starting to awards this year’s badges. Our help page for storing and linking to any Open Badges you receive now contains a helpful video HOWTO.


  First Year students: during Welcome Week, almost 5000 new students took part in the Sustainability Challenge. It's a required element for the Manchester Leadership Award, so if you didn’t take the Challenge in Welcome Week there's another chance this Weds 1 Nov 14:00-16:30 in University Place 4.204. Sign up by tomorrow Tues 31 Oct.


  Rentalcars presents The 4th Manchester Machine Learning (Manc-ML) & Pizza Evening, 23 Nov at HQ to celebrate all the exciting Machine Learning things happening in and around Manchester. Speakers include Chris Boddington (,  Erik Mathiesen (, Bertil Hatt (Head of Data Science, and Chris Campbell (Mango Solutions). Register.


  They return this Weds 1 Nov at Federation House (M4 2AH), the new home of ThoughtWorks. James Linnegar will be talking about Lantern, an artistic IoT Lighting Project.


  Deadline for sending in Monday Mail items: 17:00 every Friday.

Week 5 (A) • Monday 23 October 2017 • #17.06          The Monday Mail

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Good morning UG! It’s Monday 23 October, and it’s Week 5, an A week. As always, I hope everything is going well! A reminder that next week is Reading Week and there won't be any scheduled teaching activities then – it's a chance for you to have a break and maybe do some catchup. But this week is as busy as usual, so on with today’s news! 
best wishes
Toby Howard
Director of Undergraduate Studies


  Huge congratulations to Aayush Chadha (Y2, AI), Ana-Gabriela Pandrea (Y2, AI4wIE), Mihnea Vladimir Savu (Y2, CSwIE) and Esraa Dandash (City University of London) who won the Bloomberg Best Tech Stack award at Hack UPC in Barcelona last week, for their improvised Photo Booth (Hacker Booth). Aayush writes: it was made out of a DSLR, a Raspberry Pi running Google Home, cardboard and duct tape. We used the Pi to listen to voice commands, triggered a bash script to capture photos on the DSLR and send them to the Pi, then used Python to put the photos into a collage and tweet them to MLH/HackUPC. It became popular enough at the hackathon that Twitter ended up banning our account for rate limit abuse! Here’s the hack, and and our Twitter Page.

Barcelona photobooth shots of the team + cam


  As you may be aware, today and tomorrow Mon/Tues 23/24 Oct 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 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. 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


  This from Mike Cruchten (Y3, CM) and Pierre Barnaud (Y3, SE): hello everyone! We hope you’re all settling well in your first year, now just a reminder that if you have any issues with the material or anything else, come along to PASS on Wednesday from 12:00-13:00. Don't keep something you’ve not understood to yourself, it will only get harder with time if you don't address those problems now! See you on Wednesday!


  Josh Langley (Y4, CS4wIE) writes: hi all, PASS2 will be in Collab 1 @ 1 on Friday. We’ll be doing a workshop on Git and how to us it it efficiently. We’ll be covering advanced use cases as well as Dark Magic which can be used to get yourself out of nasty situations. So bring your laptops and let us know if you have any questions!


  Alexandra Stefanescu (Y1, BMwIE) writes: clear your Wednesday evening schedule because CSSoc is doing a movie night out! This Weds 25 Oct at 18:10 at the Printworks (27 Withy Grove, M4 2BS) we're all going to watch Blade Runner: 2049. There's a walking bus leaving from Kilburn at 17:15 (details on FB). Waiting for you all at the last CSSoc event before Reading Week!

Blade Runner poster


  This from Jim Garside: do you enjoy hacking JavaScript? Would you like to help with the (still very new) COMP25111 webpage learning tools? If you have ideas about how to help explain topics with interactive graphics, I'd love to hear from you (and can also supply a few suggestions). You can do something small, or something more challenging, there's scope for anyone interested to have a go. And it's great for your CV.


  Struggling to keep up with the whirlwind of UG events? Hackathons, meetings, employer visits, careers fairs, all the free-pizza opportunites? Take control and add this handy calendar of UG events to your favourite cal app: there’s an ics feed and an HTML view.


