Department of Computer Science


Your weekly round-up of undergraduate life in The University of Manchester Department of Computer Science from Paul Nutter, Director of Undergraduate Studies.

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Exams Week 4 • Monday 3 June 2024 • #23.31          The Monday Mail

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Good morning UG! It’s Monday 3rd June and it’s the last week of the semester 2 exam period. Not long to go until you can celebrate the end of your exams and the end of the 2023-24 academic year! If you have had any issues that have impacted your learning, including your exams in semester 2 then you need to let us know by the deadline on Friday (see below).

If you are a 3rd year student then please don’t forget to provide us with feedback on the project (see below). If you still haven’t selected a 3rd year project for next academic year then the deadline for round 2 is this Friday (see below).

If you are graduating and leaving us this summer then I’d like to wish the best of luck for the future and for whatever comes next. I really hope you enjoyed your time in Manchester and that you will look back fondly on your time here. Please pop in to see us now and again! If you are going on placement next year, then make the most of the opportunity, it’s a great experience where you will learn a lot. We look forward to seeing you return in September 2025. If you are returning in September, then make the most of the summer break, take some time off and have some fun, as it won’t be long until you are back with us. 

This will be the last Monday Mail of this academic year. I'd like to thank everyone who has contributed items during the year and thank you for reading Monday Mail, I hope you've found it informative. If you have any feedback on Monday Mail, what you enjoy, what could be improved, or any suggestions for future content etc, then please do get in touch.

Enjoy your final week and have a safe trip back home. Signing off for the 2023-24 academic year ...

Paul
Undergraduate Programme Director


STUDENT WELLBEING SUPPORT IN CS.

  It is important that you let the Department know of any issues that have an impact on your exams. You can speak to your Year Tutor (see below) or a member of the Student Support and Wellbeing team, Maria Sloan and Ben Herbert, who can offer support if you need to submit a mitigating circumstances application. You can contact Maria and Ben by email.


MITIGATING CIRCUMSTANCE DEADLINE - THIS FRIDAY.

  If you are intending to apply for mitigating circumstances then it is recommended that you apply as soon as possible. Applying well before the deadline allows the wellbeing team time to review your application and get in touch with you if they have any questions that may help your application be accepted. The mitigating circumstances form closes at 4pm THIS FRIDAY (7th June). This is the deadline for both application forms and for submission of evidence. Applications received after the deadline will be automatically rejected. Applications with no evidence received before the deadline will also be rejected. Unfortunately the wellbeing team are unable to facilitate requests to submit mitigation applications or evidence at a later date. If you have any questions about mitigation then please contact soe.wellbeing@mancehster.ac.uk.


STUDENT SUPPORT HUB EMAIL ADDRESS.

  If you need to contact a member of the Teaching, Learning and Student Experience team, then the email addresses are as follows:

If you are unsure which email to use then use soe.hub@manchester.ac.uk for general queries. 


YEAR TUTOR OPEN HOURS.

  In the Department we have year tutors who are responsible for looking after the different cohorts in each year group. They are here to provide you with help and support if you need it, so feel free to contact your year tutor by email over the exam period. If you need to contact a Year Tutor over the summer break, then please just send them an email. However, please appreciate that staff do take time off over the summer, so there may be a delay before you receive a reply.


INTRODUCING THE PASS COORDINATOR TEAM FOR 2024-25.

  This from Tom Carroll, Academic PASS Coordinator: PASS (Peer-Assisted Study Sessions) schemes are run by students from the year above, centred around sessions to help you succeed at Manchester.

  • PASS1 is for 1st year students, where students are in small groups paired with two (or more) PASS Leaders. You will have sessions that are tailored to your group's needs, such as advice with programming coursework, settling in to Manchester, and presentation practice for your first year team project. There are always snacks and social opportunities available. The PASS1 coordinators for 2024/25 are:
    • Danyaal Ahmed (Y2, CS)
    • David Sendula (Y2, CS)
    • Gundeep Oberoi (Y2, CSwIE)
    • Merve Turan (Y2, CS)
  • PASS2 is aimed at 2nd year students, and is run by a team of 3rd and 4th year students. Larger sessions focus on the issues important to a second year student, such as CV help, getting an internship, third year project selection and module selection. The PASS2 coordinators for 2024/25 are:
    • Kavin Gunasekra (On placement, CSwIE)
    • Vishal Kandasamy Sekar (On placement, CSwIE)
  • PASS3 is NEW for this coming academic year, and is focusing on how you can succeed with your third year project, how you can get that all-important job following Graduation (or perhaps further study?) as well as plenty of opportunity to relax and socialise with your peers. The PASS3 coordinators for 2024/25 are:
    • Max Beck-Jones (Y3, CS4)
    • Sarah Saad (Y3, AI4)
    • Luke Sanderson (Y3, AI4)
    • Rosie Halsall (Y3, CS)


ANNOUNCING UNICS 2024-2025 COMMITTEE.

  As we conclude this academic year, it is time for the current committee to hand over our responsibilities to the incoming committee. We want to extend our heartfelt thanks to everyone who attended our events and enjoyed them as much as we did organising them. Your support made all of this possible, and we are thrilled with the vibrant community we have built over the past year. We hope this continues on to the next year, and we are confident that the new committee will achieve even greater success. Keep an eye out for all the exciting UniCS events in the upcoming year! As such, we will be introducing the new UniCS Committee for the year 2024-2025, who will be responsible for running the society from now onwards:

  • Co-chairs: Na Wang & Gundeep Oberoi
  • Treasurer: Joshua Alliet
  • Secretary: Sahar Erin Rahman
  • Inclusions Officer: Vidhi Jalan
  • Sponsorship Director: Aditya Unnithan
  • Dev Lead: Merve Turan
  • Gamedev Lead: Adam Marvin
  • PR Officers: Taran Patel & Affan Imran
  • Procurement Officer: Nishanth Srinivas Thangathurai
  • Events Officers: Aatreyee Chatterjee, Sahil Saxena, Keshav Rawat
  • Graphics Officer: Sourabh Roy


RESULTS FOR PROGRESSING STUDENTS:

  The Faculty Exam Board (FEB) for progressing students will be held on 11th July 2024. After the FEB, marks will be released the week commencing 15th July 2024. From this date, you will be able to see if you have any resits in August. 


RESULTS FOR GRADUATING STUDENTS:

  The Faculty Exam Board (FEB) for graduating will be held on 28th June 2024. Results and awards for graduating students will be released the week commencing 1st July 2024. Upon release of your results you will be able to access a certified transcript online through the digitary service


RESITS:

  For 1st and 2nd year students, the resit period will run from Monday 19th – Friday 30th August 2024. Your student record will note if you are required to take any resit assessments during this period. You can find further information on the progression rules in the undergraduate handbook. The resit timetable (without locations) should be released mid to late July 2024. Information regarding the resit process for individual course units will be published in the CS UG Community Blackboard page (from the Resit link to the left). It’s important that you consult this information as the resit assessment may be different to the assessment process during the year, and may involve the completion of additional coursework. We cannot apply mitigation because you did not consult this information. Resit results will be communicated to students from mid-September 2024. LF8, 2.25A/B and Tootill 0 will be available for student use over the resit period. 


3RD YEAR PROJECT SELECTIONS ROUND 2.

  This from Terry Morley, 3rd year Projects Manager: the first round of project allocations has now been published. The 2nd round of allocations is now open for those students who have not been allocated a project, the list of remaining projects can be found here. If you haven’t been allocated a project then it’s important you do so by the deadline of 5pm on THIS FRIDAY (7th June 2024). If you have been assigned a project, but a project is still advertised that you would prefer, then you may forgo your assigned project and enter the 2nd round of allocation. However, you should be aware of the risk involved. You will still be required to choose three projects from those which remain and there is a possibility that you will not receive any of your new choices. The reduction in staff capacity following the 1st round makes this more probable. You should carefully weigh the risk before requesting to forego your assigned project and you should know that this option is not encouraged. If you have any questions, then please get in touch.


3RD YEAR PROJECT SURVEY.

  As part of our process of continually updating our teaching to reflect the views and feedback from students, we would like to invite all 3rd year students to take part in a survey where we are asking for feedback on all aspects of the project. You can access the survey using this link, or via the QR link below. We would be grateful if you could take a moment to let us know of your impressions of your 3rd year project, along with your opinion of the overall project experience. If possible, please provide as many comments as possible, as we find these really helpful in seeing where things are working and where improvements can be made. Please  note that as the form is anonymous, completing has no impact whatsoever on the marking of your project. The survey should take 10-15 mins to complete. The deadline to complete the survey is Friday 26th July.

*DATA SCIENCE SOCIETY. Our partner Peak AI is hosting their Annual Peak Hackathon. Join us on 07/06/2024 from 12pm to 6pm at the Peak office for a hands-on data science experience! Tackle a real-world data science project in Python, guided by industry experts. You'll complete a project to showcase on GitHub and your CV. The hackathon will cover data analysis/preprocessing, modelling, and Git best practices. You can sign up individually or as a team of 3 to 5 members. Fill out the form to sign up and know more about the event. Contact the MUDS committee with any questions on Discord. Don't miss this chance to level up your data science skills!


WOMEN IN KILBURN EVENT.

  Hi there! Join us at our next monthly networking event dedicated to empowering and raising the visibility of women, non-binary individuals, and underrepresented groups within Computer Science. Come grab a bite and network with academics, senior students, and fellow classmates within Computer Science.

  • When: Wednesday, 5th June, 2024
  • Time: 11AM- 12PM
  • Where: Turing Lounge, Kilburn Building, 1st floor, directly opposite the first-floor entrance, close to the disabled access lift.

We really look forward to seeing you there.


PARTICIPANTS NEEDED.

  Sarah Clinch is recruiting participants for two paid experiments. One involves watching etiquette videos and is open to anyone who has lived in the UK. The other involves completing puzzle tasks in VR. For more information, email sarah.clinch@manchester.ac.uk.


Exams Week 3 • Monday 27 May 2024 • #23.30          The Monday Mail

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Good morning UG! It’s Monday 27th May and it’s the 3rd week of the semester 2 exam period. Today is a bank holiday so have a relaxing day off!

The winners of the Department of Computer Science Teaching Awards have been announced (see below). Well done to all staff who have won an award, or received an honourable mention. Thank you to those who nominated a member of staff for an award, and thank you to everyone who took time to vote. What makes these awards special is that the recognition comes from our students and we very much appreciate your support. I’d like to thank UniCS for organising the awards and making it such a success. 

Good luck with any exams this week  … 

Paul
Undergraduate Programme Director


STUDENT WELLBEING SUPPORT IN CS.

  It is important that you let the Department know of any issues that have an impact on your exams. You can speak to your Year Tutor (see below) or a member of the Student Support and Wellbeing team, Maria Sloan and Ben Herbert, who can offer support if you need to submit a mitigating circumstances application. You can contact Maria and Ben by email.


MITIGATING CIRCUMSTANCE DEADLINE - FRIDAY 7TH JUNE.

  If you are intending to apply for mitigating circumstances then it is recommended that you apply as soon as possible. Applying well before the deadline allows the wellbeing team time to review your application and get in touch with you if they have any questions that may help your application be accepted. The mitigating circumstances form closes at 4pm on Friday the 7th June. This is the deadline for both application forms and for submission of evidence. Applications received after the deadline will be automatically rejected. Applications with no evidence received before the deadline will also be rejected. Unfortunately the wellbeing team are unable to facilitate requests to submit mitigation applications or evidence at a later date. If you have any questions about mitigation then please contact soe.wellbeing@mancehster.ac.uk.


STUDENT SUPPORT HUB EMAIL ADDRESS.

  If you need to contact a member of the Teaching, Learning and Student Experience team, then the email addresses are as follows:

If you are unsure which email to use then use soe.hub@manchester.ac.uk for general queries. 


YEAR TUTOR OPEN HOURS.

  In the Department we have year tutors who are responsible for looking after the different cohorts in each year group. They are here to provide you with help and support if you need it, so feel free to contact your year tutor by email over the exam period. Tutors will not be running open hours over the exam period.


STAFF AWARD WINNERS:

  Thank you to all those who voted, there were a whopping 200 students who voted to show their appreciation for their staff! Congratulations to the following staff members who won awards in the 8 categories:

Outstanding Support Award  

Winner - Terence Morley
Honourable mention - Jim Garside

Engagement Award

Winner - Sean Bechhofer
Honourable mention - Christoforos Moutafis

Exceptional Ability to Explain Award

Winner - Tingting Mu
Honourable mention - Tom Carroll

Exceptional Teaching Sessions Award

Winner - Steve Pettifer
Honourable mention - Paul Nutter

Exceptional Teaching Material Award

Winner - Andrea Schalk

Exceptional Ability to Create a Comfortable Learning Environment Award

Winner - Riza Batista Navarro

Exceptional Practical Sessions Award

Winner - Joseph Razavi
Honourable mention -  Jim Garside

Project Supervisor Award

Winner - Anirbit Mukherjee
Honourable mention - Stewart Blakeway

We also have two special categories for the staff who have gone above and beyond to support the student body outside of academics so big congratulations to them as well:

Exceptional Career Advisor Award: Winner - Duncan Hull
Student Society Support Award: Winners
- Louise Dennis & Paul Nutter


FREE EXAM BREAKFASTS.

  Free exam breakfasts will be available to all School of Engineering students until June 5th. Swing by the Engineering A event space every weekday morning from 8:30-10 am. Courtesy of the Information, Advice and Guidance team, we've got your breakfast covered. Make sure you bring your student card along! @uom_soe.


COMPUTER CLUSTERS DURING THE EXAM PERIOD.

  Please remember that some computer clusters across the campus will be unavailable for student use over the exam period. In the Kilburn Building, the large cluster on the first floor (1.8/1.10) will not be available to students throughout the exam period. All other labs and teaching spaces in the Kilburn building will be available for students to use.     


3RD YEAR PROJECT SELECTIONS ROUND 2.

  This from Terry Morley, 3rd year Projects Manager: the first round of project allocations has now been published. The 2nd round of allocations is now open for those students who have not been allocated a project, the list of remaining projects can be found here. If you haven’t been allocated a project then it’s important you do so by the deadline of 5pm on Friday 7th June 2024. If you have been assigned a project, but a project is still advertised that you would prefer, then you may forgo your assigned project and enter the 2nd round of allocation. However, you should be aware of the risk involved. You will still be required to choose three projects from those which remain and there is a possibility that you will not receive any of your new choices. The reduction in staff capacity following the 1st round makes this more probable. You should carefully weigh the risk before requesting to forego your assigned project and you should know that this option is not encouraged. If you have any questions, then please get in touch.


COMP1INTRO LABS SURVEY.

  As you are aware, in Welcome Week all 1st years complete the COMP1INTRO (or Boot-up) labs. The aim of the labs is to assist you in setting up your student accounts and to introduce you to technologies you will be using during your Undergraduate degree. As such, we teach you how to operate the machines in the Kilburn building, but also basic Linux concepts and terminal usage, and guide you through configuring Git and your Gitlab accounts for your coursework. We would like to look at updating these activities and need your insight as to how we can improve the concepts we cover, making them more relevant to the needs of new students joining the department, and improving the delivery in future years. You can access the survey here, or via the QR code below. Feel free to include any suggestions for improvement, talk about areas of difficulty, and express your overall satisfaction/dissatisfaction with the content and delivery. The survey is anonymous. 


3RD YEAR PROJECT SURVEY.

  As part of our process of continually updating our teaching to reflect the views and feedback from students, we would like to invite all 3rd year students to take part in a survey where we are asking for feedback on all aspects of the project. You can access the survey using this link, or via the QR link below. We would be grateful if you could take a moment to let us know of your impressions of your 3rd year project, along with your opinion of the overall project experience. If possible, please provide as many comments as possible, as we find these really helpful in seeing where things are working and where improvements can be made. Please  note that as the form is anonymous, completing has no impact whatsoever on the marking of your project. The survey should take 10-15 mins to complete. The deadline to complete the survey is Friday 26th July.


HOW CUSTOM SILICON MADE APPLE VISION PRO POSSIBLE.

  Apple Vision Pro is a breakthrough product that introduced the world to spatial computing. This product is a culmination of many cross discipline engineering innovations in mechanical design, cameras, sensors, audio processing, display technologies, as well as new user input interfaces and user experiences. In this talk, we will discuss how Apple custom silicon enables these cutting-edge technologies within extremely challenging power and thermal constraints. If you would like to attend, please sign up

  •  Date: Tuesday, 28th May 
  • Time: 18:00 - 19:00 BST / 19:00 - 20:00 CEST

What's a tech talk? A tech talk is an information session presented by a thought leader or senior engineer to talk about industry-leading and cutting edge trends, concepts, and technology. What's the benefit of attending? Tech talks are a great opportunity to stay up to date, learn new concepts, and express interest in a field or company that you're curious about. It's also a good way to explore internship / full time opportunities and increase your exposure. 


SOMETHING TO SHARE?

  The deadline for sending in Monday Mail items: 12:00 (noon) every Friday. Just contact Paul.


Exams Week 2 • Monday 20 May 2024 • #23.29          The Monday Mail

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Good morning! It’s Monday 20th May and it’s the 2nd week of the semester 2 exam period. I hope your revision and exams are going well. Don’t forget, if you have any issues during the exam period then you can contact your Year Tutor or the Student Support and Wellbeing team (see below). Remember, help is always available if you need it. 

There are a couple of deadlines today. First, if you’d like to nominate yourself to be a student rep in 2024/25 then please consider signing up (see below). Second, please consider voting in our staff appreciation awards - organised by UniCS - for the staff nominated under the eight award categories (see below). 

Next Monday (27th May) is a bank holiday (national holiday in the UK), so the Kilburn building will be closed.
 

Good luck if you have any exams this week, I hope they go well  … 

Paul
Undergraduate Programme Director


STUDENT WELLBEING SUPPORT IN CS.

  It is important that you let the Department know of any issues that have an impact on your exams. You can speak to your Year Tutor (see below) or a member of the Student Support and Wellbeing team, Maria Sloan and Ben Herbert, who can offer support if you need to submit a mitigating circumstances application. You can contact Maria and Ben by email.


MITIGATING CIRCUMSTANCE DEADLINE - FRIDAY 7TH JUNE.

  If you are intending to apply for mitigating circumstances then it is recommended that you apply as soon as possible. Applying well before the deadline allows the wellbeing team time to review your application and get in touch with you if they have any questions that may help your application be accepted. The mitigating circumstances form closes at 4pm on Friday the 7th June. This is the deadline for both application forms and for submission of evidence. Applications received after the deadline will be automatically rejected. Applications with no evidence received before the deadline will also be rejected. Unfortunately the wellbeing team are unable to facilitate requests to submit mitigation applications or evidence at a later date. If you have any questions about mitigation then please contact soe.wellbeing@mancehster.ac.uk.


REPORT AND SUPPORT.

  The University’s Report and Support Service is available to students. If you, or someone you know, has experienced or witnessed any form of bullying, harassment, discrimination, gender-based violence, hate or micro-aggressions, or have a safeguarding concern, you can report it anonymously or get support from a trained advisor through Report and Support. To report an incident and speak to a caseworker, you can either fill out the online form or someone can do it on your behalf. You, or the person reporting can make special requests for a certain type of advisor. The last page of the form will ask for details of who they should speak to about this report. The team will seek to understand your situation and aim to give you information, advice and support tailored to your individual circumstances. You can access this service here. Please be mindful that whilst you can send anonymous reports, the team is unable to contact you to offer support unless you provide your name and contact details.


STUDENT SUPPORT HUB EMAIL ADDRESS.

  If you need to contact a member of the Teaching, Learning and Student Experience team, then the email addresses are as follows:

If you are unsure which email to use then use soe.hub@manchester.ac.uk for general queries. 


YEAR TUTOR OPEN HOURS.

  In the Department we have year tutors who are responsible for looking after the different cohorts in each year group. They are here to provide you with help and support if you need it, so feel free to contact your year tutor by email over the exam period. Tutors will not be running open hours over the exam period.


STAFF APPRECIATION AWARDS.

  Voting for the Department of Computer Science Teaching Awards closes TODAY! You can now vote here for a chance to have a say in which teaching staff you think deserves an award the most. There are 8 categories and 8 possible winners, so please vote in all categories. Voting will close TODAY (Monday 20th May) at 4pm, so get your votes in now!


FREE EXAM BREAKFASTS.

  Free exam breakfasts will be available to all School of Engineering students over the exam period, from May 13th until June 5th. Swing by the Engineering A event space every weekday morning from 8:30-10 am. Courtesy of the Information, Advice and Guidance team, we've got your breakfast covered. Make sure you bring your student card along! @uom_soe.


ENGINEERING BUILDING A EXTENDED OPENING HOURS.

  Engineering Building A opening hours will be extended during the exam period until Wednesday 5 June. The building will be open from 8am to 10pm each day, with FSE students given the swipe card access required to enter after 8pm Mon-Fri and all day Saturday and Sunday. The Kilburn Building opening hours will remain unchanged during this period, at 8am - 6pm, Monday and Friday, with access from 6 - 9pm (weekday) being available when holding a valid extended working hours pass. See the CS UG Community Blackboard pages for further information.


COMPUTER CLUSTERS DURING THE EXAM PERIOD.

  Please be aware that some computer clusters across the campus will continue to be unavailable for students to use over the exam period. In the Kilburn Building, the large cluster on the first floor (1.8/1.10) will not be available to students throughout the exam period. All other labs and teaching spaces in the Kilburn building will be available for students to use.     


3RD YEAR PROJECT SELECTIONS ROUND 2.

  This from Terry Morley, 3rd year Projects Manager: the first round of project allocations has now been published. The 2nd round of allocations is now open for those students who have not been allocated a project, the list of remaining projects can be found here. If you haven’t been allocated a project then it’s important you do so by the deadline of 5pm on Friday 7th June 2024. If you have been assigned a project, but a project is still advertised that you would prefer, then you may forgo your assigned project and enter the 2nd round of allocation. However, you should be aware of the risk involved. You will still be required to choose three projects from those which remain and there is a possibility that you will not receive any of your new choices. The reduction in staff capacity following the 1st round makes this more probable. You should carefully weigh the risk before requesting to forego your assigned project and you should know that this option is not encouraged. If you have any questions, then please get in touch.


COMP1INTRO LABS SURVEY.

  As you are aware, in Welcome Week all 1st years complete the COMP1INTRO (or Boot-up) labs. The aim of the labs is to assist you in setting up your student accounts and to introduce you to technologies you will be using during your Undergraduate degree. As such, we teach you how to operate the machines in the Kilburn building, but also basic Linux concepts and terminal usage, and guide you through configuring Git and your Gitlab accounts for your coursework. We would like to look at updating these activities and need your insight as to how we can improve the concepts we cover, making them more relevant to the needs of new students joining the department, and improving the delivery in future years. You can access the survey here, or via the QR code below. Feel free to include any suggestions for improvement, talk about areas of difficulty, and express your overall satisfaction/dissatisfaction with the content and delivery. The survey is anonymous. 


3RD YEAR PROJECT SURVEY.

  As part of our process of continually updating our teaching to reflect the views and feedback from students, we would like to invite all 3rd year students to take part in a survey where we are asking for feedback on all aspects of the project. You can access the survey using this link, or via the QR link below. We would be grateful if you could take a moment to let us know of your impressions of your 3rd year project, along with your opinion of the overall project experience. If possible, please provide as many comments as possible, as we find these really helpful in seeing where things are working and where improvements can be made. Please  note that as the form is anonymous, completing has no impact whatsoever on the marking of your project. The survey should take 10-15 mins to complete. The deadline to complete the survey is Friday 26th July.


INAUGURAL SEMINAR.

  Prof. Alex Creswell will present an inaugural seminar, “The reality versus the theory – how AI will impact cyber security in the next 12 months”, on Wednesday 22nd May, 14:00-15:00, in Kilburn Lecture Theatre 1.3. Abstract: The theory of expanding attack surface suggests that agentic AI will reshape the cyber threat landscape over the next 12 months, opening up new attack vectors for threat actors to exploit.  AI personal assistants will become targets due to their access to sensitive data.  Accelerated corporate adoption of AI is already overwhelming security teams and could lead to malicious exploitation.  In reality, cyber criminals (as opposed to state actors) are struggling to leverage AI for automating attacks.  AI is enhancing phishing campaigns but there is no evidence that criminals have used AI to generate effective intrusion sets.  AI advantage is currently favouring defenders.  In future, AI will enable a new generation of unsophisticated criminals to launch attacks, lowering the barrier to entry into this area of crime.  Private sector organisations should adopt active defence tools and monitor criminal adoption of smaller, specialised LLMs which require less compute.

 If you are unable to join us in-person please use the link below to join the seminar via Zoom, Meeting ID: 942 1945 8749, Passcode: 728671.


GREATUNIHACK 2024 ORGANISING TEAM.

   The UniCS Hackathon team is currently hiring! If you enjoyed GreatUniHack or StudentHack this academic year and would like to join our hackathon organising team for GreatUniHack 2024, then please fill in this form. We have all sorts of roles open so there is sure to be something to peak your interest, whether it's making graphics or developing the website, planning the logistics, networking with sponsors, and more! Applications will be closing this Wednesday, 22nd May so get your applications in ASAP!


UNICS COMMITTEE NOMINATIONS 2024-25.

  If you missed out on the last round of UniCS 2024-2025 Committee Nominations, do not worry because there is still one more Events Officer role to be filled! Nominations have now reopened for this role and you can apply through this form. It will close on Friday 24th May so make sure you fill it out before then. This is the perfect chance to network with like-minded people and gain experience in organising largely popular events, so take this opportunity while you still can!


NOMINATE YOURSELF TO BE A STUDENT REPRESENTATIVE.

  This from Tom Carroll, Chair of the UG Student-Staff Liaison Committee (SSLC):  Are you interested in making a change, developing your programme and working with staff to close the feedback loop? Sign up or to be a Course Representative today! If you are returning next year and have never been a student rep before, or if you are already a rep and want to continue in the role, then please also sign-up. Reps are student leaders who gather feedback & work with staff to make positive change in their programme. Within the Department, Student reps have helped to bring about positive changes and an improved student experience, such as:

  • Areas for relaxing, such as the Turing Lounge with table tennis table
  • Updated Kilburn LF Student area: bean bags, pods, power points etc
  • Kettle and microwave in the kitchen are on Kilburn LF
  • Improved lab and study spaces, including LF8, which is not used for teaching
  • New furniture for use by students throughout Kilburn
  • Updated PCs with larger screens
  • Changes to teaching in some course units, such as changes to examples classes, changes to teaching styles and helping support revision.

The role counts towards the STELLIFY award “step up and lead” and you’ll gain great experience through attending meetings, gathering feedback from your course mates & working on projects to enact change. Interested? To sign up, head to this form and input your details by 12 o’clock (noon) TODAY (Monday 20th May). After this we’ll get back in touch with the next steps! Please contact me if you have any questions.


SOMETHING TO SHARE?

  The deadline for sending in Monday Mail items: 12:00 (noon) every Friday. Just contact Paul.


Exams Week 1 • Monday 13 May 2024 • #23.28          The Monday Mail

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Good morning! It’s Monday 13th May 2024 and it’s the 1st week of the semester 2 exam period. Please make sure you are familiar with your exam timetable, and that you know when and where your exams are taking place.  If you have any issues with your exams then please contact your year tutor or the student hub (email addresses below). If you are slightly late for an exam, then you may be allowed to sit it, but you will not get any additional time. However, if you are too late, then you will not be able to sit the exam, in this case you should contact the student hub immediately. If you are unable to attend your exam due to mitigating circumstances (such as an illness), please make sure you complete a mitigating circumstances application before the deadline (see below) and speak to a member of the Student Support and Wellbeing team.

If you’d like to be a student rep in 2024/25 then don’t forget to complete the form to nominate yourself (see below). Voting for the Department of Computer Science Teaching Awards, organised by UniCS, is now open. Please take the time to vote for staff under the eight award categories (see below).

Good luck if you have any exams this week  … 

Paul
Undergraduate Programme Director


STUDENT WELLBEING SUPPORT IN CS.

  With the exams starting this week, it is important that you let the Department know of any issues that have an impact on your exams - as well as issues that have impacted your ability to complete coursework. You can speak to your year tutor (see below) or a member of the Student Support and Wellbeing team, Maria Sloan and Ben Herbert, who can offer support if you need to submit a mitigating circumstances application. You can contact Maria and Ben by email.


MITIGATING CIRCUMSTANCES DEADLINE.

  The deadline for reporting any mitigating circumstances that have impacted you in semester 2 - this includes both coursework and exams - is Friday 7th June 2024 at 4:00pm. This is a strict deadline and no applications will be considered after this date. You can find information on the mitigating circumstances process in the undergraduate handbook, or in the CS UG Community Blackboard space. If you are experiencing any problems then you can speak to your year tutor (contact details below), or you can speak to a member of the Student Support and Wellbeing Team, Maria Sloan and Ben Herbert


STUDENT SUPPORT HUB EMAIL ADDRESS.

  If you need to contact a member of the Teaching, Learning and Student Experience team, then the email addresses are as follows:

If you are unsure which email to use then use soe.hub@manchester.ac.uk for general queries. 


YEAR TUTOR OPEN HOURS.

  In the Department we have year tutors who are responsible for looking after the different cohorts in each year group. They are here to provide you with help and support if you need it, so feel free to contact your year tutor by email over the exam period. Note, Year Tutors will not be running open hours over the exam period.


STAFF APPRECIATION AWARDS.

  Voting for the Department of Computer Science Teaching Awards has now opened! Thank you to all who sent in nominations along with lovely comments for all of our staff. We received so many more nominations than we expected, and we are sure that the staff will appreciate this! You can now vote here for a chance to have a say in which teaching staff you think deserves an award the most. There are 8 categories and 8 possible winners, so please vote in all categories. Voting will close in a week on Monday 20th May at 4pm, so get your votes in ASAP!


FREE EXAM BREAKFASTS.

  Free exam breakfasts will be available to all School of Engineering students over the exam period, from May 13th until June 5th. Swing by the Engineering A event space every weekday morning from 8:30-10 am. Courtesy of the Information, Advice and Guidance team, we've got your breakfast covered. Make sure you bring your student card along! @uom_soe.


ENGINEERING BUILDING A EXTENDED OPENING HOURS.

  Engineering Building A opening hours will be extended during the exam period, between Tuesday 7 May – Wednesday 5 June. The building will be open from 8am to 10pm each day, with FSE students given the swipe card access required to enter after 8pm Mon-Fri and all day Saturday and Sunday. The Kilburn Building opening hours will remain unchanged during this period, at 8am - 6pm, Monday and Friday, with access from 6 - 9pm (weekday) being available when holding a valid extended working hours pass. See the CS UG Community Blackboard pages for further information.


COMPUTER CLUSTERS DURING THE EXAM PERIOD.

  Please be aware that some computer clusters across the campus will be unavailable for students to use during the exam period. In the Kilburn Building, the large cluster on the first floor (1.8/1.10) will not be available to students throughout the exam period. All other labs and teaching spaces in the Kilburn building will be available for use.     


3RD YEAR PROJECT SELECTIONS ROUND 2.

  This from Terry Morley, 3rd year Projects Manager: the first round of project allocations has now been published. The 2nd round of allocations is now open for those students who have not been allocated a project, the list of remaining projects can be found here. If you haven’t been allocated a project then it’s important you do so by the deadline of 5pm on Friday 7th June 2024. If you have been assigned a project, but a project is still advertised that you would prefer, then you may forgo your assigned project and enter the 2nd round of allocation. However, you should be aware of the risk involved. You will still be required to choose three projects from those which remain and there is a possibility that you will not receive any of your new choices. The reduction in staff capacity following the 1st round makes this more probable. You should carefully weigh the risk before requesting to forego your assigned project and you should know that this option is not encouraged. If you have any questions, then please get in touch.


COMP1INTRO LABS SURVEY.

  As you are aware, in Welcome Week all 1st years complete the COMP1INTRO (or Boot-up) labs. The aim of the labs is to assist you in setting up your student accounts and to introduce you to technologies you will be using during your Undergraduate degree. As such, we teach you how to operate the machines in the Kilburn building, but also basic Linux concepts and terminal usage, and guide you through configuring Git and your Gitlab accounts for your coursework. We would like to look at updating these activities and need your insight as to how we can improve the concepts we cover, making them more relevant to the needs of new students joining the department, and improving the delivery in future years. You can access the survey here, or via the QR code below. Feel free to include any suggestions for improvement, talk about areas of difficulty, and express your overall satisfaction/dissatisfaction with the content and delivery. The survey is anonymous. 


3RD YEAR PROJECT SURVEY.

  As part of our process of continually updating our teaching to reflect the views and feedback from students, we would like to invite all 3rd year students to take part in a survey where we are asking for feedback on all aspects of the project. You can access the survey using this link, or via the QR link below. We would be grateful if you could take a moment to let us know of your impressions of your 3rd year project, along with your opinion of the overall project experience. If possible, please provide as many comments as possible, as we find these really helpful in seeing where things are working and where improvements can be made. Please  note that as the form is anonymous, completing has no impact whatsoever on the marking of your project. The survey should take 10-15 mins to complete. The deadline to complete the survey is Friday 26th July.


GRADUATION DATE.

  Just a  reminder that the 2023/24 summer graduation ceremony for CS will take place on Thursday 18th July. Due to the large number of students in the 3rd year there will be two graduation ceremonies for students in CS, one at 16:30 (for students on the BSc Computer Science programme) and one at 18:15 ceremony (for all other degree programmes). The Department will also be arranging a celebration for all students, which will be confirmed closer to the time.


NOMINATE YOURSELF TO BE A STUDENT REPRESENTATIVE.

  This from Tom Carroll, Chair of the UG Student-Staff Liaison Committee (SSLC):  Are you interested in making a change, developing your programme and working with staff to close the feedback loop? Sign up or to be a Course Representative today! If you are returning next year and have never been a student rep before, or if you are already a rep and want to continue in the role, then please also sign-up. Reps are student leaders who gather feedback & work with staff to make positive change in their programme. Within the Department, Student reps have helped to bring about positive changes and an improved student experience, such as:

  • Areas for relaxing, such as the Turing Lounge with table tennis table
  • Updated Kilburn LF Student area: bean bags, pods, power points etc
  • Kettle and microwave in the kitchen are on Kilburn LF
  • Improved lab and study spaces, including LF8, which is not used for teaching
  • New furniture for use by students throughout Kilburn
  • Updated PCs with larger screens
  • Changes to teaching in some course units, such as changes to examples classes, changes to teaching styles and helping support revision.

The role counts towards the STELLIFY award “step up and lead” and you’ll gain great experience through attending meetings, gathering feedback from your course mates & working on projects to enact change. Interested? To sign up, head to this form and input your details by 12 o’clock (noon) Monday 20th May 2024 After this we’ll get back in touch with the next steps! Please contact me if you have any questions.


SOMETHING TO SHARE?

  The deadline for sending in Monday Mail items: 12:00 (noon) every Friday. Just contact Paul.


Week 12 • Monday 6 May 2024 • #23.27          The Monday Mail

Paul pic

Good morning! It’s Monday 6th May and it’s week 12, the last week of the semester 2 teaching period! Where has the time gone? This semester has flown by so quickly. Today (Monday) is a bank holiday in the UK (a public holiday) so there will be no scheduled teaching activities, and the Kilburn building will be closed. The semester 2 exams start next week, so it’s important that you are familiar with your exam timetable and that you know the location of your exams beforehand. 

The Students’ Union awards were held last week where members of the Department were celebrated, and we even had some winners (yay!) … congratulations to all (see below). If you went to the May Ball then I hope you had fun and weren’t suffering too much the next morning. I look forward to seeing photos of you all dressed in your finery!

Monday Mail will continue over the exam period, however, Gareth’s Puzzle Corner will be taking a break until the new academic year. I’d like to thank Gareth for all his hard work putting the questions together each week.

Have a good week, on with today’s news … 

Paul
Undergraduate Programme Director


STUDENT WELLBEING SUPPORT IN CS.

  With the exams starting next week, it is important that you let the Department know of any issues that have an impact on your exams. You can speak to your year tutor (see below) or a member of the Student Support and Wellbeing team, Maria Sloan and Ben Herbert, who can offer support if you need to submit a mitigating circumstances application. You can contact Maria and Ben by email.


MITIGATING CIRCUMSTANCES DEADLINE.

  The deadline for reporting any mitigating circumstances that have impacted you in semester 2 (coursework or exams) is Friday 7th June 2024 at 4:00pm. This is a strict deadline and no applications will be considered after this date. You can find information on the mitigating circumstances process in the undergraduate handbook, or in the CS UG Community Blackboard space. If you are experiencing any problems then you can speak to your year tutor (contact details below), or you can speak to a member of the Student Support and Wellbeing Team, Maria Sloan and Ben Herbert


REPORT AND SUPPORT.

  The University’s Report and Support Service is available to students. If you or someone you know has experienced or witnessed any form of bullying, harassment, discrimination, gender-based violence, hate or micro-aggressions, or have a safeguarding concern, you can report it anonymously or get support from a trained advisor through Report and Support. To report an incident and speak to a caseworker, you can either fill out the online form or someone can do it on your behalf. You, or the person reporting can make special requests for a certain type of advisor. The last page of the form will ask for details of who they should speak to about this report. The team will seek to understand your situation and aim to give you information, advice and support tailored to your individual circumstances. You can access this service here. Please be mindful that whilst you can send anonymous reports, the team are unable to contact you to offer support unless you provide your name and contact details.


STUDENT SUPPORT HUB EMAIL ADDRESS.

  If you need to contact a member of the Teaching, Learning and Student Experience team, then the email addresses are as follows:

If you are unsure which email to use then use soe.hub@manchester.ac.uk for general queries. 


YEAR TUTOR OPEN HOURS.

  In the Department we have year tutors who are responsible for looking after the different cohorts in each year group. They are here to provide you with help and support if you need it, so feel free to contact your year tutor by email. They also run a weekly open hour where you can pop in for a chat during the teaching period:

  • Year 1 (not CM): Gareth Henshall. Open hour: Tuesday 12:00 - 13:00, Kilburn 2.82.
  • Year 2 (not CM): Aphrodite Galata. Open hour: Tuesday 14:00 - 15:00, Kilburn 2.101.
  • Industrial Experience Year: Duncan Hull. Open hour: Thursdays 10:00 - 12:00 Kilburn LF25.
  • Year 3/4 (not CM): Tim Morris. Open hour: Tuesday 11:00 - 12:00, Kilburn 2.107. 
  • CM (all years): Andrea Schalk. Talk to me after your cohort meeting on Tuesday.
  • UG Director: Paul Nutter. Open hour: Tuesday 09:30 - 10:30, IT119.


STUDENT-STAFF LIAISON COMMITTEE.

  This from Tom Carroll, chair of SSLC: On Wednesday we held the final SSLC Meeting of this academic year. The meeting hosted focused discussions on the COMP1INTRO labs with David Petrescu, and on the Coding Your Future Careers Guidance by Duncan Hull. Positive and constructive feedback was received on these matters, which will help to improve these for the future. We also discussed the need for new signage in the department for reporting material faults, and also ways to gain greater student awareness and to increase student input to the SSLC. These will be actioned over the summer. We discussed student culture, and the consensus was that conduct between students is generally very good, with all making an effort to give a kind and professional attitude to all.  It was highlighted that there is a Report and Support initiative (see above), run by student support, which will help students who are experiencing harassment of any kind. The recent renovations to the LF area have been praised as helping to deliver a community feel to the Kilburn building. 


THANKS TO SSLC REPS:

  This from Tom Carroll, chair of SSLC: I would like to thank all of the SSLC Student Reps this year for their hard work in representing the student voice and in helping to improve things in the Department around Student Life, Assessment and Feedback, and Teaching. Your work has had a positive impact- thank you!


STUDENTS’ UNION AWARD SUCCESS.

  The Students' Union Academic Awards recognise students and staff who make studying more inclusive and enjoyable at the University of Manchester. The 2024 awards night took place at Manchester Academy last Monday to celebrate the achievements of staff and students who have gone above and beyond to represent student interests. As a Department we can celebrate the nominations and success of:

  • Sarah Saad (Y3, AI4) who won an unsung hero award for her work with UNICS
  • Sambbhav Khare (Y3, CS4) who was nominated for an outstanding Teaching Assistant award - Sambbhav was one of the Undergraduate Teaching Volunteers in the department this year
  • Duncan Hull for winning the Academic Advising Champion award.

Congratulations to all of you for being recognised for your hard work and support for the student community in the Department. Well done! The University of Manchester Students' Union is the UK's largest students' union representing over 40,000 students in Manchester. Every year the Students’ Union celebrates the success of staff and students in the University


UNICS CELEBRATION.

  Congratulations to Sarah Saad, the Co-Chair of UniCS for winning the Unsung Hero award from the Students Union! Throughout the year, Sarah has been the linchpin holding the UniCS community together, tackling the demanding role with excellence, often without receiving due recognition. Her proactive nature, unwavering support, and reliability have made her an unsung hero within UniCS. Behind the scenes, she works tirelessly, ensuring that events run smoothly, and problems are swiftly resolved. Sarah's dedication extends beyond her official duties, as she assists various team members whenever needed and always aims to infuse our events with creativity and care. Additionally, her genuine kindness shines through as she consistently acknowledges the contributions of others, a gesture deeply valued in a field where recognition is scarce. Sarah's immense contributions deserve greater appreciation, as she has poured her heart and soul into her role without receiving adequate acknowledgment.


COMPUTER CLUSTERS DURING THE EXAM PERIOD.

  Please be aware that some computer clusters across the campus will be unavailable for students to use during the exam period. In the Kilburn Building, the large cluster on the first floor (1.8/1.10) will not be available to students throughout the exam period. All other labs and teaching spaces in the Kilburn building will be available for students to use.     


3RD YEAR PROJECT SELECTIONS ROUND 2.

  This from Terry Morley, 3rd year Projects Manager: the first round of project allocations has now been published. The 2nd round of allocations is now open for those students who have not been allocated a project - the list of remaining projects can be found here. If you haven’t been allocated a project then it’s important you do so by the deadline of 5pm on Friday 7th June 2024. If you have been assigned a project but a project is still advertised that you would prefer, then you may forgo your assigned project and enter the 2nd round of allocation. However, you should be aware of the risk involved. You will still be required to choose three projects from those which remain and there is a possibility that you will not receive any of your new choices. The reduction in staff capacity following the 1st round makes this more probable. You should carefully weigh the risk before requesting to forego your assigned project and you should know that this option is not encouraged. If you have any questions, then please get in touch.


LEARNING TIPS - EXAMS.

  The exam period starts next week so it is important that you start planning your revision, if you haven’t already done so, to maximise your performance. Take a look at your exam timetable and make good use of the time available between exams to prepare effectively. How much time do you need to prepare for each course unit? Which are the course units where you are pretty comfortable with the material? Which course units will need more effort to improve your understanding of the material? Are you already feeling confident about any course units? Could you spend less time revising for those and focus on the course units where there are holes in your knowledge? You should plan your revision around these questions, managing your time sensibly to focus on each course unit bearing your exam timetable in mind. Make use of past papers, or sample example papers, to have a practice go at the exam. Make sure you time yourself, forcing yourself to stop after the exam duration has elapsed, so that you get a good idea where you stand. Identify any areas where you need to put in more effort, and also whether you need to practise some techniques a bit more in case you are struggling to answer the paper in the time given. Make sure you are in the best shape for your exams, you have to look after yourself as well, so build in some time to relax and take time away from revising. Take regular breaks, or go for walks to help refresh your mind. 

What about on the day? Make sure you know where the exam is taking place, plan your time so you are not late, and ensure you arrive in plenty of time (say 15 minutes) before the start of the exam. If you are late then you will lose time on the exam; if you are too late, then you may not be allowed to sit the exam. Remember, the exam for a particular course unit can take place in multiple places across campus, so make sure you attend the location specified in your personal timetable. When you enter the exam room make sure you listen to any instructions from the invigilators. If you need anything, then hold your hand up to get the attention of an invigilator.

When the exam starts, get comfortable and first read the exam instructions (the rubric) carefully so you understand what you are required to do for the exam, how many questions need answering, where you write answers; this is the same whether the exam is paper-based or online.  Take note of the rubric, it may ask you to use one answer booklet per question/section. Look through the questions and identify the ones you feel the most comfortable answering and answer these first. Leave the harder questions until last. Do not spend too long on a question - you can judge how long per question from the total number of marks available and the length of the exam. So, for example, if your exam is 2 hours long and you have 20 questions to answer, then this gives you 6 minutes per question. Some questions you will answer more quickly, some will take you much longer. However, always keep track of the time. In a written exam, make sure you write clearly, you don’t want to lose marks because the marker cannot decypher your handwriting. The number of marks is often an indication of how much detail you should provide - if a question is worth 1 mark, then you shouldn’t be writing an essay to answer it.

When you've finished answering all the questions, and if there’s time left, go back to the start and read through your answer to check them. Make use of any remaining time - resist the temptation to leave early until you are really sure you have nothing left to add to your answers. Are your answers clear? Have you answered all the parts of a question? Reading the question and your answer a second time often helps you spot something you may have missed. Good luck!


COMP1INTRO LABS SURVEY.

  As you are aware, in Welcome Week all 1st years complete the COMP1INTRO (or Boot-up) labs. The aim of the labs is to assist you in setting up your student accounts and to introduce you to technologies you will be using during your Undergraduate degree. As such, we teach you how to operate the machines in the Kilburn building, but also basic Linux concepts and terminal usage, and guide you through configuring Git and your Gitlab accounts for your coursework. We would like to look at updating these activities and need your insight as to how we can improve the concepts we cover, making them more relevant to the needs of new students joining the department, and improving the delivery in future years. You can access the survey here, or via the QR code below. Feel free to include any suggestions for improvement, talk about areas of difficulty, and express your overall satisfaction/dissatisfaction with the content and delivery. The survey is anonymous. 


THIRD YEAR PROJECT Q&A.

  If you are a 3rd year student then the project Q&As take place from this week, until the end of week 12. The Q&A is an informal chat between you and the 2nd marker of your project. It gives you the opportunity to discuss your project and show what you have achieved. It also gives the 2nd marker the opportunity to learn more about your project, beyonds what’s in the report and screencast, and ask you questions. You will also find the process useful for job interviews, as you will gain experience about talking about your project and answering questions. You can find out what’s involved in the COMP30030&30040 Blackboard pages. You should be contacted by your second marker to arrange a mutually convenient time to meet. If you do not hear from your 2nd marker then please contact Terry Morley.


3RD YEAR PROJECT SURVEY.