  By now you should have all seen the first edition of the Wednesday Waggle. Check your spam filter if you haven’t seen it yet. The WW is all about career opportunities, and as you know, there are lots! So we’ve decided to have a separate outlet for this, instead of including all these opportunities in the Monday Mail. You’ll receive the Wednesday Waggle every (yes, you’ve guessed it) Wednesday direct to your inbox. We hope you find this new approach useful, and we hope it will lead to a reduction in the amount of email you receive. We know you get a lot! Please send Duncan Hull any feedback you have.


  Barclays and UK Fast invite students @csmcr, in teams of up to 6, to participate in this year's sixth annual #UniTechChallenge. The first heat will be held at Barclays Bank (at the impressive Radbroke Hall, Knutsford) and the finals held on the UK Fast Campus in Birley Fields in Manchester. Get involved! The School won this event in 2015, and we can win again! Pictured below are the 2015 winners: Andrei Muntean, graduated 2017 in CS, now a Software engineer at Google in London, Geanina Hinta (Y2, CSwIE), currently on placement at Credit Suisse in London, Cristian Bodnar (Y3, CS), Anais Hristea, now at the University of Greenwich, Alexandra Misca (Y3, HCI4wIE) on placement as a UX designer at the Hut Group and Dainis Gorbunovs currently at Net Trading Solutions in Manchester.


  Last week our Employability Tutor Duncan Hull gave a talk “Why I edit Wikipedia and why you should too!” (YouTube) at the Physiological Society about an ongoing collaboration between Wikimedia UK and the Royal Society (the UK’s national academy of science).


  Congratulations to Amanieu d'Antras (graduated 2012, then PhD with our APT group) on his new startup which will commercialise the MAMBO-X64 dynamic binary translator that translates 32-bit ARM code to 64-bit ARM code, using novel techniques to improve performance.


  Lots going on at the University Library. Check out their Get Started site. Did you know they loan out laptops and iPads? How good are you at managing your time? (be honest!) Check out their time-management workshops.


  Deadline for sending in Monday Mail items: 17:00 every Friday.

Week 4 (B) • Monday 16 October 2017 • #17.05          The Monday Mail

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Good morning UG! It’s Monday 16 October, and it’s Week 4, a B  week. We're a month into the academic year, and I hope everything is going well. First Year students, I hope you're beginning to feel settled in the School, and in Manchester too. Remember, if you have any questions or concerns, talk to us! SSO is a great place to start and they can advise who best to speak to. Right, let's get on with today’s news, and there’s rather a lot of it – as usual!
Best wishes,
Toby Howard
Director of Undergraduate Studies


  This from Cristian Bodnar (Y3, CS): we've won the 2017 MLH Europe Hackathon Season! As a returning champion, we had the highest number of merit points and the second highest number of participation points across the 2017 Europe Season. Merit points are awarded for the winning projects, while participation points are offered for the groups of UoM students who participated in hackathons across Europe. This was made possible by our amazing community of hackers and hackathon organisers who have been involved with HackSoc during the last hackathon season. For more information, including the full rankings, check the official announcement on the MLH website. Well done everyone! And see next item...

GUH team


  Ben Possible (Y3, CSwIE) writes: GreatUniHack is back and we’re looking for volunteers! If you want to help out and see how a hackathon works sign up here! It’s good for your CV!


  As I announced last week your student reps are now in place, and you can find their names and contact details on Blackboard under CS UG Community > School of Computer Science SSC. Please let them know of any issues you’d like raised at the first SSC meeting on Weds 8 Nov.

SSC reps AY17


  This from Mike Cruchten (Y3, CM) and Pierre Barnaud (Y3, SE):  After another week of successful PASS sessions we are happy to see students coming together to work out their academic struggles and help one another! If you haven't had a go at PASS yet, come along on Wednesday from 12:00-13:00 and give it a go. Your PASS leaders are likely to bring snacks and will provide you with a great atmosphere and help! Looking forward to seeing you!


  Josh Langley (Y4, CS4wIE) writes: thanks again for the turnout last week and be sure to check the website for updates, and feel free to send feedback using the form there. We’ll be running a community panel this Friday at 13:00 in Collab with members of the startup community in Manchester and various places where you can get involved, bolster your CV and have an awesome time.

PASS2 in Collab


  Alexandra Stefanescu (Y1, BMwIE) writes: it's time for another night out organised by the CSSoc: "Burgers & Bowling". All Star Lanes will be hosting our Wednesday event starting from 19:30 but anyone can come for a pre-dinner at 18:30 (the bowling's on us, but spaces are limited, so make sure you register beforehand. See you on Wednesday!