  As part of our process of continually updating our teaching to reflect the views and feedback from students, we would like to invite all 3rd year students to take part in a survey where we are asking for feedback on all aspects of the project. You can access the survey using this link, or via the QR link below. We would be grateful if you could take a moment to let us know of your impressions of your 3rd year project, along with your opinion of the overall project experience. If possible, please provide as many comments as possible, as we find these really helpful in seeing where things are working and where improvements can be made. Please  note that as the form is anonymous, completing has no impact whatsoever on the marking of your project. The survey should take 10-15 mins to complete. The deadline to complete the survey is Friday 26th July.


NOMINATE YOURSELF TO BE A STUDENT REPRESENTATIVE.

  This from Tom Carroll, Chair of the UG Student-Staff Liaison Committee (SSLC):  Are you interested in making a change, developing your programme and working with staff to close the feedback loop? Sign up or to be a Course Representative today! If you are returning next year and have never been a student rep before, or if you are already a rep and want to continue in the role, then please also sign-up. Reps are student leaders who gather feedback & work with staff to make positive change in their programme. Within the Department, Student reps have helped to bring about positive changes and an improved student experience, such as:

  • Areas for relaxing, such as the Turing Lounge with table tennis table
  • Updated Kilburn LF Student area: bean bags, pods, power points etc
  • Kettle and microwave in the kitchen are on Kilburn LF
  • Improved lab and study spaces, including LF8, which is not used for teaching
  • New furniture for use by students throughout Kilburn
  • Updated PCs with larger screens
  • Changes to teaching in some course units, such as changes to examples classes, changes to teaching styles and helping support revision.

The role counts towards the STELLIFY award “step up and lead” and you’ll gain great experience through attending meetings, gathering feedback from your course mates & working on projects to enact change. Interested? To sign up, head to this form and input your details by 12 o’clock (noon) Monday 20th May 2024 After this we’ll get back in touch with the next steps! Please contact me if you have any questions.


INAUGURAL LECTURE.

  Professor Chenghua Lin will present an inaugural lecture: “The “BERT moment” for Music - MERT: Large-Scale Self-supervised Training for Acoustic Music Understanding”, on Wednesday 15th May, 14:00-15:00 in Kilburn Lecture Theatre 1.3. 

Abstract: Whilst NLP has been my main research focus, I also love music, a universal language that we all understand. In this talk, I will share my work on computational music processing as part of my research agenda of developing large language models (LLMs) for Multimodal Generative AI. I will first introduce MERT,  an acoustic music understanding model based on large-scale self-supervised training and is akin to the “BERT moment” in NLP, but for Music. We have successfully trained a family of MERT models (with model sizes including 95M, 330M, and 1B parameters), which demonstrated excellent performance on 14 Music Information Retrieval (MIR) tasks. Since releasing on HuggingFace in March 2023,  MERT has received over 500K downloads. To address the significant absence of a universal and community-driven benchmark for music understanding, we further developed MARBLE,  a universal MIR benchmark. MARBLE facilitates the benchmarking of pre-trained music models for 18 tasks (with more being added) on 12 publicly available datasets, offering an easy-to-use, extendable, and reproducible evaluation suite for this burgeoning community. 

For those who are unable to join us in person, please join by Zoom, Meeting ID: 989 2292 8099, Passcode: 043842.


SOMETHING TO SHARE?

  The deadline for sending in Monday Mail items: 12:00 (noon) every Friday. Just contact Paul.

Welcome to the final Puzzle Corner of the academic year. Thank you to all those who have got involved in the weekly puzzles and I hope that some of you have enjoyed a small distraction from Uni work. I am not sure if anyone does the puzzles, but I know there is a consistent number of Geoguessr players! I know that some of you will be graduating so will no longer receive Monday Mail, so if you wish to continue joining in with the weekly Geoguessr league then please let me know.

Easier Sudoku - Classic Sudoku by sudoku.com 

Normal sudoku rules apply.

Challenging Sudoku - Inner Harmony by Allagem 

Normal sudoku rules apply. Digits along a line must be strictly increasing in one direction or the other. Digits separated by the white dot are consecutive. Digits separated by the black dot are in a 2:1 ratio.

Pencil Puzzle - Loop Nurikabe by Jakhob & Wooferzfg 

Every cell is either water or land. All water cells must be orthogonally connected, and no 2x2 area may be entirely water. Groups of orthogonally-connected land cells form islands, which do not touch orthogonally, but may touch diagonally. Draw a non-intersecting loop through the centres of some cells which passes through each island exactly once. The loop may only visit one cell in each island. If a clue is on a land cell, it indicates the size of its island. Every island must contain exactly one clue. If a clue is on a water cell then the loop must pass through that cell and the clue indicates how many water cells are visited by the loop between the previous island and the next island. Every water section of the loop must pass through exactly one clue. A '?' can represent any non-zero value.

Chess Puzzle - Cramling Vs. Krush, 2012 

Drag and drop the White pieces to win the match.

Geoguessr

And Finally, our weekly competition from geoguessr.com.

As this is the final week, we are playing an extremely difficult map this week, are you up for the challenge? All of the clues are there, you just need to find them! You need to take in as much information as you can from the google street view and then drop your pin on the map. The closer to the correct location you are the more points you get. Can you get the top score after all 5 rounds? This week we are giving you 2 mins per round but running out of time will give you 0 pts.

The winner the previous week was Idris with a score of 18,326 out of a possible 25,000. A great score, it was a very tough round. The winner of the closest individual guess this week was Iakh0 with a guess which was 250 yards away.

Answers to Last Week’s Puzzles

The answers to last week's puzzles can be found here.

Answers to this week’s puzzles can be found here.


Week 11 • Monday 29 April 2024 • #23.26          The Monday Mail

Paul pic

Good morning! It’s Monday 29th April 2024, week 11, and the penultimate week of the semester 2 teaching period. Learning activities will stop at the end of this week for most course units, but please check your personal timetable to see if any activities are taking place in week 12 (for example marking labs or revision sessions). Next Monday (6th May) is May Bank Holiday, which is a public holiday in the UK, so there will be no scheduled teaching activities. 

If you are a graduating student then please don’t forget to complete the NSS as it closes on Tuesday (30th April). The deadline for completing course unit surveys is approaching, so please make sure you provide feedback, in particular comments, so we can learn from what you find works, or doesn’t work, in our teaching (see below).

We would love your feedback on the COMP1INTRO labs that we run in Welcome Week, as we are planning to make changes to the material and would welcome your input (see below). If you are returning to Manchester next academic year and are interested in becoming a student rep, then now is the time to sign up (see below). Finally, if you are going to the May Ball, then have fun!

Have a good week, on with today’s news … 

Paul
Undergraduate Programme Director


MITIGATING CIRCUMSTANCES DEADLINE.

  The deadline for reporting any mitigating circumstances that have impacted you in semester 2 (coursework or exams) is Friday 7th June 2024 at 4:00pm. This is a strict deadline and no applications will be considered after this date. You can find information on the mitigating circumstances process in the undergraduate handbook, or in the CS UG Community Blackboard space. If you are experiencing any problems then you can speak to your year tutor (contact details below), or you can speak to a member of the Student Support and Wellbeing Team, Maria Sloan and Ben Herbert


WELFARE WEEKLY - EXAM NERVES SURVIVAL GUIDE.

  This from Ben Herbert, Student Support and Wellbeing: I have found a very good resource, Student Space from Student Minds, which provides some excellent advice on student wellbeing - I highly recommend you have a look. I’ve taken some of the advice from the website to help produce this week’s piece. Anxiety is a natural response and vital for our survival. In the context of exams, we should not be looking to “cure” anxiety but to overcome it, and also understand that motivational nerves are normal, and even a good thing. Overcoming anxiety is possible with simple steps to reduce stress and enhance performance.

It’s Science, Stupid.

Fear and anxiety are innate defence mechanisms, triggered by the part of your brain called the amygdala. Its job is to identify potential threats and automatically initiate the fight-flight-freeze response, flooding our bodies with adrenaline and impairing rational thinking. Anxiety arises from perceiving exams as threats. This can hinder memory recall and trigger worst-case scenario thinking. Distinguishing between anxiety and motivational nerves is crucial. While both may share symptoms, motivational nerves (e.g. butterflies in the stomach and increase heart rate before your exam) can enhance focus and performance. So let’s overcome anxiety and harness our motivational nerves.

Getting ready

  1. Prepare Adequately: Accept anxious feelings as indicators of the exam's importance. Establish a study schedule to regain control and ensure balanced preparation.
  2. Prioritise Self-Care: Adequate sleep, good nutrition, hydration, social interactions, and regular exercise are fundamental for managing anxiety and alleviating stress. You may think less time revising and more time exercising is counter-productive, but it really does help.
  3. Practical Preparations: Organise exam essentials beforehand, including stationery and knowing where to find the exam venue, to minimise last-minute stressors.
  4. Connect with Others: Spending time with friends provides emotional support and helps alleviate stress. However, balance socialising with study commitments.
  5. Maintain routines and healthy habits. Avoid last-minute cramming as it disrupts sleep and confuses the brain. Prioritise relaxation and sufficient sleep for optimal performance.
  6. Revise in groups to share knowledge - Take advantage of any revision session your tutors arrange, or organise your own revision sessions.

On the Day

Ensure ample time for preparation, travel, finding the room, the frequent toilet trips, and have a nutritious breakfast. Spending time outdoors and listening to calming music can help manage pre-exam nerves. Choose whether to spend time alone or with friends based on personal preference.

During the Exam

Acknowledge normal nerves and employ relaxation techniques like 7/11 breathing (in for count for 7, out for a count of 11). Start with the parts you are confident with, plan your time wisely, and take breaks if needed. Focus on completing answers to the best of your ability. If you get stuck, move on.

After the Exam

Reflect on your achievements and areas for improvement. Spend time with friends or alone as needed, and reward yourself for your efforts. By understanding and implementing these strategies, you can effectively manage exam anxiety and optimise your performance.

For more tips, refer back to my "January Exams - You can do this" piece (Sem 1 Exams Week 1, #23.14), which is full of exam preparation tips. Good luck.


STUDENT SUPPORT HUB EMAIL ADDRESS.

  If you need to contact a member of the Teaching, Learning and Student Experience team, then the email addresses are as follows:

If you are unsure which email to use then use soe.hub@manchester.ac.uk for general queries. 


YEAR TUTOR OPEN HOURS.

  In the Department we have year tutors who are responsible for looking after the different cohorts in each year group. They are here to provide you with help and support if you need it, so feel free to contact your year tutor by email. They also run a weekly open hour where you can pop in for a chat during the teaching period:

  • Year 1 (not CM): Gareth Henshall. Open hour: Tuesday 12:00 - 13:00, Kilburn 2.82.
  • Year 2 (not CM): Aphrodite Galata. Open hour: Tuesday 14:00 - 15:00, Kilburn 2.101.
  • Industrial Experience Year: Duncan Hull. Open hour: Thursdays 10:00 - 12:00 Kilburn LF25.
  • Year 3/4 (not CM): Tim Morris. Open hour: Tuesday 11:00 - 12:00, Kilburn 2.107. 
  • CM (all years): Andrea Schalk. Open hour: Tuesday 12:00 - 13:00, 2.103.
  • UG Director: Paul Nutter. Open hour: Tuesday 09:00 - 10:00, Zoom.


STUDENT-STAFF LIAISON COMMITTEE.

  This from Tom Carroll, chair of SSLC: Our next SSLC is scheduled for this Wednesday (1st May 2024). In addition to any general issues and positives, we are interested in your opinions on:

  • Careers Guidance Provision in Year 2 (Coding Your Future)
  • Student behaviour: Are there any issues regarding the behaviour of other students on you and your studies?
  • Year 1 Welcome Week activities.

 Please contact your Student Reps if you have any opinion on these matters.


CONGRATULATIONS TO THE PASS1 TEAM.

  Tom Carroll, Academic PASS Coordinator, writes: Congratulations to our PASS1 Student Coordinators: Sarah Saad (Y4, AI4), Rosie Halsall (Y3, CS4), Max Beck-Jones (Y3, CS4), Nicolo Micheletti (Y3, CS), and Luke Sanderson (Y3, AI4) for being selected as runner up in the Outstanding Scheme- Innovation Award category at this years' Peer Support Awards. Together with the PASS Leaders, they have worked tirelessly to run a scheme that is innovative, fun, and extremely beneficial to both Leaders and PASSlings.  They have done an amazing job this year - Well Done!


UNICS NEWS.

  Two weeks ago, UniCS held StudentHack, our second 24-hour hackathon of the year hosting 200 participants, which ran for the first time since COVID-19. Additionally, it was held in our very own Engineering Building A! Everyone thoroughly enjoyed it and the space themed projects that were submitted were beyond creative and impressive. A big congratulations to the winning teams:

  • 1st Place: YILT (Lourenço Silva, Ioan Gwenter, Tom Hewitt, Yeshwanth Patil)
  • 2nd Place: Team Rocket (Alan Tan, Yat Hong Wong, JunJia Liang, Zhi Xian Zheng)
  • 3rd Place: Dune 6 (Adam Marvin, Josh Hines, Santiago Rojas Tunjano

We would also like to thank our hackathon directors Jakub Pabian and Nader Takruri, our deputy hackathon director Gundeep Oberoi, as well as the hackathon team for tirelessly working to ensure that the event came together smoothly. We hope you enjoyed the hackathon, and please look forward to our next GreatUniHack in October/November! 


NATIONAL STUDENT SURVEY.

  The National Student Survey (NSS) will be running until the 30th April (Tuesday). If you haven’t done so already, please consider completing it. NSS offers final year students the opportunity to reflect on their time at Manchester and allows you to provide feedback on how, overall, you found your experience of studying at Manchester. Any feedback you provide is important to us as it can help us improve what we do. NSS is anonymous, so you can be open and honest in your feedback. We want your views - tell us what was good and what was bad! You can complete NSS directly via the NSS website


BIG SISTERS IN STEM PODCAST.

  A recent Big Sisters in STEM podcast featured our very own Zahra Montazeri talking about ‘Role models, unlocking creativity and shedding stereotypes’. From Star Wars to Avatar... you can find pieces of Zahra and her work throughout some of your favourite films. Today she explains not only how she employs science to create such magical results, but how important it is to believe in your abilities on your journey. From Iran to Turkey, and from California to the UK – Zahra knows talent, hard work, and self-belief can take you anywhere and everywhere. Make sure you have a listen - it’s Episode 4 (April 17th) - listen on Spotify, or YouTube. Follow @bigsistersinstem on Instagram!


COMP1INTRO LABS SURVEY.

  As you are aware, in Welcome Week all 1st years complete the COMP1INTRO (or Boot-up) labs. The aim of the labs is to assist you in setting up your student accounts and to introduce you to technologies you will be using during your Undergraduate degree. As such, we teach you how to operate the machines in the Kilburn building, but also basic Linux concepts and terminal usage, and guide you through configuring Git and your Gitlab accounts for your coursework. We would like to look at updating these activities and need your insight as to how we can improve the concepts we cover, making them more relevant to the needs of new students joining the department, and improving the delivery in future years. You can access the survey here. Feel free to include any suggestions for improvement, talk about areas of difficulty, and express your overall satisfaction/dissatisfaction with the content and delivery. The survey is anonymous. 


PROJECT ALLOCATION 2024-25.

  We are hoping to publish the results of the first round of the project allocation for next academic year this week (hopefully Tuesday 30th April). An email will be sent out when the allocation has been published, which will include a link to the allocation webpage. 87% of students were allocated their 1st, 2nd or 3rd choice (60% 1st choice, 21% 2nd, 17% 3rd).  If you failed to submit choices, or were unfortunately not allocated a project in the 1st round, then the 2nd round will open after the allocation has been published. If a project is still advertised that you would prefer, then you may forego your assigned project and enter the 2nd round of allocation. However, you should be aware of the risk involved. You will still be required to choose three projects from those which remain and there is a possibility that you will not receive any of your new choices. The reduction in staff capacity following the 1st round makes this more probable. You should carefully weigh the risk before requesting to forego your assigned project and you should know that this option is not encouraged.


UPDATED STUDENT RESOURCES.

  We have been relocating content from the Department intranet pages to the CS UG Community space in Blackboard. Here, you can find a wide range of resources, which will continue to be updated, for example information about mitigating circumstances processes, how to get help, the UG handbook, as well as other points of information. Please use this as your go to place for up-to-date information.


COMP10120 POSTERS.

  The COMP10120 tutorial group posters are now on display on the notice boards along the stairway leading from the 1st floor to the lower first floor of Kilburn. They make a great display showing the excellent range of projects developed by the 1st year teams this year.


COURSE UNIT SURVEYS.

  The semester 2 course unit surveys are now open and will run until the 5th May 2024. Please complete the surveys for your course units and provide us with feedback on how they have gone. Any feedback provided by you is anonymous. We find feedback, particularly comments, extremely useful to understand what you feel about our teaching and we do listen to it and make changes as a result. Please provide us with written comments to explain why you rated course units as you did. Without these comments it’s difficult to make informed decisions on how to change and improve how we teach. Please be detailed with your feedback - if your comments are general, such as `I would like to see more examples', or `I found some of the material confusing', you're not telling us where exactly we should aim to make improvements. You can only complete the surveys via personal links sent to you by email. If you haven’t received an email, or are having problems completing the surveys then please contact teachingandlearningsurveys@manchester.ac.uk.


GRADUATION DATE.

  The 2023/24 summer graduation ceremony for CS will take place on Thursday 18th July. Due to the large student numbers there will be two graduation ceremonies for students in CS, one at 16:30 (for students on the BSc Computer Science programme) and one at 18:15 ceremony (for all other degree programmes). The Department will also be arranging a celebration for all students, which will be confirmed closer to the time.


LEARNING TIPS - DEGREE CLASSIFICATION.

  At the end of your degree your efforts are measured by a certificate that shows what classification you have achieved. What does this mean and how is your classification arrived at? Your degree classification is determined by your overall degree average, or GPA. The way this mark is calculated depends on the degree programme you are on and differs slightly between those on an MEng programme and those on a 3-year (including wIE) degree programme; you can find more information in the UG Handbook. For now, let’s consider someone on a 3-year programme (including wIE). Their final GPA is calculated from the overall marks from your 2nd and 3rd years weighted 33:67, so the 3rd year is worth twice that of the 2nd year. In each year, the overall mark is calculated as a credit-weighted average across the 120 credits of course units taken in that year, which you can find on the Student System. Your performance will be ranked into one of the following classifications depending on what your overall mark, or GPA, is:

  • 1st: your overall degree average is 70% or greater
  • 2.1 (upper second class): your degree average is in the range 60-69.9%
  • 2.2 (lower second class): your degree average is in the range 50-59.9%
  • 3rd: your degree average is in the range 40-49.9%
  • Unclassified: your degree average is less than 40%

You have a chance of being promoted to the higher class if your overall mark is in the boundary zone of a higher degree classification

  • 1st boundary zone: 68 - 69.9%
  • 2.1 boundary zone: 58 - 59.9%
  • 2.2 boundary zone: 48 - 49.9%
  • 3rd boundary zone: 38 - 39.9%

However, to be promoted you need to have 80 credits at the higher classification in the final year. For example, Bob has an overall mark of 69.3%, but has marks for 72% in the project, and 76%, 70%, 69%, 67%, 67%, 66%, 65% and 64% in his 3rd year course units, each worth 10 credits. As Bob is in the boundary zone for a 1st class degree he needs 80 credits at 1st class level, i.e. 70% or above. However, as he only has 60 credits at first (72% in the project, which is 40 credits, plus 76% and 70% in two 10 credit course units) then he will be awarded a 2.1 degree. If we now consider Wendy, who also has an overall mark of 69.3% and marks of 71% in the project, and 78%, 73%, 72%, 70%, 65%, 65%, 64% and 61% in his 3rd year course units, each worth 10 credits. In this case, as Wendy is in the boundary zone for a 1st and has 80 credits at 1st (71% in the project, plus 78%, 73%, 72%, 70%) so she will be awarded a 1st. It is important to realise that the examination board makes these decisions based on the University’s Undergraduate Degree Regulations. The board does not look at mark profiles to justify promoting students that do not meet the criteria, and first year marks play no role at all in this process. The regulations are formulaic on how degree classifications are awarded. We hope this makes the process of how we award degree classifications clearer and hope that you demonstrate your full potential.


THIRD YEAR PROJECT Q&A.

  If you are a 3rd year student then the project Q&As take place from this week, until the end of week 12. The Q&A is an informal chat between you and the 2nd marker of your project. It gives you the opportunity to discuss your project and show what you have achieved. It also gives the 2nd marker the opportunity to learn more about your project, beyonds what’s in the report and screencast, and ask you questions. You will also find the process useful for job interviews, as you will gain experience about talking about your project and answering questions. You can find out what’s involved in the COMP30030&30040 Blackboard pages. You should be contacted by your second marker to arrange a mutually convenient time to meet. If you do not hear from your 2nd marker then please contact Terry Morley.


NOMINATE YOURSELF TO BE A STUDENT REPRESENTATIVE.

  This from Tom Carroll, Chair of the UG Student-Staff Liaison Committee (SSLC):  Are you interested in making a change, developing your programme and working with staff to close the feedback loop? Sign up or to be a Course Representative today! If you are returning next year and have never been a student rep before, or if you are already a rep and want to continue in the role, then please also sign-up. Reps are student leaders who gather feedback & work with staff to make positive change in their programme. Within the Department, Student reps have helped to bring about positive changes and an improved student experience, such as:

  • Areas for relaxing, such as the Turing Lounge with table tennis table
  • Updated Kilburn LF Student area: bean bags, pods, power points etc
  • Kettle and microwave in the kitchen are on Kilburn LF
  • Improved lab and study spaces, including LF8, which is not used for teaching
  • New furniture for use by students throughout Kilburn
  • Updated PCs with larger screens
  • Changes to teaching in some course units, such as changes to examples classes, changes to teaching styles and introducing sessions to help support revision.

The role counts towards the STELLIFY award “step up and lead” and you’ll gain great experience through attending meetings, gathering feedback from your course mates & working on projects to enact change. Interested? To sign up, head to this form and input your details by 12 o’clock (noon) Monday 20th May 2024 After this we’ll get back in touch with the next steps! Please contact me if you have any questions.


GET MICROSOFT CERTIFIED ON FUNDAMENTALS.

  Get Microsoft Certified this summer (for free!) on Azure, Cloud, AI, Data, Security, CRM, ERP and 365 this summer. The Department of Computer Science are working with the Flexible Learning Program to pilot the introduction of Microsoft Fundamentals for students at the University of Manchester. These certifications, which would normally cost $99 each, enhance your CV and LinkedIn by validating your existing knowledge and skills in Computer Science. There are eight free qualifications to choose from, each of which require around 20 hours of study between now and the in person exam in Manchester during July. You can register for one (or more than one) exam, and find out more and register by this Friday (3rd May 2024) at https://www.cdyf.me/achieving#microsoft.


BETTER WORLD INITIATIVES 2024.

  Better World Initiatives 2024, University funding to support Social Responsibility and Equality, Diversity, Inclusivity and Accessibility (SREDIA) work are still open for applications. We want to  enable and empower staff and students in the Faculty of Science and Engineering to deliver initiatives that drive the (SREDIA) priorities in the three theme areas: 

  1. Environmental Sustainability  
  2. Equality, diversity inclusion and accessibility (EDIA) 
  3. Engagement (includes Civic Engagement, Public Engagement & Schools Outreach)

 There are two routes for funding SREDIA activity this year: 

  • Better World Grants - any staff or student from the faculty can apply for a grant of up to £1,000 to bring new ideas or initiatives to deliver against the SREDIA priorities.  
  • Better World Strategic Call –specific calls relating to one of the three SREDIA theme areas above.. 

  Applications are open until 2 May 2024. For more information, or to apply, please see our Better World Initiative webpages


PAID TEACHING OPPORTUNITY.

  Would you be interested in some work teaching 12-14 year olds that are interested in Science and Technology in June and July? MCS Projects are looking for students to assist leading activities and answer questions about University at some of our Challenge Days. Each event is a regional competition designed to raise enthusiasm for STEM subjects and encourage more young people to consider a career in them. Events run from 8.30-3.15, with activities including E-FIT forensics, medical diagnostics and electric cars. For more information please go to mcsprojectsltd.co.uk.  Successful applicants would be added to a mailing list so they can sign up to any events that they’re available for in the North West. The pay is £84 plus travel expenses per event. A training session would be provided beforehand. To apply, send your CV to John Waterworth by Monday 6th May.


SOMETHING TO SHARE?

  The deadline for sending in Monday Mail items: 12:00 (noon) every Friday. Just contact Paul.

Welcome to Gareth’s Puzzle Corner, this is your weekly fix of brain teasers and logic puzzles. You are given 5 different puzzles to tackle. One is an easier Sudoku, the second is a more challenging Sudoku, the third is a different form of logic puzzle and we have a chess puzzle for you. Finally, each week you can compete with myself and other students/staff to see who has the best geography skills. Try your hand at Geoguessr below. I hope you enjoy the puzzles and if you have any puzzles you wish to feature or ideas for Puzzle Corner then please get in touch.

Easier Sudoku - Classic Sudoku by sudoku.com 

Normal sudoku rules apply.

Challenging Sudoku - Polychrome by StartUp 

Normal sudoku rules apply. The grid is covered by fog; placing a correct digit will clear the fog in surrounding cells. Digits in a cage do not repeat and sum to the total given, which may be placed in any cell of the cage. Cages of different colours may overlap. A digit on a grey circle is odd. Digits separated by a white dot are consecutive. Digits separated by a black dot are in a 2:1 ratio. 

Pencil Puzzle - Snake Loop by Otto Janko 

Colour the grey cells of the diagram black or white. The black cells must form a single "snake" which is exactly one cell wide, starts and ends in the marked cells and never touches itself, not even diagonally. A number on the top and left edge of the diagram indicates how many cells must be blackened in the corresponding row or column.

Chess Puzzle - Nunn Vs. Short, 1986 

Drag and drop the White pieces to win the match.

Geoguessr

And Finally, our weekly competition from geoguessr.com.

We are playing the new map again this week called Flags of the World. All of the clues are there, you just need to find them! You need to take in as much information as you can from the google street view and then drop your pin on the map. The closer to the correct location you are the more points you get. Can you get the top score after all 5 rounds? This week we are giving you 2 mins per round but running out of time will give you 0 pts. Winners will be announced next week! Why not share this with your friends, see if we can get over 20 people playing this week!

The winner the previous week was myself, but the top student was Ewan with a score of 17,467 out of a possible 25,000. A great score, it was a very tough round. The winner of the closest individual guess this week was also Ewan with a guess which was 5.2 miles away. It must have been a hard game if none of us got only yards away.

Answers to Last Week’s Puzzles

The answers to last week's puzzles can be found here.


Week 10 • Monday 22 April 2024 • #23.25          The Monday Mail

Paul pic

Good morning! It’s Monday 22nd April 2024 and it’s week 10. Just three more weeks until the end of the teaching period and the start of the final set of exams for this academic year. 

If you are a 3rd year student, I hope you managed to submit your report and screencast on time. If you have an extended deadline, then please do not leave the submission to the last minute, submit it as soon as you can. Q&A meetings will take place in weeks 11 and 12, which give you the opportunity to talk one-to-one with the second marker of your project and to show them what you have achieved. These meetings are meant to be informal and are not assessed, so please don’t get anxious about attending.  

I attended the 1st year project showcase last week and I was impressed with the range and complexity of the projects the 1st year groups have developed this year. The level of achievement was impressive, demonstrating that groups worked very hard on producing excellent, and original projects. Congratulations to the two winning teams (see below). Good luck to the 1st year tutorial groups who have their presentations this week, hope all goes well.

The registration deadline for the staff-student programming competition is this Wednesday (see below), so if you are interested in taking part, now is the time to register.

Have a good week, on with today’s news … 

Paul
Undergraduate Programme Director


STUDENT WELLBEING SUPPORT IN CS.

  As we approach the end of the semester, when deadlines mount and the pressure of completing work and starting revising for exams reaches its peak, it is worth remembering that we have a number of avenues of support in the Department. First, we have the year tutors (see below) who you can talk to, in confidence, about any issues you may be experiencing. We also have an excellent, dedicated Student Support and Wellbeing team, Maria Sloan and Ben Herbert, who can also provide support, in particular with respect to submitting mitigating circumstances. If you are affected by any issues impacting your learning then Maria and Ben will be happy to speak to you. You can contact Maria and Ben by email, or drop into the student hub in Engineering Building A to have a chat.


SUPPORT SERVICE SPOTLIGHT - QWELL.

  Qwell offers a range of anonymous support options for students, including an online messaging service with qualified mental health professionals, providing safe and anonymous online mental health support whenever you need it. There are no waiting lists for support and no referral needed and access is available instantly 24/7. You can find out more here, and you can access the service at quell.io.


SUPPORT SERVICE SPOTLIGHT - HEALTH ASSURED.

  Health Assured is a 24 hour mental health helpline and wellbeing app which offers access to mental health support from trained counsellors and advisors who are ready to listen and provide help whenever you need it. It is anonymous, non-judgmental and available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. You can call the helpline for advice and support on a whole range of issues you might be facing, big or small. Things you could call for include mental and emotional health, managing relationships, feeling worried about yourself or someone else, dealing with stress and anxiety, money advice, and everything in between. You can find out more here.


YEAR TUTOR OPEN HOURS.

  In the Department we have year tutors who are responsible for looking after the different cohorts in each year group. They are here to provide you with help and support if you need it, so feel free to contact your year tutor by email. They also run a weekly open hour where you can pop in for a chat during the teaching period:

  • Year 1 (not CM): Gareth Henshall. Open hour: Tuesday 12:00 - 13:00, Kilburn 2.82.
  • Year 2 (not CM): Aphrodite Galata. Open hour: Tuesday 14:00 - 15:00, Kilburn 2.101.
  • Industrial Experience Year: Duncan Hull. Open hour: Thursdays 10:00 - 12:00 Kilburn LF25.
  • Year 3/4 (not CM): Tim Morris. Open hour: Tuesday 11:00 - 12:00, Kilburn 2.107. 
  • CM (all years): Andrea Schalk. Open hour: Tuesday 11:00 - 12:00, 2.103.
  • UG Director: Paul Nutter. Open hour: Tuesday 09:00 - 10:00, IT119.


PASS2.

  The PASS2 team (See Jia Tong (Y3, CS), Salma Aljama (Y3, AI) and Divya Radhakrishnan Nair (Y3, CS)) write: Hello second years, we are holding a pass session this week on Friday from 1 - 2 where we want to talk to you about our third year experiences, well we won’t be here for much longer and want to help you out with any questions you might have! It could be anything from how our third year projects went, module selection third year, second year 2nd semester exams or plans after graduation. This is an opportunity to learn from our mistakes and ask any questions you might have before pass is no longer there to help. Hope to see you there :)


STUDENT-STAFF LIAISON COMMITTEE.

  This from Tom Carroll, chair of SSLC: The meeting of SSLC scheduled for the 17th April was unfortunately cancelled due to illness. The meeting has been rescheduled for Wednesday 1st May. In addition to any general issues and positives, we are interested in your opinions on:

  • Careers Guidance Provision in Year 2 (Coding Your Future)
  • Student behaviour: Are there any issues regarding the behaviour of other students on you and your studies?
  • Year 1 Welcome Week activities.

 Please contact your Student Reps if you have any opinion on these matters. 


UNICS STAFF APPRECIATION AWARDS.

  For the first time ever, the Department of Computer Science is holding the Staff Teaching Awards, hosted by UniCS! Is there a lecturer or teaching staff that you think has been supportive of your learning, or simply has been amazing and deserves recognition? Share your story by nominating them for an award to thank them for everything that they have done. It is uncommon for lecturers and teaching staff to receive appreciation and positive feedback from students. Help us change this by thanking those who make a difference. The deadline is on the 26th of April so this will be your LAST CHANCE to give them the recognition they deserve. You can nominate them through this form here. You can nominate as many staff as you would like!


COMP10120 PROJECT SHOWCASE.

  Uli Sattler writes: Do you remember your 1st year team project? Well last week, this year’s first years showcased the amazing applications they built for their first-year projects in their teams. Our head of department, Andrew Stewart, and many colleagues were impressed by the range and quality of the applications they saw, and enjoyed getting a good overview of what has been done. Students voted on two categories, with the following results: 

  • Team X2’s “Frequency - Sheet Music from Songs has never been easier!" was voted the application with the best idea or concept  - Natalie Sparks (CSwIE), Ying Rui Loh (CSwIE), Aminath Haidar (CS), Callum Bridges (CSwIE), Kieran Ha (CSwIE); Tutor: Duncan Hull. Team X8 was a close runner up! 
  • Team Z2’s “Manchester University Timetabling Service (MUTS) - shaping your schedule, mastering your time” was voted the application with the most impressive design and implementation - Nkemka Aka (CS), Joseph Palmer (CS), Charlie Edmunds (CS), Jawad Amin (CswIE), Muhammad Awais (CS), Zihao Jiang (CS), Odysseas Herodotou (CSwIE); Tutor: Sarah Clinch. Team Z6 was a runner up! 

Congratulations to the winning teams.


NATIONAL STUDENT SURVEY.

  The National Student Survey (NSS) will be running until the end of the month. If you haven’t done so already, please consider completing it. NSS offers final year students the opportunity to reflect on their time at Manchester and allows you to provide feedback on how, overall, you found your experience of studying at Manchester. All students eligible to complete NSS will receive an email from Ipsos Mori (an external company appointed by the UK Government to run NSS) with a link to complete the survey. There’s no need to wait, you can complete NSS directly via the NSS website. As a thank you for your time, every student who takes part in the NSS 2024 can enter a prize draw. Additionally, for each response submitted the University will also make a £2 charitable donation, split equally between four good causes: University of Manchester Cost of Living Support Fund, Refugee Women Connect, St Ann’s Hospice, and Lifeshare. Any feedback you provide is important to us as it can help us improve what we do. NSS is anonymous, so you can be open and honest in your feedback. We want your views - tell us what was good and what was bad! 


GITLAB DOWNTIME WARNING.

  On Wednesday 24th April the Department of Computer Science GitLab system will be taken offline to perform essential maintenance and upgrades. Work on the system will start at 14:00 and may take until 17:00, although we will attempt to minimise the time that GitLab is  unavailable. A notice banner is currently shown on GitLab pages as a reminder for this work, and it will be removed when the work on the server is completed and tests indicate GitLab is operating normally. While GitLab is offline you will be able to continue to work locally in any currently cloned git repositories, including adding commits. However, attempts to interact with the GitLab server (via `git push`, `git pull`, `git fetch` and so on) will fail.


COURSE UNIT SURVEYS.

  The semester 2 course unit surveys are open and will run until the 5th May 2024. Please complete the surveys for your course unit and provide us with feedback on how they have gone. Any feedback provided by you is anonymous. We find feedback, particularly comments, extremely useful to understand what you feel about our teaching and we do listen to it and make changes as a result. Please provide us with written comments to explain why you rated course units as you did. Without these comments it’s difficult to make informed decisions on how to change and improve how we teach. Please be detailed with your feedback - if your comments are general, such as `I would like to see more examples', or `I found some of the material confusing', you're not telling us where exactly we should aim to make improvements. You can only complete the surveys via personal links sent to you by email. If you haven’t received an email, or are having problems completing the surveys then please contact teachingandlearningsurveys@manchester.ac.uk.


SEMESTER 2 EXAMS.

  The semester 2 exams take place over the period Monday 13th May to Friday 7th June 2024 (see the calendar in the CS UG Community space). The exam timetable has now been published and individual timetables should now be available. Please note that all examinations take place under invigilated conditions and on-campus (there may be one or two exceptions to this), so you must be in Manchester during the examination period. Make sure you know when and where your exams take place. If you have any questions, please contact the student support hub.


GRADUATION DATE.

  The 2023/24 summer graduation ceremony for CS will take place on Thursday 18th July. Due to the large number of students graduating there will be two graduation ceremonies for students in CS, one at 16:30 (for students on the BSc Computer Science programme) and one at 18:15 ceremony (for all other degree programmes). The Department will also be arranging a celebration for all students, which will be confirmed closer to the time.


LEARNING TIPS - RESITS.

  In week 6 of semester 2 (Monday Mail #23.21) the learning tips item focused on exam results, discussing pass marks, compensation, the requirements for progressing from one year to the next and the requirements for accredited degree programmes. In this item we will look at resits, under which circumstances you may be required to do them and how marks are recorded in transcripts. If you are in 1st or 2nd year then resits are available to enable you to meet the University progression requirements. There are currently no resits available for 3rd and 4th year students. (Please see below if you have resits after having accepted mitigating circumstances.) You will have to resit a course unit if:

  • You have achieved a mark of less than 30% in one or more course units.
  • You have failed to pass 80 credits (at 40% or more) across all course units.
  • In the case of COMP16321 and COMP16412 you have achieved a mark less than 40%.
  • You are on an accredited degree programme (all programmes apart from the Computer Science and Mathematics programmes) and you have any course unit marks in the compensation zone (30-39%).

The number of resits you will have will depend on your results for Semester 1 and Semester 2 exams. However, you will have to resit ALL course units with a mark of less than 30%. You have two attempts at passing a course unit - this 1st attempt at the end of the semester and, if needed, the 2nd attempt, or resit, which takes place in August. 

If you are required to resit a course unit, then you must meet the progression requirements to progress to the following year via the resit exam. The mark that is recorded in your transcript for any course unit you have had to resit depends on the mark you achieved at the 1st attempt. If you achieved a mark at the 1st attempt of 29% or less, and you pass at resit, then 30R will be recorded in your transcript. If your mark from the first attempt was in the compensation zone, 30-39.9%, and you then pass at resit, then the mark you achieved at the 1st attempt is recorded in your transcript. For example, if you achieved 35% at the 1st attempt and achieved a pass mark at resit, then 35R is recorded. That may seem odd, but what you demonstrated by passing the resit is that you understand the subject area well enough to be awarded the credits for the course unit(s) in question.

At resit, the assessment may differ from the assessments used to determine the course unit mark at the 1st attempt. In some cases, the resit mark will be the mark you achieved in the resit exam, with any coursework from the semester ignored. In some cases you may have a resit exam and also be allowed to submit any missing coursework from during the semester. In some cases, you may have a resit exam and new coursework will be set by the examiners. The format of the resit depends on the course unit - full details of the format of the resit and how the resit mark is calculated for each course unit can be found in the CS UG Community Blackboard page.

If you have recorded mitigating circumstances and you have to resit as a result, then often the resit will be treated as the 1st attempt, with the resit mark being recorded in the transcript. Please bear in mind that you resat a unit in order to achieve a better mark because your original mark was affected by mitigating circumstances, the mark from the resit will be the official mark even if it is lower than your original mark for that unit.


THIRD YEAR PROJECT Q&A.

  If you are a 3rd year student then the project Q&As take place in weeks 11 and 12 (starting  Monday 29th April). The Q&A is an informal chat between you and the 2nd marker of your project. It gives you the opportunity to discuss your project and show what you have achieved. It also gives the 2nd marker the opportunity to learn more about your project, beyonds what’s in the report and screencast, and ask you questions. You will also find the process useful for job interviews, as you will gain experience about talking about your project and answering questions. You can find out what’s involved in the COMP30030&30040 Blackboard pages. You should be contacted by your second marker to arrange a mutually convenient time to meet. If you do not hear from your 2nd marker then please contact Terry Morley.


STAFF-STUDENT PROGRAMMING COMPETITION 2024.

  Ian Pratt-Hartmann writes: Staff and students in the School of Computer Science are cordially invited to take part in the Staff-Student programming competition.

  • Date: Wednesday, 1st May, 2024
  • Time: 14:0017:00 (Results and explanation 17:0018:00)
  • Location: Kilburn Building Lower First Floor: Tootill 0 and 1 
  • Registration deadline: Wednesday, 14:00, 24th April, 2024 (THIS WEDNESDAY!)

The competition is open to all staff and students (incl. undergraduate) in Computer Science. Teams will consist of an integral number of persons between 1 and 3 inclusive, exactly one of whom will be designated the team captain. All teams are classified as either Staff teams or Student teams. Staff teams must have at least one member of staff (including RAs, but excluding PhD students) and must otherwise consist entirely of staff (including RAs) and PhD students. Student teams must consist entirely of students (graduate or undergraduate). No person may be in more than one team.

The Contest will be hosted on the Kattis system, and will feature a mix of problems of different difficulties. Newcomers to competitive programming are particularly welcome: you can get an idea of what the problems are like by logging on to Kattis and trying some. I suggest you cut your teeth on the "easy" (i.e. completely trivial) problems first: that will help you sort out reading input and writing output. Then you can try something more ambitious.

To participate, visit here  and return the completed form by 14:00 on 24th April, 2024. You must make sure all team members have obtained a Kattis account by this deadline.  (Go to https://open.kattis.com/register if you do not have a Kattis account.) You will receive an invitation to join the contest on (or about) 25th April 2024. You should accept this invitation as soon as possible, and certainly before the contest begins. Problems will be visible at the start of the competition. Teams will try to solve as many as they can. Contestants may use any of the supported languages, see the Kattis website for a full list. One desktop machine (with ordinary University logins) will be available for each team.  Each team may additionally bring any number of laptop computers with the desired compiler(s)/IDEs installed. It is allowed to bring any printed materials into the competition room; however the use of stored electronic files or of the internet to access any sites other than the competition site is forbidden. Space is limited, and teams will be accepted on a first-come-first-served basis, subject to a reasonable balance of staff and students. If you have queries, please contact me.


CENTRE FOR DIGITAL TRUST AND SECURITY EVENT.

  Centre for Digital Trust and Society Seed Corn Showcase | 16th May (14:30 - 17:00) | Drinks reception available. The Centre for Digital Trust and Society (CDTS) Seed Corn Funding awards funding to cutting-edge proposals that further our research and understanding of digital trust and society. Come along and see how you can get involved with this initiative and explore the successes and learnings of our previously funded projects. Register here. Featured projects include:

  • Demanding justice in the Cloud: An analysis of punitive attitudes in social media for traditional and cyber-enabled crime | Dr Nicholas Trajtenberg Pareja & Mr Pablo Ezquerra Silva
  • Rebuilding Democratic Discourse: Online Harms and Trust | Dr Mihaela Popa-Wyatt, Dr Justina Berskyte, Prof Graham Stevens
  • Defining the acceptability of ‘safe’ data linkage to identify women at risk of postnatal complication in Greater Manchester | Dr Victoria Palin, Prof Niels Peek, Prof Jenny Myers, Dr Anthony Wilson, Mr Bradley Quinn
  • Modern slavery and digitisation in ‘fast-fashion’ supply networks | Dr Jonathan Davies, Prof Rose Broad, Dr Amy Benstead 

The Centre for Digital Trust and Society leads and delivers activity for the Digital Trust and Security theme within The University’s Digital Futures Research Platform.


RESEARCH STUDY.

  This from Mica Komarnyckyj: Would you like to take part in brain research? We are recruiting adopted people aged 18-25 to take part in a research study at the University of Manchester. We would like to learn more about how early life experience influences the brain, behaviour, and the immune system later in life.   This study will use psychological assessment, online games, brain imaging and blood sampling and will take between 7 – 9 hours of your time. You will be compensated for your time and travel expenses.  For further information email social.study@manchester.ac.uk or visit our study advert: Opportunity | StaffNet | The University of Manchester.


GET MICROSOFT CERTIFIED ON FUNDAMENTALS.

  Get Microsoft Certified this summer (for free!) on Azure, Cloud, AI, Data, Security, CRM, ERP and 365 this summer. The Department of Computer Science are working with the Flexible Learning Program to pilot the introduction of Microsoft Fundamentals for students at the University of Manchester. These certifications, which would normally cost $99 each, enhance your CV and LinkedIn by validating your existing knowledge and skills in Computer Science. There are eight free qualifications to choose from, each of which require around 20 hours of study between now and the in person exam in Manchester during July. You can register for one (or more than one) exam, and find out more and register by Friday 3rd May at https://www.cdyf.me/achieving#microsoft


DEPARTMENT EXPANSION.

  We have recently had plans approved by the University to expand the size of our Department. These proposals include taking over additional space on campus and increasing the number of academic staff. We have recently recruited a number of new Lecturers across various aspects of our discipline as part of this expansion. The initial proposal has a vision of the Department taking over all of the ground floor of the Kilburn Building. As shown in the plan below, the aim is to introduce:

  • A new dedicated student study cluster, only for the use of students and not any teaching, including a chill-out space.
  • A new Collab space for collaborative teaching.
  • A new megalab, similar in style to 1.8/1.10.
  • New research labs, meeting rooms and group staff offices.

These plans are still under development as there are a number of constraints we still need to work through. The likely final plan may be taking over the right hand side of the ground floor (housing the planned new Collab and megalab spaces) and taking over some additional real estate on campus - Prospect House behind Kilburn/next to the IT Building is seen as a likely choice. The plan is to have the changes in place by the 26/27 academic year. We will keep you updated as to the developments as they progress.


INAUGURAL LECTURE.

  Professor Sami Kaski will present an inaugural lecture titled “Collaborative Machine Learning for Research” on 23rd April 2024, 1-2pm,  Engineering Building A, Lecture Theatre B.  Sami Kaski is Professor of Artificial Intelligence in the Department of Computer Science at the University of Manchester and at Aalto University, Helsinki. In Manchester he is the Research Director of the Christabel Pankhurst Institute for Health Technology Research and Innovation, and in Helsinki leads the Finnish Centre for Artificial Intelligence Research FCAI and ELLIS Unit Helsinki. He is also an ELLIS Fellow and Turing Fellow of the Alan Turing Institute.

Abstract: I will bring together two traditionally separate lines of research: (i) probabilistic machine learning, in which we combine flexible learning from multiple sources of data with prior knowledge in the form of simulators, and (ii) user interaction, starting from interactive intent modelling in information retrieval and extending to collaborative AI. This combination enables developing new kinds of tools for research tasks, including AI-assisted design tools for design-build-test-learn cycles. When R&D processes are formulated as virtual simulation-based laboratories, the tools can be applied across fields from experimental sciences to engineering design and medicine, and further to humanities and social sciences. The university is now building significant capacity in this field with the launch of the Centre for AI Fundamentals, AI-FUN, with research groups focusing on developing machine learning principles and seeking to do that in collaboration with other fields. 

To find our more, please contact ai-fun@manchester.ac.uk or ellis@manchester.ac.uk. Click here to register for the event. For catering purposes please register if you intend to attend.


SOMETHING TO SHARE?

  The deadline for sending in Monday Mail items: 12:00 (noon) every Friday. Just contact Paul.

Welcome to Gareth’s Puzzle Corner, this is your weekly fix of brain teasers and logic puzzles. You are given 5 different puzzles to tackle. One is an easier Sudoku, the second is a more challenging Sudoku, the third is a different form of logic puzzle and we have a chess puzzle for you. Finally, each week you can compete with myself and other students/staff to see who has the best geography skills. Try your hand at Geoguessr below. I hope you enjoy the puzzles and if you have any puzzles you wish to feature or ideas for Puzzle Corner then please get in touch.

Easier Sudoku - Classic Sudoku by sudoku.com 

Normal sudoku rules apply.

Challenging Sudoku - Murder on the Zipline Express by FullDeck & Missing a Few Cards 

Standard sudoku rules apply: The digits 1 through 9 appear in every row, column, and box. Cages: Digits in cages cannot repeat and must sum to the value shown in the upper left corner of the cage. Zipper Line: Along Zipper lines, pairs of digits equidistant from the center of the line have the same sum. For Zipper lines of odd length, that sum is the central digit on the line.

Pencil Puzzle - Dotchi Loop by Otto Janko 

Draw a single closed loop in the grid which passes through a cell at most once, but does not necessarily pass through all cells. The sections of the loop run horizontally and vertically between the centres of orthogonally adjacent cells. The Loop must pass through all white circles and must not pass through any black circle. Within each region , the loop must either turn in all white circles or go straight through all white circles.

Chess Puzzle - Erdogmus Vs. Erigaisi, 2024 

Drag and drop the White pieces to win the match.

Geoguessr

And Finally, our weekly competition from geoguessr.com.

We are playing the new map again this week called A Community World. All of the clues are there, you just need to find them! You need to take in as much information as you can from the google street view and then drop your pin on the map. The closer to the correct location you are the more points you get. Can you get the top score after all 5 rounds? This week we are giving you 2 mins per round but running out of time will give you 0 pts. Winners will be announced next week! Why not share this with your friends, see if we can get over 20 people playing this week!

The winner the previous week was Ewan with a score of 22,019 out of a possible 25,000. A great score, you clearly know your McDonalds'. The winner of the closest individual guess this week was also Ewan with a guess which was 1.7 miles away. It must have been a hard game if none of us got only yards away.

Answers to Last Week’s Puzzles

The answers to last week's puzzles can be found here.


Week 9 • Monday 15 April 2024 • #23.24          The Monday Mail

Paul pic

Good morning UG! It’s Monday 15th April 2024 and it’s week 9 of semester 2. If you are a 3rd year student, then the deadline for the submission of the project report and screencast is this Friday (19th April). If you are returning to the 3rd year in September, then you also have until Friday to make your project selections from the projects list. 

There are still a few weeks to go until the NSS closes, so please make sure you complete it if you are graduating this year. The course unit surveys are now open for 2nd semester course units, so can I please encourage you to complete one for each of your course units - we do appreciate the feedback. The 1st year project showcase is taking place in the labs in Kilburn on Tuesday (more below), so please pop along and have a look at the range of applications created by the 1st year teams.

Finally, huge congratulations to Naomi Felix for her success at the BCSWomen Lovelace Colloquium (see below).

Have a good week, on with today’s news … 

Paul
Undergraduate Programme Director


WELFARE WEEKLY - TIME MANAGEMENT - YOU SAY TOMATO,

  I SAY POMODORO METHOD. This from Ben Herbert, Student Support and Wellbeing: Sitting down to start a piece of coursework or revise for exams can be daunting. It can be easy to give up before you have even started. To leave it and leave it until the deadline is looming, then rush to get it done. A clear plan alongside a defined schedule is always a great starting point, but when the time comes to sit down and start working, how do you manage your time and keep from feeling overwhelmed?

I've recently adopted the "Pomodoro method" (yep, that's Italian for Tomato) for my work day, and I used a similar approach when I was studying for my final exams at uni. The pomodoro method is a time management technique which allows you to break your day up into manageable chunks. Rather than setting a volume based goal such as "complete the introduction" or "Read these study notes for…[insert computer science jargon here]", you instead give yourself a 25 minute chunk of time where you give your undivided attention, followed by a short five minute break.

I've found this to be particularly useful when I'm needing to do multiple different tasks and can't afford to get caught up in just one of them. For example, I spend 25 minutes on responding to student e-mails, take a quick break, then spend 25 minutes working through mitigation applications. Then I take another break and move on to any management tasks I have for the day. Previously I would have got absorbed in the first task, worn myself out by lunch and not got around to anything else in a productive manner, spending the rest of the day with no clear plan, easily distracted, and not feeling like I'd achieved anything.

The method also forces me to take breaks. Use this opportunity to get away from the screen. Get outside if possible, and avoid doing anything that might hook you in. I tend to have a little stretch, make a cup of tea, and have a short chat. Avoid playing computer games, watching TV, or going on social media. It turns out Windows even has something built into its Clock app called "Focus Session" which I now use, but there are apps and web pages (search "pomodoro method"), or you could just use the timer on your phone.

Give it a go today! Remove all distractions, put your phone on do not disturb mode or use an app-blocker, set yourself a 25 minute timer, really focus, then take a five minute break, then get back to it for another 25 minutes. Once you are up to say 2hrs of work, then take a longer break to refuel and re-set. See if it works for you, and let me know how you get on.


YEAR TUTOR OPEN HOURS.

  In the Department we have year tutors who are responsible for looking after the different cohorts in each year group. They are here to provide you with help and support if you need it, so feel free to contact your year tutor by email. They also run a weekly open hour where you can pop in for a chat during the teaching period:

  • Year 1 (not CM): Gareth Henshall. Open hour: Tuesday 12:00 - 13:00, Kilburn 2.82.
  • Year 2 (not CM): Aphrodite Galata. Open hour: Tuesday 14:00 - 15:00, Kilburn 2.101.
  • Industrial Experience Year: Duncan Hull. Open hour: Thursdays 10:00 - 12:00 Kilburn LF25.
  • Year 3/4 (not CM): Tim Morris. Open hour: Tuesday 11:00 - 12:00, Kilburn 2.107. 
  • CM (all years): Andrea Schalk. Open hour: Tuesday 12:00 - 13:00, 2.103.
  • UG Director: Paul Nutter. Open hour: Tuesday 09:00 - 10:00, IT119.


BCSWOMEN LOVELACE COLLOQUIUM SUCCESS.

  Congratulations to Naomi Felix (Y4, SE4), who was awarded 1st place in the MSc category of the BCSWomen Lovelace Colloquium. The BCSWomen Lovelace Colloquium is a national conference for women and non-binary computing students (BSc, BEng, MSc, MEng, etc.). Naomi presented her 3rd year project — a mobile application to teach children aged 8-11 computational thinking concepts using everyday scenarios. As part of her project, Naomi visited primary schools to teach children about computer science through the app she had created. Well done Naomi!


CRACKCHESTER.

  Welcome back after Easter!  We hope you've had a lovely break.  We're announcing that our hoodies will go on sale soon, and that you will be able to find the order form on our Discord server when available, link here.  Hoodies will be £10 - £15, are off white in colour, and will feature both our mascot and our logo.  Towards the end of this month, we will be holding our annual Hackers Hub event, which will feature guest speakers in the field of cybersecurity, as well as an all-day CTF (capture the flag) competition.  If you want to come to this event, then make sure to stay up-to-date on our Discord server, or Instagram.


NATIONAL STUDENT SURVEY.

  The National Student Survey (NSS) is still running and will close on Tuesday 30th April 2024. NSS offers final year students the opportunity to reflect on their time at Manchester and allows you to provide feedback on how, overall, you found your experience of studying at Manchester. All students eligible to complete NSS will receive an email from Ipsos Mori (an external company appointed by the UK Government to run NSS) with a link to complete the survey. There’s no need to wait, you can complete NSS directly via the NSS website. As a thank you for your time, every student who takes part in the NSS 2024 can enter a prize draw. Additionally, for each response submitted the University will also make a £2 charitable donation, split equally between four good causes: University of Manchester Cost of Living Support Fund, Refugee Women Connect, St Ann’s Hospice, and Lifeshare. Any feedback you provide is important to us as it can help us improve what we do. NSS is anonymous, so you can be open and honest in your feedback. We want your views - tell us what was good and what was bad! 


SEMESTER 1 EXAM SCRIPT VIEWING.

  There is a session scheduled on the 17th April 2024 for viewing exam scripts from semester 1. This is for viewing written papers only, not online exams, and applies to those students who submitted a request to view their scripts. Please contact the assessment team on soe.assessments@manchester.ac.uk if you have any questions. If you didn't attend the session last week then your only opportunity is to attend the session scheduled for this week. Unfortunately, the deadline to request to view exam scripts has passed so it is too late to request to view your exam scripts if you’ve not already done so.


COURSE UNIT SURVEYS.

  The semester 2 course unit surveys are now open and will run until the 5th May 2024. Please complete the surveys for your course units and provide us with feedback on how they have gone. Any feedback provided by you is anonymous. We find feedback, particularly comments, extremely useful to understand what you feel about our teaching and we do listen to it; we do make changes as a result. Please provide us with written comments to explain why you rated course units as you did. Without these comments it’s difficult to make informed decisions on how to change and improve how we teach. Please be detailed with your feedback - if your comments are general, such as 'I would like to see more examples', or 'I found some of the material confusing', you're not telling us where exactly we should aim to make improvements. You can only complete the surveys via personal, links sent to you by email - there is no link through Blackboard. If you haven’t received an email, or are having problems completing the surveys then please contact teachingandlearningsurveys@manchester.ac.uk.


EXAM TIMETABLE.

  The semester 2 exams take place over the period Monday 13th May to Friday 7th June 2024 (see the calendar in the CS UG Community space). The exam timetable has now been published. Individual timetables should be published in My Manchester this week. Please note that all examinations take place under invigilated conditions and on-campus (there may be one or two exceptions to this), so you must be in Manchester during the examination period. Make sure you know when and where your exams take place. If you have any questions, please contact the student support hub.


3RD YEAR PROJECT SELECTION.

  If you are returning to the 3rd year next academic year (September 2024) then it is important that you are allocated a project before you return in September. This applies to current 2nd year students and those returning from placement on the 3-year wIE degree programmes. The deadline for selecting a project is THIS FRIDAY - the 19th April 2024. You can select a project offered by a member of academic staff, or you can propose your own. Please note that the project book listing projects offered by staff is not fully populated with proposals at the moment, so keep checking back for new additions. Please note that the allocation of projects does not depend on when you submit your choices - it is not first-come, first-served. Further information can be found on the "Selecting a 3rd Year Project" page in the Year 2 folder of the CS UG Community space, where there is also an explanation of how the allocation process works.

If you would like to propose your own project, please contact your chosen supervisor as soon as possible with an initial idea, and follow up with your full proposal (less than one A4 page). Your chosen supervisor must agree to take on your project before you select them on the system. Also, it is advisable to do this before the first allocations take place to ensure that your supervisor still has available capacity. To find a suitable supervisor, please use the Supervisor Finder to see their specialisms.


3RD YEAR PROJECT DEADLINE.

  All current 3rd year students - the deadline to submit your report/screencast is 6pm THIS FRIDAY (19th April) - unless you have a DASS extension, or have been granted an extension due to accepted mitigating circumstances. Please submit your report and screencast through the COMP30030&30040 Blackboard page (see the Report Submission and Screencast Submission links where instructions are provided) by the deadline. Please note that a 10% per day late penalty will be applied to the marks for the report and screencast if they are submitted late. If you have any issues with your submission then please contact Terry Morley.


HOW DO I CHECK IF I’VE SUBMITTED MY WORK?

  We often get asked by students how to check that they have submitted work successfully, and it’s quite easy to do.

  • Blackboard: if the submission method is using Blackboard, then you can check under the “My Grades” link on the left on each course unit Blackboard page (under “Submitted” or “Marked”). You can also check via SPOT, although SPOT is only updated at 12pm and 6pm daily, so any submission between those times will not be shown until the update takes place.  SPOT includes the date and time when the last data was received from Blackboard on each page.
  • Git: if the submission method is using git, then you can check via SPOT.  Submissions via git will show in SPOT immediately (but you do need to refresh the SPOT web page).  You know if you have submitted correctly because the date and time will appear under the Submission column in the coursework table for that course.   
  • Whilst SPOT shows you something has been submitted, it does not know what, so cannot be used to verify you've submitted the correct required files.  To check the files you have submitted use Blackboard or GitLab.
  • Some course units have additional requirements, which are not documented in SPOT. Always make sure you carefully read the submission instructions for each piece of work.


HARDWARE LIBRARY.

  Thinking about what you can do as an own project next academic year, then remember we have a hardware library in the Department that contains a wide range of hardware components that are completely free to borrow. You can use these to support your 3rd year project, generally just to have a play with, or support a Hackathon. There are all sorts of items available, from Raspberry Pi components to drones,  a wide range of microcontroller boards to gesture devices, basic electronic components to robots … even VR headsets. We also have computer items, such as keyboards, mice, and tablets  - there’s a wide range of items available. To see what is available for you to borrow (for free!) have a look at the library catalogue. If you want to borrow an item then all you have to do is reserve it online. You will then be contacted by Steve Rhodes who will tell you when you can pick the item up from Tootill 0 on the lower first floor of Kilburn. Please note that items should not be taken away from Manchester and it is your responsibility to replace any damaged/lost items you borrow. You can also propose new items for the library, which we will consider. However, please note, we do have a limited budget to purchase new items, so we can’t fund all requests. 


LEARNING TIPS - YOUR EFFORT AND MARKS.

  You should have received marks and feedback on a number of coursework assessments you have completed over the year. It is important to remember that at the University we assess work differently to what you may be used to in school/college before you joined us. We would expect a course unit to have an average mark in the range 60-70% (a 2.1 mark), so an average for the cohort of around 65% is what we would hope for. Individual assessments may potentially have a higher or lower average that we expect to balance out to give this kind of average.

This means that only a minority of students will be expected to achieve a 1st class mark (a mark of 70% above), and even fewer should expect marks in the 80s and above. Correspondingly, many of our assessments are set up so that only a limited number of students are expected to achieve very high marks, and we do so by making it challenging to complete all tasks to a high standard. You should also remember that effort does not translate directly into marks - some problems may be difficult to solve, or reaching a particular standard may require a very well thought out approach.

Spending long hours working on a piece of work in the hope that you will achieve a very high mark is counter-productive - often this effort is at the expense of your health and time spent on other assessments. You need to balance your time appropriately. If a piece of work has a considerable impact on the overall mark for a course unit, then rightly, you need to devote effort to producing a good (but not necessarily excellent) piece of work. If a piece of work is worth very little, then spend less time on it - the payback for working so hard is much less. You need to balance your time and effort, think about where effort is required and don’t get fixated on spending time you don’t have aiming for a very high mark. It’s unlikely to lead to the desired outcome.


THIRD YEAR PROJECT Q&A.

  If you are a 3rd year student then the project Q&As take place in weeks 11 and 12 (starting  Monday 29th April). The Q&A is an informal chat between you and the 2nd marker of your project. It gives you the opportunity to discuss your project and show what you have achieved. It also gives the 2nd marker the opportunity to learn more about your project, beyonds what’s in the report and screencast, and ask you questions. You will also find the process useful for job interviews, as you will gain experience about talking about your project and answering questions. You can find out what’s involved in the COMP30030&30040 Blackboard pages. You should be contacted by your second marker to arrange a mutually convenient time to meet. If you do not hear from your 2nd marker then please contact Terry Morley.


1ST YEAR PROJECT SHOWCASE.

  On Tuesday this week (16th April 2024) between 12:00-14:00, all the 1st year students will show the applications they’ve built in their first year as part of COMP10120. This will take place across the labs in Kilburn (Collab 1+2 and G23), where the 1st years will show their achievements to fellow students, PASS leaders, lecturers, and tutors. There will be prizes as determined by the votes of all students and staff. Please make sure you pop along to support the first year students and see what applications they have developed over the year.


MANCHESTER UNIVERSITY DATA SCIENCE SOCIETY.

  Our FINAL workshop this year is on GNNs, a type of neural network specialised for tricky unordered data. 

  • Graph Neural Networks (GNNs) 
  • Wednesday 17th 2-4pm 
  • Simon 2.60

Join us for an interactive tutorial on:

  1. Finding out how GNNs work
  2. Learn how graphs are represented in Machine Learning
  3. Use PyTorch Geometric for node and graph classification on various datasets

You can expect to use this wherever you have data that can't be split neatly into a grid, such as social media and consumer data. See you there! 


STAFF-STUDENT PROGRAMMING COMPETITION 2024.

  Ian Pratt-Hartmann writes: Staff and students in the School of Computer Science are cordially invited to take part in the Staff-Student programming competition.

  • Date: Wednesday, 1st May, 2024
  • Time: 14:0017:00 (Results and explanation 17:0018:00)
  • Location: Kilburn Building Lower First Floor: Tootill 0 and 1 
  • Registration deadline: Wednesday, 14:00, 24th April, 2024

The competition is open to all staff and students (incl. undergraduate) in Computer Science. Teams will consist of an integral number of persons between 1 and 3 inclusive, exactly one of whom will be designated the team captain. All teams are classified as either Staff teams or Student teams. Staff teams must have at least one member of staff (including RAs, but excluding PhD students) and must otherwise consist entirely of staff (including RAs) and PhD students. Student teams must consist entirely of students (graduate or undergraduate). No person may be in more than one team.

The Contest will be hosted on the Kattis system, and will feature a mix of problems of different difficulties. Newcomers to competitive programming are particularly welcome: you can get an idea of what the problems are like by logging on to Kattis and trying some. I suggest you cut your teeth on the "easy" (i.e. completely trivial) problems first: that will help you sort out reading input and writing output. Then you can try something more ambitious.

To participate, visit here  and return the completed form by 14:00 on 24th April, 2024. You must make sure all team members have obtained a Kattis account by this deadline.  (Go to https://open.kattis.com/register if you do not have a Kattis account.) You will receive an invitation to join the contest on (or about) 25th April 2024. You should accept this invitation as soon as possible, and certainly before the contest begins. Problems will be visible at the start of the competition. Teams will try to solve as many as they can. Contestants may use any of the supported languages, see the Kattis website for a full list.

One desktop machine (with ordinary University logins) will be available for each team.  Each team may additionally bring any number of laptop computers with the desired compiler(s)/IDEs installed. It is allowed to bring any printed materials into the competition room; however the use of stored electronic files or of the internet to access any sites other than the competition site is forbidden. Space is limited, and teams will be accepted on a first-come-first-served basis, subject to a reasonable balance of staff and students. If you have queries, please contact me.


CENTRE FOR DIGITAL TRUST AND SECURITY EVENT.

  Centre for Digital Trust and Society Seed Corn Showcase | 16th May (14:30 - 17:00) | Drinks reception available. The Centre for Digital Trust and Society (CDTS) Seed Corn Funding awards funding to cutting-edge proposals that further our research and understanding of digital trust and society. Come along and see how you can get involved with this initiative and explore the successes and learnings of our previously funded projects. Register here. Featured projects include:

  • Demanding justice in the Cloud: An analysis of punitive attitudes in social media for traditional and cyber-enabled crime | Dr Nicholas Trajtenberg Pareja & Mr Pablo Ezquerra Silva
  • Rebuilding Democratic Discourse: Online Harms and Trust | Dr Mihaela Popa-Wyatt, Dr Justina Berskyte, Prof Graham Stevens
  • Defining the acceptability of ‘safe’ data linkage to identify women at risk of postnatal complication in Greater Manchester | Dr Victoria Palin, Prof Niels Peek, Prof Jenny Myers, Dr Anthony Wilson, Mr Bradley Quinn
  • Modern slavery and digitisation in ‘fast-fashion’ supply networks | Dr Jonathan Davies, Prof Rose Broad, Dr Amy Benstead 

The Centre for Digital Trust and Society leads and delivers activity for the Digital Trust and Security theme within The University’s Digital Futures Research Platform.


DEMONSTRATE YOUR PROJECTS AT THE OPEN DAY!

  This from Jasmine Barrow: Join us if you want to showcase your Year 1 team project or your Year 3 project during the upcoming open days on the 22 nd and 29 th of June. This is a paid opportunity with an hourly rate of £11.33 - limited spaces available! If you're interested, please get in touch with jasmine.barrow@manchester.ac.uk. What's an open day? Hundreds of excited students will visit Manchester to explore the university and the course options. What are we looking for? Students who are enthusiastic and willing to showcase and discuss a project as a valued part of a Computer Science Exhibition in Kilburn. Do you belong to student societies or PASS? We are also eager to collaborate with societies and PASS and would love to hear your ideas about what you would have loved to have seen at this stage of your journey to university.


SUMMER PROJECT IN AUTOMATIC SOFTWARE TESTING.

  Lucas Cordeiro writes: We're offering two full-time positions to collaborate with the FuSeBMC project team to develop a custom GitHub Action for integrating the FuSeBMC tool into continuous integration workflows. FuSeBMC, an award-winning automatic test generation tool, utilises fuzzing and bounded model checking to uncover software vulnerabilities and enhance code coverage. As part of this summer project, you'll contribute to creating a custom GitHub Action and potentially publishing it on the GitHub Marketplace. Additionally, tasks may include refining the FuSeBMC interface for better compatibility with GitHub Action models and developing tools to integrate results with other GitHub functionalities. You can find further information about these posts and how to apply for them here. If you are interested then please get in touch. You can also contact Suzanne Embury for details about these posts. Take advantage of this opportunity to contribute to cutting-edge software testing and impact the tech industry!


INAUGURAL SEMINAR.

  Dr. Mauricio Alvarez will present an inaugural seminar titled “Multi-task Learning and Physics-informed Probabilistic Modelling using Gaussian Processes” on Wednesday 17th April 2024, 2-3pm, in Kilburn building Lecture Theatre 1.4. Please use the link below to join the seminar on Zoom if you are unable to join us in-person, Meeting ID: 958 0188 2712, Passcode: 120653.

Abstract: Gaussian processes are Bayesian non-parametric models for non-linear regression. They are suitable in several data-driven problems where data is scarce and uncertainty calibration is required, such as Bayesian inverse problems and Bayesian optimisation. In this talk, I will introduce the audience to Gaussian processes and to two strands of research I’ve worked on in the last years: how to use Gaussian processes for transfer or multi-task learning and how to couple Gaussian processes with differential equations to build physics-inspired Gaussian process models.


ATLAS TALK.

  Dr. Anastasia Mavridou will present a talk titled “Let’s speak FRETish” on Thursday 18th April, 13:00 - 15:00 in Kilburn building Lecture Theatre 1.5. For those who are unable to join us in person, you can join us via Zoom. Anastasia Mavridou is a member of the Robust Software Engineering (RSE) Group at NASA Ames Research Center, employed by KBR Inc, where she leads the work on the NASA Ames' Formal Requirements Elicitation Tool (FRET). Before joining RSE, she worked as a postdoc at the Institute for Software Integrated Systems, Vanderbilt University, USA. She received her PhD in 2016 from École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL), Switzerland. She has authored more than 30 publications spanning the broad areas of formal methods and software engineering, with a focus on system design and formal analysis techniques. 

Abstract: FRET is a framework for the elicitation, formalization and analysis of requirements. FRET allows its user to enter requirements in a structured natural language called FRETish. Requirements written in FRETish are assigned unambiguous semantics. FRET supports its users in understanding this semantics and repairing requirements if applicable, by utilizing a variety of forms for each requirement: natural language description, formal mathematical logics, diagrams, and interactive simulation. FRET exports requirements into forms that can be used by a variety of analysis tools, including  state-of-the-art model checkers and runtime monitoring tools. The talk will cover some of the theory behind the framework, present case studies from the aerospace and robotics domains,  as well as current work on extending FRET for specifying requirements for software that learns.


INAUGURAL LECTURE.

  Professor Sami Kaski will present an inaugural lecture titled “Collaborative Machine Learning for Research” on 23rd April 2024, 1-2pm,  Engineering Building A, Lecture Theatre B.  Sami Kaski is Professor of Artificial Intelligence in the Department of Computer Science at the University of Manchester and at Aalto University, Helsinki. In Manchester he is the Research Director of the Christabel Pankhurst Institute for Health Technology Research and Innovation, and in Helsinki leads the Finnish Centre for Artificial Intelligence Research FCAI and ELLIS Unit Helsinki. He is also an ELLIS Fellow and Turing Fellow of the Alan Turing Institute.

Abstract: I will bring together two traditionally separate lines of research: (i) probabilistic machine learning, in which we combine flexible learning from multiple sources of data with prior knowledge in the form of simulators, and (ii) user interaction, starting from interactive intent modelling in information retrieval and extending to collaborative AI. This combination enables developing new kinds of tools for research tasks, including AI-assisted design tools for design-build-test-learn cycles. When R&D processes are formulated as virtual simulation-based laboratories, the tools can be applied across fields from experimental sciences to engineering design and medicine, and further to humanities and social sciences. The university is now building significant capacity in this field with the launch of the Centre for AI Fundamentals, AI-FUN, with research groups focusing on developing machine learning principles and seeking to do that in collaboration with other fields. 

To find our more, please contact ai-fun@manchester.ac.uk or ellis@manchester.ac.uk. Click here to register for the event. For catering purposes please register if you intend to attend.


SOMETHING TO SHARE?

  The deadline for sending in Monday Mail items: 12:00 (noon) every Friday. Just contact Paul.

Welcome to Gareth’s Puzzle Corner, this is your weekly fix of brain teasers and logic puzzles. You are given 5 different puzzles to tackle. One is an easier Sudoku, the second is a more challenging Sudoku, the third is a different form of logic puzzle and we have a chess puzzle for you. Finally, each week you can compete with myself and other students/staff to see who has the best geography skills. Try your hand at Geoguessr below. I hope you enjoy the puzzles and if you have any puzzles you wish to feature or ideas for Puzzle Corner then please get in touch.

Easier Sudoku - Classic Sudoku by sudoku.com 

Normal sudoku rules apply.

Challenging Sudoku - Attack of the Clones by Olof Helleblad Johnson 

Normal sudoku rules apply. Digits do not repeat on the marked diagonal. Cells joined by X sum to 10; cells joined by V sum to 5. Each of the purple regions contain the same digits in the same positions.

Pencil Puzzle - Star Battle by Nyancharov 

In each row, column, and area of ​​the diagram, fill in as many stars as indicated for each puzzle. Cells with stars cannot touch each other orthogonally or diagonally.

Chess Puzzle - Weishaeutel Vs. Muradli, 2024 

Drag and drop the White pieces to win the match.

Geoguessr

And Finally, our weekly competition from geoguessr.com.

We are playing the new map again this week called A Community World. All of the clues are there, you just need to find them!

You need to take in as much information as you can from the google street view and then drop your pin on the map. The closer to the correct location you are the more points you get. Can you get the top score after all 5 rounds? This week we are giving you 2 mins per round but running out of time will give you 0 pts. Winners will be announced next week! Why not share this with your friends, see if we can get over 20 people playing this week!

The winner the previous week was Iakh0 with a score of 23,578 out of a possible 25,000. A great score, you clearly know your McDonalds'. The winner of the closest individual guess this week was Idris with a guess which was 0 yds, yes 0 yds. Incredible, well done!

Answers to Last Week’s Puzzles

The answers to last week's puzzles can be found here.


Week 8 • Monday 8 April 2024 • #23.23          The Monday Mail

Paul pic

Good morning UG! It’s Monday 8th April 2024 and it’s week 8 of semester 2. Welcome back from the Easter break, I hope you managed to take some time off to recharge your batteries ready for the final weeks of semester 2. 

Don’t forget that we have extended the deadline for the 3rd year project report and screencast (more below). If you are starting your 3rd year in September (including those coming back from placement) then you have a couple of weeks to make your project selections from the list of projects offered by staff, or even propose your own project (see below).

This year, the Department will have its own Staff Teaching Awards, run by UniCS. You can nominate any member of staff who you think has been supportive of your learning and has gone that extra mile. This is a new initiative that we think will have a positive impact on the student experience in the Department by recognising the good teaching and support provided by our staff. Make sure you tell us what it is that you think stands out - that will help to tell other members of staff what you value, and hopefully good practice will be more widely adopted (more below).  

It's a bumper edition of Monday Mail today, so on with today's news … 

Paul
Undergraduate Programme Director


STUDENT SUPPORT IN CS.

  Just a reminder that we have a dedicated Student Support and Wellbeing team in the Department, Maria Sloan and Ben Herbert, who are available to support you throughout your studies. If you are affected by any issues impacting your learning, struggling with your work, considering interruption, DASS registered and feel that your condition is starting to affect you more than usual, or you just need somebody to speak to, then you should speak to a member of the Student Support and Wellbeing team. You can contact Maria and Ben by email soe.wellbeing@manchester.ac.uk, or you can drop into the student hub in Engineering Building A and ask to speak to someone, in confidence.


STUDENT SUPPORT HUB EMAIL ADDRESS.

  Just a reminder that if you need to contact a member of the Teaching, Learning and Student Experience team, then contact email addresses are as follows:

If you are unsure which email to use then use soe.hub@manchester.ac.uk for general queries. 


WELFARE WEEKLY - MIT CIRCS 101 - UNDERSTANDING MITIGATION OUTCOMES.

   This from Ben Herbert, Student Support and Wellbeing: When you apply for mitigation or an extension on an item of coursework or exam, you will receive an outcome telling you whether it has been accepted or not. Unless you have been given an extension you will not be given much more information on what mitigation will be applied. The reason is because mitigation outcomes are not ratified until the exam board at the end of the year, and so are subject to change. The Student Support and Wellbeing team make recommendations to the exam board, but the final  decision is theirs. The wellbeing team and the exam board will always apply the best mitigation option available.

This week I will go through the most common outcomes to give you an idea of the kind of outcome you may receive. It is important to be aware some other options are available:

  1. An extension. This will almost always be one week, however sometimes longer extensions are allowed. You will know if you get an extension because your outcome e-mail will include a new deadline.
  2. Late penalty waive. If your work was submitted after the deadline, but prior to feedback being released, then the late penalty can be removed from your mark.
  3. Omit. If the item was not submitted at the point you requested mitigation, or was submitted after the feedback date, then the item mark can be omitted from your final unit grade. There is a limit to how much of a single unit can be omitted and some work cannot be omitted at all.
  4. Omit if affected. If your work was submitted on time, but the work was affected by your circumstances and thus out of line with your expected marks, the item mark may be omitted from your final unit grade. If the mark from your coursework is not out of line then the mark will be kept. There is a limit to how much of a single unit can be omitted.
  5. Exclude. Like omit, but much less common. The exam board may choose to exclude large assessment pieces or even full units from your final degree classification. There is a limit to how much the exam board can use this. 
  6. Resit. The opportunity to take a new exam in the next assessment period. The exam board will decide if this is at first attempt or second attempt. Accepted mitigation allows uncapped resits at first attempt.
  7. Resubmit. Not very common in Computer Science, but the exam board can request you submit a new (or the same) item of work in lieu of coursework affected by mitigation.

Remember, never wait for the outcome of your mitigation. The advice is always, if you are able to continue to work on your assessment then do so. Only submit your work once you are happy for it to be marked. Work submitted after the feedback date may not be marked.

If you find yourself in a situation where you have a backlog of work and are worried about the impact of catching up on your future assessments, then speak to your academic advisor or year tutor. If you have any questions about mitigation outcomes and the process around it, then please drop me an e-mail and I will be happy to assist.


EXAM AND ASSESSMENT SUPPORT FROM THE LIBRARY.

  The Library is here to support you to prepare and revise throughout the exam and assessment period. You can find more details on our Exam & Assessment Support page. You can:

  • access workshops and online resources for revision, exam and assessment support
  • speak to one of our Library experts via our Library drop-in support
  • get wellbeing support by accessing helpful resources and workshops via the Counselling and Student Service

Listen out for announcements in Main Library and AGLC for drop-in support and wellbeing events in conjunction with Manchester Museum! There are a number of upcoming workshops that you can search and book online

  • Assessment support: revision and preparation (on campus): A workshop focused on practical revision tips and advice ensuring you maximise your efficiency and focus on the build up to assessments. 
    • Thu 25 Apr 2024, 13:00 - 14:00 
    • Thu 2 May 2024, 12:00 - 13:00
  • Assessment support - applying your knowledge (on campus): A workshop focused on taking your revision to the next level by focusing on the connections and links between your course areas. 
    • Fri 26 Apr 2024, 12:00 - 13:00 
    • Thu 9 May 2024, 12:00 - 13:00 
  •  Mindfulness workshops (on campus): If you are finding it hard to concentrate, have racing thoughts or often feel anxious or overwhelmed then this workshop, run by The University of Manchester Counselling and Mental Health Service, will introduce you to simple techniques to learn about the nature of the mind and what we can do to alleviate stress.
    • Tue 9 Apr 2024, 16:15 - 17:00 
    • Tue 23 Apr 2024, 16:15 - 17:00   
    • Tue 7 May 2024, 16:15 - 17:00 


YEAR TUTOR OPEN HOURS.

  In the Department we have year tutors who are responsible for looking after the different cohorts in each year group. They are here to provide you with help and support if you need it, so feel free to contact your year tutor by email. They also run a weekly open hour where you can pop in for a chat during the teaching period:

  • Year 1 (not CM): Gareth Henshall. Open hour: Tuesday 12:00 - 13:00, Kilburn 2.82.
  • Year 2 (not CM): Aphrodite Galata. Open hour: Tuesday 14:00 - 15:00, Kilburn 2.101.
  • Industrial Experience Year: Duncan Hull. Open hour: Thursdays 10:00 - 12:00 Kilburn LF25.
  • Year 3/4 (not CM): Tim Morris. Open hour: Tuesday 11:00 - 12:00, Kilburn 2.107. 
  • CM (all years): Andrea Schalk. Open hour: Thursday 13:00 - 14:00, 2.103.
  • UG Director: Paul Nutter. Open hour: Tuesday 09:00 - 10:00, IT119.


STUDENT-STAFF LIAISON COMMITTEE.

  This from Tom Carroll, chair of SSLC: We have our next SSLC on 17th April. During the next SSLC, in addition to any general issues and positives, we are interested in your opinions on:

  • Careers Guidance Provision in Year 2 (Coding Your Future)
  • Student behaviour: Are there any issues regarding the behaviour of other students on you and your studies?

 Please contact your Student Reps if you have any opinion on these matters. 


BIG SISTERS IN STEM PODCAST.

  Jasmine Barrow writes: From imposter syndrome to the feminine urge to over-burden ourselves, it takes guts to take up space in a field that wasn’t made with you in mind. Join us every Wednesday as we’re joined by women and non-binary people from all stages of their education or career in STEM. Expect to be surprised. Expect to laugh out loud. Expect to feel like calling up the people in your life to let them know you appreciate them. And if you thought you didn’t have sisters and siblings to give you advice, yes you do! Our latest episode ‘Coding IS fun, sustainable fashion, and being the main character’ features our very own Computer Science student, Eman Ahsan (she/her) and Lecturer in Fashion Business and Technology Charlene Gallery (she/her). Listen on Spotify or wherever you get your podcasts, and follow us at @bigsistersinstem on Instagram!


UNICS STAFF AWARDS.

  For the first time ever, the Department of Computer Science is holding the Staff Teaching Awards, hosted by UniCS! Is there a lecturer or teaching staff that you think has been supportive of your learning, or simply has been amazing and deserves recognition? Share your story by nominating them for an award to thank them for everything that they have done. It is uncommon for lecturers and teaching staff to receive appreciation and positive feedback from students. Help us change this by thanking those who make a difference. You can nominate them through this form here. You can nominate as many staff as you would like!


NATIONAL STUDENT SURVEY.

  The National Student Survey (NSS) is still running and will close on Tuesday 30th April 2024. NSS offers final year students the opportunity to reflect on their time at Manchester and allows you to provide feedback on how, overall, you found your experience of studying at Manchester. All students eligible to complete NSS will receive an email from Ipsos Mori (an external company appointed by the UK Government to run NSS) with a link to complete the survey. There’s no need to wait, you can complete NSS directly via the NSS website. As a thank you for your time, every student who takes part in the NSS 2024 can enter a prize draw. Additionally, for each response submitted the University will also make a £2 charitable donation, split equally between four good causes: University of Manchester Cost of Living Support Fund, Refugee Women Connect, St Ann’s Hospice, and Lifeshare. Any feedback you provide is important to us as it can help us improve what we do. NSS is anonymous, so you can be open and honest in your feedback. We want your views - tell us what was good and what was bad! 


3RD YEAR PROJECT SELECTION.

  Terry Morley writes: If you are returning to the 3rd year next academic year (September 2024) then it is important that you are allocated a project before you return in September. This applies to current 2nd year students and those returning from placement on the 3-year wIE degree programmes. You can select a project offered by a member of academic staff, or you can propose your own. Please note that the project book listing projects offered by staff is not fully populated with proposals at the moment, so keep checking back for new additions. The first round of selections will close at 5pm on Friday 19th April 2024. After this time, students will be allocated to projects/supervisors. There will be another round of allocations following this for any students who were not allocated a project, but it is advisable to get in the first round to improve your chances of getting your desired project. Please note that the allocation of projects does not depend on when you submit your choices - it is not first-come, first-served. Further information can be found on the "Selecting a 3rd Year Project" page in the Year 2 folder of the CS UG Community space, where there is also an explanation of how the allocation process works.

If you would like to propose your own project, please contact your chosen supervisor as soon as possible with an initial idea, and follow up with your full proposal (less than one A4 page). Your chosen supervisor must agree to take on your project before you select them on the system. Also, it is advisable to do this before the first allocations take place to ensure that your supervisor still has available capacity. To find a suitable supervisor, please use the Supervisor Finder to see their specialisms.


3RD YEAR PROJECT DEADLINE.

  This from Terry Morley: Just a reminder that the submission deadline for the project report and screencast has been moved to Friday 19th April 2024 (Friday of Week 9). We have extended the deadline to give you some flexibility and give you more of an opportunity to get feedback from your project supervisor. Please note that supervisors are not expected to provide feedback on the whole report, nor is this feedback required to be detailed. However, you can reasonably expect feedback on some elements, such as one or two draft chapters, where you think feedback would be useful - particularly if this helps with your overall writing. You should not expect supervisors to check an updated version after feedback has already been provided. If you have already requested an extension for the report/screencast, then the deadline provided to you by the Student Support and Wellbeing Team remains unchanged. If you require a further extension beyond the new deadline of the 19th April, then you will need to request it closer to the new deadline. If you have had mitigating circumstances accepted by the Department, then the deadline provided to you by the Student Support and Wellbeing Team remains unchanged. If you are a DASS student with a one week automatic extension, then your one week automatic extension applies after the new deadline of the 19th April.


LEARNING TIPS - HOW TO SCHEDULE YOUR TIME?

  As we are approaching the last few weeks of teaching in the semester, students are typically faced with multiple deadlines across a number of course units. Plus, the added pressure of the exam period starting immediately after the end of teaching leaves little time for revision. This creates questions about scheduling, and how you fit everything in. Hopefully you’ve been able to use the Easter break to catch up on any course units where you were behind, and can now concentrate on new material in the last few weeks, as well as completing any coursework that is due.

To allow you to focus on what’s remaining for you to do, it’s important you plan your time effectively. It’s important to read assignment briefs early, well before you intend to seriously start working on them, as this allows you to get an idea of the size of the task, as well as allowing your mind to subconsciously start processing what is being asked. Try to judge everything you have to do between now and the end of the semester. How many items of coursework (including the project) do you need to complete? How much material does this require you to digest? How many timetabled sessions do you need to attend? How long are those going to take you? What does that mean for how you should split your time between them? You can then refine this once the exam timetable has been published in case you have to delay looking at some of the material. 

It’s not unusual for students to decide that they are too busy to attend some teaching sessions to find time to focus on other activities, such as completing coursework. However, does that really help you save time? The session you have decided to miss may be one that provides advice on how to approach a piece of coursework, and attempting the item without this information may end up taking you longer in the end. So, think carefully before deciding to miss any scheduled teaching sessions.

Should you schedule long sessions focusing on one topic, or shorter ones that allow you to revisit all the material for your course units more regularly? The answer here will be different for different students. Do you get easily bored? Does a change of context help you focus? Do you get really stuck into a problem and find it disorienting to have to move to another topic and come back later? You should work to your strengths and schedule yourself accordingly. However, it’s really important to realise that you will have to compromise and balance your efforts across pieces of coursework and across course units - it’s never a good strategy to only focus on the next deadline. 

Deadline congestion is not a reason to grant extensions - you have to manage your time to balance what is asked of you. If you do find you’ve got into a position where you can’t do justice to all the pieces of work asked of you, and there are no mitigating circumstances, you should have a look at the weighting of each piece of work. How much are they worth as part of a course unit, or towards your final average? Spend more time on items that are worth more, and for which producing a good solution will have the greater impact on your overall mark, unless there are some that can be quickly solved. Do not spend significant amounts of time chasing a few extra marks for a piece of work that will have little overall impact. For example, chasing an extra 20% on a piece of coursework that’s worth 10% of a course unit in the 3rd year will contribute approx. 1% to your overall degree mark. Contrast this to achieving an extra 20% on your project mark, which will add an extra approx. 4.5% to your overall degree mark. Planning one’s work, monitoring a schedule and making adjustments  are challenges to most people, but by making decisions knowingly, rather than letting things drift, you can take charge and make the best use of your time.


LIBRARY STUDY SPACES.

  Students can book individual study spaces in the Muriel Stott Building and group study rooms at the Main Library and the Alan Gilbert Learning Commons. Bookings can be  made via ResourceBooker​. If you need a quiet space to attend an online meeting or lecture you can book study room 14 in the Main Library.​ These are the only Library study spaces that have to be booked in advance. All other spaces are available on a first come, first served basis during each site’s opening hours: Library Opening Hours. An additional 100 additional study spaces will be available in Prospect House (behind the Kilburn Building and next to the IT Building) from 8 April 2024 to 5 June 2024 (9am to 8pm) Monday to Friday only.


STAFF-STUDENT PROGRAMMING COMPETITION 2024.

  Ian Pratt-Hartmann writes: Staff and students in the School of Computer Science are cordially invited to take part in the Staff-Student programming competition.

  • Date: Wednesday, 1st May, 2024
  • Time: 14:0017:00 (Results and explanation 17:0018:00)
  • Location: Kilburn Building Lower First Floor: Tootill 0 and 1 
  • Registration deadline: Wednesday, 14:00, 24th April, 2024

The competition is open to all staff and students (incl. undergraduate) in Computer Science. Teams will consist of an integral number of persons between 1 and 3 inclusive, exactly one of whom will be designated the team captain. All teams are classified as either Staff teams or Student teams. Staff teams must have at least one member of staff (including RAs, but excluding PhD students) and must otherwise consist entirely of staff (including RAs) and PhD students. Student teams must consist entirely of students (graduate or undergraduate). No person may be in more than one team.

The Contest will be hosted on the Kattis system, and will feature a mix of problems of different difficulties. Newcomers to competitive programming are particularly welcome: you can get an idea of what the problems are like by logging on to Kattis and trying some. I suggest you cut your teeth on the "easy" (i.e. completely trivial) problems first: that will help you sort out reading input and writing output. Then you can try something more ambitious.

To participate, visit here  and return the completed form by 14:00 on 24th April, 2024. You must make sure all teams members have obtained a Kattis account by this deadline.  (Go to https://open.kattis.com/register if you do not have a Kattis account.) You will receive an invitation to join the contest on (or about) 25th April 2024. You should accept this invitation as soon as possible, and certainly before the contest begins. Problems will be visible at the start of the competition. Teams will try to solve as many as they can. Contestants may use any of the supported languages, see the Kattis website for a full list.

One desktop machine (with ordinary University logins) will be available for each team.  Each team may additionally bring any number of laptop computers with the desired compiler(s)/IDEs installed. It is allowed to bring any printed materials into the competition room; however the use of stored electronic files or of the internet to access any sites other than the competition site is forbidden. Space is limited, and teams will be accepted on a first-come-first-served basis, subject to a reasonable balance of staff and students. If you have queries, please contact me.


STUDENTHACK2024.

  Thank you to all those who have applied to take part in StudentHack2024! Applications have now closed, and decisions should have been sent out to all applicants. If you were accepted, please do not forget to join the discord and RSVP through your email to confirm your attendance, otherwise you may lose your place. We look forward to seeing you there!


UNICS BLACKPOOL TRIP.

   UniCS is holding our very first trip to Blackpool Pleasure Beach Resort on Saturday 20th of April! Come along for a fun day with friends at the beach and exhilarating rides at the theme park, including the UK’s current tallest roller coaster and the Horror House! Don’t miss out on our heavily price reduced tickets costing only £9.99, tickets will go on sale at 15th April 12pm on our SU page. The tickets will cover travel and free lunch as well. There are a limited number of spaces so be quick!


MANCHESTER UNIVERSITY DATA SCIENCE SOCIETY.

   MUDS are back from Easter with another workshop, this time on exciting self-supervised learning. 

  • When: Wednesday 10th April 2-4pm
  • Where: Simon 3.62 **LOCATION CHANGE: Now in Simon 3.62**

We will:

  1. Find out how computer vision models can learn without human labels.
  2. Use PyTorch to train an image classification model through self-supervised pre training.
  3. Evaluate the learnt visual representations using the KNN classifier.

Very relevant for those interested in computer vision for any application. See you there! 


UNICS EVENT WITH BET365.

  UniCS is hosting bet365 for: A Day in the Life of Software Developer @bet365. Join us for an online informative session designed to provide you with an understanding of the life of a software developer at bet365, offering insights into the company's culture, work environment, and the exciting challenges faced by its developers. This session will be hosted by their Early Careers Recruitment Lead – Alicia De Burgh &  Senior Software Developer - Janek Bozydar Mieszczak. To attend the event, please register your interest here.


DARREN HUYTON SPORTS DAY.

  On Friday 12th April, the School of Engineering Information, Advice and Guidance Team will be hosting “The Darren Huyton Sports Day”, in collaboration with UoM Sport. Throughout the day there will be opportunities to play football, netball, basketball, table tennis, pickleball and badminton, as well as taking part in old-school sports day activities such as the egg and spoon race and three-legged race! It doesn’t matter if you’re an expert or have never played before, the day is a chance for everyone to have fun, keep fit, and represent your Discipline!  The event will be running between 12pm and 4pm, on Friday 12th April, and you can attend as much or as little as you want to, or even just come along to watch! We would love to have some attendance there from academic staff within the School, so please come along if you can. All activities will be hosted in the Sugden Sports Centre, just around the corner from the Engineering Building. 

The namesake of this Sports Day, Darren Huyton, worked for the University of Manchester for over 15 years, before he sadly passed away suddenly in 2022. We are very pleased to be able to continue to run the Darren Huyton Sports Day in his honour.  


MANCHESTER INTERDISCIPLINARY MATHEMATICS UNDERGRADUATE CONFERENCE (MIMUC) 2024.

  The Department of Mathematics is very pleased to announce the 3rd MIMUC undergraduate conference, which will be held on Thursday 11th and Friday 12th April 2024 in the Alan Turing Building and University Place. This year, we're excited to host over 100 taught students from the Faculty of Science and Engineering and beyond for a vibrant and enriching two-day event. MIMUC is more than just a conference; it's a celebration of the curious and innovative spirit of our students. Our mission is to enhance the academic journey of undergraduate and master's students at the University of Manchester by promoting interdisciplinary research and collaboration - only requirement: some interest in maths.