  Rifad Lafir (Y2, CSwIE) writes: congratulations to the winners of Bloomberg's CodeCon, held here in the School last Friday! Below are Alex Ivanov (Y2, CS), Dan Dorian Dumitriu (Y3, CS), Jordas Andrei (Y2, AI4), Dragos Taraban (Y2, CS4wIE), Nikita Daniliuk (Y2, CSwIE).

CodeCon winners


  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.


  Applications are open for the 9th annual Undergraduate of the Year Awards. It's a fantastic way for students to gain valuable experience of the graduate job application process, as successful undergraduates will be invited to assessment centres where the shortlist will be refined. The top candidates will then be invited to a prestigious award ceremony in London to celebrate their achievements. Last year Veneta Haramplieva (CSwIE, now Software Engineer at Amazon) was Highly Commended, with her 3rd Year Project selected as one of the 9 best Computer Science projects worldwide – an exceptional achievement! You can read her project report here

UG of the year logo


  Teodora Stoleru (Y2, CS) writes: Our friends from Accenture are organising their annual flagship event This is Accenture next Tues 24 Oct at 17:30 at Walrus, 78–88 High Street, Manchester M4 1ES. This is your chance to find out more about yourself and your brain, but also to network with the amazing Accenture employees and to ask them about their job, the company culture, and recruitment opportunities. Register.


  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.

Uli and Carole with the portrait of Ada


  There’ll be a feedback session to look at AY16 COMP exam answerbooks at 14:00 on Weds 15 Nov in IT407. To view your COMP scripts, email SSO with your name, student ID number, programme of study, and the list of scripts you wish to view. Returning placement students: to view AY15 scripts please give details in your request. Deadline for requests: 12:00 Weds 1 November. If you wish to view scripts from other Schools please contact them separately.


  Only a few tickets left for #HackManchester on 23 Oct at the Museum of Science and Industry. There are challenges this year from GCHQ, Mediaburst, dunnhumby, Web Applications UK Ltd, Ombudsman Services, Texecom Ltd., The Co-op and Zuhlke Engineering Ltd. Part of Manchester Science Festival #MSF17.



  Office hours for Duncan Hull’s CV debugging sessions have been extended. Bring your CV, covering letter or anything else you're preparing for a placement, internship or graduate job application for expert one-to-one advice. Room LF25 on Wednesdays 11:00-13:00, no appointment necessary. Also, have your CV checked by the Morgan Stanley team, here in Kilburn this Weds 18 Oct, 12:00-14:00 on LF.

CONGRATULATIONS to Andre Victor Serban (MEng 2016) who won at the Global Tech Hackathon finals at Amex HQ New York with his colleague Joshua Allwood.

  They are both on the Amex graduate scheme.


  This Weds 18 Oct at 12:30-13:30 in Sackville Building, Auditorium D45A,  Omar Costilla-Reyes will talk about Deep Neural Networks for Learning Spatio-Temporal Features from Tomography Sensors. All welcome.


  This from Raluca Ioana Puichiliță (MEng Computer Science 2014, now at ThoughtWorks): Codebar pairs up people eager to get into coding with people who already have some experience. Their first event is happening next Tues 24 Oct at Headspace Manchester. Sign up.  


  GS will be in Kilburn this Weds 18 Oct, 13:00-17:00. Hear about what life is like at GS and how the application process works. There’s a coding competition from 16:00 with a prize for the winner. The afternoon is followed by drinks and food at Kro Bar until 19:30. It’s open to all students and you're welcome to drop in at any time. Register your interest now!

GS logo


  This fair brings a range of employers from a wide variety of sectors, including companies that you won’t find at the majority of careers fairs like Cancer Research UK, CharityWorks, The Front Line and The National Trust. Something for everybody, from large corporate and legal firms to smaller local companies, charities, and creative agencies. Manchester Academy 2 this Weds 18 Oct, 10:00-16:00.


   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.


  Tomorrow Tues 17 Oct is the annual Volunteering and Social Justice Fair in Academy 1. Up to 100 different volunteering organisations will be there from a wide range of sectors including health, environment, sport, culture and social inclusion.

Vol fair logo


  At Manchester Free Software's October Meeting, Michael Dorrington will talk  on Introduction to Programming and Source Code. Tomorrow Tues 17 Oct, 19:00, at Madlab (M4 1HN). All welcome.