Prepare to be inspired by a line-up of plenary speakers, including author and film-maker Simon Singh. Look out for our faculty and alumni panels: a great chance to ask questions and consider your future career.  Take advantage of the numerous networking opportunities with fellow students, industry professionals, and University of Manchester alumni. A special social event will be the perfect backdrop for making new friends and sharing ideas.

We warmly invite you to present  topics that fascinate you (featuring some maths...) – it's the heart of our conference! Your inspiration can be something interesting you learned in a module, a captivating fact you  stumbled upon, or even your own research. Register HERE to attend and/or present. For further details, visit the conference website or contact us directly at mimuc.organisers@manchester.ac.uk.


SIMON SINGH PUBLIC LECTURE.

  This year at MIMUC we have the honour to welcome author and film-maker Simon Singh MBE to deliver a Public Lecture titled Fermat’s Last Theorem, turning Maths into an adventure. His talk is open to everyone (not only MIMUC attendees) and you can get your free tickets here.


APPLE TALK ON FORMAL HARDWARE VERIFICATION.

  Apple are visiting us on the 17th April, Engineering Building Lecture Theatre A, 3pm,  to talk about formal verification. It’s mostly aimed at CS/EEE students (from Bachelors to PhD) who are interested in working for Apple, but may also interest academics working in formal verification. This talk will aim to introduce the topic of formal hardware verification to students of EEE / Computer Science. During the talk, you will learn about Apple Hardware, highlighting the evolution of the SOC (System-On-Chip) and underlining the critical role of Verification. We will explore various verification methods such as Simulation and Formal Verification, discussing their advantages and potential drawbacks. We will also delve into different types of Formal Methods, elucidating how a hardware verification problem at Register Transfer Level (RTL) described in standard Hardware Description Languages (HDLs) like Verilog, can be converted to Boolean Functions or propositional logic, alongside techniques for robust bug detection and proving design correctness. The presentation further provides insights into the execution of Formal Verification, precisely control flow applications through small examples. Finally, we will conclude the talk with statements of FV success and the fantastic opportunities at Apple to tackle the hardest verification problems in the industry. Find more information and register here.


CENTRE FOR DIGITAL TRUST AND SECURITY EVENT.

  The Centre for Digital Trust and Society Forum returns for a third year! 

  • Date & Time: Wednesday 3rd July 2024 (in-person) | 9:30 - 16:30
  • Venue: No.1 Circle Square, Oxford Road, Manchester M1 7FS

Book your place to hear from experts across digital trust and security, including Keynote Speaker Professor Genevieve Liveley, Turing Fellow, and Director of the Research Institute for Sociotechnical Cyber Security (RISCS), University of Bristol. There will be three dynamic panels bringing in expertise from across Academia, Government and Industry, on three themes:

  • Panel 1 | Online Harms: Rebuilding Trust in Our Digital World
  • Panel 2 | Power Dynamics in Digital Platforms
  • Panel 3 | Generative AI & Security

Lunch will be provided, and participants are welcome to continue discussions over a drinks reception following the main event. Places are limited by venue capacity, therefore please register now via Digital Futures. If you have any questions, please contact Kitty Lo, at kitty.lo@manchester.ac.uk. The Centre for Digital Trust and Society leads and delivers activity for the Digital Trust and Security theme within The University’s Digital Futures Research Platform.


CENTRE FOR DIGITAL TRUST AND SECURITY EVENT.

  Centre for Digital Trust and Society Seed Corn Showcase | 16th May (14:30 - 17:00) | Drinks reception available. The Centre for Digital Trust and Society (CDTS) Seed Corn Funding awards funding to cutting-edge proposals that further our research and understanding of digital trust and society. Come along and see how you can get involved with this initiative and explore the successes and learnings of our previously funded projects. Register here. Featured projects include:

  • Demanding justice in the Cloud: An analysis of punitive attitudes in social media for traditional and cyber-enabled crime | Dr Nicholas Trajtenberg Pareja & Mr Pablo Ezquerra Silva
  • Rebuilding Democratic Discourse: Online Harms and Trust | Dr Mihaela Popa-Wyatt, Dr Justina Berskyte, Prof Graham Stevens
  • Defining the acceptability of ‘safe’ data linkage to identify women at risk of postnatal complication in Greater Manchester | Dr Victoria Palin, Prof Niels Peek, Prof Jenny Myers, Dr Anthony Wilson, Mr Bradley Quinn
  • Modern slavery and digitisation in ‘fast-fashion’ supply networks | Dr Jonathan Davies, Prof Rose Broad, Dr Amy Benstead 

The Centre for Digital Trust and Society leads and delivers activity for the Digital Trust and Security theme within The University’s Digital Futures Research Platform.


RECONNECT EVENT.

   Want to meet new people and reconnect with others before exams/summer? Join us for another Reconnect event with various activities and speak with the Social Prescribers to find out ways to get more involved in university life or new hobbies before summer! We'll be in room B1 at the SU between 1-3pm on the 12th April - drop in whenever you like. Snacks and drinks provided. 


DEMONSTRATE YOUR PROJECTS AT THE OPEN DAY!

  This from Jasmine Barrow: Join us if you want to showcase your Year 1 team project or your Year 3 project during the upcoming open days on the 22nd and 29th of June. This is a paid opportunity with an hourly rate of £11.33 - limited spaces available! If you're interested please get in touch. What's an open day? Hundreds of excited students will visit Manchester to explore the university and the course options. What are we looking for? Students who are enthusiastic and willing to showcase and discuss a project as a valued part of a Computer Science Exhibition in Kilburn. Do you belong to student societies or PASS? We are also eager to collaborate with societies and PASS and would love to hear your ideas about what you would have loved to have seen at this stage of your journey to university.


SUMMER PROJECT IN AUTOMATIC SOFTWARE TESTING.

  Lucas Cordeiro writes: We're offering two full-time positions to collaborate with the FuSeBMC project team to develop a custom GitHub Action for integrating the FuSeBMC tool into continuous integration workflows. FuSeBMC, an award-winning automatic test generation tool, utilises fuzzing and bounded model checking to uncover software vulnerabilities and enhance code coverage. As part of this summer project, you'll contribute to creating a custom GitHub Action and potentially publishing it on the GitHub Marketplace. Additionally, tasks may include refining the FuSeBMC interface for better compatibility with GitHub Action models and developing tools to integrate results with other GitHub functionalities. You can find further information about these posts and how to apply for them here. If you are interested then please get in touch. You can also contact Suzanne Embury for details about these posts. Take advantage of this opportunity to contribute to cutting-edge software testing and impact the tech industry!


ELI & BRITT HARARI GRAPHENE ENTERPRISE AWARD.

  This annual award is to help students, postdoctoral researchers, and recent graduates at The University of Manchester establish new companies involving graphene or other 2D materials. Applications will be judged on the strength of their commercial proposition. Prizes of £50,000 and £20,000 will be awarded to the individuals or teams. Who can enter: postdoctoral researchers and recent graduates (3 years, see T&C’s). For more information see the application link. The deadline for applications is 12pm (Midday) Thursday 23rd May 2024.


INAUGURAL SEMINAR.

  Dr Emily Collins will present an inaugural lecture titled “Building Trustworthy Robotics for Better, Safer Industry” on Tuesday 9th April 1-2pm, in Kilburn building Lecture Theatre 1.3. Note: this is a rearranged seminar. Abstract: My current research, as a DKO Fellow, aims to make robots work as effectively as possible for humans and society.  In my inaugural seminar, I will describe how my career path led me here, where I am focussed on addressing the issue of how to build trustworthy robotics for society. Currently, it is relatively easy to build (remote-controlled) robotic systems and it is possible, though complex, to ensure their functions are reliable. However, despite messaging to the contrary, fully autonomous systems are still far away, and human interaction and direct control remain vital. No matter how reliable or effective the hardware or Artificial Intelligence is, the control of these systems is fundamentally dependent on how human operators use them; how much confidence and trust operators have in the systems; and how much easier these systems make the operators' working lives. In recent years, I have spearheaded a new interdisciplinary approach to this problem that aims to resolve the issues that occur between design, development, and eventual deployment. Focussed on the mediating variables contributing to an HRI study as the result of the relationships surrounding the interaction at the scenario’s core.

Please use the link below to join the seminar on Zoom if you are unable to join us in-person: Meeting ID: 918 2986 8190, Passcode: 737960.


INAUGURAL SEMINAR.

  Dr. Louise Dennis will present an inaugural seminar titled “Verifiable Autonomous Systems” on Wednesday 10th April, 2-3pm in Kilburn building Lecture Theatre 1.3. Abstract: How can we provide guarantees of behaviour for autonomous systems? In this talk I will explain how autonomous systems can be programmed in ways that make them amenable to formal verification. I will discuss how cognitive agent programming can be used to provide a transparent and verifiable decision-making core and show how properties of the system can then be checked – including properties related to ethical behaviour.

Please use the link below to join the seminar on Zoom if you are unable to join us in-person: Meeting ID: 921 1912 1061, Passcode: 023687.


INAUGURAL LECTURE.

  Professor Sami Kaski will present an inaugural lecture titled “Collaborative Machine Learning for Research” on 23rd April 2024, 1-2pm,  Engineering Building A, Lecture Theatre B.  Sami Kaski is Professor of Artificial Intelligence in the Department of Computer Science at the University of Manchester and at Aalto University, Helsinki. In Manchester he is the Research Director of the Christabel Pankhurst Institute for Health Technology Research and Innovation, and in Helsinki leads the Finnish Centre for Artificial Intelligence Research FCAI and ELLIS Unit Helsinki. He is also an ELLIS Fellow and Turing Fellow of the Alan Turing Institute. Abstract: I will bring together two traditionally separate lines of research: (i) probabilistic machine learning, in which we combine flexible learning from multiple sources of data with prior knowledge in the form of simulators, and (ii) user interaction, starting from interactive intent modelling in information retrieval and extending to collaborative AI. This combination enables developing new kinds of tools for research tasks, including AI-assisted design tools for design-build-test-learn cycles. When R&D processes are formulated as virtual simulation-based laboratories, the tools can be applied across fields from experimental sciences to engineering design and medicine, and further to humanities and social sciences. The university is now building significant capacity in this field with the launch of the Centre for AI Fundamentals, AI-FUN, with research groups focusing on developing machine learning principles and seeking to do that in collaboration with other fields. 

To find our more, please contact ai-fun@manchester.ac.uk or ellis@manchester.ac.uk. Click here to register for the event. For catering purposes please register if you intend to attend.


LIBRARY OPENING HOURS AND STUDY SPACES DURING THE EXAM PERIOD.

  Extended opening until 2am is available at Main Library up to and during the exam period. Bookable study space and group study rooms are available at Main Library and Alan Gilbert Learning Commons


SOMETHING TO SHARE?

  The deadline for sending in Monday Mail items: 12:00 (noon) every Friday. Just contact Paul.

Welcome to Gareth’s Puzzle Corner, this is your weekly fix of brain teasers and logic puzzles. You are given 5 different puzzles to tackle. One is an easier Sudoku, the second is a more challenging Sudoku, the third is a different form of logic puzzle and we have a chess puzzle for you. Finally, each week you can compete with myself and other students/staff to see who has the best geography skills. Try your hand at Geoguessr below. I hope you enjoy the puzzles and if you have any puzzles you wish to feature or ideas for Puzzle Corner then please get in touch.

Easier Sudoku - Classic Sudoku by sudoku.com 

Normal sudoku rules apply.

Challenging Sudoku - The Green Machine by James Kopp 

Normal sudoku rules apply. Adjacent digits along a green line have a difference of at least 5.

Pencil Puzzle - Tents by Puzzlemadness.co.uk 

Your task is to insert tents in the grid so that, Each tree is paired with a tent - the tent must be next to the tree horizontally or vertically. Tents are never placed next to each, including diagonally. The horizontal and vertical clues tell you how many tents are in that row or column.

Chess Puzzle - Probst Vs. Lowing, 1922 

Drag and drop the White pieces to win the match.

Geoguessr

And Finally, our weekly competition from geoguessr.com.

We are playing the new map again this week as a one off called: Where's that Mcdonald's?. All of the clues are there, you just need to find them!

You need to take in as much information as you can from the google street view and then drop your pin on the map. The closer to the correct location you are the more points you get. Can you get the top score after all 5 rounds? This week we are giving you 2 mins per round but running out of time will give you 0 pts. Winners will be announced next week! Why not share this with your friends, see if we can get over 20 people playing this week!

The winner the previous week was Cyrus with a score of 22,163 out of a possible 25,000. A great score, there were some tough rounds in there. The winner of the closest individual guess this week was Ewan with a guess only 2 yards away on Round 1. A great guess, well done!

Answers to Last Week’s Puzzles

The answers to last week's puzzles can be found here.


Week 7 • Monday 11 March 2024 • #23.22          The Monday Mail

Paul pic

Good morning. It’s Monday 11th March and it’s week 7. We finish on Friday for a three-week Easter break, with teaching resuming on Monday 8th April 2024. As we are on the run up to the end of the semester 2 teaching period there will be a lot of deadlines approaching, so if you are struggling to meet these it’s important you ask for help if you need it (see below).

If you are a 3rd year student, don't forget that the deadline for stopping work on the project “artefact” is this Friday. You should make sure you submit your work by the deadline. If you don’t, then this will impact the achievements mark for your project. You will then have four weeks to work on the report and screencast (see below).

Monday Mail will be taking a break over the Easter vacation and will return on the 8th April. Enjoy your break and make sure you take some time off from your studies. It may also be worth making a start on your revision, as there will be no break between the semester 2 teaching period ending and the exams starting.

On with today's news ...

Paul
Undergraduate Programme Director


STUDENT WELLBEING SUPPORT IN CS.

  Just a reminder, as we approach a key time in the semester where deadlines may become more frequent, it is important to remember that we have a dedicated wellbeing team in the Department, Maria Sloan and Ben Herbert, who are available to support you. If you are affected by any issues impacting your learning, struggling with your work and considering interruption, you are DASS registered and feel that your condition is starting to affect you more than usual, or you just need somebody to speak to, then you should speak to a member of the wellbeing team. You can contact Maria and Ben at soe.wellbeing@manchester.ac.uk, or you can drop into the student hub in Engineering Building A and ask to speak to someone, in confidence.


YEAR TUTOR OPEN HOURS.

  In the Department we have year tutors who are responsible for looking after the different cohorts in each year group. They are here to provide you with help and support if you need it, so feel free to contact your year tutor by email. They also run a weekly open hour where you can pop in for a chat during the teaching period:

  • Year 1 (not CM): Gareth Henshall. Open hour: Tuesday 12:00 - 13:00, Kilburn 2.82.
  • Year 2 (not CM): Aphrodite Galata. Open hour: Tuesday 14:00 - 15:00, Kilburn 2.101.
  • Industrial Experience Year: Duncan Hull. Open hour: Thursdays 10:00 - 12:00 Kilburn LF25.
  • Year 3/4 (not CM): Tim Morris. Open hour: Tuesday 11:00 - 12:00, Kilburn 2.107. 
  • CM (all years): Andrea Schalk. Open hour: Thursday 12:00 - 13:00, 2.103.
  • UG Director: Paul Nutter. Open hour: Tuesday 10:00 - 11:00, IT119.


PASS1.

  The PASS1 team (Max Beck-Jones (Y3, CS4), Luke Sanderson (Y3, CS), Sarah Saad (Y3, AI4), Nicolo Micheletti (Y3, CS), and Rosie Halsall (Y3, CS4)) write: Hi everyone!  As we begin Week 7, we wanted to remind you of the valuable resources available through the Peer-Assisted Student Support (PASS) scheme. If you want some advice with Java coursework, or struggling with your team project, PASS is the perfect place to go. Your PASS Leaders are ready and willing to help! Even if you just want a break (with some free snacks!), feel free to just drop in. If you haven't attended before, PASS Leaders are made up of 2nd and 3rd years who have been through the difficulties of 1st year too! Check your emails from your PASS Leader to find the location of your session. If you haven't been receiving emails from your PASS leaders or don't know who they are, email rose.halsall@student.manchester.ac.uk who will be able to help!


MEET A STUDENT REP.

  The student rep of the week this week is Benjamin Kollar (Y3, CS). Ben writes: Hi guys, I'm Ben, a third year CS student from Liverpool, UK ; I'm a big fan of anything involving skateboards or loud guitars :) If anyone has any questions or issues they'd like to raise, or just wants to chat, feel free to contact me on insta (@benkol003) or you can email me. (Lovely photo Ben)


NATIONAL STUDENT SURVEY.

  The National Student Survey (NSS) will continue to run until Tuesday 30th April 2024. NSS offers final year students the opportunity to reflect on their time at Manchester and allows you to provide feedback on how, overall, you found your experience of studying at Manchester. All students eligible to complete NSS will receive an email from Ipsos Mori (an external company appointed by the UK Government to run NSS) with a link to complete the survey. There’s no need to wait, you can complete NSS directly via the NSS website. As a thank you for your time, every student who takes part in the NSS 2024 can enter a prize draw. Additionally, for each response submitted the University will also make a £2 charitable donation, split equally between four good causes: University of Manchester Cost of Living Support Fund, Refugee Women Connect, St Ann’s Hospice, and Lifeshare. Any feedback you provide is important to us as it can help us improve what we do. NSS is anonymous, so you can be open and honest in your feedback. We want your views - tell us what was good and what was bad! 


CLOCKS MOVE FORWARD.

  Please note that on Sunday 31st March (during the Easter break) the clocks go forward by 1 hour at 2 am, when we move into British Summer Time (Greenwich Mean Time +1 hour). 


EASTER OPENING HOURS.

  The Kilburn Building will be open as normal during the Easter vacation, 09:00 - 18:00 Monday to Friday, apart from the period Friday 29th March (Good Friday) and Monday 1st April (Easter Monday), when the Kilburn building will be closed and there will be no access for students. For students holding an extended working hours pass, access is still available when the Kilburn building is open.


EXTENSION REQUESTS.

  If you find you are falling behind due to circumstances beyond your control with an assessment then you can apply for a short extension to allow you to complete your work. You must apply for an extension BEFORE the deadline through the Department Mitigating Circumstances page. Please note that you are unable to apply for an extension for some assessments, these are detailed in the deadlines Gantt chart, or in SPOT. You should only be applying for an extension if you really need one, we will be monitoring applications to ensure the system is not being abused. 


COMP16321 LABS.

  This is from Gareth Henshall: We have been developing a new version of the COMP16321 labs for use next academic year. We are looking for some volunteers to test out and provide feedback on the new format, style and ease of use. If you are interested or want to know more about this then please email Gareth. Your feedback will help shape the lab scripts and as a result improve the experience for future COMP16321 cohorts.


SEMESTER 1 DATA DASHBOARDS.

  The department runs moderation panels each semester to scrutinise course unit results and make recommendations for any adjustments to be made, such as the scaling up, or scaling down of course unit cohort marks. As part of this process a data dashboard is provided for each year group that provides data for each completed course unit (note no 20 credit, two semester course units are not considered at this stage in the year). The data includes the previous 3 years student performance on that course unit, how students taking that course unit have performed on other course units in the same semester (as a cohort), and how student performance on the unit compared to performance last year (as a cohort). For this process to be open and transparent we make these data dashboards available for students to view. You can find them in the CS UG Community space in Blackboard in the “Course Unit Data & Exam Feedback” folder (see link in the left-hand menu) - see the 2023-2024 folder.


THIRD YEAR PROJECT.

  Terry Morley writes: The deadline to stop development of the "artefact" for your project is 6pm on Friday (15th March), when you should submit a copy of what you have created (code base etc). Please do not submit things like datasets that were not created by you, or large neural network weight files - these are not required. Late or non-submission of your work will impact the Achievements mark for the project, and minor bug fixes are the only changes to the code you may carry out after that date. If your project does not involve the development of code, or similar, then please do submit a file that explains that there is no code to be submitted.

After submission you need to turn to working on the evaluation of your work, as well as producing your report and screencast, which are due for submission on Friday 12th April 2024. We have seen an escalation in the use of generative AI tools (ChatGPT etc) in work submitted by students. University advice on the use of such tools can be found here. Please note that presenting work generated by such systems without suitable acknowledgement is plagiarism and you risk disciplinary action being taken. Be careful how you use such tools! If you are struggling to meet the deadlines for the project, then please speak to your project supervisor, your year tutor, or a member of the School Wellbeing team.


LEARNING TIPS - WHAT IS FEEDBACK?

  Feedback is the process of providing advice, information, or criticism about your learning that helps you to understand the limitations in your understanding, or of what you have created, and more importantly, how it can be improved. Most students assume that the only form of feedback is written, for example, when a tutor writes with a red pen all over your 1st year reading week report. However, this isn’t the case; feedback can come in many forms.

When the lecturer is explaining an answer to a multiple choice quiz question in a lecture, and is explaining why one of the choices is correct and the others incorrect - this is feedback. When you are in an examples class and GTAs and staff (even your fellow students) are explaining how a concept works, how to apply a technique, whether your current attempt is correct or not (for example in the COMP11120 examples class)  - this is feedback. When you ask for help from a GTA in a lab and they provide advice on your code, or how to approach solving a problem, they are providing you with feedback. You complete a formative quiz in BB and you receive a score and are told in the question feedback which answers are correct, and why - this is feedback. In a lab, the GTA has marked your work face-to-face and completed a rubric to determine your final mark. There are two forms of feedback here, verbal feedback on your work from the GTA during the marking process, and feedback via the rubric, which highlights how your work satisfies the marking criteria. There are many other examples where you are exposed to feedback on your learning throughout your time in Manchester. Consequently, don’t think of feedback as something that someone writes down for you, think of all the times you interact with staff, GTAs and your fellow students where you are discussing your learning; in all cases you are receiving feedback on your learning. 


HOW DO I CHECK IF I’VE SUBMITTED MY WORK?

  We often get asked by students how to check that they have submitted work successfully, and it’s quite easy to do.

  • Blackboard: if the submission method is using Blackboard, then you can check under the “My Grades” link on the left on each course unit Blackboard page (under “Submitted” or “Marked”). You can also check via SPOT, although SPOT is only updated at 12pm and 6pm daily, so any submission between those times will not be shown until the update takes place.  SPOT includes the date and time when the last data was received from Blackboard on each page.
  • Git: if the submission method is using git, then you can check via SPOT.  Submissions via git will show in SPOT immediately (but you do need to refresh the SPOT web page).  You know if you have submitted correctly because the date and time will appear under the Submission column in the coursework table for that course.   
  • Whilst SPOT shows you something has been submitted, it does not know what, so cannot be used to verify you've submitted the correct required files.  To check the files you have submitted use Blackboard or GitLab.
  • Some course units have additional requirements, which are not documented in SPOT. Always make sure you carefully read the submission instructions for each piece of work.


UNICS STUDENT HACK.

  UniCS is organising one of our flagship events for the April 13th weekend: StudentHack 2024. A 24 hour hackathon for Manchester's brightest and most creative students to combine their ideas and make an awesome project! We have a prominent history of running hackathons over the last decade, with GreatUniHack last October. We received approval to use the Engineering Building (MECD), marking the first time our hackathons have run on familiar territory :) Follow us on our Instagram, @unics_hackathons, for more information on how to take part! (free food, prizes, fun activities and more!)


UNICS AGM.

  Thank you all who applied for UniCS 2024-2025 committee roles! We’ll be having our Annual General Meeting (AGM) on Wednesday 13th of March from 3:30pm - 6pm in Kilburn Collab so come along to vote for your peers and have a say in who YOU think would be best suited to run UniCS in the next academic year. We will also be going through a summary of everything we’ve achieved this year and we hope you can come. Snacks and drinks will be provided so don’t miss out!


FORTHCOMING ONLINE PROGRAMMING COMPETITION.

  This from Ian Pratt-Hartmann: Ladies and Gentlemen. We would like to announce the “UKIEPC 2024: Spring Practice” programming contest which will be held online at 12:00-14:30 pm, 23 March. Our main goal is to promote programming for everyone in the UK and Ireland. This contest is targeted at novices and amateurs - we expect the problems to be of Div. 3 - Div.2 level in the terms of the site codeforces.com. Programmers with a rating higher than 1900 are encouraged to join our team of problem setters (look at the bottom). The date is 23rd of March. The start time is 12:00. The duration is 2:30. The contest is in teams of two people and each team can use two computers. The contest will be held on codeforces.com, so, everyone should be registered there to participate. The link to our group is here


MAY BALL.

  UniCS is excited to announce that we are running our annual May Ball on the 3rd of May 2024 at Midland Hotel! Come along dressed to impress for our James Bond themed ball. Join us for music, dancing and an amazing three-course meal that you wouldn’t want to miss out on! If you missed the early bird tickets, do not worry because general tickets will be releasing on the 6th of March at 4pm on our product page so look out for those.


INAUGURAL SEMINAR.

  Dr. Mingfei Sun will present an inaugural lecture titled “Deep Reinforcement Learning for Complex Decision Making” on Wednesday 13th March, 13:00 - 14:00 in Kilburn Lecture Theatre 1.3. Abstract: Deep reinforcement learning proves to be an effective optimization method for resolving numerous complex decision-making problems. In this seminar talk, I will begin by providing a brief overview of deep reinforcement learning and the underlying model, Markov Decision Processes (MDP). Subsequently, I will delve into the challenges that make MDP hard to solve, addressing key issues such as the extremely vast state/action space, the reward alignment problem, and the policy generalization challenge. Furthermore, I will showcase examples of employing deep reinforcement learning to tackle challenging problems in video games, multiagent systems, and simulated robot controls. Towards the conclusion of the talk, I will introduce the ongoing challenges we are currently addressing, with a specific emphasis on combinatorial decision-making on graphs and efficient optimization methods for large models.


SPRING CAREERS FAIR 2023.

  We are delighted to be welcoming over 50 recruiters to campus with graduate jobs, placements, and internships. For students of all years, the careers fair offers an ideal opportunity for you to speak directly, and in-person, with local and national organisations from a range of business and industry sectors and find out more about their opportunities. The careers takes place:

Employers include: Aldi, Alhpasights, Bidfood, CGG, Chalk Education, Civil Service Fast Sream, D2 Global Ltd, Dassault Systems, Demantic, DSV Road Limited, DustScan, EG Group, Electroserv, Equilibrium Financial Planning, Express Solicitors, FirstCEntral, Get into Teaching, Good notes, Grant Thornton,  H&MV engineering, Hurstlepoint College, Informed Solutions, KPI Education, Mars Wrigley, Morson Projects, Mott MacDonald, Net World Sports, Novanta, Omnicom Health Group, Reply, Rota, RSM, RWS, Sandhills East, Sennen Education, Teach First, DPO Centre, TPP, Trudell, Unilever and United Utilities.


CENTRE FOR DIGITAL TRUST AND SOCIETY SEED CORN SHOWCASE.

  Join us to celebrate the groundbreaking achievements of the four research projects funded in our 2022-2023 Seed Corn Funding on 16th May, 14:30 - 17:00. Find out how the Seed Corn program helps nurture promising ideas, fostering the next generation of digital trust research, and learn ways you can get involved! What to expect at the Showcase:

  • Dive into the learnings and successes of the four funded projects.
  • Discover the exciting advancements made by these innovative researchers.
  • Learn how you can get involved in shaping the future of digital trust research.

Projects:

  • Demanding justice in the Cloud: An analysis of punitive attitudes in social media for traditional and cyber-enabled crime | Dr Nicholas Trajtenberg Pareja (PI) and Mr Pablo Ezquerra Silva.
  • Rebuilding Democratic Discourse: Online Harms and Trust | Dr Mihaela Popa-Wyatt (PI), Dr Justina Berskyte, Prof Graham Stevens
  • Defining the acceptability of ‘safe’ data linkage to identify women at risk of postnatal complication in Greater Manchester | Dr Victoria Palin (PI), Prof Niels Peek, Prof Jenny Myers, Dr Anthony Wilson, Mr Bradley Quinn
  • Modern slavery and digitisation in ‘fast-fashion’ supply networks | Dr Jonathan Davies (PI), Prof Rose Broad, Dr Amy Benstead 

Register here to secure your spot.


CENTRE FOR DIGITAL TRUST AND SECURITY EVENT.

  Feeling lost in the maze of privacy discussions? Then join us for a thought-provoking discussion led by Kieron O'Hara, author of the acclaimed "The Seven Veils of Privacy". Date & time: 20th March | 12:30 - 14:30. Location: Engineering Building A - Room 3A.071. Kieron O'Hara will unveil a clear and comprehensive framework to navigate the seemingly endless arguments around privacy and your rights. Discover why the clashing perspectives on social norms, human rights, personal preferences, and data processing often lead to frustration and confusion. Gain clarity and engage in meaningful dialogue as we dissect the different facets of privacy and work towards a path forward. Don't miss this chance to break through the ambiguity and shape your own understanding of privacy in today's complex world! There are limited seats available, so register now! The Centre for Digital Trust and Society leads and delivers activity for the Digital Trust and Security theme within The University’s Digital Futures Research Platform, including the Digital Trust and Security Seminar Series. These events are designed to highlight key insights into developments, challenges and identify areas for growth within Digital Trust & Security. Digital Futures is a highly interdisciplinary network that operates across the whole range of The University’s digital research.


STUDENT MENTAL HEALTH DAY EVENT.

  The Social Prescribing team are holding a free event to celebrate Student Mental Health and Social Prescribing day! Join us for an afternoon of wellbeing activities in the University's beautiful botanical garden. You can take some time to do some mindful gardening, enjoy some arts and crafts or simply relax in nature.

Pop in at any time during the event, everyone is welcome.


SPEAK YOUR MIND - PARTICIPANTS WANTED.

  The Counselling and Mental Health Service are seeking your views on the provision of mental health and wellbeing support at the University. This is an opportunity for you to meet staff from the Counselling and Mental Health Service, learn more about the support on offer and share your views with us. The session will last for 2 hours and for your time, you will receive a free lunch and the opportunity to win some fabulous prizes. We are looking for a maximum of 30 students. Sign up here. Disclaimer: Please note this is not a group support session or a forum for specific complaints. Staff will be on hand to signpost you if you require further support.


PRIMARY ROBOTICS WORKSHOPS.

  IntoUniversity are looking for volunteers for Y5/6 (primary school age group) coding workshops. They will pay you £35 to develop a session, plus £35 for each one you deliver (and they will arrange transport for you to get to their centre). You can find further information here. Please contact abbie.mountford@manchester.ac.uk for further information. The University will be able to provide kit to support these activities.


YEAR 10 WORKSHOP.

  To celebrate the end of the Year 10 part of our Manchester Young Academics programme will be holding a campus visit on Tuesday June 11th and are after a workshop/activity in the morning that is 60-90 mins for students to take part in. We want something fun and possibly a bit ‘flashy’ to get them excited about some of the resources that you can have access to at university. It'll be for maximum 36 students and we can split them into two groups and run the workshop twice if that is easier.” Get in touch with Emma Nichols if you are interested; they’ve expressed a particular interest in robotics. The University can supply kit to support this.


YOUTH CHARITY SUPPORT.

  We are a Youth Charity working with children and young people in Levenshulme and Longsight, and we run two different play sessions with children 7-12 years old. We would loved to have a demonstration of science experiments during our sessions, so please let us know your availability. Our play sessions are every Tuesday 4.30-6pm and every Wednesday 5-6.30pm. Get in touch with Emma Nichols if you are interested.


DO YOU FEEL YOU BELONG AT UOM?

   Fitting in and feeling accepted as part of a group, whether that is your university course, a society or your flatmates, can be a real motivation to do and feel well. As part of the DSE Future Talent Scheme, we want to hear from you and about your sense of belonging to the University of Manchester community. Once you have completed this short survey, you will be given the opportunity to enter a prize draw to win one of FIVE £20 shopping vouchers, as well as sign up to upcoming focus groups if you would like to speak in more depth about student sense of belonging. Please find the link to the survey here


LIBRARY NEWS.

  Gemma Smith writes: We have a new ‘Support Zone’ on Blue Ground Floor of the Main Library. The Support Zone is being used on a 'drop-in' basis, please ask at the Customer Services desk to speak to a member of staff.  


IPAD AND LAPTOP LOANS FROM THE LIBRARY.

  This from Gemma Smith: iPads and laptops are for use within the library only and can be borrowed for up to six hours at a time from the Main Library and the Alan Gilbert Learning Commons.

  • iPads offer key apps including Blackboard, Adobe Reader, user guides, Prezi, TED and social media.
  • Laptops offer Microsoft Office applications, eduroam WiFi, and wireless printing. 

How to access

  • iPads: Borrow from machines located on Blue Ground floor in the Main Library
  • Laptops: Borrow from machines located on Blue Ground floor in the Main Library and lower ground floor at the Alan Gilbert Learning Commons. 

To borrow a device, simply swipe your student ID card at the machine. Further details on the Library website.

Welcome to Gareth’s Puzzle Corner, this is your weekly fix of brain teasers and logic puzzles. You are given 5 different puzzles to tackle. One is an easier Sudoku, the second is a more challenging Sudoku, the third is a different form of logic puzzle and we have a chess puzzle for you. Finally, each week you can compete with myself and other students/staff to see who has the best geography skills. Try your hand at Geoguessr below. I hope you enjoy the puzzles and if you have any puzzles you wish to feature or ideas for Puzzle Corner then please get in touch.

Easier Sudoku - Classic Sudoku by sudoku.com

Normal sudoku rules apply.

Challenging Sudoku - 121 by Dorlir 

Normal sudoku rules apply. The digits within a cage must sum to the small clue in the top-left corner of that cage. The inequality sign points to the smaller digit.

Pencil Puzzle - Towers by Puzzlemadness.co.uk

Each puzzle consists of an NxN grid with some clues along its sides. The object is to place a skyscraper in each square, with a height between 1 and N, so that no two skyscrapers in a row or column have the same number of floors. In addition, the number of visible skyscrapers, as viewed from the direction of each clue, is equal to the value of the clue. Note that higher skyscrapers block the view of lower skyscrapers located behind them.

Chess Puzzle - Alborch Vs. Llobell, 1995 

Drag and drop the Black pieces to win the match.

Geoguessr

And Finally, our weekly competition from geoguessr.com.

We are playing the new map again this week called I Saw The Sign 2.0. All of the clues are there, you just need to find them! You need to take in as much information as you can from the google street view and then drop your pin on the map. The closer to the correct location you are the more points you get. Can you get the top score after all 5 rounds? This week we are giving you 2 mins per round but running out of time will give you 0 pts. Winners will be announced next week! Why not share this with your friends, see if we can get over 20 people playing this week!

We have a brand new winner this week, Pat Mermel with a score of 23,241 out of a possible 25,000. A great score, there were some tough rounds in there. The winner of the closest individual guess this week was Ewan Massey with a guess only 6 yards away on Round 1. A great guess, well done! So although not their best overall score still gets the top individual guess.

Answers to Last Week’s Puzzles

The answers to last week's puzzles can be found here.


Week 6 • Monday 4 March 2024 • #23.21          The Monday Mail

Paul pic

Good morning, it’s Monday 4th March 2024 and it’s week 6 of semester 2. Wow! … March already and we are halfway through the semester, how the time has flown by!

The semester 1 exam results will be released at 12 o’clock (noon) on Tuesday. Fingers crossed you achieve the results you are hoping for!  If you want to chat to someone about your results, then help is available. Feel free to speak to your Personal Tutor (you should be meeting them over the next 2 weeks to discuss your results anyway), or your Year Tutor (see below). We only have a set of results for the first half of the year, so the bigger picture of what your results mean will only become clearer after the semester 2 exams have taken place. We've provided some (brief) advice below about exam results and what they mean with respect to progression and graduation.

Plenty of news in today’s edition including a Women+ in Computer Science social event on Wednesday, and news of the UniCS May Ball.

On with today’s news … 

Paul
Undergraduate Programme Director

* STUDENT SUPPORT HUB EMAIL ADDRESS. If you need to contact a member of the Teaching, Learning and Student Experience team, then there are a range of email addresses that you can use depending upon the nature of your query: 

If you are unsure which email to use then just use soe.hub@manchester.ac.uk for general queries. 


REPORT AND SUPPORT.

  The University’s Report and Support Service is available to students. If you or someone you know has experienced or witnessed any form of bullying, harassment, discrimination, gender-based violence, hate or micro-aggressions, or have a safeguarding concern, you can report it anonymously or get support from a trained advisor through Report and Support. To report an incident and speak to a caseworker, you can either fill out the online form or someone can do it on your behalf. The team will seek to understand your situation and aim to give you information, advice and support tailored to your individual circumstances. You can access this service here. Please be mindful that whilst you can send anonymous reports, the team is unable to contact you to offer support unless you provide your name and contact details.


DASS SUPPORT DEADLINE IMMINENT.

  There is a deadline coming up for exam support through DASS (Disability Advice Support Service). DASS offers support to all students who have a condition which has an adverse and long-term effect on their ability to carry-out normal day-to-day activities. This includes Cognitive Developmental Delay, Physical Health and Mental Health issues. A DASS advisor is always happy to talk with you if you are unsure if you can register with them. You can find out more information about DASS and how to contact them here: who-do-we-support. The University has a deadline for putting exam support in place for each of the main exam periods. The next deadline is Thursday 14th March 2024 at 4pm, you’ll need to register and have met with an adviser to agree your exam support by then. For more details, see the exam support page. Appointments with Disability Advisers in the weeks leading up to the deadline become booked up very quickly, so please ensure that you contact DASS as early as possible.


WELFARE WEEKLY - MIT CIRCS 101 - WRITING AN APPLICATION FOR MITIGATION.

   This from Ben Herbert, Student Support and Wellbeing: Last time we covered the kind of evidence to include and not to include in your mitigation application. This time, as a number of students have raised an issue with the character limit of the mitigation application form, I want to discuss how to fill in the narrative section of your application form with as little as five sentences. Unfortunately for you, I'm not going to tell you what to write to get your application accepted, but I can tell you how to efficiently use your 1000 character limit to produce an application that gives the mitigation panel all they need to make a decision.

Your application needs to be clear and concise so it is easy to read while at the same time remembering that your application will be read by someone who does not do your course, so technical aspects should be clearly explained. Firstly, do not apply for mitigation or extensions too early. We need to be sure that the circumstances are going to impact your work. So for example, applying for an extension on an item due in three weeks because you are ill now, is likely to not be accepted. Next, if you want a one week extension make sure to select the correct option at the top of the form. If you want some other kind of outcome then select the other option. If you want a mixture of extensions and other mitigation outcomes then you will need to complete two forms.

So how do you write your application? Your application should be split into five parts:

  1. What has happened? This should be a brief outline of the circumstances that have led to you applying for mitigation. We are not looking for a long backstory or the reason behind the issue occurring. For example, if you are ill, how or who you think you may have got ill from has no relevance to your application. All the detail  we need will be included in the evidence you supplied.
  2. The period of time impacted. This is regularly left out of application. If we don't know the dates you have been affected then your application may be rejected.
  3. How have the circumstances affected you? We are looking for a brief and clear understanding of how the circumstances directly impacted you to mean you could not do your work. We don't need the gory details but we do need to know how you have been significantly impacted. Without this your application may not be accepted.
  4. How have the circumstances impacted your work? Lastly you need to be clear on how exactly this has impacted your assessment.
  5. Tell us your preferred outcome. We cannot guarantee the outcome you want but there's no harm in asking, and it helps us make a decision.

Lastly, do not waste space including your name, course or student number; we already have those details. Do not use Google translate, it often picks the wrong words to use making the application hard to understand. Do not use Chat GPT, because nothing says "I'm lying, reject me!" like an application clearly written by an over enthusiastic chat bot. TLDR: A brief and clear application is what we want to see to help us give you the best outcome.


YEAR TUTOR OPEN HOURS.

  In the Department we have year tutors who are responsible for looking after the different cohorts in each year group. They are here to provide you with help and support if you need it, so feel free to contact your year tutor by email. They also run a weekly open hour where you can pop in for a chat during the teaching period:

  • Year 1 (not CM): Gareth Henshall. Open hour: Tuesday 12:00 - 13:00, Kilburn 2.82.
  • Year 2 (not CM): Aphrodite Galata. Open hour: Tuesday 14:00 - 15:00, Mercury.
  • Industrial Experience Year: Duncan Hull. Open hour: Thursdays 10:00 - 12:00 Kilburn LF25.
  • Year 3/4 (not CM): Tim Morris. Open hour: Tuesday 11:00 - 12:00, Kilburn 2.107. 
  • CM (all years): Andrea Schalk. Open hour: Thursday 12:00 - 13:00, 2.103.
  • UG Director: Paul Nutter. Open hour: Tuesday 10:00 - 11:00, IT119.


PASS1.

  The PASS1 team (Max Beck-Jones (Y3, CS4), Luke Sanderson (Y3, CS), Sarah Saad (Y3, AI4), Nicolo Micheletti (Y3, CS), and Rosie Halsall (Y3, CS4)) write: Hi everyone! For 1st years— This week PASS is in your usual rooms. If you don’t know where your group is based, get in touch with your leader or us coordinators (our emails are available on blackboard!). You will also (hopefully!)  be receiving your 1st semester results tomorrow. Remember that regardless of your grades, you have achieved a lot. The transition to university life is difficult, so you should be very proud of yourselves. 

For PASS1 leaders— Please sign up for our Heart Heroes session, on Friday 8th March, 2-4pm in Roscoe 3.5! This is Basic Life Support Training, with certification, so we want to encourage everyone to take the opportunity. You never know when you will need it! Sign up here. Spaces are unfortunately limited (40 max), so it is first come, first served. 

For everyone— thank you for coming to our games night event! It was a great success, and we loved seeing so many familiar faces. If you have any other event ideas, let us know and we can see what we can do!


MEET A STUDENT REP.

  The student rep of the week this week is Sahar Erin Rahman (Y2, CM). Sahar writes: I am Sahar Erin Rahman, a second-year Computer Science and Mathematics student. I love meeting new people, trying out different foods, exploring new places, journaling and learning about different cultures. I like to be challenged and push myself outside my comfort zone because I believe that is the best way for me to grow. I enjoy thinking outside the box and using critical thinking and creativity to find solutions to problems which is why I have chosen Computer Science as my major and am absolutely loving it at the moment. This is my first time being a student rep so I look forward to the new experience and working with you all to make the Computer Science student experience better. 


NATIONAL STUDENT SURVEY.

  The National Student Survey (NSS) is still running and will close on Tuesday 30th April 2024. NSS offers final year students the opportunity to reflect on their time at Manchester and allows you to provide feedback on how, overall, you found your experience of studying at Manchester. All students eligible to complete NSS will receive an email from Ipsos Mori (an external company appointed by the UK Government to run NSS) with a link to complete the survey. There’s no need to wait, you can complete NSS directly via the NSS website. As a thank you for your time, every student who takes part in the NSS 2024 can enter a prize draw. Additionally, for each response submitted the University will also make a £2 charitable donation, split equally between four good causes: University of Manchester Cost of Living Support Fund, Refugee Women Connect, St Ann’s Hospice, and Lifeshare. Any feedback you provide is important to us as it can help us improve what we do. NSS is anonymous, so you can be open and honest in your feedback. We want your views - tell us what was good and what was bad! 


COMP16412 ASSESSMENTS.

  This from Sarah Clinch: This Tuesday (5th March) is your opportunity to shape future years’ COMP16412 exams. We’re holding an open discussion session for students from all years at 11 am in Collab 2 and there will be snacks. COMP16412 (Programming II) will move to 100% exam from 2024/25, with a practical exam replacing the current coursework. What would this practical exam look like? How should practical exams run in Computer Science? What supporting materials would help students succeed? Come talk to us about our plans and your ideas.


THIRD YEAR PROJECT.

  Terry Morley writes: The deadline to stop development for your project is approaching. You submit a copy of what you have created (code base etc) to Blackboard by 6pm Friday 15th March 2024. Please do not submit things like datasets that were not created by you, or large neural network weight files - these are not required. Late or non-submission of your work will impact the Achievements mark for the project, and minor bug fixes are the only changes to the code you may carry out after that date. You need to turn to working on the evaluation of your work, as well as producing your report and screencast, which are due for submission on Friday 12th April 2024. We have seen an escalation in the use of generative AI tools (ChatGPT etc) in work submitted by students. University advice on the use of such tools can be found here. Please note that presenting work generated by such systems without suitable acknowledgement is plagiarism and you risk disciplinary action being taken. Be careful how you use such tools!


THE UNDERGRADUATE HANDBOOK.

  The Undergraduate Handbook is your one-stop resource for all information related to your studies. It contains information about your degree programmes, details on progression, how to change programmes or interrupt your studies, information on student support etc. The handbook also has information related to how to apply for mitigating circumstances if your learning has been affected by issues out of your control, such as an illness. You can always find the link to the handbook (as well as other useful links) at the top of each Monday Mail in the 'Essential Links' banner.


LEARNING TIPS - EXAM RESULTS.

  Every year when exam results are released, we get asked the same questions from students: “I’ve failed a course unit, does that mean I’ve failed my degree?”, “Does a pass mark of 40% apply to the coursework and exam components?”, “Do I need to resit the course unit?” etc. Hopefully, we will try and clear up some of the misunderstanding.  First, what is a pass mark? The pass mark for a course unit is 40%. There is no requirement to pass individual assessment components, such as the exam, at 40%, just the course unit overall. It is possible to be awarded the credits for a course unit (and so be able to progress to the next year) with a mark below 40% in some cases; this is known as compensation. Compensation in Years 1 and 2 requires a mark in the range of 30 - 39%, and such units are known as a ‘compensated fail’. You can find out more in the University Guide for Taught Degree Regulations. Please note that the two introductory programming units COMP16321 and COMP16412 cannot be compensated and require a mark of 40 for students to progress (as do some MATH units for Computer Science and Mathematics - CM - students).

In the 3rd/4th year we have what is referred to as special compensation, which means that you can fail up to 40 credits (so you have to pass 80 credits), that is a course unit with an overall mark less than 40%, and this does not affect the degree classification awarded beyond the impact low marks have on your overall average. Marks from Years 2, 3 (and 4 if you're on the MEng degree) contribute to your degree average. We will look at degree classifications another time.

If you are on any degree programme other than CM then you are on a degree programme accredited by the BCS (you can find out more information about what this means in the handbook). What this means is that over the course of your studies you can only have 30 credits of course units compensated. If you have more than 30 credit compensated then you move on to an unaccredited degree programme, which has the same content but follows the University compensation rules. The consequence of these rules is that you will be asked to resit any failed course unit, even those where we could apply compensation.

This means that one of the following will apply to each student in Years 1 and 2:

  • You have achieved a mark of at least 40% for all units: You progress to the next year.
  • You have achieved a mark of 40% for at least 80 credits, and the remaining units have marks from 30% to 39%:
    • If you are on an unaccredited degree, you progress.  
    • If you are on an accredited degree, we invite you to resit all units with a mark below 40%. You don't have to resit those units in order to progress, but if you have accumulated more than 30 credits of compensated fails (over Years 1 and 2), you are moved to an unaccredited version of your degree programme.
  •  You have some marks below 30%: You have to resit the units in question in order to progress.  