  Deadline for sending in Monday Mail items: 17:00 every Friday.

Week 3 (A) • Monday 9 October 2017 • #17.04          The Monday Mail

Toby pic

Good morning UG! It’s Monday 9 October, and it’s Week 3, an A week. How are things going? Well, I hope! We seem to have an incredibly packed week of events this week – another Careers Fair, competitions launching, employer visits...  something for everyone! Have a great week!
Best wishes,
Toby Howard
Director of Undergraduate Studies


  This from Mike Cruchten (Y3, CM) and Pierre Barnaud (Y3, SE):  Hello everyone! We hope the first PASS session was beneficial for everyone and that you had the opportunity to meet students from other tutorial groups as well. If there is anything you have not completely understood, make sure you come to PASS this week, Weds 11 Oct at 12:00 in Collab. And if you have understood everything so far, come test your understanding of the material by explaining to others in your PASS group!


  Josh Langley (Y4, CS4wIE) writes: Once again thanks for the turnout last week – 125 of you! Remember you can check the PASS2 website for more feedback. We will still be going through the CVs individually and we hope to get them all back to you this week. Now that your CVs are ready to be submitted to employers we are going to focus on interview techniques and the dreaded assessment centers. This will be a great opportunity to refine your ability and be that little bit more ready to get a placement or an internship. Additionally, there's a large careers fair in Manchester tomorrow and Weds (more details below – an awesome opportunity to talk to potential employers and build your network. See you this Friday the13th (Hopefully not too unlucky!) in Collab at 13:00.


  The Big Careers Fair returns to Manchester Central this Tues/Weds 10/11 Oct, with over 80 exhibitors on each day. Day one is consultancy, HR, retail management, finance, marketing; Day two is Engineering, Science and Technology. Lots of employers seeking computer science students who couldn’t squeeze into our over-subscribed Careers Fair last week (see below!) will be there including BAE Systems, CodeThink, Infosys, Siemens, SKY, Skyscanner, Web Applications UK, Zuhlke Engineering Ltd and many more. Find out more and register.

Montage of pic from the Week 2 Careers Fair


  This from Alexandra Stefanescu (Y1, BMwIE): Say hello to the new members of the CSSoc committee (find us on FB): Events Officer Tom Chandler (Y2, CSwIE), Graphics Officer Valeria Daneva (Y1, SE4wIE), I’m the PR Officer, and Procurement Officer Matei Vasilache (Y2, CSwIE). Let's wish them all a warm welcome and good luck in their future projects! You'll be seeing a lot of them this week, at the Cisco Disruptive Technology Workshop (this Thurs 12 Oct) or at the Bloomberg CodeCon (see next item). Here's the CSSoc team: Tom Chandler, Danielle Idehen, Valeria Daneva, Zeki Forster, Rifad Lafir, Michael Yonli, Alexandra Stef, Matei Vasilache, Raluca Lăzărescu, Alexandra Dumitriu.

CSSoc group shot


  CodeCon is coming to Manchester this Friday 13 Oct in Kilburn, 15:00-19:00. To compete against your friends and win a chance to participate in our Global Finals in London, sign up ASAP. You’ll need your out-of-hours pass, and there’s pizza and treats!


  The MS Student Loan Pricing Challenge takes place this Weds 11 Oct, 12:00-15:00 in the Atlas Rooms in Kilburn. Join our recent graduates, now at MS, in a 3-hour programming competition to build a student loan pricer. In teams of up to 3, work against the clock to build your Java pricer to bid against each other in an auction for a book of student loans. Pizza & drinks provided, with £50 of Amazon vouchers for the winning team. Register now!


  Hacktrain is the only hackathon on a moving train! Thankfully, they also have really good Wi-Fi. It’s back 24-26 November. Apply for a place! And see our 2nd Place winners from last year's comp.

Hacktrain logo


  Want to share your passion for Computer Science with secondary school/college kids who want to be Computer Scientists? Learn new skills to develop your CV, meet new people and earn some money too. Become a Computer Science Student Ambassador! Deadline for applications is 09:00 this Weds 11 Oct.


  Venture Out 2017, the student ideas competition is now open! If you have a passion to solve a particular social problem or have seen a gap in the market, then Venture Out is the competition for you. Whether you simply want to work on a challenge or maybe are thinking of starting a business, the skills developed through Venture Out can really enhance your CV. Our School has had winners in this comp before, so have a go! Full details.


  Our annual industry club newsletter is out. Find out what’s been happening in 2017 relevant to our industrial partners and collaborators.


  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.


  Join Teach First at their employer presentation on 17 Oct in University Place to learn how their graduate opportunity scheme enables you to make an important social impact, while also offering you a career defining opportunity to gain a formal qualification in both teaching and leadership. You will also find out how you can get involved with their mission (equality through education) while you are still at university. Register.

Teach First ad


  BlackRock will be hosting a technology event in Manchester city centre on Tues 17 Oct and they invite you to meet them and see how you can make a difference. Register your interest by this Friday 13 Oct.


  Come and meet representatives from BP, tomorrow Tues 10 Oct 18:30-21:00. Learn about the skills required to work in the energy industry and the job opportunities available with BP. Register.


  They’re hosting an invitation only dining experience, exclusively for Manchester students interested in the Technology Solutions & Change and Business Solutions pathways. More info/sign up here. And on Tues 28 November RBS are opening the doors to their Manchester office to show what both Change and Business Solutions & Technology Solutions are all about. Spaces for this Insight Day are limited, sign up.


  Deadline for sending in Monday Mail items: 17:00 every Friday.

Week 2 (B) • Monday 2 October 2017 • #17.03          The Monday Mail

Toby picGood morning UG! It’s Monday 2 October, and it’s Week 2, a B week. I hope everyone is settling down and everything is going well. Remember, if you need any help, just ask! SSO is a great place to start. Autumn seems to be here, so let’s have a seasonal haiku from the master Basho (1644–1694):

on a leafless branch
a crow has settled
an autumn evening

I have a huge amount to tell you about today, so get involved and have a great week!

Best wishes,
Toby Howard
Director of Undergraduate Studies


  Final call for nominations for Staff-Student Committee reps. Deadline 17:00 today Mon 2 Oct.  Represent your fellow students and make a difference. Nominate now!


  You have until 15:30 this Friday 6 Oct to finalise your Semester 1 course unit  choices. Full details. If in any doubt, please speak to your relevant Year Tutor.


  It’s back this Weds 4 Oct at 12:00 in Collab (during the careers fair – see below).


  Josh Langley (Y4, CS4wIE) writes: Thanks for the excellent turnout to the first PASS2 session (see below!) feel free to access the slides and shoot some questions/feedback on the PASS2 website. This week (Friday 6 Oct in Collab at 13:00) we will be looking at how to build a killer portfolio when applying for jobs to help you kickstart your career, so bring a copy of your CV if you have one – if not you might gain a lot from this session.

PASS2 <b>–</b> packed!


  This from Mike Cruchten (Y3, CM) and Pierre Barnaud (Y3, SE):  Thanks a lot to everyone who took part in the scavenger hunt last week! It was a real success and we hope you had a lot of fun! We'll be announcing the winners this Wednesday during PASS1, the first formal session of the year! We hope to see you all on Weds, and don’t forget that PASS is just as compulsory as your lectures and labs! Here's some pix of the teams that arrived first. Have a good week everyone!

Montage of Scavenger Hunt teams


  Zeki Forster (Y2, CSwIE) writes: It’s the first CSSoc General Meeting of the year! We're always looking for new people to join the committee, so please come along and get to know us. We'll be recruiting roles including Graphics, PR and Events officers as well as general members. This is your chance to have a say in how CSSoc is run! It’s this Weds 4 Oct at 14:00 in IT407, and there is FREE PIZZA! Sign up.

CSSoc poster


  This week on Tues/Weds 3-4 Oct, our Careers Officer Mabel Yau and our Careers Guru (and 2nd Year Tutor) Duncan Hull have put together an amazing Careers Fair for you. 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. A pretty impressive list! Join me in thanking Mabel and Duncan for their huge efforts to make this happen.

Carees Fair poster


  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!.


  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.

GUH logo


  Teodora adds: HackSoc had its first meeting of the year last Wednesday. With an impressive turnout of over 120 people, lots of pizza and new members in our Dev, PR and and Graphics teams, this can only be the start of a great year. Thanks everyone for joining us! Follow our website / facebook page / group to make sure you stay up to date with our events… and see next item!