Of course we only have marks for Semester 1, and decisions regarding any resits will not be made until we have results for the whole year.


UNICS AGM AND NOMINATIONS.

  UniCS nominations for the 2024/25 committee roles have now opened! Applications will close on Wednesday 6th March at 10pm so make sure to fill them out as soon as you can! It is a great opportunity to meet new people, have fun, and gain a diverse range of skills. Voting will take place at our Annual General Meeting on Wednesday 13th of March from 3:30pm - 6pm so come along to support your peers, and hear more about what our society has done the past year! More details will be released on our socials soon.


UNICS GENERAL MEETING.

  As a reminder, UniCS will be holding a General Meeting on Wednesday 6th March at 3:30pm in Kilburn Collab 1+2 to discuss amendments to the constitution:

  • First Amendment: All sponsors should be voted on by the UniCS committee
  • Second Amendment: All hackathons sponsors should be voted on by the executive committee
  • Third Amendment: Companies that manufacture or distribute weapons cannot sponsor UniCS

We hope you come along for this society wide vote, as we believe UniCS should be taking a step towards good ethicality in light of recent events.


UNICS MAY BALL.

  UniCS is excited to announce that we are running our annual May Ball on the 3rd of May 2024 at Midland Hotel! Come along dressed to impress for our James Bond themed ball. Join us for music, dancing and an amazing three-course meal that you wouldn’t want to miss out on! If you missed the early bird tickets, do not worry because general tickets will be releasing on the 6th of March at 4pm on our product page so look out for those.


UNICS QRT EVENT.

  UniCS has invited QRT for a talk on Wednesday 6th of March from 3-4pm in Kilburn_TH 1.4. This is the perfect chance for you to learn more about what opportunities they have there and speak to their recruiters if you haven’t already found a placement so make sure to come if that is you!


DATA SCIENCE SOCIETY.

  Applied Data Science: Build Your Own Churn Model,  Wednesday 6th March 2-4pm, Simon 2.60. MUDS host global AI company Peak with a special edition data science workshop! Suitable for all interested, this workshop will use Python and Google Colab. We will learn:

  • An overview of the Data Science project life cycle
  • Setting up a working environment and loading a dataset
  • Working with Git
  • EDA and data transformation
  • Technical overview of the Churn Model
  • Hyperparameter tuning

This is an excellent opportunity for hands-on data science experience and a chance to network with established professionals from the Peak offices. See you all there!


WOMEN+ IN COMPUTER SCIENCE SOCIAL.

  Are you a woman or member of an under-represented group in computer science? Do you want to meet more people like you? Come join us as we celebrate International Women’s Day with cake, snacks and friendly chat. All students and staff are welcome at the Turing Lounge, 11 am on Wednesday 6th March.


VOLUNTEER FOR BRITISH SCIENCE WEEK 2024.

  Manchester Museum are looking for volunteers to help more than 1000 high school students navigate their British Science Week event on 11th and 12th March. Contact mattie.davies@manchester.ac.uk directly to apply. If you are not available on the 11th and 12th but would still like to volunteer to help with museum work you can find out more information on their website.

Welcome to Gareth’s Puzzle Corner, this is your weekly fix of brain teasers and logic puzzles. You are given 5 different puzzles to tackle. One is an easier Sudoku, the second is a more challenging Sudoku, the third is a different form of logic puzzle and we have a chess puzzle for you. Finally, each week you can compete with myself and other students/staff to see who has the best geography skills. Try your hand at Geoguessr below. I hope you enjoy the puzzles and if you have any puzzles you wish to feature or ideas for Puzzle Corner then please get in touch.

Easier Sudoku - Classic Sudoku by sudoku.com 

Normal sudoku rules apply.

Challenging Sudoku - Clockwork by shamShaman 

Normal sudoku rules apply. A digit in a circle indicates exactly how many circles contain that digit. 

Pencil Puzzle - Kuromasu by Warai Kamosika 

Colour the grey cells of the diagram black or white. A cell with a number cannot be blackened. The number indicates how many white cells can be seen altogether looking north, south, east and west (including the cell with the number) up to a black cell or the edge of the diagram. Black cells must not be orthogonally adjacent. All white cells must form a single orthogonally contiguous area.

Chess Puzzle - Nischala Vs. Sanudula, 2023 

Drag and drop the White pieces to win the match.

Geoguessr

And Finally, our weekly competition from geoguessr.com.

We are playing the new map again this week called I Saw The Sign 2.0. All of the clues are there, you just need to find them! You need to take in as much information as you can from the Google street view and then drop your pin on the map. The closer to the correct location you are the more points you get. Can you get the top score after all 5 rounds? This week we are giving you 2 mins per round but running out of time will give you 0 pts. Winners will be announced next week!

The Winner from Last Week was Ewan Massey with a score of 20,840 out of a possible 25,000. A great score considering the mean trick that was Cuba in Portugal!

The winner of the closest individual guess this week was also Ewan with a guess only 7 yards away on Round 1. A great guess, well done! Can we dethrone them next week?

Answers to Last Week’s Puzzles

The answers to last week's puzzles can be found here.


Week 5 • Monday 26 February 2024 • #23.20          The Monday Mail

Paul pic

Good morning. It’s Monday 26th February and it’s week 5 of the semester 2 teaching period. I hope the semester is going well so far! Just a few weeks to go until the Easter vacation is upon us.  

If you are graduating this year, then don’t forget to complete the National Student Survey (NSS). The company running NSS will soon start contacting students who have not completed it yet! 

On with today’s news … 

Paul
Undergraduate Programme Director


DASS SUPPORT DEADLINE IMMINENT.

  There is a deadline coming up for exam support through DASS (Disability Advice Support Service). DASS offers support to all students who have a condition which has an adverse and long-term effect on their ability to carry-out normal day-to-day activities. This includes Cognitive Developmental Delay, Physical Health and Mental Health issues. A DASS advisor is always happy to talk with you if you are unsure if you can register with them. You can find out more information about DASS and how to contact them here: who-do-we-support. The University has a deadline for putting exam support in place for each of the main exam periods. The next deadline is Thursday 14th March 2024 at 4pm, you’ll need to register and have met with an adviser to agree your exam support by then. For more details, see the exam support page. Appointments with Disability Advisers in the weeks leading up to the deadline become booked up very quickly, so please ensure that you contact DASS as early as possible.


WELFARE WEEKLY - MITIGATING CIRCUMSTANCES 101.

   This from Ben Herbert, Student Support and Wellbeing: When applying for mitigating circumstances it is important that the request is accompanied by supportive evidence that clearly illustrates that your assessed work has been significantly impacted. For example, if you are asking for mitigation due to a health reason that you are not registered with DASS for, then we would expect to receive medical evidence in the form of a letter or clear notes from your GP, the university counselling service, or another appropriate medical professional. You can find out more about the kind of evidence you can provide here, including a list of acceptable options.  

Recently we were informed that some students at the university have submitted fraudulent medical evidence in order to obtain mitigation. Due to this we are currently re-examining every item of evidence submitted in semester one. Where falsified evidence is identified, the original mitigation application will be rejected and the case will be reported for further disciplinary action. In short, if you submit false evidence or in any other way lie on your application, you risk disciplinary action.

We want to save both you and us time when it comes to applying for mitigation, so with that in mind, here are a few examples of evidence that we have received, but not accepted: A self-written statement; A photo of a student's Grandmother, ill in bed; A photo of a burn on a student's arm; A photo of tissues covered in blood; A photo of a hole in a student's carpet; A photo of a laptop; A photo of non-prescribed medicine… you get the picture. Photos of anything other than the listed acceptable evidence, or self-written statements will not be considered and your application will be turned down.

Hopefully this helps you understand better what can and cannot be used as evidence. If you are ever in doubt about any aspect of mitigating circumstances or extension requests, pop in to the Student Support Hub or drop us an e-mail on soe.wellbeing@manchester.ac.uk.


2ND YEAR OFFICE HOUR.

  This from Aphrodite Galata: As many of you know, I have recently taken over the role of 2nd Year Tutor. Starting my role halfway during the academic year means that I have not had the opportunity to introduce myself and get to know you better. So, I thought it may be a good idea to invite you all to share some coffee/tea and biscuits with me and chat about your studies and how you are getting on so far this academic year. This week’s  2nd Year Tutor open office hour is on Tuesday 27th Feb at 2-3pm. Usually this would be in my office, but since this week’s open office hour is just for us to have a cup of tea and get to know each other, it’ll be in the Mercury room on the first floor in Kilburn Building instead. Please do pop in any time from 2-3 to say hello and share some biscuits, juice, tea, and coffee with me. No need to bring anything along, just yourself (and any questions you may have for me)! Looking forward to seeing you there!


YEAR TUTOR OPEN HOURS.

  In the Department we have year tutors who are responsible for looking after the different cohorts in each year group. They are here to provide you with help and support if you need it, so feel free to contact your year tutor by email. They also run a weekly open hour where you can pop in for a chat during the teaching period:

  • Year 1 (not CM): Gareth Henshall. Open hour: Tuesday 12:00 - 13:00, Kilburn 2.82.
  • Year 2 (not CM): Aphrodite Galata. Open hour: Tuesday 14:00 - 15:00, Mercury.
  • Industrial Experience Year: Duncan Hull. Open hour: Thursdays 10:00 - 12:00 Kilburn LF25.
  • Year 3/4 (not CM): Tim Morris. Open hour: Tuesday 11:00 - 12:00, Kilburn 2.107. 
  • CM (all years): Andrea Schalk. Open hour: Thursday 11:00 - 12:00, Online.
  • UG Director: Paul Nutter. Open hour: Tuesday 09:00 - 10:00, IT119.


PASS1.

  The PASS1 team (Max Beck-Jones (Y3, CS4), Luke Sanderson (Y3, CS), Sarah Saad (Y3, AI4), Nicolo Micheletti (Y3, CS), and Rosie Halsall (Y3, CS4)) write: Hi everyone. Good news - we now have some permanent room bookings, meaning you aren't going to be jumping around Kilburn every week anymore! If you don't know your room or where it is in Kilburn, message your PASS leaders. As always, please feel free to message your PASS leaders if you want to cover any specific topic, whether it's related to computer science or not (you might, for example, want a session on ways to take a break from your work). In addition to the normal sessions, we have a number of upcoming events planned. The first of these is an afterhours games night in the Kilburn building which promises to be full of games, pizza, and fun! Pizza and board games will be provided as well as spaces to bring your own laptops/consoles to play collaboratively. This is taking place this Friday (the 1st of March) from 18:00 - 20:30 in the LF and Collab areas of Kilburn - entry via the loading bay entrance. If you are involved in either PASS scheme as an attendee or leader, please sign up here. As places are limited, sign up as soon as possible to avoid disappointment. This week, we had also planned to run a trip to the Science and Industry Museum to view a demonstration of the replica of the Baby computer - the world's first stored program computer, designed and built at the University of Manchester. Unfortunately, due to the availability of their volunteers, we are going to have to rearrange this visit for another week. If you're interested, keep an eye out for further Monday Mail announcements and posters around Kilburn.


UNICS GENERAL MEETING.

  UniCS will be holding a General Meeting on Wednesday 6th March at 3:30pm in Kilburn Collab 1+2 to discuss amendments to the constitution:

  • First Amendment: All sponsors should be voted on by the UniCS committee
  • Second Amendment: All hackathons sponsors should be voted on by the executive committee
  • Third Amendment: Companies that manufacture or distribute weapons cannot sponsor UniCS

We hope you come along for this society wide vote, as we believe UniCS should be taking a step towards good ethicality in light of recent events.


STUDENT-STAFF LIAISON COMMITTEE.

  This from Tom Carroll, chair of SSLC: We held this academic year's third SSLC meeting on 14th February 2024. There was no particular theme to this meeting. Reps discussed various issues, and also gave praise for members of staff in the Department, as well as for the new furniture in the LF area. Minutes will be available on Blackboard in due course. The next meeting will be held on 17th April. Please contact your reps if you have any issues or positives that you wish to raise.


MEET A STUDENT REP.

  The student rep of the week this week is Zoya Anwar (Y3, CS). Zoya writes: I'm Zoya, a third-year Computer Science student, from Manchester. Some of my hobbies include reading,  travelling to cool places,  and growing things. I'm looking forward to representing all of you this year as a student rep. Please do not hesitate to get in touch with any of your difficulties or ideas. :-) Have a lovely year! 


NATIONAL STUDENT SURVEY.

  The National Student Survey (NSS) is now running, closing on Tuesday 30th April 2024. NSS offers final year students the opportunity to reflect on their time at Manchester and allows you to provide feedback on how, overall, you found your experience of studying at Manchester. All students eligible to complete NSS will receive an email from Ipsos Mori (an external company appointed by the UK Government to run NSS) with a link to complete the survey. There’s no need to wait, you can complete NSS directly via the NSS website. As a thank you for your time, every student who takes part in the NSS 2024 can enter a prize draw to win one of 17 prizes:  

  • 1 x iPad Air 
  • 2 x £200 voucher (choose from Uber, Deliveroo and LovetoShop) 
  • 2 x £100 voucher 
  • 4 x £50 voucher 
  • 4 x £25 voucher 
  • 4 x Graduation Day package 

Additionally, for each response submitted the University will also make a £2 charitable donation, split equally between the following good causes: 

  • University of Manchester Cost of Living Support Fund: Awarding grants of up to £2000 to help students overcome financial hardship or unforeseen additional costs. 
  • Refugee Women Connect: Working to build a safe life in the UK for all women in the refugee and asylum seeker community. 
  • St Ann’s Hospice:  Helping people from across Greater Manchester affected by life-limiting illnesses and supporting their loved ones and carers. 
  • Lifeshare: Manchester’s oldest charity dedicated to providing essential services to people experiencing homelessness and poverty. 

Any feedback you provide is important to us as it can help us improve what we do. NSS is anonymous, so you can be open and honest in your feedback. We want your views - tell us what was good and what was bad! 


THE UNDERGRADUATE HANDBOOK.

  The Undergraduate Handbook is your one-stop resource for all information related to your studies. It contains information about your degree programmes, details on progression, how to change programmes or interrupt your studies, information on student support etc. The handbook also has information related to how to apply for mitigating circumstances if your learning has been affected by issues out of your control, such as an illness. You can always find the link to the handbook (as well as other useful links) at the top of each Monday Mail in the 'Essential Links' banner.


GITLAB DOWNTIME WARNING.

  On Wednesday 28th February the Department of Computer Science GitLab system will be taken offline to perform essential maintenance and upgrades. Work on the system will start at 14:00 and may take until 17:00, although we will attempt to minimise the time that GitLab is unavailable. A notice banner is currently shown on GitLab pages as a reminder for this work, and it will be removed when the work on the server is completed and tests indicate GitLab is operating normally. While GitLab is offline you will be able to continue to work locally in any currently cloned git repositories, including adding commits. However, attempts to interact with the GitLab server (via `git push`, `git pull`, `git fetch` and so on) will fail.


LEARNING TIPS - WHAT’S MARKING FOR?

  You’ve devoted a lot of time and effort to completing an assignment and you submit it by the deadline. You are confident you’ve done well and you are waiting in anticipation to see what mark you will get for the work. Do you wonder why we mark your work? Well, marking serves two purposes: first, it gives a measure of how the work you submitted meets the criteria used to evaluate it - this is the “mark” awarded. The second purpose, and one could argue the most important, is the feedback we provide on your work, which explains how it can be improved and at which level it meets the marking criteria. We will look in more detail at what feedback is, and what forms it can come in, in a later item.

Students often believe that marking is performed by taking a “perfect” mark, i.e. 100%, and then looking for reasons to knock marks off. However, this isn’t the case. When marking, the marker will be looking at how your work satisfies a set of marking criteria. Each of these criteria will have descriptions of levels of achievement against them. So, the marker is comparing your work against each of the criteria and judging how it fits the levels of achievements, and awarding marks appropriately. Often marking is performed against a rubric to help maintain consistency and fairness. The advantage here is that the rubric acts as a source of feedback and helps you to understand to what level your work has met the marking criteria. 

Whilst work can be marked out of 100%, it’s important to recognise that it can be very difficult to achieve high marks. In some cases the marking scheme may only award top marks to those students who have performed exceptionally well, in some cases demonstrating that they can think beyond the bounds of the course material and apply their knowledge in a higher way. Whilst you may not have achieved 100% in a piece of work, this doesn’t mean you should be disappointed. 

Our aim is to help you move towards fitting into a professional environment, and criteria for evaluating a piece of work in that context. Our marking criteria will therefore not merely look at whether you have carried out each task, or whether you have implemented each feature asked for, but how good your solution is. By providing you with feedback, we help you to better understand how a piece of work may be evaluated. We encourage you to look at the teaching materials provided that give you ideas of what qualities are desirable in a solution.


GOOGLE DEVELOPER STUDENT CLUBS.

  Navigating the nebula of cloud technology just got easier! Join us for an enlightening session on cloud deployment. From the ABCs of VPS to the latest in serverless, we've got you covered! Save the date: 28th Feb '24


UNICS LASER TAG EVENT.

  Join us for the ultimate Leap Day event at the Trafford Centre for a round of laser tag with lots of pizza and ice cream. We'll meet at the Byte Cafe in Kilburn at 5:45pm on 29th February and head to Trafford Centre together for an evening filled with lots of action and fun. Don't miss out on our limited tickets for only £5.99! Tickets will be available here [University of Manchester Students' Union (manchesterstudentsunion.com)]! 


HCRI PUBLIC TALK.

  The Humanitarian & Conflict Response Institute (HCRI) is holding a public talk - Humanitarian Extractivism: The Digital Transformation of Aid, in the Samuel Alexander Building, Room SG.16 + Zoom. Our guest speaker is Prof Kristin Bergtora Sandvik of the Peace Research Institute, Oslo. 

Join us to discuss how ‘data extraction' shifts power towards states, the private sector, and humanitarians. The talk will explore new practices and spaces, such as 'humanitarian drones', wearable innovation challenges, and ethics in global disaster innovation labs. 


INAUGURAL SEMINAR.

  Professor Bijan Parsia will present an inaugural seminar titled “Prosthetic Autonomy” on Wednesday 28th February, 2-3pm in Lecture Theatre 1.3. Abstract: Physical prosthetics generally enhance a person’s autonomy. By replacing a missing body part, they restore capabilities inhibited by that loss. They may even allow their wearer to exceed most human performance at some tasks. This seems straightforward. But, we have increasing capable systems for enhancing or replacing various mental functions including general decision making. Here things are not so straightforward as many concepts of autonomy require independence of thought. In this talk I work through part of the conceptual landscape of prosthetic autonomy covering human-technical systems that either are pervasive (e.g., turn-by-turn navigation) or are easily made so with current technology and involve “prostheses” that are outside the head and not at human level. These sorts of prostheses are likely to be ever larger parts of our everyday lives for a considerable part of the near future. Thinking about how such systems enhance, alter, or inhibit our autonomy should be central to our design processes. If you are planning on attending the seminar, please complete this form.


DIGITAL TRUST AND SECURITY SEMINAR SERIES.

  Uncover the secrets of online drug markets - How is the digitalisation of social interaction changing illegal markets? Join us for a captivating exploration of the hidden world of illegal drug markets on social media on 29th February, from 13:45 – 15:40. Led by expert Silje Anderdal Bakken from Oslo University, we'll delve into how online interactions are reshaping the underworld, from coded messages to the interplay between virtual and offline dynamics. Gain valuable insights and spark discussion on this timely and complex issue. Don't miss this eye-opening event! Register today to secure your place and avoid disappointment. This is a Digital Trust and Security Seminar, presented by The Centre for Digital Trust and Society, which leads and delivers activity for the Digital Trust and Security theme within UoM Digital Futures Research Platform.


DIGITAL TRUST AND SECURITY SEMINAR SERIES.

  Kieron O’Hara - The Seven Veils of Privacy 

  • Date & time: 20th March | 12:30 - 14:30
  • Location: Christabel Pankhurst Building, Manchester

Kieron O’Hara, from the University of Southampton, will unveil a rigorous and comprehensive framework from his groundbreaking book "The Seven Veils of Privacy" to navigate the seemingly endless arguments around privacy and your rights. Join to discover why the clashing perspectives on social norms, human rights, personal preferences, and data processing often lead to frustration and confusion. Places are limited so we advise you to secure your spot now to avoid disappointment.


CS SEMINAR.

  Matthew Bradbury, Lecturer in Cyber Security at Lancaster University, will present a talk titled:  Quantifying and Mitigating Adversary Information Gain via Actions Taken in Cyber Physical Systems on Monday 26th February at 12pm in Kilburn Lecture Theatre 1.3 (Zoom link). Matthew Bradbury is a Lecturer in Cyber Security at Lancaster University. His research focuses on the security and privacy of resource-constrained and distributed systems, especially how to take into account the limited resources when designing security mechanisms. This has covered a wide variety of domains from wireless sensor networks, connected vehicles to space systems. His current interests are focused on how arbitrary cyber physical systems reveal information via the actions they take to an observing adversary. Funding for this work has been received from various sources including the PETRAS National Centre of Excellence for IoT Systems Cybersecurity and EPSRC. Abstract: Over the last few decades there has been significant work protecting the privacy of data. For cyber physical systems, protecting data privacy is important, however, their physicality means that they are also vulnerable to observations directly by an adversary. This means that the actions a system takes and the context in which those actions are taken can reveal information to an observing adversary. So, in addition to protecting content privacy (e.g., data in transit) it is important to use techniques to provide context privacy. Many domains have independently had context privacy preserving techniques developed for threats they face (e.g., onion routing, change in identity for vehicles, location privacy in sensor networks). Developing context privacy preserving techniques is a lengthy process and does not allow for rapid responses to novel context privacy threats. The aim therefore, is to be able to translate an arbitrary system to reduce the information revealed by the actions it takes. This talk will give some early results on modelling adversary belief, quantifying the information revealed via directed information, and attempted approaches in system transformation.


CS SEMINAR.

  To support the Department's involvement in the Diabetes and Hypoglycemia Technology Network (Pankhurst Institute), Dr Julia Mueller, MRC Epidemiology Unit, University of Cambridge, will present a talk titled: Prevention of Diabetes and Related Metabolic Disorders in High Risk Groups on Thursday 29th February, 13:00 - 14:00 in Kilburn Lecture Theatre 1.4. Synopsis: Living with overweight or obesity is a risk factor for developing type 2 diabetes (T2D). In those diagnosed with T2D, being overweight or obesity increases the risk of complications such as heart disease. Helping people to lose weight is therefore a key challenge in the prevention and treatment of T2D. Behavioural weight management programmes can help prevent type 2 diabetes (T2D) and help people who have T2D reduce their need for medication, improve their overall health, and even achieve remission. However, behaviour change – and weight loss – is usually short-term, and weight management efforts are often derailed by psychologically difficult events (e.g., stressful or emotionally difficult times). In this talk, I will explore the link between mental wellbeing and weight management, and discuss how we can utilise our understanding of this link to develop behavioural weight management programmes that help people develop and maintain healthy lifestyles long-term. I will draw on my research involving data from longitudinal cohort studies and randomised controlled trials with adults with overweight/obesity and/or T2D, as well as extensive user and stakeholder engagement activities.

Welcome to Gareth’s Puzzle Corner, this is your weekly fix of brain teasers and logic puzzles. You are given 5 different puzzles to tackle. One is an easier Sudoku, the second is a more challenging Sudoku, the third is a different form of logic puzzle and we have a chess puzzle for you. Finally, each week you can compete with myself and other students/staff to see who has the best geography skills. Try your hand at Geoguessr below. I hope you enjoy the puzzles and if you have any puzzles you wish to feature or ideas for Puzzle Corner then please get in touch.

Easier Sudoku - Classic Sudoku by sudoku.com 

Normal sudoku rules apply.

Challenging Sudoku - Confiable by James Sinclair 

Normal sudoku rules apply. Digits in a cage cannot repeat and must sum to the small clue in the top left corner of the cage. Digits along an arrow sum to the digit in that arrow’s circle. Digits in cells separated by a black dot have a 1:2 ratio (i.e. one digit is double the other).

Pencil Puzzle - Light 7 Shadow by Otto Janko 

Colour the grey cells of the grid black or white so that orthogonally contiguous areas of black and white cells are formed. Each area contains exactly one cell with a number; the number indicates the size of the area. Areas of the same colour must not be orthogonally adjacent.

Chess Puzzle - Poess Vs. Wacker, 2023 

Drag and drop the White pieces to win the match.

Geoguessr

And Finally, our weekly competition from geoguessr.com.

We are playing the new map again this week called I Saw The Sign 2.0. All of the clues are there, you just need to find them! You need to take in as much information as you can from the google street view and then drop your pin on the map. The closer to the correct location you are the more points you get. Can you get the top score after all 5 rounds? This week we are giving you 2 mins per round but running out of time will give you 0 pts. Winners will be announced next week!

The Winner from last week was me! but second place earning a shout out was Ewan Massey with a score of 19,826 out of a possible 25,000. A great score for what was a very difficult round. The winner of the closest individual guess this week was Iakh0 with a guess only 122 yards away on Round 3. A great guess, well done!

Answers to Last Week’s Puzzles

The answers to last week's puzzles can be found here.


Week 4 • Monday 19 February 2024 • #23.19          The Monday Mail

Paul pic

Good morning UG! It’s Monday 19th February ... welcome to week 4. I hope that you are now into the swing of things and the semester is going well!

If you are a 2nd year student and considering applying for any of the summer internships available in the Department (see below), then the deadline for applications is this Sunday.

Each year we recognise outstanding achievement by awarding prizes to our top-performing students across all years, as well as those students who have made a significant contribution to life in the Department (see below). Congratulations to all our prize winners, your recognition is very well deserved! 

On with today’s news … 

Paul
Undergraduate Programme Director


DASS SUPPORT DEADLINE.

  There is a deadline coming up for exam support through DASS (Disability Advice Support Service). DASS offers support to all students who have a condition which has an adverse and long-term effect on their ability to carry-out normal day-to-day activities. This includes Cognitive Developmental Delay, Physical Health and Mental Health issues. A DASS advisor is always happy to talk with you if you are unsure if you can register with them. You can find out more information about DASS and how to contact them here: who-do-we-support. The University has a deadline for putting exam support in place for each of the main exam periods. The next deadline is Thursday 14th March 2024 at 4pm, you’ll need to register and have met with an adviser to agree your exam support by then. For more details, see the exam support page.


SUPPORT SERVICE SPOTLIGHT:

  My Learning Essentials. My Learning Essentials is the Library’s award winning programme of skills support, including both online resources and face-to-face workshops which will aid you in your personal and professional development. The workshops offer a relaxed group environment where you can try out new strategies for yourself while learning from and with peers whilst the online resources help you develop skills and interests which are relevant to you, at times and using the methods that suit you best. My Learning Essentials is a great way to get the most out of your time at Manchester; helping you to make the best use of all of the specialist resources and support the University has to offer.


SUPPORT SERVICE SPOTLIGHT:

  Manchester Student Homes & the Accommodation Office. If you are in the process of securing accommodation for next academic year, then Manchester Student Homes is a free, University-run housing service for students who can offer independent housing advice. They can help you search for the perfect student home and put you in contact with accredited landlords. 


YEAR TUTOR OPEN HOURS.

  In the Department we have year tutors who are responsible for looking after the different cohorts in each year group. They are here to provide you with help and support if you need it, so feel free to contact your year tutor by email. They also run a weekly open hour where you can pop in for a chat during the teaching period:

  • Year 1 (not CM): Gareth Henshall. Open hour: Tuesday 12:00 - 13:00, Kilburn 2.82.
  • Year 2 (not CM): Aphrodite Galata. Open hour: Tuesday 14:00 - 15:00, Kilburn 2.101.
  • Industrial Experience Year: Duncan Hull. Open hour: Thursdays 10:00 - 12:00 Kilburn LF25.
  • Year 3/4 (not CM): Tim Morris. Open hour: Tuesday 11:00 - 12:00, Kilburn 2.107. 
  • CM (all years): Andrea Schalk. Open hour: Thursday 11:00 - 12:00, 2.103.
  • UG Director: Paul Nutter. Open hour: Tuesday 09:00 - 10:00, IT119.


PASS1.

  The PASS1 team (Max Beck-Jones (Y3, CS4), Luke Sanderson (Y3, CS), Sarah Saad (Y3, AI4), Nicolo Micheletti (Y3, CS), and Rosie Halsall (Y3, CS4)) write: Hi everyone! We hope you're having a great start to the semester. We wanted to give a quick reminder about what PASS has to offer you. Are you struggling with the transition to Java in Programming 2? Want to talk through a problem in your first year team project? Just want a break or some extra support? If any of these apply - then PASS is for you! PASS is the peer assisted student support scheme in the department, hosted by students for the benefit of first years. It is the perfect place to get help if you are struggling with course content, study skills, or any other aspect of student life. For more information, please refer to the weekly email from your PASS group leaders. Don't forget, if you want to cover any specific topic in a session, all you have to do is let them know. If you haven't been receiving emails from your PASS leaders or don't know who they are, email Max who will be able to help. Finally, we have some PASS events planned for the upcoming weeks - keep an eye out for the posters and emails!


PASS RECRUITMENT.

  The deadline for next year's PASS Leader and Coordinator recruitment for both PASS1 and PASS2 has been extended! If you’re not familiar with PASS, it is a chance for some higher year students to get together each week with first- and second-year students (depending on the scheme you're applying for) and help them settle into their course and assist with any issues. Being a PASS Leader or Coordinator allows you to:

  • Gain lots of skills and experience for your CV, e.g. team working skills and organising events and sessions
  • Help other students settle in and get used to their course
  • Gives you one of the two Step Up and Lead roles needed for the Stellify Award
  • Fulfil a rewarding role, leaving a lasting impact on first year students and the department.

A PASS Leader should be willing to commit to around 3 hours per week, which would include synchronous session delivery, preparation, and professional development whereas, as a PASS Coordinator, you will be in charge of organising events for your scheme and supporting your PASS Leaders. The Coordinator role will be more strategic and involves developing your scheme, working closely alongside the Academic Staff and Peer Support Team to do this. To apply, please fill out this form. The deadline is listed on the form; apply as soon as possible to avoid disappointment. If you have any questions, please contact the current PASS coordinators; alternatively, you may contact Tom Carroll


2022-23 PRIZE WINNERS.

  Each year the Department recognises outstanding achievement by awarding prizes to UG students who have excelled academically or made significant contributions to life in the Department. Due to the delays associated with the marking and assessment boycott last academic year, we are only now able to announce last year’s prize winners. The following students received awards for last academic year: 

  • Year 1 (now Year 2):
    • Golden Anniversary Prize for excellence in year 1 studies: Joshua Tan Yen En (CMwIE), Summer Himlin (CM), ​​​​​​ Maarij Khan (CMwIE), Aryan Tiwari (CMwIE), Liang Zhang (CSwIE).
    • Michael Jealous Prize for best Year 1 student: Summer Himlin (CM).
    • Netcraft Prize for top 10 performing single honours students: Alexander Aellen (CS), Arefin Ahammed (CSwIE), Camron Carter (CS),​​​​​​ Theodore Colbert (CSwIE), Clarisse Boisbourdin Davison (CSwIE), Madhavan Citalamangalam Kumaran (CSwIE), Marcus Liaw (CS), Luke Rule (CSwIE), Abubakar Tafida (CS), Liang Zhang (CSwIE).
  • Year 2 (now Year 3):
    • Professor’s Prize for outstanding performance in year 2: Ketong Ding (CM), Yuhao Zhang (CS).
  • Year 3 (now Graduated/Year 4):
    • Williams/Kilburn Medal for outstanding student: Joshua Coates (CM).
    • Kilburn Prize for outstanding final year examination performance: Vlad Sirbu (CS).
    • Edwards Prize for the student who performed with distinction throughout their degree in Computer Engineering: Ivan Durev (CSwIE).
    • Professor’s prize for outstanding performance in year 3: Joshua Coates (CM), Vlad Sirbu (CS), Wenqi Zhu (HCI).
    • Head of Department prize for outstanding contribution to life in the Department: Ingy Abdelhalim (CS), Nadine Abdelhalim (CS), Olivia Bishop (CSwIE), Max Burnell (CS), Alex Daou (AI4), Angela Popovska (CS4), Miranda Watkins (CSwIE).
    • Hilary Kahn award for best 3rd year undergraduate project: Phoebe Pinney (CS).
    • BCS prize for best final year education project: Naomi Felix (Y4, SE4).
    • University Outstanding Achievement award for top 2 performing students: Joshua Coates (CM), Kashish Raimalani (CwIE).

Huge congratulations to all, really well done and just rewards for all your efforts. Give yourself a big pat on the back! 


NATIONAL STUDENT SURVEY.

  The National Student Survey (NSS) is now running, closing on Tuesday 30th April 2024. NSS offers final year students the opportunity to reflect on their time at Manchester and allows you to provide feedback on how, overall, you found your experience of studying at Manchester. All students eligible to complete NSS will receive an email from Ipsos Mori (an external company appointed by the UK Government to run NSS) with a link to complete the survey. There’s no need to wait, you can complete NSS directly via the NSS website. As a thank you for your time, every student who takes part in the NSS 2024 can enter a prize draw to win one of 17 prizes:  

  • 1 x iPad Air 
  • 2 x £200 voucher (choose from Uber, Deliveroo and LovetoShop) 
  • 2 x £100 voucher 
  • 4 x £50 voucher 
  • 4 x £25 voucher 
  • 4 x Graduation Day package 

Additionally, for each response submitted the University will also make a £2 charitable donation, split equally between the following good causes: 

  • University of Manchester Cost of Living Support Fund: Awarding grants of up to £2000 to help students overcome financial hardship or unforeseen additional costs. 
  • Refugee Women Connect: Working to build a safe life in the UK for all women in the refugee and asylum seeker community. 
  • St Ann’s Hospice:  Helping people from across Greater Manchester affected by life-limiting illnesses and supporting their loved ones and carers. 
  • Lifeshare: Manchester’s oldest charity dedicated to providing essential services to people experiencing homelessness and poverty. 

Any feedback you provide is important to us as it can help us improve what we do. NSS is anonymous, so you can be open and honest in your feedback. We want your views - tell us what was good and what was bad! 


COMP16412 ASSESSMENTS.

  This from Sarah Clinch: We’re planning to alter the assessment for COMP16412 (Programming II) to 100% exam from 2024/25. This would mean replacing the current coursework with a practical exam (and keeping the current MCQ exam). We have some good reasons to do this, but we know that exams are not everyone's preference, and there's evidence that some people are more disadvantaged in exams than others. Also, a practical exam might well be a new experience for many. So ... we want to do this right (or at least as right as we can). We need student input to help refine our current ideas, and help us understand what support materials we would need etc. We plan to run some roundtable discussions, open to all years of study, most likely in Week 6. If you're interested in taking part, please email sarah.clinch@manchester.ac.uk.


LEARNING TIPS - SUBMITTING YOUR WORK.

  In Computer Science a variety of systems are used to submit coursework, including Blackboard, Gitlab and Gradescope. In some cases, you may be required to submit to multiple locations, such as Blackboard AND Gradescope. It is your responsibility to read the submission instructions carefully, and make sure you follow them to the letter; don’t just assume the submission mechanism is the same across different course units. 

It is always worth checking that you have submitted your work properly; if you don’t follow the rules precisely then your work cannot be marked. For example, students often realise at the point of marking that they didn’t submit their work to Blackboard properly, they then claim this is a fault with Blackboard, when this isn’t the case. Problems with Blackboard submissions are invariably due to students failing to ensure that the work had been submitted properly. Remember, it can take some time for work to be uploaded to Blackboard, so please be patient and wait for it to complete before closing the window. 

We can't allow late submissions past the deadline as a result of you failing to follow the instructions for submitting your work. Nor will late penalties be waived if you discover you did not follow the instructions when submitting your work. It is your responsibility to ensure that your work has been properly submitted.

You can check your submission in a number of ways (see the next item). It is important to note that SPOT is updated at 12pm and 6pm everyday, so don’t assume that your submission to Blackboard will show up straight away. It’s also important to remember that for some course units, SPOT does not show submissions, this is particularly the case for external course units, who may employ different mechanisms for submitting work. In addition, SPOT is not aware of submissions made to Gradescope. Make it a habit to confirm that your work has been submitted properly every time!


HOW DO I CHECK IF I’VE SUBMITTED MY WORK?

  We often get asked by students how to check that they have submitted work successfully, and it’s quite easy to do.

  • Blackboard: if the submission method is using Blackboard, then you can check under the “My Grades” link on the left on each course unit Blackboard page (under “Submitted” or “Marked”). You can also check via SPOT, although SPOT is only updated at 12pm and 6pm daily, so any submission between those times will not be shown until the update takes place.  SPOT includes the date and time when the last data was received from Blackboard on each page.
  • Git: if the submission method is using git, then you can check via SPOT.  Submissions via git will show in SPOT immediately (but you do need to refresh the SPOT web page).  You know if you have submitted correctly because the date and time will appear under the Submission column in the coursework table for that course.   
  • Software Engineering Y2: work submitted for Software Engineering will not show as submitted in SPOT until the work has been marked because tags are not used.
  • Whilst SPOT shows you something has been submitted, it does not know what, so cannot be used to verify you've submitted the correct required files.  To check the files you have submitted use Blackboard or GitLab.
  • Some course units have additional requirements, which are not documented in SPOT. Always make sure you carefully read the submission instructions for each piece of work.


HARDWARE LIBRARY.

  Did you know we have a hardware library in the Department that contains a wide range of hardware components that are completely free to borrow? You can use these to support your 3rd year project, generally just to have a play with, or support a Hackathon. There are all sorts of items available, from Raspberry Pi components to drones,  a wide range of microcontroller boards to gesture devices, basic electronic components to robots … even VR headsets. We also have computer items, such as keyboards, mice, and tablets  - there’s a wide range of items available. To see what is available for you to borrow (for free!) have a look at the library catalogue. If you want to borrow an item then all you have to do is reserve it online. You will then be contacted by Steve Rhodes who will tell you when you can pick the item up from Tootill 0 on the lower first floor of Kilburn. Please note that items should not be taken away from Manchester and it is your responsibility to replace any damaged/lost items you borrow. You can also propose new items for the library, which we will consider. However, please note, we do have a limited budget to purchase new items, so we can’t fund all requests. 


DATA SCIENCE SOCIETY.

  Datern presents: Data analytics with Power BI, Simon 2.60, Wednesday 21st February, 2-4pm. MUDS are hosting a special workshop presented by Datern! Datern help companies meet their data challenges by finding, recruiting and training undergraduate students from top universities, ensuring they start their internship with them ‘workplace ready’.

  1. Introduction to Datern and their internship/spring week opportunities
  2. How companies use Power BI professionally and why they care
  3. Importing datasets and making visualisations in your own Power BI report
  4. Designing your report to be interactive and accessible

In terms of preparation, please download Power BI Desktop. Just a reminder that Power BI is a Windows only software. Here is a guide on how to download it.


DIGITAL TRUST AND SECURITY SEMINAR SERIES.

  Uncover the secrets of online drug markets - How is the digitalisation of social interaction changing illegal markets? Join us for a captivating exploration of the hidden world of illegal drug markets on social media on 29th February, from 13:45 – 15:40. Led by expert Silje Anderdal Bakken from Oslo University, we'll delve into how online interactions are reshaping the underworld, from coded messages to the interplay between virtual and offline dynamics. Gain valuable insights and spark discussion on this timely and complex issue. Don't miss this eye-opening event! Register today to secure your place and avoid disappointment. This is a Digital Trust and Security Seminar, presented by The Centre for Digital Trust and Society, which leads and delivers activity for the Digital Trust and Security theme within UoM Digital Futures Research Platform.


DIGITAL TRUST AND SECURITY SEMINAR SERIES.

  Kieron O’Hara - The Seven Veils of Privacy 

  • Date & time: 20th March | 12:30 - 14:30
  • Location: Christabel Pankhurst Building, Manchester

Kieron O’Hara, from the University of Southampton, will unveil a rigorous and comprehensive framework from his groundbreaking book "The Seven Veils of Privacy" to navigate the seemingly endless arguments around privacy and your rights. Join to discover why the clashing perspectives on social norms, human rights, personal preferences, and data processing often lead to frustration and confusion. Places are limited so we advise you to secure your spot now to avoid disappointment.


LGBTQ+ HISTORY MONTH.

  Does Representation Matter? – Being Queer and an Engineer. A panel discussion will take place at 12-2 pm on the 22nd of February in Engineering Building B, Room 2.002. The focus of the event is the challenges that LGBTQ+ people might face in Engineering specifically, and how can representation ease those same challenges (if it can at all). Often the people who engage in these discussions are already convinced of the fact that representation does matter – the truth of the premise is implied in the discussion; however, not everyone agrees with that statement. Whether this is an issue close to your heart or you just want to learn more; whether you are yourself LGBTQ+ or not; whether you are in Engineering or not – join us for a panel discussion with thoughtful and insightful discourse to explore the place of LGBTQ+ individuals in Engineering (and in STEM at large) and to get a better understanding of how we can work to create a better environment for all. Our panellists are:

  • Dr Clara Barker is a Daphne Jackson Fellow, manages the Centre for Applied Superconductivity and is Dean for Equality and Diversity at Linacre College at the University of Oxford; she is also the Inclusion and Diversity Representative for the Institute of Physics. As an activist, she strives to show that the reality of coming out and transitioning need not be career-ending. She was awarded the Points of Light award by the Prime Minister in 2017 for her tireless work in fighting for LGBTQ+ visibility and representation.
  • Dr Marco Reggiani is a Research Associate in Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Strathclyde, where he focuses on urban planning and development, including the promotion of diversity and inclusion of marginalised individuals in urban settings. He is involved in multiple projects that aim to foster a more inclusive experience for LGBTQ+ individuals in STEM.
  • Nicola Summers is Operations Coordinator at Jacobs and has been fighting for LGBTQ+ inclusion and representation in the nuclear energy industry. She is also an advisory board member at Inclusion and Diversity in Nuclear, which organises events and provides resources and advice to companies all in the name of inclusion. 

You can find out more information and get a (free) ticket from this Eventbrite page. Food and drinks will be provided. We look forward to seeing you all there!


INAUGURAL SEMINAR.

  Dr. Emily Collins will present an inaugural seminar titled: “Building Trustworthy Robotics for Better, Safer Industry” on Wednesday 21st February, 12:30 - 13: 30, in Lecture Theatre 1.3. Abstract: My current research, as a DKO Fellow, aims to make robots work as effectively as possible for humans and society. In my inaugural seminar, I will describe how my career path led me here, where I am focussed on addressing the issue of how to build trustworthy robotics for society. Currently, it is relatively easy to build (remote-controlled) robotic systems and it is possible, though complex, to ensure their functions are reliable. However, despite messaging to the contrary, fully autonomous systems are still far away, and human interaction and direct control remain vital. No matter how reliable or effective the hardware or Artificial Intelligence is, the control of these systems is fundamentally dependent on how human operators use them; how much confidence and trust operators have in the systems; and how much easier these systems make the operators' working lives. In recent years, I have spearheaded a new interdisciplinary approach to this problem that aims to resolve the issues that occur between design, development, and eventual deployment. Focussed on the mediating variables contributing to an HRI study as the result of the relationships surrounding the interaction at the scenario’s core.


INAUGURAL SEMINAR.

  Professor Bijan Parsia will present an inaugural seminar titled “Prosthetic Autonomy” on Wednesday 28th February, 2-3pm in Lecture Theatre 1.3. Abstract: Physical prosthetics generally enhance a person’s autonomy. By replacing a missing body part, they restore capabilities inhibited by that loss. They may even allow their wearer to exceed most human performance at some tasks. This seems straightforward. But, we have increasing capable systems for enhancing or replacing various mental functions including general decision making. Here things are not so straightforward as many concepts of autonomy require independence of thought. In this talk I work through part of the conceptual landscape of prosthetic autonomy covering human-technical systems that either are pervasive (e.g., turn-by-turn navigation) or are easily made so with current technology and involve “prostheses” that are outside the head and not at human level. These sorts of prostheses are likely to be ever larger parts of our everyday lives for a considerable part of the near future. Thinking about how such systems enhance, alter, or inhibit our autonomy should be central to our design processes. If you are planning on attending the seminar, please complete this form.


SCHOOL OF ENGINEERING SUMMER INTERNSHIPS.

  The School is accepting applications for the 2024 School of Engineering Internship Scheme, which provides you with paid experience of working within the School of Engineering to improve your future employability and skills. There are many different projects to choose from, each with different supervisors and very different project outlines that you could be working on over the summer. Internships will run during the period from Monday 10th June 2024 until Friday 13th September 2024, for a maximum duration of 180 hours of work, at a rate of £12.21 an hour. 

The scheme is open to Year 2 undergraduate students, as well as Year 3 students on a 4-year programme. We would expect all applicants to have completed the CV Pathway within CareerConnect before submitting an application. You can apply for the positions on the University careers portal, CareerConnect, by simply clicking on the "Search” tab -> “Vacancies”. The deadline for applications is 9pm Sunday 25th February 2024.


PRAYER ROOMS.

  Whatever your faith, there are several prayer rooms in university buildings, or around the university campus. The closest to the Kilburn Building is in Engineering Building A. You can find all university prayer spaces by searching for “prayer space” in the University interactive map, or see the list at multifaithchaplaincy.org.

Welcome to Gareth’s Puzzle Corner, this is your weekly fix of brain teasers and logic puzzles. You are given 5 different puzzles to tackle. One is an easier Sudoku, the second is a more challenging Sudoku, the third is a different form of logic puzzle and we have a chess puzzle for you. Finally, each week you can compete with myself and other students/staff to see who has the best geography skills. Try your hand at Geoguessr below. I hope you enjoy the puzzles and if you have any puzzles you wish to feature or ideas for Puzzle Corner then please get in touch.

Easier Sudoku - Classic Sudoku by sudoku.com

Normal sudoku rules apply.

Challenging Sudoku - Aesthete by Lizzy01 

Normal sudoku rules apply. Along thermometers, values strictly increase from the bulb end. There are nine doubler cells in the grid, one in every row, column and box. Each digit from 1-9 appears in a doubler cell exactly once. A doubler cell's value counts as double its digit. 

Pencil Puzzle - Thermometer by Otto Janko 

Tint the grey boxes of the chart black or white. A number at the edge of the chart indicates how many squares in that row or column are black. The fields of a "thermometer" may only be blackened from the bottom (circle) to the top (without a space in between), but they do not necessarily have to be all black.

Chess Puzzle - Goncalves Vs. Paiva, 1972

Drag and drop the Black pieces to win the match.

Geoguessr

And Finally, our weekly competition from geoguessr.com.

We are playing the new map again this week called I Saw The Sign 2.0. All of the clues are there, you just need to find them! You need to take in as much information as you can from the google street view and then drop your pin on the map. The closer to the correct location you are the more points you get. Can you get the top score after all 5 rounds? Remember though, you only get 1 min per round and running out of time will give you 0 pts. Winners will be announced next week!

The Winner from Last Week was Danielgroves2005 with a score of 22,572 out of a possible 25,000. A great score. The winner of the closest individual guess this week was also Danielgroves2005 with a guess only 5 yards away on Round 3. A great guess, well done!

Answers to Last Week’s Puzzles

The answers to last week's puzzles can be found here.


Week 3 • Monday 12 February 2024 • #23.18          The Monday Mail

Paul pic

Good morning. It’s Monday 12th February and welcome to week 3. I hope you enjoyed the Foxdog Studios show last week!

If you are a current 2nd year student, then the School of Engineering is advertising a number of internships offering you a great opportunity for paid work experience in the School/Department over the summer (see below). If you are graduating this year and interested in pursuing a PhD, then the Department has a new AI Centre for Doctoral Training in Decision Making for Complex Systems, run jointly with the University of Cambridge. Applications are open, so if you are interested then this is a great opportunity, as the first cohort will be starting in September 2024 (see below). If you are interested in being a PASS leader/coordinator next year, then please consider applying (more below). Finally, today we welcome the return of Gareth’s Puzzle Corner! 

Have a happy Valentine’s Day on Wednesday! 

Lot’s of items today … on with today’s news … 

Paul
Undergraduate Programme Director


STUDENT WELLBEING SUPPORT IN CS.

  Just a reminder that we have a dedicated wellbeing team in the Department, Maria Sloan and Ben Herbert, who are available to support you. If you are affected by any issues impacting your learning, struggling with your work and considering interruption, you are DASS registered and feel that your condition is starting to affect you more than usual, or you just need somebody to speak to, then you should speak to a member of the wellbeing team. You can contact Maria and Ben at soe.wellbeing@manchester.ac.uk, or you can drop into the student hub in Engineering Building A and ask to speak to someone, in confidence.


DASS SUPPORT DEADLINE.

  There is a deadline coming up for exam support through DASS (Disability Advice Support Service). DASS offers support to all students who have a condition which has an adverse and long-term effect on their ability to carry-out normal day-to-day activities. This includes Cognitive Developmental Delay, Physical Health and Mental Health issues. A DASS advisor is always happy to talk with you if you are unsure if you can register with them. You can find out more information about DASS and how to contact them here: who-do-we-support. The University has a deadline for putting exam support in place for each of the main exam periods. The next deadline is Thursday 14th March 2024 at 4pm, you’ll need to register and have met with an adviser to agree your exam support by then. For more details, see the exam support page.


STUDENT SUPPORT HUB EMAIL ADDRESS.

  In case you need help and support over the exam period, the email contacts for the Teaching, Learning and Student Experience team are below:

If you are unsure which email to use then use soe.hub@manchester.ac.uk for general queries. 


WELFARE WEEKLY - NEW YEAR,

  NEW YOU - STARTING SEMESTER TWO OFF ON THE RIGHT FOOT.  This from Ben Herbert, Student Support and Wellbeing: With the Semester one exams behind us, it's time to focus on what is to come. This week, we discuss actions you can take to make sure you maximise your chances of success in semester two.

Reflecting on the past semester can provide valuable insights into your strengths, and areas for improvement. Take a moment to reflect on your achievements and consider how you can build upon them in the months ahead. Take time to look at any feedback you received and ask questions to clarify understanding.

Set up a system to keep track of important dates, deadlines, and tasks. Find a method that works for you and use it consistently to stay organised. Reach out to tutors if you have any questions or concerns. Remember, not knowing how, when, or what work to submit, is not grounds for mitigation. Create a study schedule that balances academic commitments with your other responsibilities and activities. Set aside time each day for studying, assignments, and taking breaks. Consistency is key to maintaining productivity and managing stress.

Building connections with your classmates can enhance your learning experience and provide valuable support. Join in with study groups, participate in class discussions, and get involved with extracurricular activities to engage with peers and form meaningful connections. Stay engaged in your classes by actively participating in them. 

Set realistic goals for yourself, keeping in mind the importance of balance and self-care. Break larger goals into smaller, manageable tasks and celebrate your progress. Prioritise your health and well-being by incorporating regular exercise, healthy meals, and relaxation techniques into your routine. Be prepared to adapt to unexpected challenges. Maintain a positive attitude, and approach setbacks calmly. Stay flexible in your approach and be willing to adjust your plans as needed. Invest some time into improving your resilience and time management skills to avoid deadlines becoming an issue.

Your tutors and wellbeing support team are here to offer guidance, encouragement, and resources to support you on your journey. Don't hesitate to reach out if you need assistance or simply a listening ear. Wishing you all the best for a successful semester ahead!


YEAR TUTOR OPEN HOURS.

  In the Department we have year tutors who are responsible for looking after the different cohorts in each year group. They are here to provide you with help and support if you need it, so feel free to contact your year tutor by email. They also run a weekly open hour where you can pop in for a chat during the teaching period:

  • Year 1 (not CM): Gareth Henshall. Contact by email.
  • Year 2 (not CM): Aphrodite Galata. Open hour: Tuesday 14:00 - 15:00, Kilburn 2.101
  • Industrial Experience Year: Duncan Hull. Open hour: Thursdays 10:00 - 12:00. Kilburn LF25
  • Year 3/4 (not CM): Tim Morris. Open hour: Tuesday 11:00 - 12:00, Kilburn 2.107 
  • CM (all years): Andrea Schalk. Open hour: Thursday 13:00 - 14:00, 2.103
  • UG Director: Paul Nutter. Open hour: Tuesday 09:00 - 10:00, IT119.


PASS2.

  The PASS2 team (See Jia Tong (Y3, CS), Salma Aljama (Y3, AI) and Divya Radhakrishnan Nair (Y3, CS)) write: Hi everyone, we would like to invite you to join the PASS team for next year - feel free to apply and remember applications close this week Friday the 16th of February. Stay tuned on the WhatsApp group for our upcoming session!


STUDENT-STAFF LIAISON COMMITTEE.

  This from Tom Carroll, chair of SSLC: Our next SSLC meeting is on Wednesday 14th February 2024. This meeting has no particular theme, and so we will discuss any issues raised in general. If you have any issues, suggestions, or positives that you wish to make known, please speak to one of your SSLC Reps. Details of your reps, along with minutes from previous meetings, are available on Blackboard.


MEET A STUDENT REP.

  The student rep of the week this week is Matthew Kirk (Y1, CM). Kirk writes: I am Matthew Kirk, though I prefer to be called Kirk. I am originally from South Africa and love getting involved, mostly playing volleyball, squash and volunteering around my old schools. I moved to the UK at age 17 and after my A-levels, took a gap year to work as a programmer in Oxford. I am really glad to be selected as a representative and hope to help the students in my year get the best experience possible! If you want a chat then please get in touch.


NATIONAL STUDENT SURVEY.

  The National Student Survey (NSS) is now running, closing on Tuesday 30th April 2024. NSS offers final year students the opportunity to reflect on their time at Manchester and allows you to provide feedback on how, overall, you found your experience of studying at Manchester. All students eligible to complete NSS will receive an email from Ipsos Mori (an external company appointed by the UK Government to run NSS) with a link to complete the survey. There’s no need to wait, you can complete NSS directly via the NSS website. As a thank you for your time, every student who takes part in the NSS 2024 can enter a prize draw to win one of 17 prizes:  

  • 1 x iPad Air 
  • 2 x £200 voucher (choose from Uber, Deliveroo and LovetoShop) 
  • 2 x £100 voucher 
  • 4 x £50 voucher 
  • 4 x £25 voucher 
  • 4 x Graduation Day package 

Additionally, for each response submitted the University will also make a £2 charitable donation, split equally between the following good causes: 

  • University of Manchester Cost of Living Support Fund: Awarding grants of up to £2000 to help students overcome financial hardship or unforeseen additional costs. 
  • Refugee Women Connect: Working to build a safe life in the UK for all women in the refugee and asylum seeker community. 
  • St Ann’s Hospice:  Helping people from across Greater Manchester affected by life-limiting illnesses and supporting their loved ones and carers. 
  • Lifeshare: Manchester’s oldest charity dedicated to providing essential services to people experiencing homelessness and poverty. 

Any feedback you provide is important to us as it can help us improve what we do. NSS is anonymous, so you can be open and honest in your feedback. We want your views - tell us what was good and what was bad! 


PROJECT SURVEY.

  Reuben Hellier (Y3, CM) writes: What do you see when you imagine an apple? Different people visualise things differently, some can create vivid, life-like images, while others cannot create any imagery at all. Most of us lie somewhere in between. Traditionally, a questionnaire has been used to indicate a person’s ability to produce visual imagery, but new research has suggested it could actually be determined from pupil diameter. We are looking for participants for a study to repeat this research, whilst using a smartphone camera to record the measurements. If this sounds interesting to you, please click here or follow the link/QR code in the image below to find out more and get involved. Alternatively, please get in contact with me. Your help is greatly appreciated! 


PASS RECRUITMENT.

  This from the PASS team: PASS Leader and Coordinator recruitment for PASS1 and PASS2 is now open for the 24/25 academic year! If you’re not familiar with PASS, it is a chance for some higher year students to get together each week with first- and second-year students (depending on the scheme you're applying for) and help them settle into their course and assist with any issues. Being a PASS Leader or Coordinator allows you to:

  • Gain lots of skills and experience for your CV, e.g. team working skills and organising events and sessions
  • Help other students settle in and get used to their course
  • Gives you one of the two Step Up and Lead roles needed for the Stellify Award

A PASS Leader should be willing to commit to around 3 hours per week, which would include synchronous session delivery, preparation, and professional development whereas, as a PASS Coordinator, you will be in charge of organising events for your scheme and supporting your PASS Leaders. The Coordinator role will be more strategic and involve developing your scheme, working closely alongside the Academic Staff and Peer Support Team to do this. To apply, please fill out this form before 22:00 on Friday the 16th of February. If you have any questions, please contact the current PASS coordinators; alternatively, you may contact Tom Carroll.


COMP16412 ASSESSMENTS.

  This from Sarah Clinch: We’re planning to alter the assessment for COMP16412 (Programming II) to 100% exam from 2024/25. This would mean replacing the current coursework with a practical exam (and keeping the current MCQ exam). We have some good reasons to do this, but we know that exams are not everyone's preference, and there's evidence that some people are more disadvantaged in exams than others. Also, a practical exam might well be a new experience for many. So ... we want to do this right (or at least as right as we can). We need student input to help refine our current ideas, and help us understand what support materials we would need etc. We plan to run some roundtable discussions, open to all years of study, most likely in Week 6. If you're interested in taking part, please email sarah.clinch@manchester.ac.uk.


HOW DO I CHECK IF I’VE SUBMITTED MY WORK?

  We often get asked by students how to check that they have submitted work successfully, and it’s quite easy to do.

  • Blackboard: if the submission method is using Blackboard, then you can check under the “My Grades” link on the left on each course unit Blackboard page (under “Submitted” or “Marked”). You can also check via SPOT, although SPOT is only updated at 12pm and 6pm daily, so any submission between those times will not be shown until the update takes place.  SPOT includes the date and time when the last data was received from Blackboard on each page.
  • Git: if the submission method is using git, then you can check via SPOT.  Submissions via git will show in SPOT immediately (but you do need to refresh the SPOT web page).  You know if you have submitted correctly because the date and time will appear under the Submission column in the coursework table for that course.   
  • Software Engineering Y2: work submitted for Software Engineering will not show as submitted in SPOT until the work has been marked because tags are not used.
  • Whilst SPOT shows you something has been submitted, it does not know what, so cannot be used to verify you've submitted the correct required files.  To check the files you have submitted use Blackboard or GitLab.
  • Some course units have additional requirements, which are not documented in SPOT. Always make sure you carefully read the submission instructions for each piece of work.


LEARNING TIPS -EVALUATING YOUR WORK.

  On the road towards becoming a professional, you will want to pick up skills that help you evaluate your work. Neither your future clients, nor your team members and managers will be happy if you treat the requested features for your project as a tick list. Users don't just want software that can do a job somehow, they want software that's intuitive to use, does the job smoothly and quickly without exhausting available resources, and interfaces well with other systems.

When you work on coursework you have the opportunity to think about what would make a submission a good one. You will usually be told which criteria are going to be used to mark your work, but you may not receive details of how various judgements are made. You should consider for yourself how those criteria may be measured, and you should also be aware of teaching material that covers some of those criteria, so that you can use them to help you with this task. You may even want to think about how to judge a `good solution' before looking at anything supplied by the course unit team - it'll give you some useful insights, and improve your ability to evaluate desirable features of a solution. By the time you work on your third year project you'll be asked to perform an evaluation of what you have achieved, and acquiring this skill will also help you in the future, whether you pursue postgraduate work or join the profession.


NEED A PLACE TO WORK?

  You are free to use any of our teaching rooms/labs when they are not being used for scheduled teaching. If you are interested in knowing when a lab is not booked for a timetabled activity, then follow this link to open the University Timetable pages. To look for a room in Kilburn, select “Location”, then in the form that opens select “Kilburn Building” for the building, select the lab/room you would like to use under “Select Location”, the default view is this week, or you can select a particular week. Selecting “View Timetable” will show what activities are taking place in the selected room for the week. Please note that for the labs 1.8 and 1.10 look at the 1.8+1.10 timetable. You must be on campus to access the timetable. If a room is booked for teaching, then you should avoid using it.


3D PRINTER.

  The Department has two 3D printers that are free for you to use (Original Prusa i3). The 3D printers can be found in Tootill 0. If you’d like to use one of the printers, then please speak to Steve Rhodes (corner office in Tootill 0).


UNICS BOWLING SOCIAL.

  Join us for a night of strikes and spares at the UniCS bowling social! We'll be heading to Tenpin Printworks in Manchester on Tuesday, February 13th, from 6:30 pm to 7:30 pm (or meet us at Kilburn at 6pm). Tickets will be £1, head over to our product page to secure your space ASAP! Let's roll together and have a blast! 


DIGITAL TRUST AND SECURITY SEMINAR SERIES.

  Uncover the secrets of online drug markets - How is the digitalisation of social interaction changing illegal markets? Join us for a captivating exploration of the hidden world of illegal drug markets on social media on 29th February, from 13:45 – 15:40. Led by expert Silje Anderdal Bakken from Oslo University, we'll delve into how online interactions are reshaping the underworld, from coded messages to the interplay between virtual and offline dynamics. Gain valuable insights and spark discussion on this timely and complex issue. Don't miss this eye-opening event! Register today to secure your place and avoid disappointment. This is a Digital Trust and Security Seminar, presented by The Centre for Digital Trust and Society, which leads and delivers activity for the Digital Trust and Security theme within UoM Digital Futures Research Platform.


DIGITAL TRUST AND SECURITY SEMINAR SERIES.

  Kieron O’Hara - The Seven Veils of Privacy 

  • Date & time: 20th March | 12:30 - 14:30
  • Location: Christabel Pankhurst Building, Manchester

Kieron O’Hara, from the University of Southampton, will unveil a rigorous and comprehensive framework from his groundbreaking book "The Seven Veils of Privacy" to navigate the seemingly endless arguments around privacy and your rights. Join to discover why the clashing perspectives on social norms, human rights, personal preferences, and data processing often lead to frustration and confusion. Places are limited so we advise you to secure your spot now to avoid disappointment.


AI CENTRE FOR DOCTORAL TRAINING.

  Mauricio Alvarez writes: The UKRI AI Centre for Doctoral Training (CDT) in Decision Making for Complex Systems is a joint CDT between the University of Manchester and the University of Cambridge. At Manchester, the CDT is led by the Department of Computer Science. The CDT provides funding for four years of advanced studies towards a PhD. The first year is a taught program that will cover the fundamentals of Machine Learning with courses on AI for uncertainty modelling. This taught year is followed by three years of research at Manchester and/or Cambridge. Admissions to the PhD programme will be handled on a project-by-project basis. We would like to invite prospective applicants to contact supervisors who are proposing projects for the first cohort starting September 2024. You can find the list of supervisors and projects here.


SCHOOL OF ENGINEERING SUMMER INTERNSHIPS.

  The School is accepting applications for the 2024 School of Engineering Internship Scheme, which provides you with paid experience of working within the School of Engineering to improve your future employability and skills. There are many different projects to choose from, each with different supervisors and very different project outlines that you could be working on over the summer. Internships will run during the period from Monday 10th June 2024 until Friday 13th September 2024, for a maximum duration of 180 hours of work, at a rate of £12.21 an hour. 

The scheme is open to Year 2 undergraduate students, as well as Year 3 students on a 4-year programme. We would expect all applicants to have completed the CV Pathway within CareerConnect before submitting an application. You can apply for the positions on the University careers portal, CareerConnect, by simply clicking on the "Search” tab -> “Vacancies”. The deadline for applications is 9pm Sunday 25th February 2024.


SWIFT STUDENT CHALLENGE.

  Apply for the Swift Student Challenge now until February 25th. Every year, the Swift Student Challenge aims to inspire students to create amazing app playgrounds that can make life better for their communities — and beyond. Have an app idea that’s close to your heart? Now’s your chance to make it happen. Build an app playground and submit by February 25th. All winners receive a year of complimentary membership in the Apple Developer Program and other exclusive awards. And for the first time ever, we’ll award a select group of Distinguished Winners a trip to Apple Park for an incredible in-person experience.


LEVELLING UP MATHS.

  Steve Pettifer writes: A paid opportunity for Computer Science undergraduate students at the University of Manchester. The Department of Computer Science and the Department of Mathematics are working with schools and colleges across Greater Manchester to offer tuition to disadvantaged students studying A-level Maths. We want to recruit up to 4 tutors to provide online tutoring sessions from March 2024 to March 2025. Tutors will run online sessions with groups of 4-6 students on Zoom or Teams. All materials for the sessions are provided and the one hour sessions run fortnightly during term time. We will also provide tutors and students with graphics tablets if required.

Main responsibilities:

  • Attendance at training session in early March 2024
  • Completion of 22 one-hour online tutoring sessions between March 2024 and March 2025
  • Regular updates to the Levelling Up lead on how the sessions are progressing and attendance monitoring.

Person Specification. We are looking for individuals who are:

  • studying on a computer science single or joint honours degree, but not currently in the final year of their programme
  • able to relate to year 12 students in target schools and have studied A-level maths
  • enthusiastic and able to motivate young people to study
  • reliable, punctual and organised
  • willing and able to attend the training session
  • able to commit to running all the sessions up to March 2025
  • have experience working with young people, especially those from disadvantaged backgrounds.

All tutors will be required to have a clear enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check to ensure suitability for working with young people. This will be organised by UoM once you are appointed to the role. Tutors will have a casual contract with the University of Manchester and be paid at an hourly rate of £16. For each one-hour session tutors will additionally be paid 30 minutes preparation time. Tutors will also be paid for attending the training session. Apply by emailing steve.pettifer@manchester.ac.uk which year of which degree programme you are on and a short paragraph explaining your motivation for applying for the post before 18:00 on Friday 23rd February 2024.

Welcome to Gareth’s Puzzle Corner, this is your weekly fix of brain teasers and logic puzzles. You are given 5 different puzzles to tackle. One is an easier Sudoku, the second is a more challenging Sudoku, the third is a different form of logic puzzle and we have a chess puzzle for you. Finally, each week you can compete with myself and other students/staff to see who has the best geography skills. Try your hand at Geoguessr below. I hope you enjoy the puzzles and if you have any puzzles you wish to feature or ideas for Puzzle Corner then please get in touch.

Easier Sudoku - Classic Sudoku by sudoku.com

Normal sudoku rules apply.

Challenging Sudoku - 5's live in Foggy Flats by Antiknight 

Normal sudoku rules apply. All 5s in the grid must strictly have EITHER; a '1' directly above it AND/OR a '9' directly below it. The digits along each arrow must sum to the digit in the circled cell. Digits may repeat along an arrow if permitted by other rules. Adjacent digits along each German whisper line must have a difference of at least 5. Digits along each thermometer must increase starting from the bulb end. The grid is partially covered with fog. Correctly placed digits will clear the fog around that cell. 

Bonus Puzzle - Kuromasu by Koyoppz 

Colour the grey cells of the diagram black or white. A cell with a number cannot be blackened. The number indicates how many white cells can be seen altogether looking north, south, east and west (including the cell with the number) up to a black cell or the edge of the diagram. Black cells must not be orthogonally adjacent. All white cells must form a single orthogonally contiguous area.

Chess Puzzle - Puth Vs. Maze, 2024 

Drag and drop the Black pieces to win the chess match.

Geoguessr

And Finally, our weekly competition from geoguessr.com 

We are playing the new map again this week called I Saw The Sign 2.0. All of the clues are there, you just need to find them! You need to take in as much information as you can from the google street view and then drop your pin on the map. The closer to the correct location you are the more points you get. Can you get the top score after all 5 rounds? Remember though, you only get 1 min per round and running out of time will give you 0 pts. Winners will be announced next week!

The Winner from Semester 1, Week 12 was Ewan with a score of 24,754 out of a possible 25,000. A great score. The winner of the closest individual guess this week was Iakh0 with a guess only 1 yard away on Round 2 (the Kilburn Building)! Incredible!


Week 2 • Monday 5 February 2024 • #23.17          The Monday Mail

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Good morning! It’s Monday 5th February 2024 and it's Week 2 of the semester 2 teaching period. I hope you are starting to settle down into your new timetable and routine. The deadline for selecting any optional course units is this Friday, so please make sure you have selected your choices this week. 

On Tuesday, Peter Sutton and Lloyd Henning - aka Foxdog Studios - will present their award winning show “Robot Chef”, an interactive experience combining tech, music, and comedy. Whilst this is part of the COMP10120 guest lecture series, everyone is welcome. If you are free, then pop along, I highly recommend it!

If you are a graduating student, then please don’t forget to complete the NSS.

Have a good week, on with today’s news … 

Paul
Undergraduate Programme Director


FIRST YEAR TUTOR.

  Gareth Henshall will continue to be unavailable as 1st Year Tutor (non CM) this week. If you are a 1st year student and you need to speak to anyone about any issue that is affecting your learning, then please feel free to contact any of the other year tutors during Gareth’s absence. You can also speak to the Department wellbeing team in confidence.


DASS SUPPORT DEADLINE.

  There is a deadline coming up for exam support through DASS (Disability Advice Support Service). DASS offers support to all students who have a condition which has an adverse and long-term effect on their ability to carry-out normal day-to-day activities. This includes Cognitive Developmental Delay, Physical Health and Mental Health issues. A DASS advisor is always happy to talk with you if you are unsure if you can register with them. You can find out more information about DASS and how to contact them here: who-do-we-support. The University has a deadline for putting exam support in place for each of the main exam periods. The next deadline is Thursday 14th March 2024 at 4pm, you’ll need to register and have met with an adviser to agree your exam support by then. For more details, see the exam support page.


YEAR TUTOR OPEN HOURS.

  In the Department we have year tutors who are responsible for looking after the different cohorts in each year group. They are here to provide you with help and support if you need it, so feel free to contact your year tutor by email. They also run a weekly open hour where you can pop in for a chat during the teaching period:

  • Year 1 (not CM): Gareth Henshall. Not available in Week 2.
  • Year 2 (not CM): Aphrodite Galata. Open hour: Tuesday 14:00 - 15:00, Kilburn 2.101
  • Industrial Experience Year: Duncan Hull. Open hour: Thursdays 10:00 - 12:00. Kilburn LF25
  • Year 3/4 (not CM): Tim Morris. Open hour: Tuesday 11:00 - 12:00, Kilburn 2.107 
  • CM (all years): Andrea Schalk. Open hour: Thursday 12:30 - 13:30, 2.103
  • UG Director: Paul Nutter. Open hour: Tuesday 09:00 - 10:00, IT119.


PASS2.

  The PASS2 team (See Jia Tong (Y3, CS), Salma Aljama (Y3, AI) and Divya Radhakrishnan Nair (Y3, CS)) write: Hi everyone, unfortunately we have some timetabling issues, but we know how much you guys like the module selection session's especially since the deadline is approaching. Looking forward to seeing you there. 


NATIONAL STUDENT SURVEY.

  The National Student Survey (NSS) is now running, closing on Tuesday 30th April 2024. NSS offers final year students the opportunity to reflect on their time at Manchester and allows you to provide feedback on how, overall, you found your experience of studying at Manchester. All students eligible to complete NSS will receive an email from Ipsos Mori (an external company appointed by the UK Government to run NSS) with a link to complete the survey. There’s no need to wait, you can complete NSS directly via the NSS website. As a thank you for your time, every student who takes part in the NSS 2024 can enter a prize draw to win one of 17 prizes:  

  • 1 x iPad Air 
  • 2 x £200 voucher (choose from Uber, Deliveroo and LovetoShop) 
  • 2 x £100 voucher 
  • 4 x £50 voucher 
  • 4 x £25 voucher 
  • 4 x Graduation Day package 

Additionally, for each response submitted the University will also make a £2 charitable donation, split equally between the following good causes: 

  • University of Manchester Cost of Living Support Fund: Awarding grants of up to £2000 to help students overcome financial hardship or unforeseen additional costs. 
  • Refugee Women Connect: Working to build a safe life in the UK for all women in the refugee and asylum seeker community. 
  • St Ann’s Hospice:  Helping people from across Greater Manchester affected by life-limiting illnesses and supporting their loved ones and carers. 
  • Lifeshare: Manchester’s oldest charity dedicated to providing essential services to people experiencing homelessness and poverty. 

Any feedback you provide is important to us as it can help us improve what we do. NSS is anonymous, so you can be open and honest in your feedback. We want your views - tell us what was good and what was bad! 


COMP16412 ASSESSMENTS.

  This from Sarah Clinch: We’re planning to alter the assessment for COMP16412 (Programming II) to 100% exam from 2024/25. This would mean replacing the current coursework with a practical exam (and keeping the current MCQ exam). We have some good reasons to do this, but we know that exams are not everyone's preference, and there's evidence that some people are more disadvantaged in exams than others. Also, a practical exam might well be a new experience for many. So ... we want to do this right (or at least as right as we can). We need student input to help refine our current ideas, and help us understand what support materials we would need etc. We plan to run some roundtable discussions, open to all years of study, most likely in Week 6. If you're interested in taking part, please email sarah.clinch@manchester.ac.uk.


COURSEWORK DEADLINES CHART.

  The coursework deadlines chart, which can be accessed here, has been updated to show the deadlines for the summative coursework elements of all COMP course units. The chart also lets you know for each assessment whether it is possible to apply for an extension. Please note that deadlines may still change and that only SPOT indicates up-to-date information on deadlines, so please use SPOT to confirm deadlines.


COURSE UNIT CHOICES.

  The deadline for choosing/changing your Semester 2 course units on the University system is 3pm, 9th February (this Friday!). See our student support website for further information and guidance on using the system, along with contact information if you have any questions or issues. If your choices do not meet the requirements for your degree programme, or you do not have the required prerequisites for a course unit, then you will be required to change them. If you have any questions about the process, please email soe.courseunits@manchester.ac.uk.


LEARNING TIPS - SUBMITTING YOUR OWN WORK.

  Computer Science is a very practical subject and, as such, it is natural to work together. In fact, in the outside world you will invariably be working as part of a team, whether it is developing software, or designing hardware. This is why a number of our course units offer you the opportunity to work as a member of a team. However, when it comes to individual assessments, this changes. What you submit as assessments reflect your learning and are a key part of measuring your academic progress. To ensure that work you submit is your own, we often look out for signs of academic malpractice, where someone is looking to gain an unfair advantage by submitting work that is not (entirely) their own.

There are generally two forms of academic malpractice: plagiarism, which is the copying of someone else’s work, including output from AI tools such as ChatGPR, without acknowledgement; and collusion: working closely with someone else to produce the same, or very similar, piece of work. In Computer Science, we find that collusion is the most common form of academic malpractice, and we use powerful software tools to identify similarities in code, even when changes such as renaming variables or restructuring code have been made to try and make code look different.

If you are found guilty of academic malpractice then this can have a dramatic impact on your progress/marks. Penalties range from the zeroing of marks for the assessment where academic malpractice has been identified as taking place, through to failing and having to resit a course unit. In the past, we have had students being excluded from their studies as a result of engaging with academic malpractice. It’s natural for you to work with fellow students to understand problems and the taught material, however, make sure the work you submit is your own. Overall, it’s just not worth the risk. For more information, see the University student guidance on plagiarism and other forms of academic malpractice. You can also view the full Academic Malpractice Procedure. 


EXPERIENCE THE ROBOT CHEF.

  We have a special guest lecture , Robot Chef, from  FoxDogstudios.com this Tuesday, 6th February, at 3pm in Crawford House Lecture Theatre A. Join IT consultants Peter Sutton and Lloyd Henning, alumni of the Department of Computer Science, our first speakers in the COMP10120 2024 guest lecture series. Fresh from the Edinburgh Fringe, they'll be inviting the audience to control their augmented reality Robot Chef using mobile phones. This is a fully interactive show where you work together to cook a delicious meal using fire, a taser and a sausage cannon. Play along in your browser on your phone, no app required! Their show has been called:

  • “Ridiculously good fun and mightily impressive” by TimeOut magazine
  • “The most laborious and collaborative fry-up of all time”  by The Independent
  • “An inspirational demonstration of what's possible with a sense of humour, some imagination and a Computer Science degree from the University of Manchester” by their former Professors
  • “The best and worst way to cook a meal” by hungry University of Manchester students
  • “Tough to explain, easy to enjoy” by the shows creators Pete and Lloyd

This lecture is part of COMP10120, however, all Computer Science students are welcome. Watch their trailer here


UNICS.

  UniCS is bringing to you a talk from BNY Mellon taking place on Wednesday 7th of February at 4pm in Kilburn lecture theatre 1.4 , delivered by their developers who were previously on the graduate pathway followed by information on the opportunities they have at BNY. Come along for a chance to ask your burning questions and find out more about their company! Goodies and pizza to be provided! Register your interest now here 


DATA SCIENCE SOCIETY.

  Setting Up Your Python Project, Wednesday 7th February 2:00-3:30pm, Simon Building 2.60. We present the first MUDS workshop of the year! This is a practical session on how to set up your Python project like a professional. We'll be covering the effective use of GitHub, Docker containers, Python debugging and linting among other tips and tactics to start your project off smoothly and write great, publication quality code :-)


GOOGLE DEVELOPER STUDENT CLUBS.

  Ready to connect with the future? Join us on February 7th as we decode the magic behind IoT at the University of Manchester. Unleash the power of smart technology and witness a live demo that will change the way you see your world, along with some free swag and snacks!


UNICS PUB CRAWL.

  Hey everyone! After the success of our first pub crawl in our first semester, we are getting ready for another pub crawl. This time, we are starting at the Turing Tap at 7pm and heading towards the city centre. Fill out this form if you're interested in joining! Can't wait to see you all there!


DIGITAL SKILLS FESTIVAL 2024 - TALENT DAY.

  Talent Day is the largest digital and tech careers fair in the North and a must-attend event for those looking to start work in the industry and takes place this Wednesday, 7th Feb, at the Bridgewater Hall, 10am to 4pm. 

Talent Day is back and bigger than ever! This year, we’re taking over Manchester’s iconic Bridgewater Hall for a day packed with opportunities to connect with tech employers across the region. Talent Day is the largest and longest-running specialist careers fair in the North. Each year over 1,800 graduates and job seekers attend to find out more about the latest tech and digital careers on offer at some of Greater Manchester’s most exciting and innovative tech companies. There are up to 60 different businesses to talk to, with a huge amount of jobs and other opportunities on offer. This event is great for students and graduates looking for exciting roles (summer internships, placements and graduate roles) in the digital and tech industry. To help us manage capacity and ensure that everybody has a good experience, tickets will be allocated across three 2 hour time slots. Please book the time slot that suits you, and ensure you stick to that time on the day. If you would prefer to visit when the event is less busy, we would advise booking for the final time slot of the day (2pm - 4pm). Exhibitors this year include: AJ Bell, Autotrader, Awaze, BAE Systems, Basecamp skills, Co-op, CDL Software, Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), GlobalLogic, Interact software, IMS insurance and mobility solutions, Manchester Airports Group, Naimuri, Nexer Digital, North West Cyber Resilience Centre, Robiquity, Starling Bank, Tracsis, West Yorkshire Pension Fund.

Talent day is partnered with all three Manchester Universities: the University of Salford, the Manchester Metropolitan University and the University of Manchester. Find out more and register here.


WHAT IS GDG ACADEMY?

  GDG Academy is a mentorship program that bridges the gap between academic knowledge and real-world expertise, and brings together students from different universities to learn from each other and from experienced professionals. The program matches students with mentors who are experts in their field, and who can provide them with guidance, support, and networking opportunities. We are committed to helping students develop the skills and knowledge they need to succeed in their chosen fields. Participants will also be given the opportunity to apply to exclusive internships at major companies. Join us for the opening ceremony on Tuesday, February 13th, 18:00 onwards.


LEVELLING UP MARTHS.

  Steve Pettifer writes: A paid opportunity for Computer Science undergraduate students at the University of Manchester. The Department of Computer Science and the Department of Mathematics are working with schools and colleges across Greater Manchester to offer tuition to disadvantaged students studying A-level Maths. We want to recruit up to 4 tutors to provide online tutoring sessions from March 2024 to March 2025. Tutors will run online sessions with groups of 4-6 students on Zoom or Teams. All materials for the sessions are provided and the one hour sessions run fortnightly during term time. We will also provide tutors and students with graphics tablets if required.

Main responsibilities:

  • Attendance at training session in early March 2024
  • Completion of 22 one-hour online tutoring sessions between March 2024 and March 2025
  • Regular updates to the Levelling Up lead on how the sessions are progressing and attendance monitoring.

Person Specification. We are looking for individuals who are:

  • studying on a computer science single or joint honours degree, but not currently in the final year of their programme
  • able to relate to year 12 students in target schools and have studied A-level maths
  • enthusiastic and able to motivate young people to study
  • reliable, punctual and organised
  • willing and able to attend the training session
  • able to commit to running all the sessions up to March 2025
  • have experience working with young people, especially those from disadvantaged backgrounds.

All tutors will be required to have a clear enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check to ensure suitability for working with young people. This will be organised by UoM once you are appointed to the role. Tutors will have a casual contract with the University of Manchester and be paid at an hourly rate of £16. For each one-hour session tutors will additionally be paid 30 minutes preparation time. Tutors will also be paid for attending the training session. Apply by emailing steve.pettifer@manchester.ac.uk which year of which degree programme you are on and a short paragraph explaining your motivation for applying for the post before 18:00 on Friday 23rd February 2024.


Week 1 • Monday 29 January 2024 • #23.16          The Monday Mail

Paul pic

Good morning UG! It’s Monday 29th January 2024 ... welcome to semester 2! I hope you have recovered after celebrating the end of your exams, and that you are ready to start all over again! We expect to release the semester 1 exam results in the week commencing 4th March 2024.

As this is a new semester, then you have a new teaching timetable to follow. Please keep an eye on your timetable as changes may be made over the next couple of weeks as course unit enrolment settles down, and we assign students to practical sessions to ensure there are no clashes. Don’t forget that the deadline to select course units is Friday 9th February 2024 (see below). If you are a 3rd year student then don’t forget to attend the timetabled COMP30030/40 meeting on Friday. 

The National Student Survey opens today for those students who are graduating this year. Please complete it as your feedback is really important to us (see below).

We would usually welcome the return of Gareth’s Puzzle Corner this week, however, it will continue to take a break for the next few weeks as Gareth is taking some time off due to becoming a father. Congratulations Gareth on the safe arrival of baby Eleri!

Have a good week, on with today’s news … 

Paul
Undergraduate Programme Director


FIRST YEAR TUTOR.

  Gareth will be unavailable as 1st Year Tutor (non CM) during the first two weeks of semester 2. If you are a 1st year student and you need to speak to anyone about any issue that is affecting your learning, then please feel free to contact any of the other year tutors during Gareth’s absence. You can also speak to the Department wellbeing team in confidence.


YEAR TUTOR OPEN HOURS.

  In the Department we have year tutors who are responsible for looking after the different cohorts in each year group. They are here to provide you with help and support if you need it, so feel free to contact your year tutor by email. They also run a weekly open hour where you can pop in for a chat during the teaching period:

  • Year 1 (not CM): Gareth Henshall. Not available in Week 1.
  • Year 2 (not CM): Aphrodite Galata. Open hour: Tuesday 14:00 - 15:00, Kilburn 2.101
  • Industrial Experience Year: Duncan Hull. Open hour: Thursdays 10:00 - 12:00. Kilburn LF25
  • Year 3/4 (not CM): Tim Morris. Open hour: Tuesday 11:00 - 12:00, Kilburn 2.107 
  • CM (all years): Andrea Schalk. Open hour: Thursday 11:00 - 12:00, 2.103
  • UG Director: Paul Nutter. Open hour: Tuesday 09:00 - 10:00, IT119.


STUDENT-STAFF LIAISON COMMITTEE.

  This from Tom Carroll, chair of SSLC: On 13th December, the UG SSLC had a meeting about Assessment and Feedback. This meeting was very productive. Student reps discussed thoughts about the Department's approach to assessment and feedback, about perceptions of the marking process, and also identifying good practice. The points from this meeting were presented to the Department, and have helped to develop a greater understanding of student views on assessment and feedback. The Department is now progressing to improve assessment and feedback. I would like to thank all who gave their views and opinions on this matter - you have had a direct impact in helping the Department to improve this important area. Thank you! The next meeting will be held on Wednesday 14th February 2024.


MEET A STUDENT REP.

  The student rep of the week this week is Manoj Manikandan (Y1, CS). Manoj writes: I'm Manoj Manikandan (Y1, CS). From Tamil Nadu, India/Dubai, UAE. If there are any concerns with your course, reach out.

* NATIONAL STUDENT SURVEY. The National Student Survey (NSS) launches today, closing on Tuesday 30th April 2024. NSS offers final year students the opportunity to reflect on their time at Manchester and allows you to provide feedback on how, overall, you found your experience of studying at Manchester. All students eligible to complete NSS will receive an email from Ipsos Mori (an external company appointed by the UK Government to run NSS) with a link to complete the survey. There’s no need to wait, you can complete NSS directly via the NSS website. As a thank you for your time, every student who takes part in the NSS 2024 can enter a prize draw to win one of 17 prizes:  
  • 1 x iPad Air 
  • 2 x £200 voucher (choose from Uber, Deliveroo and LovetoShop) 
  • 2 x £100 voucher 
  • 4 x £50 voucher 
  • 4 x £25 voucher 
  • 4 x Graduation Day package 

Additionally, for each response submitted the University will also make a £2 charitable donation, split equally between the following good causes: 

  • University of Manchester Cost of Living Support Fund: Awarding grants of up to £2000 to help students overcome financial hardship or unforeseen additional costs. 
  • Refugee Women Connect: Working to build a safe life in the UK for all women in the refugee and asylum seeker community. 
  • St Ann’s Hospice:  Helping people from across Greater Manchester affected by life-limiting illnesses and supporting their loved ones and carers. 
  • Lifeshare: Manchester’s oldest charity dedicated to providing essential services to people experiencing homelessness and poverty. 

Any feedback you provide is important to us as it can help us improve what we do. NSS is anonymous, so you can be open and honest in your feedback. We want your views - tell us what was good and what was bad! 


CHARITY FUNDRAISING.

  Since graduating in 2018 Ben Possible (CSwIE, 2014-2018) has undertaken multiple roles within the department, including assisting in Volunteering, Outreach, and Public Engagement, as well as serving as a Research Assistant. Ben is currently fundraising for Little Princess Trust after growing his hair out for the past 4 years! The hair will be used to create a wig for children and young individuals who have lost their hair due to cancer treatment or conditions like Alopecia. If you want to donate towards the costs of transforming it into a wig feel free to scan the QR code or visit this link. Any amount is welcome … £2 will go a long way to help!


COURSEWORK DEADLINES CHART.

  The coursework deadlines chart, which can be accessed here, is being updated to show the deadlines for the summative coursework elements of all COMP course units in Semester 2. The chart also lets you know for each assessment whether it is possible to apply for an extension. The updating process should be completed soon. Please note that deadlines may still change and that only SPOT indicates up-to-date information on deadlines, so please use SPOT to confirm deadlines.


THIRD YEAR MEETING.

  Calling all 3rd year students! There will be a meeting on Friday 2nd Feb, 13:00-15:00 in Engineering Building Theatre A focused on the project, the National Student Survey (NSS) and employment. Please make sure you attend. 


SPOT UPDATE.

  As you are aware SPOT shows all your assessment marks in one central system for the course units that you are taking with the department of Computer Science.  SPOT also provides other information for the courses you are taking, for example, assessment weights and deadlines, any git tags required for submission, etc.  There are also links to the UG Handbook and an overview of all deadlines.  The latest feature update for SPOT helps to make the mitigating circumstances application process more transparent.  As well as receiving an email from the wellbeing team, your SPOT page will also show an ‘M’ next to the assessment name(s) that you applied to be mitigated, please note: this means we have received your application and SPOT knows about it, it does not mean that the grounds for mitigation were accepted. The decision whether mitigation is to be applied, and which type of mitigation is appropriate, will be finalised at the end of the academic year.


COURSE UNIT CHOICES.

  The deadline for choosing/changing your Semester 2 course units on the University system is 3pm Friday 9th February. Please do this urgently because the size of a course unit cohort has implications on room bookings and we need to finalise the timetable ASAP. This year we have a new course unit selection system. See our student support website for further information and guidance on using the system, along with contact information if you have any questions or issues.. Please be aware that some units have a maximum enrolment capacity (COMP22712 and COMP33312). If your choices do not meet the requirements for your degree programme, or you do not have the required prerequisites for a course unit, then you will be required to change them. If you have any questions about the process, please email soe.courseunits@manchester.ac.uk.


GITLAB DOWNTIME WARNING.

  On Wednesday 31st January the Department of Computer Science GitLab system will be taken offline to perform essential maintenance and  upgrades. Work on the system will start at 14:00 and may take until 17:00, although we will attempt to minimise the time that GitLab is unavailable. A notice banner is currently shown on GitLab pages as a reminder for this work, and it will be removed when the work on the server is completed and tests indicate GitLab is operating normally. While GitLab is offline you will be able to continue to work locally in any currently cloned git repositories, including adding commits. However, attempts to interact with the GitLab server (via `git push`, `git pull`, `git fetch` and so on) will fail.


LEARNING TIPS - BACK TO LEARNING.

  So, you’ve had your Christmas/New Year break, completed your exams and now it all starts again. You have a new teaching timetable this semester, so make sure you check when activities take place and you know where. Reflect on last semester to see how you can improve the way you study. Are you using your time productively, or is there more you could do to improve how you learn? Did you struggle to complete your assignments on time? Did you leave them to the last minute? Why was this? What could you do to stop this from happening again? If so, it’s worth thinking about how you approach learning, how you manage your time and how you plan how you work. Maybe it would be worth having a discussion in your tutor group to understand how others approach their learning. What do they do that's different? Is their approach more effective? Could you try the same? 

Why not consider producing a Gantt chart that outlines when you will be working on what over the semester. Make use of the deadlines Gantt chart the Department provides, to see when deadlines fall and plan your learning around these deadlines. Form study groups with your friends to work through the material, explaining your understanding to each other and tackling example questions - sometimes this can be more effective than trying to work on your own. You may think you are stupid for not understanding something but I can guarantee that if you don’t understand something, then someone else is in the same boat. Debating such issues with others is a powerful way of clarifying what it is that is confusing you.

Have a look at the library’s My Learning Essentials resources - for example, there’s an online resource looking at effective learning. Overall, make productive use of your time and be more effective in your approach to learning. Don’t forget that it’s not all about learning. University is about new experiences, doing new things and meeting new people, so take time off from studying to relax and explore what being at University has to offer.


INAUGURAL SEMINAR:

  Prof. Davide Bertozzi will present an inaugural lecture titled “Systems Innovation By Leveraging the Enabling Properties of Communication Architectures and Technologies” on Wednesday 31st January, 14:00 - 15:00, in Kilburn lecture theatre 1.3. Abstract:  Computing, as used in practice, is hierarchical, heterogenous, and distributed. This emerging paradigm is underpinned by computing architecture innovations encompassing biological inspiration, domain customization, multi-tenancy and data-intensive processing. In all cases, there is a converging trend toward shifting the fundamental bottleneck from computation to communication. By leveraging a strong drive toward cross-layer design and optimization, this talk will propose novel chip-scale communication architectures (for event-driven communication and/or for time-space partitioning) and technologies (silicon nanophotonic networks) playing a pivotal role in fulfilling the functional and non-functional requirements of macroscopic system-level design, especially tight power budgets and secure-grade isolation.


INAUGURAL SEMINAR:

  Dr. Jiaoyan Chen and Dr. Ramon Fraga Pereira will present inaugural lectures on Wednesday, 7 February 2024, 13:00 – 14:00 in Kilburn lecture theatre 1.3. The titles and abstract for the presentations are: Dr. Jiaoyan Chen, “Neural-symbolic Knowledge Representation with Ontology and Knowledge Graph Embeddings”. Abstract: Ontologies and Knowledge Graphs are becoming increasingly popular for knowledge representation and reasoning, with a fundamental role in AI and Information Systems. Their embeddings are to represent entities in a vector space with their formal and informal semantics (such as logical relationships and textual meta information) concerned. In this talk, I will first briefly introduce the definitions of ontology, knowledge graph and their embeddings, then introduce some embedding methods, including those using geometric modelling and (large) language models, and finally discuss the role of Knowledge Graph, Ontology and their embeddings in semantic reasoning such as knowledge completion, and in addressing Machine Learning challenges such as sample shortage and augmenting large language models. Dr. Ramon Fraga Pereira, “Goal Recognition and Deceptive Planning: Two (Different) Sides of the Same Coin”. Abstract: Goal Recognition is the task of discerning the intended goal that an observed agent aims to achieve by observing a sequence of its actions in an environment. In contrast, Deceptive Planning can be described as an inversion of the Goal Recognition task, where the aim is to generate a sequence of actions (i.e., a plan) such that an observer is unable to determine the intended final goal.  Goal Recognition has various applications across different domains due to its ability to infer and understand the goals of observed agents, such as Human-Computer Interaction (HCI), Assistive Technologies (e.g., Alexa, Siri, etc.), Security and Surveillance, Education and Intelligent Tutoring Systems, Healthcare, Fraud Detection, etc. Deceptive Planning also has several applications in several domains, such as Security and Real-Time Strategies (e.g., misdirection and decoys), Competitive e-Sports (deceptive moves and feints), Security and Anti-fraud Measures (e.g., deceptive signage and camouflage), etc. In this talk, I will present my research on Symbolic AI (Artificial Intelligence) techniques for the tasks of Goal Recognition and Deceptive Planning and their applications in real-world problems, as well as possible future directions in these fields of study.  