  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!


  Over the summer we made some significant improvements to rooms and facilities for UG. LF31 and Tootill have new carpets; LF31 has a new layout and power/network; the PCs will be moved off-desk into the cages below ASAP, probably at Xmas. Tootill0 has new desks, and monitor arms will be fitted soon. We have a new lab for general use: LF17, opposite SSO, with 15 PCs; we’ve added 19 new PCs in G23 on the ground floor; G102 has been replaced by G41, a bigger, nicer room – with no pillars in the middle! And a reminder that we have two places for QUIET working: Room 1.8 is The Quiet Lab, with 60 PCs (10 more than last year), and at the back of 1.8 is the Quiet Room, with no PCs, a place for quiet study and contemplation. If these rooms don’t stay quiet, their purpose is defeated. So it’s up to you! As always, I welcome your views.


  And speaking of building work, you may be wondering what’s happening in the courtyard. To cut a long story short, it’s being re-surfaced and re-waterproofed so that IT Services below don’t get wet when it rains. When finished we will have a nice area with furniture and planters. The other day I found the lefthand image below in our Archives Room, an architect’s visualisation from, I think, 1969. The image on the right is a visualisation of the finished area by the current architect.

Courtyard 1967 and 2017


  Want to share your passion for Computer Science with secondary school/college kids who want to be Computer Scientists? Help with our Visit and Open Days and other events – learn new skills to develop your CV, meet new people and earn some money too. Deadline for applications is next Friday 11 Oct .


  The Cansat competition is an annual student design-build-launch competition for space-related topics. A group of students from The University of Manchester are looking for more team members from our School. Find out more and sign up or speak to Robert Daniel Stana (3rd year CS student currently on placement at Mentor Graphics).


  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.


  Becoming a “Green Impact Auditor” is a fantastic volunteering opportunity for anybody with an interest in sustainability. Improve your CV by developing auditing, analytical and professional skills and improve your understanding of sustainability and behaviour change. At sessions on 4/11 Oct there’s training (Institute of Environmental Management and Assessment approved) followed by auditing Green Impact teams across the University. Interested? Get in touch.


  DigiLab returns this year to give you access to cutting edge technology, and the chance to test new and developing apps and hardware, from makers and developers across the country. You can try 3D Printing, virtual reality, augmented reality and loads more. This Thurs 5 Oct 10:00-16:00, Alan Gilbert Learning Commons, Lower Ground Floor. DigiLab can also help you get valuable feedback from industry professionals and students. Email to get involved.


  Deadline for sending in Monday Mail items: 17:00 every Friday.

Week 1 (A) • Monday 25 September 2017 • #17.02          The Monday Mail

Toby pic

Good morning UG! It’s Monday 25 September, and it’s Week 1A of Semester 1. Teaching starts today. Throughout the semester we alternate Week A's and Week B's, with different timetabled activities according to A and B. Your Monday Mail will always remind you which week it is – and this is a Week A (here's the full UG timetable). OK, on with today’s news, and as usual there’s a lot to tell you about! Get involved! And have a great week!

Best wishes,
Toby Howard
Director of Undergraduate Studies


  First year students (seen below!), I hope you enjoyed Welcome Week, and I hope you're settling in ok. We tried not to overwhelm you with information last week, and if you have any questions, just drop into our Student Support Office (SSO, next to lab LF31), contact your Personal Tutor, or contact 1st Year Tutor Sean Bechhofer, or Andrea Schalk for CM – they’ll all be very happy to help.

All the 1st Years in 1.1


  Represent your fellow students and make a difference. The UG Staff Student Committee (SSC) meets twice each semester to discuss students’ concerns. It’s a friendly and open forum (with free pizza!) for student reps to discuss concerns about the School with the Director of UG Studies and other staff. Nominations for student reps are now open, and this year we’re using the Student’s Union reps nomination system, deadline Monday 2 October. Please get involved!


   Peer-Assisted Study Sessions (aka PASS) is a fantastic scheme where students mentor students. Here’s a message from Mike Cruchten (Y3, CM) and Pierre Barnaud (Y3, SE):  Hi everyone! It's Mike and Pierre and we are the PASS Coordinators for this year. We’re organising a Scavenger Hunt for all first year students! We’ve emailed you all, so check your emails! If you didn’t get the email contact us!