UNDERGRADUATE TEACHING VOLUNTEERS OPPORTUNITY.

  Andrea Schalk writes: Are you interested in supporting other students' learning? If you are a student in Years 3 or 4, we may have an opportunity for you to do so. After successful pilot schemes, we are inviting students to let us know if they would like to act as an Undergraduate Teaching Volunteer on a Year 1 or Year 2 course unit. We are not yet able to confirm for which units this opportunity exists, so please list all units you are potentially interested in when filling in the form by 08:00 am, Monday 5th February. If you've told us about a Semester 2 unit before you do not need to fill in the form again. You'll help for a maximum of 2-3 hours per week on average, so you can only act on one course unit. You will be in a practical session such as labs or examples classes together with the course unit staff and/or graduate teaching assistants, so you don't have to worry about not being able to answer all questions. We won't ask you to be involved in marking (nor do we want you to tell students exactly how to carry out assignments), but we do want you to help students understand anything that is puzzling them using your experience and knowledge of the material. We have found that students are typically closer to our learners, and can be really good at finding an explanation that works for somebody new to an area. Previous volunteers have found this activity satisfying, and it also looks good on your CV. We are also looking into providing training for those interested in becoming an Associate Fellow of Advance HE (see the Advance-HE website for details), the UK's professional membership scheme promoting excellence in higher education. If you have further specific questions, please email me.


VENTURE FURTHER AWARDS 2024.

  Do you have the next best technology startup business? Turn your ideas into reality and win up to £15,000 in the 2024 Venture Further Awards, the annual start-up competition for all current students and recent graduates at The University of Manchester. Applications for the Venture Further Awards 2024 Competition are now open! Turn your ideas into reality and win significant early-stage funding to start your own business. The competition will introduce you to a world of support programmes, workshops, mentors and networks to grow your ideas. If you have a viable business proposal then get involved. Your entry needs to be a viable and credible business proposal that has the potential to succeed. If your entry is successful, you will be asked to pitch your business proposal to a panel of expert judges for a chance to win one of the cash prizes. Deadline for applications: MIDDAY on 22nd February 2024. On Thursday 1st February, competition organiser Tillie Page and Jess Lewis will be offering a VFA24 Drop in service in AMBS Reception Area, where you can ask any questions about the competition, or go through your application for this years’ competition. Bootcamps will be running on Saturday 3rd and Monday 5th February to help you create your Venture Further application.  You can find further information here


NEW SUPPORT ZONE AT THE MAIN LIBRARY.

  The Library has a new Support Zone for students on the Blue Ground Floor of the Main Library. The Support Zone is a space where our friendly Library staff can help you with a range of digital services and teaching and learning queries, including: 

  • Accessing WiFi 
  • Printing  
  • Using MS365 
  • Developing skills in academic writing 
  • Accessing business data 

Consultations are on a one-to-one basis, so you get personalised support as you need it. Using the Support Zone is currently on a 'drop-in' basis. All you need to do is approach the Customer Services desk in Main Library and let them know what kind of support you need, then they’ll refer you to a member of staff who can chat with you in the Support Zone.  


Exams Week 2 • Monday 22 January 2024 • #23.15          The Monday Mail

Paul pic

Good morning UG! It’s Monday 22nd January 2024, and it’s the second week of the semester 1 exam period. 

I hope your exams are going well .... only one more week to go! Teaching resumes next week with the start of semester 2, so your personal timetable will change to show learning activities for your semester 2 course units. If you have yet to finalise your course units, then it’s important you do so by the deadline (see below) as changes cannot be made after this date. The deadline to submit mitigating circumstances for semester 1 is this coming Sunday, so please make sure you submit any by then. Unfortunately, we cannot accept claims after this date.

Don’t forget that Monday Mail is here to celebrate your successes and achievements. If you have any news you’d like to share with the UG cohort (such as your success at a Hackathon, attendance or presentation at a conference etc.) then please send me an email.

Have a good week and don’t party too hard when you finish your exams!

Paul
Undergraduate Programme Director


SUPPORT SERVICE SPOTLIGHT:

  The Counselling and Mental Health Service. The University Counselling and Mental Health Service is free to students and can offer help and support with a range of personal issues. Support is provided through a range of activities including;

  • Confidential one to one appointments
  • Workshops
  • Online support materials and self-help tools
  • Access to services, such as Health Assured and Qwell.

You can refer yourself to the counselling service by booking an appointment online. Remember you can always contact the School Wellbeing team, Maria and Ben, who are are always available to offer any help or advice at any time.


SUPPORT SERVICE SPOTLIGHT:

  Manchester Student Homes & the Accommodation Office. It’s probably time to start thinking about your accommodation for next academic year. Manchester Student Homes is a free, University-run housing service for students who can offer independent housing advice. They can help you search for the perfect student home and put you in contact with accredited landlords. 


MITIGATING CIRCUMSTANCES DEADLINE.

  The deadline for submitting mitigating circumstances for semester 1 is 4pm, Sunday 28th January 2024. University regulations do not allow us to accept applications after this date. You can submit mitigating circumstances by filling out this form. The UG handbook provides information on the mitigating circumstances process. If you are unsure about how to fill in the form, whether what you have experienced qualifies for mitigation, or if you are experiencing problems with obtaining evidence, please speak to a member of the Welfare Team or your Year Tutor.


STUDENT SUPPORT HUB EMAIL ADDRESS.

  In case you need help and support over the exam period, the email contacts for the Teaching, Learning and Student Experience team are below:

If you are unsure which email to use then use soe.hub@manchester.ac.uk for general queries. 


KEEPING SAFE ON CAMPUS.

  Darker mornings and evenings are here for a bit longer, hence it’s important you keep safe when on campus and travelling to/from the campus. Keep in mind the following:

  • Stay alert: Keep your belongings safe and out of view when travelling to or from campus and whilst you’re on it. Avoid wearing noise cancelling headphones so you know what’s going on around you, and stick to well-lit roads and pavements as you travel around the city, avoiding underpasses where possible. Keep your phone out of sight!
  • Download SafeZone: Our mobile app SafeZone can be used to quickly connect you with Campus Support and Security team if you feel unsafe, need immediate help or require first aid or wellbeing assistance. The app is free to download, easy to use, and operates across the Manchester campuses. You can find out more about SafeZone here.
  • Report unacceptable behaviour: Manchester has a zero-tolerance approach to bullying, harassment, discrimination, gender-based violence, hate or micro-aggressions. If you have witnessed any forms of this behaviour, or have a safeguarding concern, you can report it anonymously or get support from a trained advisor.  Find out more about Report + Support.


YEAR TUTOR OPEN HOURS.

  In the Department we have Year Tutors who are responsible for looking after the different cohorts in each year group. They are here to provide you with help and support if you need it, so feel free to contact your Year Tutor by email. The Year Tutors will not be running open office hours over the exam period, so please contact them by email if you need to speak to someone. 


PASS1.

  The PASS1 team (Max Beck-Jones (Y3, CS4), Luke Sanderson (Y3, CS), Sarah Saad (Y3, AI4), Nicolo Micheletti (Y3, CS), and Rosie Halsall (Y3, CS4)) write: Hi everyone, we hope your exams are going well - remember to eat and sleep properly! The winners of the programming competition have been contacted and had their prizes delivered. Thank you again to everyone who took part, we had a great turn out for its inaugural run. We will be gathering the names of attendees from your PASS leaders once teaching starts again so certificates of participation can be issued. PASS sessions will resume next week (w/b 29th of January). We are still finalising the room booking and there is a possibility that they will not be the same as last semester. Please be on the lookout for emails and messages from your PASS leaders with more information. Finally, and as always, if you want to cover anything in your sessions or have any feedback, please let your PASS leaders know.


FREE BREAKFASTS.

  Weekly free breakfasts are available each Wednesday, excluding the Easter break (18th March - 5th April). The Library Team will be handing out vouchers in Alan Gilbert Learning Commons which can be exchanged for breakfast goodies, including a hot drink and pastry, at the Learning Commons Café. The giveaways run from 9am to 11am every Wednesday. Get your breakfast fix before stocks run out! Check out the University Cost of Living page for more initiatives, including information on our Cosy Campus spaces with hot water and microwaves, and free fresh food available in the community fridges.


THIRD YEAR MEETING.

  Calling all 3rd year students! There will be a meeting on Friday 2nd Feb, 13:00-15:00 in Engineering Building Lecture Theatre A focused on the project, the National Student Survey (NSS) and careers. Please make sure you attend. 


COURSE UNIT CHOICES.

  Course unit selection for semester 2 is now open. The deadline for choosing/changing your Semester 2 course units on the University system is 3pm Friday 9th February. Please do this urgently because the size of a course unit cohort has implications on room bookings and we need to finalise the timetable ASAP. This year we have a new course unit selection system. See our student support website for further information and guidance on using the system, along with contact information if you have any questions or issues. Please be aware that some units have a maximum enrolment capacity (COMP22712 and COMP33312). If your choices do not meet the requirements for your degree programme, or you do not have the required prerequisites for a course unit, then you will be required to change them. If you have any questions about the process, please email soe.courseunits@manchester.ac.uk.


BLACKBOARD DOWNTIME.

  As part of a planned upgrade of the Blackboard interface, there will be some disruption to this service. Blackboard may be unavailable for a 30-minute period at some point between 8am and 2pm on Saturday, 27th January 2024. During this time, anyone using Blackboard may see some graphical changes as the upgrade takes effect. The upgrade will provide improvements to the Blackboard homepage design and several new features. 


INAUGURAL SEMINAR:

  Prof. Davide Bertozzi will present an inaugural lecture titled “Systems Innovation By Leveraging the Enabling Properties of Communication Architectures and Technologies” on Wednesday 31st January, 14:00 - 15:00, in Kilburn lecture theatre 1.3. Abstract:  Computing, as used in practice, is hierarchical, heterogenous, and distributed. This emerging paradigm is underpinned by computing architecture innovations encompassing biological inspiration, domain customization, multi-tenancy and data-intensive processing. In all cases, there is a converging trend toward shifting the fundamental bottleneck from computation to communication. By leveraging a strong drive toward cross-layer design and optimization, this talk will propose novel chip-scale communication architectures (for event-driven communication and/or for time-space partitioning) and technologies (silicon nanophotonic networks) playing a pivotal role in fulfilling the functional and non-functional requirements of macroscopic system-level design, especially tight power budgets and secure-grade isolation.


UNDERGRADUATE TEACHING VOLUNTEERS OPPORTUNITY.

  Andrea Schalk writes: Are you interested in supporting other students' learning? If you are a student in Years 3 or 4, we may have an opportunity for you to do so. After successful pilot schemes, we are inviting students to let us know if they would like to act as an Undergraduate Teaching Volunteer on a Year 1 or Year 2 course unit. We are not yet able to confirm for which units this opportunity exists, so please list all units you are potentially interested in when filling in the form by 08:00 am, Monday fifth February. If you've told us about a Semester 2 unit before you do not need to fill in the form again. You'll help for a maximum of 2-3 hours per week on average, so you can only act on one course unit. You will be in a practical session such as labs or examples classes together with the course unit staff and/or graduate teaching assistants, so you don't have to worry about not being able to answer all questions. We won't ask you to be involved in marking (nor do we want you to tell students exactly how to carry out assignments), but we do want you to help students understand anything that is puzzling them using your experience and knowledge of the material. We have found that students are typically closer to our learners, and can be really good at finding an explanation that works for somebody new to an area. Previous volunteers have found this activity satisfying, and it also looks good on your CV. We are also looking into providing training for those interested in becoming an Associate Fellow of Advance HE (see the Advance-HE website for details), the UK's professional membership scheme promoting excellence in higher education. If you have further specific questions, please email me.


Exams Week 1 • Monday 15 January 2024 • #23.14          The Monday Mail

Paul pic

Good morning, welcome to 2024! It’s Monday 15th January and it's the first week of the semester 1 exam period. 

I hope you managed to take some time off to relax over the Christmas break, and that you are now all prepared and ready for your exams, which take place over the next 2 weeks - finishing on Friday 26th January. Please familiarise yourself with your personal exam timetable and make sure you know the location of each exam prior to the exam taking place. Remember, exams can take place in multiple locations on campus, even for the same course unit, so please make sure yo attend the location indicated on your exam timetable.  If you have any issues on the day of an exam then please contact the student hub in Engineering Building A immediately. 

I’d like to welcome Aphrodite Galata to the Undergraduate team, who will be taking over from Ahmed Saeed as the Year 2 Tutor for single honours students. In addition, Andrea Schalk has taken over the role of Discipline Head of Education from Sean Bechhofer (see below). Andrea will continue to provide support to CM students for the remainder of the academic year.

Have a good week and good luck in your exams!

Paul
Undergraduate Programme Director


* SUPPORT SERVICE SPOTLIGHT: The Disability Advisory and Support Service (DASS) is a specialist service supporting students with any condition that has a significant, adverse and long term effect on normal day to day activities. DASS helps students with a range of conditions which includes but is not limited to dyslexia and other learning difficulties, autism spectrum condition, mental health difficulties such as anxiety and depression, mobility and sensory impairments, unseen disabilities like epilepsy, HIV, AIDS, chronic fatigue, IBS and Crohn's. DASS can help students access exams, study and specialist support but only if you register with them. You can make an appointment with DASS at any time. Make an appointment and register. For help and advice you can always talk to Maria or Ben in the School wellbeing team.


MITIGATING CIRCUMSTANCES DEADLINE.

  The deadline for submitting mitigating circumstances for semester 1 is 4pm, Sunday 28th January 2024. University regulations do not allow us to accept applications after this date. You can submit mitigating circumstances by filling out this form. The UG handbook provides information on the mitigating circumstances process. If you are unsure about how to fill in the form, whether what you have experienced qualifies for mitigation, or if you are experiencing problems with obtaining evidence, please speak to a member of the Wellbeing Team or your Year Tutor (see below).


STUDENT SUPPORT HUB EMAIL ADDRESS.

  In case you need help and support over the exam period, the email contacts for the Teaching, Learning and Student Experience team are below:

If you are unsure which email to use then use soe.hub@manchester.ac.uk for general queries. 


HIDDEN DISABILITIES SUNFLOWER SCHEME.

  The University is part of the Hidden Disabilities Sunflower scheme, a globally recognised scheme that makes invisible disabilities visible. The Hidden Disabilities Sunflower scheme supports those with non-visible disabilities such as autism, chronic pain, dementia, sight, or hearing loss. Wearing the Sunflower lanyard enables individuals to discreetly indicate that they have an invisible disability and may need additional assistance, kindness, or simply a little more time. There are Hidden Disabilities Sunflower lanyards at each of the Library sites for staff and students to pick up if they have a hidden disability and wish to wear something to indicate this. Our Library staff recognise the scheme and know what the sunflower means so we can support our staff and students with hidden disabilities. If you would like a Hidden Disabilities Sunflower lanyard, please ask at one of our Customer Services desks at any of our Library sites


WELFARE WEEKLY - JANUARY EXAMS - YOU CAN DO THIS!

   This from Ben Herbert, Student Support and Wellbeing: Happy New Year, and … Boom, exams! We hope you have had the opportunity to have a good rest over the winter break, but that you made sure to get your revision done. It may have been a little while since I last did an exam but I've seen many hundreds of students through this period and I've seen every possible issue you can think of. With that in mind, here are our top tips for surviving the January exams.

  1. Plan your time and stay organised - Create a realistic timetable, allocating time to each topic. It's too easy to invest too much time on one unit at the expense of others. Here is a planner you can use
  2. Take regular breaks and get some sleep - You will take in more information from a few hours of well rested revision than you will from pulling an all-nighter. Get 7-8 hours sleep each night. Take a five minute break from the computer screen for each hour, or use the Pomodoro method of 20 minutes study followed by a five minute rest.
  3. Stay Healthy! - Now is not the time to be living off a diet of pizza and caffeine tablets. I can tell you from experience. Eating healthily, staying hydrated, and getting exercise will benefit your studies. Make cooking a meal, drinking water, or going for a jog, part of the breaks in your schedule.
  4. Read your timetable and find the exam room in advance - every year several students will request mitigation as they could not find the exam room, they misread their timetable, or they listened to a friend rather than reading their timetable. Every application gets rejected. Ten minutes checking your timetable and going to find the room in advance could be the best thing you can do for your exam grade.
  5. Don’t trust the buses - As above, every exam period people ask for mitigation because their bus/train/tram/lift was late and every time the requests are rejected. Give yourself a large buffer to make sure you get to the exam on time.
  6. Use Past papers - They really are a great way to practise and you can find them here
  7. Take some time to learn revision strategies with this online guide from My Learning Essentials. Take a look at this Assessment Support web page from the library. 
  8. Two (or more) brains is better than one - schedule group study sessions with your peers to gain different perspectives and fill knowledge gaps.
  9. Ask - if you are not sure about something then ask your class mates or tutor for help in understanding a topic.
  10. Get support - if you are struggling during this time then reach out for help. Find out more here or by visiting the Student Support Hub.

 Good luck with your exams


2ND YEAR TUTOR.

  At the end of January, Ahmed Saeed will sadly be leaving the Department and the University. We would like to take this opportunity to thank Ahmed for all his hard work supporting 2nd year students during his tenure as 2nd Year Tutor, and wish him the best of luck for the future! From semester 2 onwards Aphrodite Galata will be taking over as the 2nd Year Tutor for single honours students (not CM). Welcome to the undergraduate team, Aphrodite! 


YEAR TUTOR OPEN HOURS.

  In the Department we have Year Tutors who are responsible for looking after the different cohorts in each year group. They are here to provide you with help and support if you need it, so feel free to contact your Year Tutor by email. The Year Tutors will not be running open office hours over the exam period. Please contact them by email if you need to speak to your Year Tutor. 


KNEEBONE ACORN BURSARY SUCCESS.

  Congratulations to Luke Rule (CSwIE, Year 2) who is the recipient of this year’s Kneebone Acorn Bursary award. The Kneebone Acorn Bursary is sponsored by the Kneebone Family and arm in memory of a past student of the Department, Kate Kneebone. Thank you to all those who took time to apply for the bursary, the quality of the applications was high as usual. As part of the award, Luke will receive a £500 bursary, as well as being given the opportunity to discuss a placement at arm. Congratulations Luke! 


SECURITY ON CAMPUS - BE CAREFUL OF THEFTS.

  If you are using a University building during the examination period, maybe to find a quiet place to revise, then remember that there are fewer people around the University. As University buildings are publicly accessible during normal working hours, this means that there’s an increased possibility of thefts taking place. It is vitally important that you do not leave your belongings (bag, phone, laptop etc) lying around unattended when working. The LF area of the Kilburn building is a common target for thieves.  If you need a bathroom break, or you need to pop out for a coffee, then ask a friend to look after your belongings. If there’s no one you can ask, then take your items with you. Please keep your belongings safe and do not leave them unattended! You can report any instances of theft to University security. You can find their number on the back of your University card.


EXAM BREAKFASTS.

  Weekly free breakfasts are again available each Wednesday from the 17th January 2024, excluding the Easter break (18th March - 5th April). The Library Team will be handing out vouchers in Alan Gilbert Learning Commons which can be exchanged for breakfast goodies, including a hot drink and pastry, at the Learning Commons Café. The giveaways run from 9am to 11am every Wednesday. Get your breakfast fix before stocks run out! Check out the University Cost of Living page for more initiatives, including information on our Cosy Campus spaces with hot water and microwaves, and free fresh food available in the community fridges.


DISCIPLINE HEAD OF EDUCATION.

  Andrea Schalk writes: As Paul mentions in the introduction, I have recently become the Discipline Head of Education for Computer Science. Quite a bit of that role is concerned with implementing University and Faculty policies for teaching and learning in the department, which I assume is of limited interest to students. But how teaching and learning works in Computer Science is also under my remit, and I like to think that there are many areas of common interest with students.

In particular, I would like to better understand what students think of the teaching they experience and why. I would like to have more discussions with students about how learning works and what that should mean for both, how we teach and how you learn. If you are interested in these ideas I'd really like to hear from you. Please do get in touch with any suggestions or ideas you have. Longer term it would be great to establish a student interest group in teaching and learning, but that requires enough interested students. For the moment, if there are specific topics of interest, we could do something around those.


COURSE UNIT CHOICES.

  The deadline for choosing/changing your Semester 2 course units on the University system is 3pm Friday 9th February. Please do this urgently because the size of a course unit cohort has implications on room bookings and we need to finalise the timetable asap. You can find full details and instructions here. Please be aware that some units have a maximum enrolment capacity (COMP22712 and COMP33312). If your choices do not meet the requirements for your degree programme, or you do not have the required prerequisites for a course unit, then you will be required to change them. If you have any issues or need help, then please contact the student hub.


LEARNING TIPS:

  THE EXAM - ON THE DAY. You’ve done all your preparation for the exam and you are (almost) confident you know all the material, then the day of the exam arrives. What do you do? Well, attend the exam of course, but what should you expect on the day? First, make sure you go to bed early the night before. It is important that you’ve had a good night's sleep before the exam, there’s nothing worse than sitting an exam feeling tired and being unable to concentrate. Whilst doing some revision the night before the exam is natural, resist the temptation to spend all night cramming for the exam - this is often counterproductive. It is usually beneficial to do something completely separate from revision before you go to bed: listen to music, play a game, watch a movie. That way your brain will get a chance to switch off, and doesn't keep you awake trying to solve more sample problems.

On the morning of the exam make sure you get up early and enjoy a good breakfast. You don’t want to be going into the exam on an empty stomach, with it growling and letting you know how hungry you are throughout. Avoid the temptation to cram for the exam beforehand. It’s okay to have a brief look at some material you feel unfamiliar with, but avoid cramming a load of revision in that morning as it won’t help. You should have already scoped out where the exam is taking place, so make sure you arrive plenty of time before the exam starts; at least 15 minutes before. Make sure you prepare your journey beforehand and are prepared for every eventuality, such as the bus not turning up, or the dog eating your bus pass etc. If you turn up late for an exam, you may not be allowed to enter. If you are late, you certainly won't be given any additional time. If you miss an exam, it’s important you contact the Student Hub immediately.

You will be allowed to enter the exam room just before it starts. The only items you can take into the exam are a pen/pencil/ruler etc and a calculator (if allowed), you will be told where to leave anything else you bring with you, such as your bag. You will need your University ID, so make sure you bring it along with you! If it’s an online exam, you will also need to know your university username and password. Take your assigned seat. Whatever the format of the exam, paper-based or online, the exam invigilators will instruct you what you need to do. 

At the start of the exam, read the exam rubric (the instructions) so you are clear what is required for the exam, i.e. how many questions you should answer, how long the exam will last etc. Look through all the questions and identify any you feel confident answering and attempt these first. There’s no need to answer the questions in the order they are in the exam. Once you have answered the questions you are confident with, then attempt those that you find more difficult. Don’t spend too long answering a question - think about the number of marks available and the time for the exam. For example, if a question is only worth a few marks, then you shouldn’t be producing an essay for an answer! Whether your exam is online or paper based, make sure your answers are readable. You don’t want to be losing marks because the marker cannot read and understand your answers. Underline your answers to make them clear to the marker.

If you finish answering the questions early, resist the temptation to leave early. Make use of any remaining time to check your answers and make sure you’ve completed everything required for the exam. At the end , if it's a paper-based exam, the invigilators will collect your papers and they will instruct you on when and how to leave. If it’s an online exam you will need to log out of the computer before you leave. After the exam, resist the temptation to discuss with your friends how you answered the questions - this only leads to anxiety if you find people have answered questions differently. Take some time to relax, have a brief nap, watch a film, or have a nice cup of tea. Do not jump straight into revising for your next exam.


DIGITAL TRUST AND SECURITY SEMINAR SERIES:

  Silje Anderdal Bakken. Join us at this complimentary event to delve into the phenomenon of illegal drug markets on social media. Explore how these novel forms of interaction are reshaping illicit markets and gain insights into the evolving dynamics of such activities. Register now to be part of this insightful discussion on the changing landscape of illegal markets through social media interactions! Date & time: 29th February, 13:45 – 15:40 pm.


VISUALISING THE CITY:

  DIGITAL TWINS AND BEYOND. Uncover the secrets of city visualisation at the upcoming free event organised by the Manchester Digital Strategy Research Network and Digital Futures. Engage with leading academics and public sector professionals as we delve into the latest advancements transforming city planning, design, resident engagement, and management through digital technologies. Date & time: 17 January | 12:30 – 14:30 pm. Register here.


LIBRARY NEWS - SCITE ACCESS.

  This from Gemma Smith: You can now access Scite – an online platform to help students discover and evaluate research papers - via the Library to help you work smarter with research publications. Scite helps you know more about the papers or sources you are working with and gives you some context to the number of citations a publication you’re using has received. This can be helpful in giving an initial sense of how the publication might relate to the wider field of study, and other potential papers which might be of interest. The platform also has the Scite Assistant function which can be used like a search engine. This is a conversational ChatGPT style tool that will typically bring back a couple of paragraphs outlining some information on the topic and include references from research papers. If you want to know more, please read this news item.The Library has produced a general FAQ which includes information on how to sign up using your University of Manchester email, how to access the tool and links to training material. The Library has also developed some guidance to better understand Smart Citations and how to use the Scite Assistant feature in an appropriate way. If you have any questions relating to Scite, please contact Research Services.


Week 12 • Monday 11 December 2023 • #23.13          The Monday Mail

Paul pic

Good morning. It’s Monday 11th December and it’s the last week of teaching in semester 1. Where has the time gone? I hope the semester has gone well and you’re now looking forward to taking a well-earned break. However, the exams are not far away! The exam timetable has now been released (see below), so please check when your exams are taking place and make sure you put them in your diary! The course unit surveys are open until the end of December, so can I please encourage you to complete one for each of your course units. Your feedback is really important to us, so please don’t forget to provide us with detailed comments. If you are a second year student, then you have until 6pm on Friday to submit your application for the Kneebone Acorn bursary (see below), so please consider applying.

This will be the last Monday Mail until after the Christmas break, returning in the first week of the exam period (w/c 15th January 2024). Let me take this opportunity to wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. Please make sure you take some time off to relax over the break before you start to prepare for the exams in January. I look forward to seeing you when you return in 2024!

Have a good week, on with today’s news ...

Paul
Undergraduate Programme Director


EXAMS WELFARE SUPPORT.

  This from the Welfare Team: As you are aware, the exams are approaching in January. This can be a challenging time for some of you, so please make use of the Welfare Team. Just contact us by email if you need any help and support. The Counselling and Mental Health Service run regular workshops all year round to help you get ready for exams, manage your current coursework or tasks and they also provide general wellbeing tips. You can find information on workshops you can attend, as well as useful information about workload management, both for exams and throughout the year. We hope these resources help, we will provide further information and drop-ins throughout the year. 


STUDENT HUB OPENING HOURS.

  Email and phone support will be available as usual Monday-Friday, 9am-5pm up to and including Thursday, 21st December, after which our teams will break for Christmas, returning at 9am on Tuesday, 2nd January 2024. The Student Support Hub (Engineering Building A, First Floor, 1A.042) will be open and available for drop-ins and appointments up to and including Thursday, 21st December:

  • Currently Monday – Friday, 9am – 5pm (except Wednesdays, which are 10am-5pm). Note that the Hub is closed Monday, 11th December as it is the TLSE staff Christmas event that day. Students in crisis will be able to attend the School of Natural Sciences Hub in Alan Turing Building instead. 
  • Monday, 18th December – Thursday, 21st December 2023, 10am to 4pm
  • Friday, 22nd December to Monday 1st January 2024 – closed
  • Tuesday, 2nd January to Friday, 12th January, 10am to 4pm
  • From Monday, 15th January, 9am – 5pm (except Wednesdays, which are 10am-5pm)


STUDENT SUPPORT HUB EMAIL ADDRESS.

  In case you need help and support over the Christmas vacation, the email contacts for the Teaching, Learning and Student Experience team are below (see opening hours above):

If you are unsure which email to use then use soe.hub@manchester.ac.uk for general queries. 


MITIGATING CIRCUMSTANCES DEADLINE.

  The deadline for submitting mitigating circumstances for semester 1 is 4pm, Sunday 28th January 2024. We are unable to accept applications after this date. You can submit mitigating circumstances by filling out this form. The UG handbook provides information on the mitigating circumstances process. If you are unsure about how to fill in the form, whether what you have experienced qualifies for mitigation, or if you are experiencing problems with obtaining evidence, please speak to a member of the Welfare Team or your Year Tutor (see below).


STUDENT SUPPORT OVER THE CHRISTMAS BREAK.

  Help and support will be available during the Christmas vacation period, whether you need IT help, mental health support or information on safety and halls of residence, help is available.

  • Mental health services: Remember you’re not alone and that we're here for you throughout the holiday period, whenever you need it and whatever your concerns.
  • Safety support: If you’re staying in Manchester over the festive break, you won’t be alone. Your safety remains our priority, even when some of our services close for Christmas, and we have support in place to keep you safe year-round.
  • Wellbeing services: Whether you’re at home or on campus, Christmas can be a busy time, making it harder for you to make space to look after your mental wellbeing. In addition to our mental health resources, we have a few other ways to help if you need it.
  • Halls of residence: We know that some of you are spending the next few weeks on campus, rather than going home. All halls of residence will remain open during the Christmas break and University closure period, although the Accommodation Office inbox will not be monitored. You can find out what events are happening in halls during this period by checking out our events calendar.
  • IT support: If you have any IT queries over the Christmas break, IT Services are still here for you. The IT Support Centre, including the Kilburn Building in-person support desk, is open until 5pm on Thursday, 21 December 2023 and will reopen at 8am on Tuesday, 2 January 2024. If you encounter a problem between these dates, you can use the 24/7 phone line or Support Portal, and the out-of-hours service desks will deal with most IT enquiries. Please note that some requests and queries may need to be resolved once the University reopens.
  • Library: We know that many of you will be revising and studying over the Christmas break and we want to make sure you can still access the Library services you need.
  • Students' Union: The Students' Union Building will close for Christmas on Saturday, 23 December 2023 and will reopen on Tuesday, 2 January 2024. Visit the Students' Union website to explore a range of support resources. 

You can find further, more detailed information here.


YEAR TUTOR OPEN HOURS.

  In the Department we have year tutors who are responsible for looking after the different cohorts in each year group. They are here to provide you with help and support if you need it, so feel free to contact your year tutor by email. The Year Tutors will be running open office hours this week (Week 12). If you need support over the Christmas vacation then you can contact them by email. Please note that staff are on vacation too over the Christmas break, so you may not get a reply straightaway. 

  • Year 1 (not CM): Gareth Henshall. Open hour: Thursday 14:00 - 15:00, Kilburn 2.82
  • Year 2 (not CM): Ahmed Saeed. Open hour: Tuesdays 11:00 - 12:00, Kilburn 2.80
  • Industrial Experience Year: Duncan Hull. Open hour: Wednesdays 10:00 - 12:00. Kilburn LF25
  • Year 3/4 (not CM): Tim Morris. Open hour: Tuesday 11:00 - 12:00, Kilburn 2.107 
  • CM (all years): Andrea Schalk. Open hour: Tuesday 11:00 - 12:00, Kilburn 2.103
  • UG Director: Paul Nutter. Open hour: Tuesday 11:00 - 12:00, IT119.


PASS1.

  The PASS1 team (Max Beck-Jones (Y3, CS4), Luke Sanderson (Y3, CS), Sarah Saad (Y3, AI4), Nicolo Micheletti (Y3, CS), and Rosie Halsall (Y3, CS4)) write: Hi everyone, hopefully you have enjoyed your first semester of PASS! Thanks to everyone who took joined us for last week's programming competition, we had some great participation, making the event a success. We apologise that we were unable to announce the winning team immediately after the event, a configuration issue meant that we were not able to generate scores correctly. We are in communication with HackerRank support in the hope to find a solution which doesn't require us to manually calculate your scores. Regardless, we will announce the winners at the end of this week's session. This week is the final PASS session (and teaching week) of the semester and 2023. We're going to leave this week's topic up to you. Whether you want to go over revision techniques, content from a specific unit, or just want to have some festive fun, please let your PASS leaders know. Any problems with your PASS leaders, please get in contact with us - our emails are in previous Monday Mails.


STUDENT-STAFF LIAISON COMMITTEE.

  This from Tom Carroll, chair of SSLC: The next SSLC is on 13th December (please note the change of date!), and the theme will be Assessment and Feedback.  Improving Assessment and Feedback is a priority across the whole faculty, and consultation with students is a very important part of improving this. We are wanting to know what you think is good about the assessment and feedback you receive, but also why it is good; we want to know what might need improving, and why it needs to be improved, as well as any potential solutions that you may have.  Please contact your Student Reps with any ideas or comments. As always, you can find a list of your reps and current issues on the UG Community page.


MEET A STUDENT REP.

  The student rep of the week this week is Abdelbasit Lemamsha (Y1, CS). Abdelbasit writes: Hi, I’m Abdelbasit Lemamsha, a first-year CS student. I was born in Libya but grew up in the city of Sheffield, where I discovered my dire passion for brutal honesty, continual improvement & of course, Computer Science. Embarking on the journey of becoming a student rep, my goal is simple: to elevate what we, as the student body of this department, can achieve by guaranteeing a student experience tailored to our every need. This does come at the cost of talking to the scary higher-ups in the university (only joking... they are lovely people), but I am willing to do whatever it takes to voice our opinions and, as a result reap monumental change... I am deeply honoured to serve you all, and I hope my journey through this position will be insightful and lead to great things for the department’s future. See you around :)  Send Abdelbasit an email if you want discuss anything.


LEARNING TIPS:

  EXAMS - ON THE DAY. The exam period is approaching, so how do you prepare yourself for the actual exams and what do you need to do on the day? Your personal timetable will inform you when and where your exams are taking place. It’s important to note that the exam for a particular course unit can take place across multiple locations on campus which means that you may be sitting the exam in a different location to your friends. What’s important is that you attend the location specified in your timetable. Once you know the location of your exams it’s important beforehand to scope them out, so you know on the day where you are supposed to be.

You must arrive at the exam on time since you may not be allowed into the location if you are late, and even if you are, you will not be given extra time. For that reason you should  leave in plenty of time to ensure you will get there approximately 15 minutes before the start of the exam. When you are in the exam room then it’s important to listen to any instructions from the invigilators. If you need anything, then hold your hand up to get the attention of an invigilator.

When the exam starts, get comfortable and first read the exam instructions (the rubric) carefully so you understand what you are required to do for the exam, how many questions need answering, where you write answers; this is the same whether the exam is paper-based or online. Look through the questions and identify the ones you feel the most comfortable answering and answer these first. Leave the harder questions until last. Do not spend too long on a question - you can judge how long per question from the total number of marks available and the length of the exam. So, for example, if your exam is 2 hours long and you have 20 questions to answer, then this gives you 6 minutes per question. Some questions you will answer more quickly, some will take you much longer. However, always keep track of the time.  

For written exams (which for the most part occur for Year 3 units), make sure you write clearly. If your handwriting is difficult to read, then the marker may find it difficult to understand your answers, which may result in you inadvertently losing marks. The number of marks is often an indication of how much detail you should provide - if a question is worth 1 mark, then you shouldn’t be writing an essay to answer it. Take note of the rubric, it may ask you to use one answer booklet per question/section.

When you've finished answering all the questions, and if there’s time left, go back to the start and read through your answer to check you’ve answered the questions correctly. Make use of any remaining time - resist the temptation to leave early until you are really sure you have nothing left to add to your answers. Are your answers clear? Have you answered all the parts of a question? Reading the question and your answer a second time often helps you spot something you may have missed.

We’ve produced further advice and guidance in the UG Community Blackboard page. Please take the time to read this ahead of the exam period. 


SEMESTER 1 EXAMS.

  The semester 1 exams take place over the period Monday 15th to Friday 26th January 2024 (see the University’s key dates webpage). All examinations take place under invigilated conditions and on-campus (there may be one or two exceptions to this), so you must be present in Manchester during the examination period. No exams can be taken remotely, off campus. The timetabling of exams takes place centrally, the Department is not responsible for this. The timetable has now been published and your personal timetable should be updated soon. If you have any queries regarding your exam timetable then please contact the assessment team. Please note that exams for different course units could be timetabled close together, possibly on the same day, and that changes cannot be made to the timetable once it is published. You may find that you are timetabled for an exam in a different location to your friends, or others on the course unit. It’s very important you attend the location stated in your exam timetable. If you have any queries regarding your exam timetable then please contact the assessment team.


COURSE UNIT SURVEYS.

  Every semester the University runs surveys where we ask students to provide feedback on the course units they have taken. The semester one course unit surveys are open and will run until the 31st December. Any feedback provided by you is anonymous. We find feedback, particularly comments, extremely useful to understand what you feel about our teaching and we do listen to it and make changes as a result. Please provide us with written comments to explain why you rated course units as you did. Without these comments it’s difficult to make informed decisions on how to change and improve how we teach. Please be detailed with your feedback - if your comments are general, such as `I would like to see more examples', or `I found some of the material confusing', you're not telling us where exactly we should aim to make improvements.


NEED A PLACE TO WORK?

  You are free to use any of our teaching rooms/labs when they are not being used for scheduled teaching. If you are interested in knowing when a lab is not booked for a timetabled activity, then follow this link to open the University Timetable pages. To look for a room in Kilburn, select “Location”, then in the form that opens select “Kilburn Building” for the building, select the lab/room you would like to use under “Select Location”, the default view is this week, or you can select a particular week. Selecting “View Timetable” will show what activities are taking place in the selected room for the week. Please note that for the labs 1.8 and 1.10 look at the 1.8+1.10 timetable. You must be on campus to access the timetable. If a room is booked for teaching, then you should avoid using it.


BCSWOMEN LOVELACE COLLOQUIUM.

  The 2024 BCSWomen Lovelace Colloquium will take place on April 4th, 2024 at the University of Liverpool. The event is open to all, although if you would like to attend you need to register. The poster contests are open to women and non-binary students studying computing (BSc, BA, BEng, MSc, MComp or MEng) in the UK. Students who want to take part in the poster contests will have to submit a 250 word abstract. We usually accept about 125 posters, based on these submitted abstracts. Our call for abstracts is now open! You can find out more information and register here.


KATE KNEEBONE ACORN BURSARY.

  The Kate Kneebone Acorn Bursary is an annual award of £500 funded by the Kneebone family and arm, which has been awarded since 2013 to commemorate the life of Kate Kneebone, a former student of the department. In addition to the £500 award, the Bursary offers the successful applicant the possibility of discussing an internship placement (which must have an Engineering bias) with ARM in Cambridge. All current Year 2 UG students in the Department are eligible to apply. See further details here. To apply, please complete this form by the deadline of 6pm (UK time) Friday 15th December 2023. 


DEPARTMENT LINKEDIN PAGE.

  Follow us on LinkedIn, where we've recently created a Linked page, where you can follow news and events from the department. You can also follow us on X (formerly know as twitter).


UNIVERSITY CHRISTMAS CLOSURE.

  The University will be closed from Friday, 22nd  December and will reopen on Tuesday, 2nd January 2024. During that period the Kilburn building will be closed as well, but it will be open as usual before and after for you to work in.


LIBRARY OPENING TIMES.

  There will be reduced hours for the Main Library from Saturday, 16th December 2023 to Thursday, 21st December 2023: 

  • Monday to Thursday 8am–8pm  
  • Saturday & Sunday 9am-5pm 

The Main Library and other Library sites will be closed from Friday, 22nd December 2023 until Tuesday, 2nd January 2024. The AGLC will be open from Saturday, 16th December 2023 to Thursday, 21st December 2023 at the following times:

  • Monday to Friday 8am-8pm  
  • Saturday & Sunday – 9am-5pm  

but will be closed Monday, 25th December 2023 and Tuesday, 26th December 2023. From Wednesday, 27th December 2023 to Monday, 1st January 2024, the opening hours will be:

  • Monday to Friday - 8am-8pm  
  • Saturday & Sunday – 9am-5pm  

Library Chat will be available 24/7 during the vacation, except 25th - 26th December. It will be staffed by third-party partner institutions. 

Welcome to Gareth’s Puzzle Corner, this is your weekly fix of brain teasers and logic puzzles. You are given 5 different puzzles to tackle. One is an easier Sudoku, the second is a more challenging Sudoku, the third is a different form of logic puzzle and we have a chess puzzle for you. Finally, each week you can compete with myself and other students/staff to see who has the best geography skills. Try your hand at Geoguessr below. I hope you enjoy the puzzles and if you have any puzzles you wish to feature or ideas for Puzzle Corner then please get in touch.

Easier Sudoku - Classic Sudoku by sudoku.com

Normal sudoku rules apply.

Challenging Sudoku - Don’t You Dare by Bakpao 

Normal sudoku rules apply. Digits do not repeat in cages, which show their sums in the top left-hand corner.

Bonus Puzzle - Kuromasu by Koyoppz 

Colour the grey cells of the diagram black or white. A cell with a number cannot be blackened. The number indicates how many white cells can be seen altogether looking north, south, east and west (including the cell with the number) up to a black cell or the edge of the diagram. Black cells must not be orthogonally adjacent. All white cells must form a single orthogonally contiguous area.

Chess Puzzle - Nepomniachtchi Vs. Tang, 2020 

Drag and drop the white pieces to win the chess match.

Geoguessr

And finally, our weekly competition from geoguessr.com.

We are playing another new map again this week! This is a custom map created by Me :-) One of the maps you should be able to get full marks on, and if you think you figure out the significance of each location then email me with your solutions for an extra shout out in Semester 2! If anybody wants to create their own map for a week next semester please email me as this is more than welcome.

You need to take in as much information as you can from the google street view and then drop your pin on the map. The closer to the correct location you are the more points you get. Can you get the top score after all 5 rounds? Remember though, you only get 1 min per round and running out of time will give you 0 pts. Winners will be announced next week!

The Winner from Last Week was Iakho0 with a score of 20,154 out of a possible 25,000. A great score. The winner of the closest individual guess this week was Idris with a guess only 3 yds away on Round 3! Incredible!

Answers to Last Week’s Puzzles

The answers to last week's puzzles can be found here.

As we now have many weeks until the next edition of Puzzle Corner here are the solutions to this week’s puzzles. No cheating!


Week 11 • Monday 4 December 2023 • #23.12          The Monday Mail

Paul pic

Good morning UG! It’s Monday 4th December and it’s week 11, the penultimate week before the end of the semester 1 teaching period. 

It was great to see so many people attending the 1st year poster session on Friday. Thanks to everyone who attended, and well done to the COMP10120 team for doing a great job of organising it. I enjoyed talking to group members and learning more about their planned projects. It was pleasing to see some good, challenging ideas being put forward, including some new ideas that we haven’t seen before. Well done to the winning teams (see below). 

I’d like to welcome Andrea Schalk as the new Discipline Head of Education (DHoE) in the department from January 2024. Andrea is taking over the role from Sean Bechhofer and will become responsible for leading teaching and learning in the Department, contributing to the strategic development of teaching, learning and the student experience.  I’d like to thank Sean for all his hard work supporting UG teaching over his tenure as DHoE.

The course unit surveys open this week and run until the end of December (more below). This is your opportunity to provide us with feedback on the course units you have taken. We take feedback seriously and always look to make changes as a result. In this respect, it’s really important to provide us with detailed comments about what you liked, or didn’t like, about a course unit. Without detailed comments it’s difficult to identify what changes need making, or where problems exist in our teaching. We are particularly interested in hearing what you liked so that we can highlight good practice.

If you are a 2nd year student, then please consider applying for the Kate Kneebone Acorn Bursary, an annual award in memory of a former student of the Department, Kate Kneebone (more details below). 

Finally, good luck to all the 1st years with the group project presentation this week. I hope they go well.

It’s another bumper Monday Mail this week. Have a good week …

Paul
Undergraduate Programme Director


* STUDENT WELFARE SUPPORT IN CS. Issues can impact students at any time, particularly at the end of the semester when there’s pressure to complete assessments and the pressure to prepare for the upcoming examinations kicks in. If you are affected by any issues, then it’s vitally important that you speak to someone and get the help and support you need. You can speak to your year tutor, or you can speak to a member of our Student Wellbeing Team, Maria Sloan and Ben Herbert, or drop into the student hub in Engineering Building A and ask to speak to someone, in confidence, about anything that might be affecting you and your studies. Maria and Ben are also the Disability Coordinators for CS, so you can speak to them if you have any ongoing physical or mental health problems, or conditions such as ASD or ADHD, that affect your studies, even if you are not already registered with the DASS Team at the University. If you are registered with DASS and there are problems with your DASS plan you can speak with them about this too. You can contact Maria and Ben at soe.wellbeing@manchester.ac.uk.


WELFARE WEEKLY - IS COUNSELLING FOR YOU?

   This from Ben Herbert, Student Support and Wellbeing: Although full of great experiences, fun, and excitement, university can also be one of those very stressful times of your life. To be honest, if you don't feel like university is hard work then please email me your secrets!

The university offers a wide range of support to help get you through this period of your life. One of those resources is the Counselling Service. We understand maybe you feel counselling isn’t for you. What I would say to that, is if you feel you need help and the way you are feeling is having a significant impact on your daily life and academic performance, then do contact the Counselling service. You will start off with a 20-minute chat with a trained counsellor where they will identify the situation you are facing and help you get the support you need. This may be one to one appointments, workshops, social prescribing, or referring you to services outside the university. However you can still use the services on offer without needing to make an appointment, or talk to anyone on the phone.

Recently I had a great conversation with a student who had returned from interruption of studies after experiencing a difficult time with their mental health. They told me they were feeling much better in part due to the workshops that the Counselling service offered. So I wanted to take the opportunity to highlight this resource to you.

In the run up to the Christmas break workshops include: Developing skills in Assertiveness, Mindfulness Meditation, Busting Low Mood Behaviour, Finding Motivation, Managing Anxiety, Taking care of ourselves in new relationships, and lots more. You can find the full list and a link to book on to them here

Don't forget My Learning Essentials is a great resource, especially for study skills as we head into exam season. More information can be found here. Also, visit the Six Ways to Wellbeing Page here. Finally take a look at the excellent page of resources for improving your mental health fitness


YEAR TUTOR OPEN HOURS.

  In the Department we have year tutors who are responsible for looking after the different cohorts in each year group. They are here to provide you with help and support if you need it, so feel free to contact your year tutor by email. They also run a weekly open hour where you can pop in for a chat during the teaching period:

  • Year 1 (not CM): Gareth Henshall. Open hour: Thursday 14:00 - 15:00, Kilburn 2.82
  • Year 2 (not CM): Ahmed Saeed. Open hour: Tuesdays 11:00 - 12:00, Kilburn 2.80
  • Industrial Experience Year: Duncan Hull. Open hour: Wednesdays 10:00 - 12:00. Kilburn LF25
  • Year 3/4 (not CM): Tim Morris. Open hour: Tuesday 11:00 - 12:00, Kilburn 2.107 
  • CM (all years): Andrea Schalk. Open hour: Tuesday 11:00 - 12:00, Kilburn 2.103
  • UG Director: Paul Nutter. Open hour: Tuesday 11:00 - 12:00, IT119.