  This from Josh Langley (Y4, CS4wIE): Congrats to all the second years on your first year results and we hope freshers and Welcome Week have given you enough time to freshen up. PASS2 will be running this Friday 29 Sept at 13:00 in Collab 1. We’ll aim to keep these sessions as brief as possible and aim for it to be run by you guys. Main focus of the first session will just be outlining PASS2 and talking about your course choices. If you have any questions or suggestions etc. feel free to reach out to us.


  Every year the School awards prizes to UG students who have excelled academically or made significant contributions to the School. Here are the winners who received prizes last week from Professor Robert Stevens, our Head of School. Best second year (Single Honours) student: Nick Park (CSwIE, out on IE), the IBM/Software Engineering prize: James Ellis (Y3, CS4wIE), top right in the pic, Andrew Crofts (Y3, CSwIE) top left in the pic, Cristian Brisan (Y3, CSwIE), Nick Park, John Iyere (CSwIE, out on IE), Costanza Improta (CSwIE, out on IE), Martina Catizone (Y3, CS), Asta Simaityte (CSwIE, out on IE). The Michael Jealous memorial prize for best first year student went to Leshna Shamloll (Y2, CSwIE); and Golden Anniversary prizes for excellence in first year studies were awarded to (left to right in the pic below) Leshna Shamloll, Michael Yonli (Y2, CS4), Benjamin Maxwell (Y2, CS), Jack Hartley (Y2, CS4wIE), and Teodora Stoleru (Y2, CS, not pictured). Well done to you all!

Prizewinners and Robert


  The School has Open Days this Sat 30 Sep & Sat 14 Oct. We’d love to have current students there. Fancy earning a bit of extra cash? Have a project or something cool and interesting to demonstrate to prospective students? Contact Jez Lloyd.


  There are lots of external events relevant to Computer Science that don’t appear on your official student timetables. Events organised by external companies and groups are collated in the UG Events Google calendar (updated weekly), to save you cutting and pasting times and locations into your calendars. Included in the cal are careers events this autumn and the School’s Careers Calendar.


  Ian Pratt-Hartmann writes: On Sat 21 Oct our School will be one of the host sites for the UK and Ireland Programming Contest, an annual event in which teams try to crack a series of programming challenges. As well as being excellent practice for your programming courses here, it is also amazing fun. The University of Manchester should appear as a UKIEPC site in the next couple of days. (Please don’t attempt to register until it does.)  Registration closes on 30 Sept, but you need to act now to assemble your team and have a look at some of the sample problems. Interested? Contact me ASAP, and please come to an open meeting TODAY Mon 25 Sep at 16:00 in Kilburn 2.15. The best teams from this School will be able to go on to compete in the North West Europe Regional Programming Competition (NWERC) in Bath, 24-26 Nov (expenses paid).


  Here’s a message from Rifad Lafir (Y2, CSwIE):  CSSoc sponsor KPMG would like to invite you to their Application Boot Camp next Monday 2 Oct at University Place, Room 1.218 from 18:00-21:00. This is a fantastic opportunity to receive exclusive advice on their application process and meet with their recruitment team to understand how to make the best impact in your KPMG application. Places are limited, so register now.


  This from Michael Yonli (Y2, CS4): are you interested in computer security and would you like to take part in competitions? We’ve created a CTF-team for that purpose. If you're curious, take a look at our website and if you have any queries just contact me.


  David Rydeheard writes: There is a wide range of opportunities (unpaid and paid) to get involved in volunteering for outreach activities. It is great fun, hugely worthwhile, great for your CV, and recognised by the School and University. If you wish to be selected for our next visit to Africa, Project Malawi, you will need to show that you are involved in outreach activities. Register! First meeting: 13.30-14:30 in IT407 this Thurs 28 Sept. Any questions, contact me. And I’ll be talking about the School’s amazing trip to Malawi this summer, this Weds 27 Sept at 14:00 in Kilburn LT1.4. It was a difficult undertaking all computing equipment for classrooms had to be taken out by the team, schoolchildren there had no experience of computers or even keyboards, electric power was not reliable and absent from some schools, some children had little English. Read the report, and better still come to my Wednesday talk! Here's Teo Taylor (graduated in July) in Malawi.

Teo Taylor in Malawi


  This Fri 29 Sept 17:00-22:00 Manchester Museum will be hosting Science Uncovered Manchester a  spectacular night showcasing Manchester’s finest researchers and their work. There’ll be research on show, music, drinks and a lively atmosphere. And it’s FREE! Book your place.


  Another free event. The University of Salford is hosting the Public Sector Internet of Things conference this Thurs 28 Sept, and are offering free places to staff and students of The University of Manchester. The conference will be led by experienced professionals of IoT and R&D. If you’re planning on taking COMP32412 (The Internet of Things) next semester, with Vasilis Pavlidis, this conference could be right up your street. To register contact Daniel Leonard.


  The Students’ Union have launched The Access to Recreation Grant which allows students to claim back expenses for participation in Raise and Give International Challenges and Societies (membership fees, equipment and trips) Deadline Mon 9 Oct, contact.


  Deadline for sending in Monday Mail items: 17:00 every Friday.

Welcome Week • Monday 18 September 2017 • #17.01          The Monday Mail

Toby picGood morning UG! It’s Monday 18 September, it's Welcome Week, and a very warm welcome to you all, to students joining us for the first time, and those of you returning for another year. I'm Toby Howard, Director of Undergraduate Studies, and you are reading the Monday Mail – which I send to all undergraduates every Monday during term-time – to keep you up-to-date with what's happening in the School. And there's always a lot happening! So have a great week, and on with today's news.

Best wishes,
Toby Howard
Director of Undergraduate Studies


  Got any questions? Need any help? Call into the Student Support Office (aka SSO) open Mon-Fri 09:00-17:00 in Kilburn Room LF21, or email them, or phone 0161 306 8155. You’ll also see lots of people around campus wearing ASK ME badges so… ask them things!

Lots of ASK ME people


  This is Welcome Week, and the timetable for this week is special, with activities for students in all years. Year 1 students have introductory activities; Year 2 students have careers activities; Year 3 students have Project activities; so please check your timetables and make sure you know what’s going on.


  This from Rifad Lafir (CS4wIE) and Zeki Forster (CSwIE), co-Presidents of CSSoc: Hi everybody! We are CSSoc, a student-led society. We organise social and tech events for students. We are kicking off the start of the year with the Freshers' Pub Crawl (see event on FaceBook) organised in collaboration with HackSoc. It is happening this Weds 20 Sept at 19:00. It's a great way to spend the evening getting to know the people you are going to spend the rest of the year with. This event is not just for the freshers so everyone is welcome! Hope to see you all there! 


   Bookmark the UG homepage ...and get familiar with the UG handbook, your one-stop source of information about the Undergraduate School. It tells you about student support, term dates and opening hours, course structures and assessment, how you progress between years, rules and regulations, and much more.


  Congratulations to Izzy Whistlecroft for her success in the 2017 BCS Lovelace Colloquium poster competition based on her final-year project here in the School (supervised by Alvaro Fernandez). Her project investigated algorithms for creating abstract art in the styles of Piet Mondrian, Bridget Riley (example pictured) and Jackson Pollock. You can try Izzy’s project out here. Izzy is now studying for a PhD in Cryptography at Southampton. And congrats to Andrei Muntean his project Deep Reinforcement Learning (supervised by Jon Shapiro) was Highly Commended in the Computer Science category of the international Undergraduate Awards 2017. See Andrei’s project in action!

Izzy's Vridget Riley on the left, and on the right 2 examples of Andrei's AI playing classic video games


  You have until 15:30 on Friday 6 Oct to finalise your Semester 1 course unit  choices.  


  30 Sept and 14 Oct, fancy earning a bit of extra cash for the start of term? Have a project or something cool and interesting to demonstrate to prospective students at our Open Days? Contact Jez Lloyd ASAP to get involved!


  This year the School scored a 92% satisfaction rating in the National Student Survey, voted by final year UG students. We take your student experience very seriously, and always want your feedback. We’ll soon be launching this year’s Staff-Student Committee. Details next week.


  HM returns 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!


  And GUH returns on 11/12 November. Why not get involved as a volunteer or participator?


  While you were away, 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.


   Need help managing your money? Check out the University’s Finance Help site.


  At Manchester Free Software's May Meeting, Michael Dorrington will talk about “Debian: Installing Free Software Operating Systems”. Tomorrow Tues 19 Sept 19:00-21:00 at Madlab (M4 1HN).


  Deadline for sending in Monday Mail items: 17:00 every Friday.