PASS2.

  The PASS2 team (See Jia Tong (Y3, CS), Salma Aljama (Y3, AI) and Divya Radhakrishnan Nair (Y3, CS)) write: Hi everyone! We will be holding a pizza party at the next PASS2 meeting ! First come first serve . 12pm Thursday in Collab.


FIRST YEAR POSTER SESSION:

  Stewart Blakeway writes: Last Friday we held the annual COMP10120 Poster Session in the foyer of EngA. The session was great fun and attracted loads of interested visitors with good questions and suggestions. We also received very positive comments from colleagues expressing how impressed they were by your ideas and the qualities of the posters, so well done to everybody involved! We also had a public vote for the best posters in a three categories: 

  • The Application with the Best Idea or Concept: X2 Freakency: Sheet Music from Songs has Never been Easier  - Natalie Sparks (CSwIE), Ying Rui Loh (CSwIE), Aminath Haidar (CS), Callum Bridges (CSwIE), and Kieran Ha (CSwIE). Tutor: Duncan Hull.
  • The most Visually Appealing and Imaginative Poster: Z5 Pixel Partner: Swipe Left to Blame - Arash Pournowrouzi (CS), Ellis McCarroll (CS), Kevin Yu (CS), Xiao Ma (CS), Ahmad bin Ahmad Azmi (CS), Abdullah Al Kalbani (CS), and Nishant Kamath (CS). Tutor: Youcheng Sun.
  • The most Carefully Thought Through Application and Plan: Z1 Lost Woods: Become a Virtual Explorer - Jonathan Tilley (CS) Jasper Hall (CS), Daniel Lamb (CSwIE), Boluwatife Ogunmodede (CSwIE), Fan Gao (CS), and Arnav Bisani (CSwIE). Tutor: Mary Mcgee Wood.


UNICS HACKATHONS TEAM APPLICATIONS.

  Applications have now opened for the UniCS Hackathons team! Do you enjoy organising large scale events or taking part in hackathons in general? Apply now and help UniCS organise the next big hackathon of this academic year, StudentHack 2024! This is the perfect opportunity to meet people and have fun, whilst also doing something meaningful that you could add to your CV.


UNICS NEWSLETTER TEAM APPLICATIONS.

  Apply now to join the UniCS Newsletter team! This is your chance to work on an exciting monthly newsletter that is shared with all UniCS members. You can read our latest issue here


PROJECT SURVEY.

  Mohammad Awais Y3, CS) and Sharmila Thirumurugan (Y3, CS) write: Migraine is an often debilitating condition that affects 10% of people worldwide. Triggers vary from person to person and can range from a lack of sleep to eating chocolate. To manage migraines, it is helpful to track symptoms and daily activities to see which can be linked with attacks. For our final year undergraduate project, we’re making an app to help people do this and would love your input to help it reach its full potential! If you want to help out, check out our short 10 minute survey. You will be shown a few pictures and a short video of how our app looks (or will look) and runs so far- tell us what you think is good and what could be improved. Thanks, we really appreciate it! Click here to take our survey!


PROJECT EXPERIMENT - APPLYING NUDGING TECHNIQUES TO FACILITATE CUSTOMISATION IN INTERACTIVE INFORMATION DASHBOARDS.

  Hatim Alsayahani (PhD student) writes: Join our interactive dashboard experiment! Contribute to cutting-edge research in human-computer interaction at the Interaction Analysis and Modelling Lab. Help us design user-friendly and efficient decision-making tools. Share your insights and shape the future of dashboard design. Where? Interaction Analysis and Modelling Lab, Kilburn Building (LF1) How long? Approximately 30 minutes Compensation? As a thank you, receive an Amazon voucher for your valuable input! To participate, simply send me an email.


DATA SCIENCE OF THE NATURAL ENVIRONMENT CONFERENCE.

  Aditya Agarwal (Y3, CSwIE) writes: During the recent Data Science of the Natural Environment Conference at Citylabs 1.0, I gained insights into the fusion of data science, AI, and sustainability. A key moment was Dr. Riza Batista-Navarro’s presentation, where she detailed how AI and NLP could help reduce the carbon footprint in food choices by providing real-time analysis of cooking recipes. Her project, E.Care, emphasised accessible, actionable information for sustainable eating. In this context, I contributed by expanding the project's reach. Building on Rishi Ravikumar’s (Y3, AI4) previous work during his 2022 Software Engineering Internship at the university, where he upgraded the existing browser extension and integrated it with a firebase database, I developed a mobile app version of the browser extension during my 2023 internship. This app aims to offer instant, user-friendly data on the carbon footprint of recipes, encouraging sustainable food choices. It's been an enlightening journey to be part of such an impactful project.


GOOGLE DEVELOPER STUDENT CLUBS.

  Thank you to everyone who joined us for the Google Solution Challenge Info Session last Wednesday! We hope you found the session informative and inspiring, and that you enjoyed the pizzas as much as we did. A big congratulations to *Mridula Senthilkumar* for winning the Android statue through Lucky Draw for being one of the attendees! Keep attending our events for more chances to win exciting prizes in the future. Also note that registration for Google’s solution challenge is now open!


LEARNING TIPS:

  How to prepare for exams. You might think that you're a seasoned expert at preparing for exams, since most of you have had a lot of experience with that during your academic journey to University. However, there are still some things that might catch you out. If you're a 3rd year student, then it’s possible that you may be sitting a paper-based exam for the first time after many years of online exams. If you're a 2nd year student, you have to balance having to attend more exams than ever before. Finally, if you're a 1st year student, then your main experience with preparing for exams is by having access to a lot of sample papers, thus learning how to answer particular kinds of questions rather than a potentially broader paper.

For some course units there may be limited information available, either because the course unit is relatively new, or because there are restrictions in place when it comes to releasing auto-marked questions. However, using the resources that are available to you for the course unit try and work out what it is that the exam questions are asking you to do. Don't draw conclusions based on a small sample set - bear in mind the risks of overfitting. Talk to students in higher years who have sat the exam for a particular course unit, for example via PASS, and find out what they think about the exam: How did they prepare, and is there anything they regret? Try to learn from their experiences.

It is important that you plan your revision. Think about how much time you may need to prepare for the exam for each course unit. Which are the course units where you are pretty comfortable with the material? Which course units will need more effort to improve your understanding of the material? Maybe you already have a solid grasp of the material for a course unit, meaning your revision doesn’t need to be as extensive. Or you find another course unit more difficult and may require more revision time, then you should plan your revision time accordingly. When you think you're in decent shape, have a go at solving a past paper, but make sure you do it as a timed exercise, much like the exam itself. You want to work out whether there's an area where you need to put in more effort, and also whether you need to practise some techniques a bit more in case you are struggling to answer the paper in the time given. Finally, it’s important to remember that to be in the best shape for your exams, you have to look after yourself as well, so build in some time to relax and take time away from revising. Take regular breaks, or go for walks to help refresh your mind. Ben from Student Support and Wellbeing will address this topic in a future issue. We'll be talking more about the technicalities of taking an exam next week.


SEMESTER 1 EXAMS.

  The semester 1 exams take place over the period Monday 15th to Friday 26th January 2023 (see the University’s key dates webpage). All examinations take place under invigilated conditions and on-campus (there may be one or two exceptions to this), so you must be in Manchester during the examination period. The timetabling of exams takes place centrally, the Department is not responsible for this. It is hoped that the exam timetabled will be published from the week commencing the 4th December (next week) and should appear in your personal timetable. Please note that exams for different course units could be timetabled close together, possibly on the same day, and that changes cannot be made to the timetable once it is published. You may find that you are timetabled for an exam in a different location to your friend, or others on the course unit. It’s very important you attend the location stated in your exam timetable. If you have any queries regarding your exam timetable then please contact the assessment team.


COURSE UNIT SURVEYS.

  Every semester the University runs surveys where we ask students to provide feedback on the course units they have taken. The semester one course unit surveys are due to open on the 4th December and will run until the 31st December. Any feedback provided by you is anonymous. We find feedback, particularly comments, extremely useful to understand what you feel about our teaching and we do listen to it and make changes as a result. Please provide us with written comments to explain why you rated course units as you did. Without these comments it’s difficult to make informed decisions on how to change and improve how we teach.


EXAMINATION GUIDANCE:

  As we approach the end of the teaching in semester 1, then your focus will shift to the upcoming examinations in January. We’ve produced some advice and guidance regarding timetables, revision, exam technique and what to do if you miss an exam in the UG Community Blackboard page. Please take the time to read this ahead of the exam period. If you have any questions regarding your exams please don’t hesitate to contact the assessment team.


GITLAB DOWNTIME WARNING:

  This from Chris Page: On Wednesday 6th December the Department of Computer Science GitLab system will be taken offline to perform essential maintenance and upgrades. Work on the system will start at 14:00 and may take until 17:00, although we will attempt to minimise the time that GitLab is unavailable. A notice banner is currently shown on GitLab pages as a reminder for this work, and it will be removed when the work on the server is completed and tests indicate GitLab is operating normally. While GitLab is offline you will be able to continue to work locally in any currently cloned git repositories, including adding commits. However, attempts to interact with the GitLab server (via `git push`,  `git pull`, `git fetch` and so on) will fail.


DATA SCIENCE SOCIETY.

  Reinforcement Learning, Wednesday 6th December 2-4pm, Simon 2.39. The agenda is:

  • Understand the framework of RL and when to use it
  • Simple single-player algorithms
  • Tabular Q-learning
  • Extension into multi-agent settings!

Reinforcement learning (RL) has exploded in popularity in recent years, thanks to use in DeepMind's AlphaGo and ChatGPT among others. Applications are varied, with RL used to optimise drug discovery, reaching to 'Grandmaster' rank in the online multiplayer game Starcraft. In this workshop, we cover the basics of RL, including implementation of some classic settings. By the end of the session, students will be able to program a player in some simple games (bandit machine, gridworld). Prerequisites: Coding in Python. This workshop requires NO deep learning!


GDSC TEAM UP TODAY.

  Join our Team Building & Brainstorming Session for Google's Solution Challenge! Connect with fellow innovators, form teams, and spark brilliant ideas. Don't miss this chance to network and create at the Atlas Room, Kilburn Building. Grab your spot now! 

  • Date: Monday, December 4, 2023
  • Time: 15:00 – 16:00 GMT
  • Location: Atlas Room, Kilburn Building

***Snacks and refreshments provided*** Let your ideas soar and find the perfect team to bring them to life! #InnovationStartsHere #GDSCBrainstorm


GDSC CODE JAM SESSION.

  Dive into our Weekly Code Jams! Collaborate on the Solution Challenge, enhance your skills, and enjoy coding in a vibrant atmosphere. Bring your laptop and ideas to Kilburn Lecture Theatre 1.4! Set your calendar!

  • Date: Tuesday, December 5th
  • Time: 15:00 – 16:00
  • Location: Kilburn Lecture Theatre 1.4

***Snacks and refreshments provided*** Sharpen your coding prowess and join the quest to build innovative solutions. #CodeTogether #SolutionChallenge. RSVP here.


CELEBRATING THE CAREER OF PROFESSOR STEVE FURBER.

  After 33 years in the Department of Computer Science at the University of Manchester, and more than 50 years in computing, we're celebrating the career of our colleague Steve Furber on Friday 12th January 2024, 9am - 4pm, with a Festschrift (“celebration publication”) to mark his retirement earlier this year.

Steve has led the Advance Processor Technologies (APT) research group in the Department since its inception in 1990, and before that designed a little known thing called the BBC Micro, as well as the original Arm processor. His most recent work has focused on the state of the art computation using spiking neural networks in the SpiNNaker powered Human Brain Project. From posting punched cards in the mail from the Manchester Grammar School to Imperial College London in the 60s through to studying mathematics at the University of Cambridge in the 70s, and becoming a Professor in the 90s, Steve has enjoyed a long and remarkable engineering career in industry and academia. You can find out more about Steve here or through his University research profile.

Register for this event to join us for a day of talks from Steve’s colleagues and friends, acknowledging his profound influence and contributions over 4 decades in computing, spanning both academia and industry. Speakers include: Ian Phillips, Sophie Wilson, Ivan Sutherland, Marly Roncken, Jamie Urquhart, Doug Edwards, Alex Yakovlev, Andrew Brown, Erik Brunvand, Piotr Dudek, Roger Woods, Ran Ginosar, Peter Cheung, Wayne Luk, Christian Mayr and more.


KATE KNEEBONE ACORN BURSARY.

  The Kate Kneebone Acorn Bursary is an annual award of £500 funded by the Kneebone family and arm, which has been awarded since 2013 to commemorate the life of Kate Kneebone, a former student of the department. In addition to the £500 award, the Bursary offers the successful applicant the possibility of discussing an internship placement (which must have an Engineering bias) with arm in Cambridge. All current Year 2 UG students in the Department are eligible to apply. See further details here. To apply, please complete this form by the deadline of 6pm (UK time) Friday 15th December 2023. 


DIGITAL FUTURE REVIEW OF AI - GET INVOLVED.

  AI is a disruptive technology that has the potential to drive fundamental change in University life. Digital Futures is leading a review of AI that will report to the University Senior Leadership Team and Board of Governors. The aim is to understand the opportunities and challenges posed by AI across the full range of the University’s activities, and make recommendations for action. We know that many colleagues have already recognised opportunities, and sometimes the necessity, for innovation, and we are keen to hear about and learn from existing initiatives. Please complete the online form by Monday 4th December to tell us about existing AI initiatives of which you are aware (survey has one question only).


MAKING A DIFFERENCE AWARDS 2024.

  The University’s annual Making a Difference Awards are open for entries. If you or someone you know has made a difference, enter now! The deadline for entries is 16th January 2024. The awards recognise the impact our staff, students, alumni and external partners are having on the social wellbeing of our communities and wider society, and offer the opportunity to share best practice about social responsibility initiatives and encourage others to get involved. There are 8 categories which recognise the various ways our University communities are making a positive impact. You can find guidelines for the award here. If you would like to nominate someone for one of the awards, then please complete this form.


DIGITAL EXPERIENCE INSIGHTS SURVEY.

  The university has launched the student digital experience insights survey, so you can tell us about your views on your digital experience. Sharing your thoughts and opinions will really help us further develop the digital learning environment. There’s also an opportunity for you to win prizes for completing the survey including vouchers, university merch and speakers. The survey takes up to 10 minutes to complete – click here to complete it. As a thank you for your time, every University of Manchester student who takes part in the JISC insights survey can enter a prize draw of over 50 prizes to win one of the following:

  • £50 Ticketmaster voucher 
  • £25 Lovetoshop voucher 
  • A University of Manchester Hoodie 
  • A Megaboom speaker

You can submit your email address in a form at the end of the survey to enter the prize draw.  Any questions about the survey, we would love to hear from you, so please get in contact by email. You can find out further details on the student news website.


DEPARTMENT LINKEDIN PAGE.

  Follow us on LinkedIn. We've recently created a Department page where you can follow news and events from the department. You can also follow us on X (formerly know as twitter).


MICE IN KILBURN.

  Mice have been seen on the loose in the Kilburn building. Please can you make sure you put any unused food in a waste bin and do not leave food lying around to tempt them to take a nibble! The mice have been reported and pest control have attended.

Welcome to Gareth’s Puzzle Corner, this is your weekly fix of brain teasers and logic puzzles. You are given 5 different puzzles to tackle. One is an easier Sudoku, the second is a more challenging Sudoku, the third is a different form of logic puzzle and we have a chess puzzle for you. Finally, each week you can compete with myself and other students/staff to see who has the best geography skills. Try your hand at Geoguessr below. I hope you enjoy the puzzles and if you have any puzzles you wish to feature or ideas for Puzzle Corner then please get in touch.

Easier Sudoku - Classic Sudoku by sudoku.com 

Normal sudoku rules apply.

Challenging Sudoku - Buplhuset by Holzanatom 

Place 1-6 in each row, column and marked region. Digits on a thermometer must increase from the bulb end. Digits must not repeat within cages. All cages sum to some prime numbers which must be determined by the solver. Cages of the same size sum to the same number; cages of different sizes sum to different numbers. A digit in a thermo bulb counts double for cage sums. The inequality sign ‘points’ towards the smaller of two digits.

Pencil Puzzle - Nurikabi by Otto Janko 

Colour the grey cells of the diagram black or white. The black cells divide the diagram in areas of orthogonally contiguous white cells. The white areas must not touch each other orthogonally. All cells with a number belong to a white area; to a white area belongs exactly two cells with a number. The sum of the numbers in these cells indicates how many cells belong to the white area. The black cells must not cover an area of ​​2x2 cells or larger and must form an orthogonally contiguous area.

Chess Puzzle - Shepel Vs. Baisheva, 2023 

Drag and drop the Black pieces to win the match.

Geoguessr

And Finally, our weekly competition from geoguessr.com.

We are playing another new map again this week! This is a special Map which has been created just for us by a regular winner Ewan Massey (Y3, CSwIE) called UoM Around the World. All of the locations are based on the names of University of Manchester buildings. You need to take in as much information as you can from the Google street view and then drop your pin on the map. The closer to the correct location you are the more points you get. Can you get the top score after all 5 rounds? Remember though, you only get 1 min per round and running out of time will give you 0 pts. Winners will be announced next week!

The Winner from Last Week was Joshuasim2903 with a score of 24,532 out of a possible 25,000. An incredible score. The winner of the closest individual guess this week was Me with a guess only 5 yards away on Round 1. A great guess, well done Me! Self praise is always good!

Something to look forward to, in the last Monday Mail of this Semester (Week 12) we will be playing a custom Geoguessr Map that I have made! 5 rounds for you to complete, I wonder if anyone can figure out why the locations were chosen?

Answers to Last Week’s Puzzles

The answers to last week's puzzles can be found here.


Week 10 • Monday 27 November 2023 • #23.11          The Monday Mail

Paul pic

Good morning UG! It’s Monday 27th November and week 10 of the semester 1 teaching period. We are rapidly approaching the end of the semester when the pressure starts to pile up with deadlines and you need to start thinking about the impending examination period in January. Please remember to speak to someone if you are having problems keeping up. The semester one exams take place in January during the period from Monday 15th to Friday 26th January 2024, so now may be a good time to start thinking about your revision planning. The University usually releases the exam timetable in early December (more below). The Department has created a new LinkedIn page, so please make sure you follow us.

If you are a 2nd year student, then please consider applying for the Kate Kneebone Acorn Bursary, an annual award in memory of a former student of the Department, Kate Kneebone (more details below). 

Lots of news this week.  Have a good week …

Paul
Undergraduate Programme Director


* STUDENT SUPPORT VIDEO. The Students’ Union and Campus Life have produce a two-minute video to highlight the extensive support available at the University, normalise seeking support and to help you with navigating student life.  You can find the video on the University Student Support webpage, or on YouTube.


STUDENT SUPPORT HUB EMAIL ADDRESS.

  Just a reminder that if you need to contact a member of the Teaching, Learning and Student Experience team, then the email addresses are as follows:

If you are unsure which email to use then use soe.hub@manchester.ac.uk for general queries. 


KEEPING SAFE ON CAMPUS.

  Just like any large city, Manchester can have problems with crime. The University student support webpage offers a variety of resources that you can utilise to help keep safe. SafeZone is a mobile app that can also be used to quickly connect with the University Campus Support and Security team if you have an immediate concern, or require first aid or wellbeing assistance. The app is free to download, easy to use, and operates not just across our campus and accommodation areas, but also MMU and Salford campuses. Find out more about SafeZone here, along with additional Safety Apps that are available. There is also a Safe Taxi scheme, which is an exclusive partnership with Street Cars, to help get you home safely even if you can’t pay at that moment. Our Report and Support team are also available to contact should you experience or witness any safeguarding concern, and you would like to speak to a trained advisor.


EXTENSION REQUESTS.

  If you find you are falling behind due to circumstances beyond your control with an assessment then you can apply for a short extension to allow you to complete your work. You must apply for an extension BEFORE the deadline through the Department Mitigating Circumstances page. Please note that for some assessments you may not be able to request an extension for, these are highlighted in the deadlines Gantt chart, or in SPOT. You should only be applying for an extension if you really need one, we will be monitoring applications to ensure the system is not being abused. 


YEAR TUTOR OPEN HOURS.

  In the Department we have year tutors who are responsible for looking after the different cohorts in each year group. They are here to provide you with help and support if you need it, so feel free to contact your year tutor by email. They also run a weekly open hour where you can pop in for a chat during the teaching period:

  • Year 1 (not CM): Gareth Henshall. Open hour: Thursday 14:00 - 15:00, Kilburn 2.82
  • Year 2 (not CM): Ahmed Saeed. Open hour: Tuesdays 11:00 - 12:00, Kilburn 2.80
  • Industrial Experience Year: Duncan Hull. Open hour: Wednesdays 10:00 - 12:00. Kilburn LF25
  • Year 3/4 (not CM): Tim Morris. Open hour: Tuesday 11:00 - 12:00, Kilburn 2.107 
  • CM (all years): Andrea Schalk. Open hour: Tuesday 11:00 - 12:00, Kilburn 2.103
  • UG Director: Paul Nutter. Open hour: Tuesday 11:00 - 12:00, IT119.


PASS1.

  The PASS1 team (Max Beck-Jones (Y3, CS4), Luke Sanderson (Y3, CS), Sarah Saad (Y3, AI4), Nicolo Micheletti (Y3, CS), and Rosie Halsall (Y3, CS4)) write: Hello everyone! In case you had forgotten, PASS takes place on Wednesdays from 13:00-14:00 and will be running up until the last week of the semester 1 teaching. Not only is PASS a great way to improve your learning and understanding in groups with your peers, we also have several special events and sessions planned. You should be receiving weekly emails from your PASS leaders with details of your session, including the location and a reminder of the date and time. If you have not been receiving emails or do not know who your PASS leaders are, please send an email to Max. Finally, if you have any ideas or topics you want to cover, please let your PASS leaders know. We hope to see you on Wednesday!

On Wednesday the 6th of December, starting at 13:00 and replacing the normal PASS1 session, we are running a PASS1 Programming Competition! In teams of 3-4 people, made up from your PASS1 group, we are running a 2 hour competition, using HackerRank style questions. There will be easy questions up to very hard questions so we encourage everyone to participate, regardless of your skill level as this is great experience to put on your CV. Up for grabs, we have a £20 Amazon gift card for every member of the winning team, plus additional snacks and drinks for everyone throughout. The competition will last 2 hours however, we will likely not start at 13:00 exactly to give you time to set up and we will take some time at the end to conclude. The event will be finished by 16:00 at the latest. You can use this week’s PASS session to decide on how to split your group and, if you want, get some practice in.


PASS2.

  The PASS2 team (See Jia Tong (Y3, CS), Salma Aljama (Y3, AI) and Divya Radhakrishnan Nair (Y3, CS)) write: Hi Everyone, we hope you're doing well ! We are nearing the end of the semester and wanted to give you some tips on the upcoming exams!


CIISECLIVE - CHARTERED INSTITUTE OF INFORMATION SECURITY.

  This from Rushil Dhanuka (Y3, CS) who attended CIISecLive: Last week, alongside Dan Stoicescu (Y3, CSwIE) and Gundeep Oberoi (Y2, CS), I had the privilege of attending one of the UK’s largest annual cybersecurity events, CIISEC LIVE at the Etihad Stadium, courtesy of Professor Daniel Dresner. As an emerging cybersecurity enthusiast, I've attended various tech events in Manchester, but this one truly stood out. Connecting with professionals at different stages of their cyber journey, from vendors to senior practitioners and startups, was truly enriching. I'm always eager to discuss cybersecurity and learn something new (sometimes even delving into the mystic art of social engineering).

Meeting startups and understanding their innovation strategies and vision was another highlight. Networking aside, I sincerely enjoyed the talks and panel sessions held by senior practitioners at BAE Systems, UK Police, Deloitte, Qualys, etc., providing practical insights into the emergence of space security, proliferating supply chain attacks, modern-day attack surfaces, and the significance of audience understanding.

Events like these truly help me enhance my interest within the security sector, gain career guidance from experienced professionals, explore future work opportunities, and gain practical insights about the latest revelations within the cyber realm. Manchester has a great technology community, and I’d definitely recommend getting involved, utilising the opportunity to network and learn. 


MEET A STUDENT REP.

  The student rep of the week this week is Tran Khoi Nguyen Pham (Y1, CSwIE). Noah writes: My name is Khoi Nguyen, but everyone knows me as Noah! I come from Hanoi, Vietnam. I always wanted to make a positive change and improve everyone’s experience in university. I am eager to listen to all of you guys’ feedback and make your voices heard and recognised! If you want to have a chat about anything then please get in touch.


STUDENT-STAFF LIAISON COMMITTEE.

  Tom Carroll, chair of the SSLC writes: Our next meeting of the SSLC will take place on 6th December, where the theme will be Assessment and Feedback.  Improving Assessment and Feedback is a priority across the whole faculty, not just in the Department, so a consultation with students is a very important part of improving this. We would like to know what you think is good about the assessment and feedback you receive, but also why it is good, as we need to recognise what works. We also want to know what needs improving, and why it needs to be improved, as well as any potential solutions that you may have.  Please contact your Student Reps with any ideas or comments. As always, you can find a list of your reps and current issues on the UG Community page.


LEARNING TIPS.

  This week, Andrea is talking about “Making the most of feedback”. We all appreciate feedback on what we do because we want to perform better in the future. However, productive feedback becomes increasingly hard to come by, as you'll discover, as you progress further in your careers, so learning how to make the most of what is provided is a very useful skill.

Given their prior experience in education, it's natural that students concentrate on individual feedback supplied on their work, but is that really the only feedback worth their attention? Formative quizzes provide individual feedback on your understanding of the material - do you take the time to understand which answers you got wrong, and why? Sometimes you get feedback that provides an overview of where students did well, and where they didn't - do you take the time to critically evaluate your work against the descriptions given? When you solve past papers, do you also look at the feedback provided to see whether you made common mistakes described there? Or maybe you were marked against a rubric which describes levels of achievements - do you just look at the score you got, or do you think about what you could have done to meet a descriptor with a higher score? After all, the rubric itself offers feedback on your work, and how it can be improved. At other times, you may receive model answers for problems - do you work out where your own answers don't match those solutions, and whether that means your work has some shortcomings?

Learning to evaluate your own work is hard, but it's an incredibly useful skill that is very much worth developing. Once you become better at evaluating your work against given criteria, the next step is to come up with your own description of which properties a good solution should have - that gives you something to aim for as you design and implement your solution; a skill that is particularly useful when the time comes to tackle your Year 3 project. If you have ideas for what we can do to help with this then please get in touch with Andrea Schalk.


GITLAB DOWNTIME WARNING:

  This from Chris Page: On Wednesday 29th November the Department of Computer Science GitLab system will be taken offline to perform essential maintenance and upgrades. Work on the system will start at 14:00 and may take until 17:00, although we will attempt to minimise the time that GitLab is unavailable. A notice banner is currently shown on GitLab pages as a reminder for this work, and it will be removed when the work on the server is completed and tests indicate GitLab is operating normally. While GitLab is offline you will be able to continue to work locally in any currently cloned git repositories, including adding commits. However, attempts to interact with the GitLab server (via `git push`,  `git pull`, `git fetch` and so on) will fail.


SEMESTER 1 EXAMS.

  The semester 1 exams take place over the period Monday 15th to Friday 26th January 2024 (see the University’s key dates webpage). All examinations take place under invigilated conditions and on-campus (there may be one or two exceptions to this), so you must be in Manchester during the examination period. The timetabling of exams takes place centrally, the Department is not responsible for this. It is hoped that the exam timetable will be published in the week commencing the 4th December (next week) and should appear in your personal timetable. Please note that exams for different course units could be timetabled close together, possibly on the same day, and that changes cannot be made to the timetable once it is published. You may find that you are timetabled for an exam in a different location to your friend, or others on the course unit. It’s very important you attend the location stated in your exam timetable.


COURSE UNIT SURVEYS.

  Every semester the University runs surveys where we ask students to provide feedback on the course units they have taken. The semester one course unit surveys are due to open on the 4th December and usually run for a few weeks. Any feedback provided by you is anonymous. We find feedback, particularly comments, extremely useful to understand what you feel about our teaching, and we do take note of your suggestions and make changes as a result. You can find out more information on the University Have Your Say webpages. Please provide us with written comments to explain why you rated course units as you did, as without these comments it’s difficult to make informed decisions on how to change and improve how we teach. We are always looking for ways in which to improve what we do, but it can be difficult to judge what that should be. Your feedback helps us make those decisions.  If you think that something which is happening on another unit would be an improvement to another, then please do make the suggestion to the course unit leader outside of the survey process. 


HARDWARE LIBRARY.

  Did you know we have a hardware library in the Department that contains a wide range of hardware components that are completely free to borrow? You can use these to support your 3rd year project, generally just to have a play with, or support a Hackathon. There are all sorts of items available, from Raspberry Pi components to drones,  a wide range of microcontroller boards to gesture devices, basic electronic components to robots … even VR headsets. We also have computer items, such as keyboards, mice, and tablets  - there’s a wide range of items available. To see what is available for you to borrow (for free!) have a look at the library catalogue. If you want to borrow an item then all you have to do is reserve it online. You will then be contacted by Steve Rhodes who will tell you when you can pick the item up from Tootill 0 on the lower first floor of Kilburn. Please note that items should not be taken away from Manchester and it is your responsibility to replace any damaged/lost items you borrow. You can also propose new items for the library, which we will consider. However, please note, we do have a limited budget to purchase new items, so we can’t fund all requests. 


UNICS ICE SKATING SOCIAL.

  Indulge in the elegance of ice skating at Cathedral Gardens with UniCS! Secure your tickets at a highly favourable rate here, priced at less than half the standard cost! Join us for a fun and affordable ice-skating experience in this picturesque setting. We will be meeting outside the main entrance of Kilburn at 6pm and we hope to see you there!


UNICS CHRISTMAS DINNER.

  UniCS cordially invites you to our joyous Christmas Dinner Social! Join us for a festive evening of delectable food, refreshing drinks, and merrymaking as we embrace the spirit of the holiday season. Indulge in an extensive buffet spread, savouring culinary delights while engaging in meaningful conversations with fellow students. This event presents a wonderful opportunity to take a well-deserved break from studies and foster lasting connections with your peers. Tickets will go on sale soon here, so watch out for it!


R USER GROUP MEETING.

  The R User Group at Manchester are holding a meeting on developing and publishing packages in R on Thursday 30th November, 12:00 - 13:00, Engineering Building A, Room 3A.057. Whether you are a R beginner or and enthusiast, then you are free to join.


BCSWOMEN LOVELACE COLLOQUIUM.

  The 2024 BCSWomen Lovelace Colloquium will take place on April 4th, 2024 at the University of Liverpool. The event is open to all, although if you would like to attend you need to register. The poster contests are open to women and non-binary students studying computing (BSc, BA, BEng, MSc, MComp or MEng) in the UK. Students who want to take part in the poster contests will have to submit a 250 word abstract. We usually accept about 125 posters, based on these submitted abstracts. Our call for abstracts is now open! You can find out more information and register here.


DIGITAL TRUST AND SECURITY SEMINAR SERIES.

  Join us for a special edition of the Digital Trust and Security Seminar Series where we will host two of the co-founders of CyBlack: Omotolani Olowosule and Iretioluwa Akerele, on Monday 4th December 2023, 14.00-16.00 (UK) at DiSH Manchester, Heron House, 47 Lloyd Street, Manchester M2 5LE. . CyBlack is a black community for Cyber security students in UK, which currently has over 500 students. In this seminar, our speakers will discuss the outcomes of their research. Omotolani's research focuses on Mindfulness in Cloud Security, whereas Iretioluwa's research looks at Information Security Controls Integration and Implementation. Sign up for the event for free via Eventbrite 

* VISUALISING THE CITY - DIGITAL TWINS AND BEYOND. This event on the 17th January 2024 will delve into the innovative ways to visualise cities and explore the potential of digital technologies to enhance city planning, design, resident engagement, and management. Join us as we gather academic and public sector professionals to discuss the power of digital tools in shaping the urban landscape. From digital twins to augmented reality/virtual reality (AR/VR) and other creative methods, we'll explore multiple ways to visualise the city. Register today to avoid disappointment as limited free spaces are available


KATE KNEEBONE ACORN BURSARY.

  The Kate Kneebone Acorn Bursary is an annual award of £500 funded by the Kneebone family and arm, which has been awarded since 2013 to commemorate the life of Kate Kneebone, a former student of the department. In addition to the £500 award, the Bursary offers the successful applicant the possibility of discussing an internship placement (which must have a hardware engineering bias) with arm in Cambridge. All current Year 2 UG students in the Department are eligible to apply. See further details here. To apply, please complete this form by the deadline of 6pm (UK time) Friday 15th December 2023. 


DIGITAL FUTURE REVIEW OF AI - GET INVOLVED.

  AI is a disruptive technology that has the potential to drive fundamental change in University life. Digital Futures is leading a review of AI that will report to the University Senior Leadership Team and Board of Governors. The aim is to understand the opportunities and challenges posed by AI across the full range of the University’s activities, and make recommendations for action. We know that many colleagues have already recognised opportunities, and sometimes the necessity, for innovation, and we are keen to hear about and learn from existing initiatives. Please complete the online form by Monday 4th December to tell us about existing AI initiatives of which you are aware (survey has one question only).


DEPARTMENT LINKEDIN PAGE.

  Follow us on LinkedIn, where we've recently created a Linked page, where you can follow news and events from the department. You can also follow us on X (formerly know as twitter).


PUBLICATION NEWS.

  The Department has a very diverse research portfolio, due to the interdisciplinary nature of the subject, with staff working across a number of fields across Computer Science and Engineering. To illustrate the breadth of research the department carries out, we will talk about publications from time to time. An example of this is a recent publication from myself (a bit of self promotion here) and Tom Thomson in the Nano Engineering and Spintronic Technologies (NEST) research group. The paper, titled “Tunable multi-cycle terahertz pulse generation from a spintronic emitter”, has been published in Applied Physics Letters, achieving the recognition as being a featured article by the editor and being chosen to be the cover image on the Vol.123, Issue 21 of the journal. The work builds on from the NEST expertise in spintronics (utilising the electron spin rather than charge for the next generation of electronic devices with reduced power requirements and increased speed) and the expertise of our collaborators in the Terahertz Physics Group, in the Department of Physics. The work presents, for the first time, the ability to provide a tunable, narrowband THz pulse from a spintronic THz emitter, paving the way towards a narrowband THz source continuously tunable over the entire THz spectral range from 0.1 to 30THz, with sub-GHz linewidths. The work was supported by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (Grant No. EP/S033688/1).


ASSESSMENT AND EXAM SUPPORT FROM THE LIBRARY.

  As we get closer to the exam period then it’s good to know that the Library is here to support your revision and preparation. The University offers a range of workshops and online resources to support you with your productivity and wellbeing. Sessions include revising effectively, revision and preparation, dealing with procrastination, and managing exam stress.

To find out more about how the Library can help, visit our exams and assessment support page  or chat online to library staff via the website. New additional support is also available from the new Ask Me@ The Library service. Remember you can also find wellbeing support by accessing helpful resources and workshops via the Counselling Service and Student Support website

 


LIBRARY & STUDY SPACE OPENING HOURS.

  After the Christmas break, from 2nd – 26th January 2024, there will be extended opening until 2am in the Main Library. During this period additional study space will also be made available at Prospect House, Booth Street East  (8am to 8pm, Monday to Friday) - which is behind the Kilburn building, next to the IT building. Bookable study space and group study rooms are available at Main Library and Alan Gilbert Learning Commons. You can find opening hours of all library sites on the Library website which will be kept updated over the assessment period.

Welcome to Gareth’s Puzzle Corner, this is your weekly fix of brain teasers and logic puzzles. You are given 5 different puzzles to tackle. One is an easier Sudoku, the second is a more challenging Sudoku, the third is a different form of logic puzzle and we have a chess puzzle for you. Finally, each week you can compete with myself and other students/staff to see who has the best geography skills. Try your hand at Geoguessr below. I hope you enjoy the puzzles and if you have any puzzles you wish to feature or ideas for Puzzle Corner then please get in touch.

Easier Sudoku - Classic Sudoku by sudoku.com 

Normal sudoku rules apply.

Challenging Sudoku - Fibonacci by Hobo 

Normal sudoku rules apply. Digits cannot repeat on a marked diagonal. Digits separated by a white dot must be consecutive. Digits separated by a black dot must be in a 1:2 ratio.

Pencil Puzzle - Monogram by Otto Janko 

Colour the grey cells of the diagram black or white. The black cells form stripes which are one cell wide. The number, sequence and lengths of the stripes are specified by the clue number sequences on the top and on the left edge of the diagram. Each clue number defines the length of a stripe in the corresponding row resp. column. Two stripes of black cells are separated by at least one white cell.

Chess Puzzle - Arca Vs. Sowinski, 2023 

Drag and drop the Black pieces to win the match.

Geoguessr

And finally, our weekly competition from geoguessr.com 

We are playing another new map again this week called Flags of the World. All of the clues are there, you just need to find them, the flags might help! You need to take in as much information as you can from the google street view and then drop your pin on the map. The closer to the correct location you are the more points you get. Can you get the top score after all 5 rounds? Remember though, you only get 1 min per round and running out of time will give you 0 pts. Winners will be announced next week!

The Winner from Last Week was again Ewan Massey with a score of 21,431 out of a possible 25,000. A great score considering how deceiving round 4 was. The winner of the closest individual guess this week was CoffeeDrinker89 (which I know is a lecturer in disguise) with a guess only 587 yards away on Round 5. A great guess, well done.

Something to look forward to, in the last Monday Mail of this Semester (Week 12) we will be playing a custom Geoguessr Map that I have made 5 rounds for you to complete; I wonder if anyone can figure out why the locations were chosen?

Answers to Last Week’s Puzzles

The answers to last week's puzzles can be found here.


Week 9 • Monday 20 November 2023 • #23.10          The Monday Mail

Paul pic

Good morning UG! It’s Monday 20th November and week 9 of the semester 1 teaching period. If you want to know anything about your degree programme, such as how we calculate your final degree mark, how we deal with mitigating circumstances, what industrial experience involves etc. then you will find all this information in the undergraduate handbook (see below). We often get asked questions that can be easily answered by looking in the handbook, so please make use of it as a resource. The handbook is always linked in the Essential Links banner in Monday Mail.

Don’t forget that we publish Monday Mail for students to celebrate the great things that they have achieved. If you want to share something you've accomplished with the rest of the UG community then please do get in touch. 

I hope you have a good week …

Paul
Undergraduate Programme Director


* SUPPORT SERVICE SPOTLIGHT: The Disability Advisory and Support Service (DASS) is a specialist service supporting students with any condition that has a significant, adverse and long term effect on normal day to day activities. DASS helps students with a range of conditions which includes but is not limited to dyslexia and other learning difficulties, autism spectrum condition, mental health difficulties such as anxiety and depression, mobility and sensory impairments, unseen disabilities like epilepsy, HIV, AIDS, chronic fatigue, IBS and Crohn's. DASS can help students access exams, study and specialist support but only if you register with them. You can make an appointment with DASS at any time. Make an appointment and register. For help and advice you can always talk to Maria or Ben in the School wellbeing team.


WELFARE WEEKLY - THE DEADLINE HEADACHE.

   This from Ben Herbert, Student Support and Wellbeing: The past week or two has seen an uptick in the number of assessments students are expected to complete. This can lead to a feeling of being overwhelmed as you bounce from deadline to deadline if you are not able to manage your time properly. I wanted, therefore, to set out some practical strategies on how you can go about managing your deadlines. In future articles I plan to dig deeper into some of these points, but for now here are my top tips.

Prioritise your tasks: Identifying the most urgent and important tasks. Google "The Eisenhower Matrix" for more information. Prioritise assignments with closer deadlines or those carrying more weight. Consider how much the individual component is worth to the unit and use your time appropriately.

Break it Down: Large tasks can be intimidating. Break them down into smaller, more manageable pieces. Need to write a report? Start with outlining, then focus on each section separately. Give yourself a reward for each part you complete.

Create a Schedule: Allocate specific time slots to different subjects or assignments. Establishing a routine keeps you consistent and focused and avoids procrastination.

Talk about it: Don't hesitate to reach out to your friends, family and fellow students, tutors, or us at the support and wellbeing team. Discussing your challenges and building a supportive network around you can really help. We can also point you in the directions of extra help and resources. Why not start with looking through previous Welfare Weekly articles!

Remember to rest: Take short breaks during study sessions. Utilise these pauses for relaxation activities. Give your brain a chance to recharge, preventing burnout and improving overall focus. For more information Google "The Pomodoro Technique" (Yeah, it does mean tomato).

Embrace Self-care: Prioritise your well-being. Sick students submit poor work, FACT! Make sure you get a good amount of sleep, eat well, engage in extracurricular activities, and maintain good physical and mental health. Struggling to do this? Come and see us at the Student Support Hub.

Remember, you're not alone in this. Take a deep breath, break it down, and smash each challenge. Don't hesitate to reach out to me or one of your tutors if you need any advice or support.


YEAR TUTOR OPEN HOURS.

  In the Department we have year tutors who are responsible for looking after the different cohorts in each year group. They are here to provide you with help and support if you need it, so feel free to contact your year tutor by email. They also run a weekly open hour where you can pop in for a chat during the teaching period:

  • Year 1 (not CM): Gareth Henshall. Open hour: Thursday 14:00 - 15:00, Kilburn 2.82
  • Year 2 (not CM): Ahmed Saeed. Open hour: Tuesdays 11:00 - 12:00, Kilburn 2.80
  • Industrial Experience Year: Duncan Hull. Open hour: Wednesdays 10:00 - 12:00. Kilburn LF25
  • Year 3/4 (not CM): Tim Morris. Open hour: Tuesday 11:00 - 12:00, Kilburn 2.107 
  • CM (all years): Andrea Schalk. Open hour: Tuesday 11:00 - 12:00, Kilburn 2.103
  • UG Director: Paul Nutter. Open hour: Tuesday 11:00 - 12:00, IT119.


MEET A STUDENT REP.

  The student rep of the week this week is Shiv Walia (Y1, CS). Shiv writes: I’m Shiv Walia and I'm an international student from India. My hometown is Dehradun, a relatively small town in India. In my high school life I have also been a student representative of my class, therefore I have some experience being a student representative. Please send Shiv an email if you have anything you'd like to discuss.


UNICS HACKATHON DIRECTOR VOTING.

  UniCS is currently in the process of selecting a new pair of hackathon co-directors, and we are now opening voting to all computer science students! Please read through their manifestos and vote here. Your opinion matters, so please vote for the people who you think would do best in this role to help run our hackathons."


EXTENSIONS IN SPOT.

  Stewart Blakeway, Discipline Assessment Lead, writes: If you have applied for, and been granted an extension for a piece of summative work it is important that this is reflected on your SPOT page.  If an extension is granted you will see an ‘i’ symbol next to the submission information.  If you hover the mouse pointer over the ‘i’ symbol, it will show the date of the extended deadline (see figure). If you have been granted an extension and it does not appear on your SPOT page within 2 days of receiving notification that an extension was granted it is important that you contact stewart.blakeway@manchester.ac.uk (otherwise normal late penalties will apply). Also note that work submitted after the extension deadline will be subject to normal late penalties of 10% each day (or part of) from the extended deadline. 


LEARNING TIPS.

  A new feature where teaching staff provide advice on various aspects of teaching and learning, this week is from me (Paul) and focuses on assessments and expectations: It’s the time of the semester when you will start to receive marks and feedback on your coursework. This means adjusting to the university scale of marking, which may be very different to what you’re used to. To be able to judge where you stand, bear in mind that  any mark above 70% is classed as a 1st class mark and that when you graduate, your degree is classified into a limited number of classifications based on your overall mark, i.e. 70% or greater 1st class, 60-69% upper second class (2.1), 50-59% lower second class (2.2), 40-49% third class. Offers for jobs and postgraduate degrees are typically conditional on achieving a particular classification, rather than a particular average.

We find that some students work very long hours trying to maximise their marks, where there might only be a limited return on all the effort they have put in. Effort doesn’t necessarily equate to better marks, and for many pieces of work we set you, getting a really high mark is meant to be hard - we only expect a limited number of students to achieve very high marks. Such pieces of work are designed so that a good solid solution gets a mark in the 60s, but achieving a mark above 80% may well require a deep delve into the subject matter to produce something outstanding; it may require some element of self-learning, i.e. thinking beyond the material provided in the course unit.

We recommend that you start making conscious decisions about your work: How much time is it worth spending on something? How will this affect your ability to keep up with the other course units? How much stress do your expectations put on you? Are you forcing yourself to give up other activities to spend all your energies on your studies? Instead, we suggest you learn when to call it quits, and that you focus on making the most of the feedback you receive, so that you can learn how to work smarter. Remember, University is not just about work, it’s about making the most of the experience that comes with attending University - you shouldn't be spending all your time chasing all the marks available. Take a breather and balance your workload.


HOW DO I CHECK IF I’VE SUBMITTED MY WORK?

  We often get asked by students how to check that they have submitted work successfully, and it’s quite easy to do.

  • Blackboard: if the submission method is using Blackboard, then you can check under the “My Grades” link on the left on each course unit Blackboard page (under “Submitted” or “Marked”). You can also check via SPOT, although SPOT is only updated at 12pm and 6pm daily, so any submission between those times will not be shown until the update takes place.  You can check yourself when SPOT last received data from Blackboard since SPOT tells you this information.
  • Git: if the submission method is using git, then you can check via SPOT.  Submissions via git will show in SPOT immediately (but you do need to refresh the SPOT web page).  You know if you have submitted correctly because the text ‘not submitted’ under the column heading submission will change to show the date and time of the submission.
  • Software Engineering Y2: work submitted for Software Engineering will not show as submitted in SPOT until the work has been marked because tags are not used.
  • Whilst SPOT shows you something has been submitted, it does not know what, so cannot be used to verify you've submitted the correct required files.  To check the files you have submitted use Blackboard or GitLab.


COURSEWORK DEADLINES CHART.

  To help you visualise your deadlines and manage your time, don't forget that we have produced a deadlines chart, which can be accessed here. The chart is populated with the deadlines for all COMP course units, for each year groupo, in semester 1. It aims to give you an overview of your deadlines and to help you plan your time, which will depend upon the course units you are taking. Please note that deadlines may still change and that only SPOT indicates up-to-date information on deadlines, so please use SPOT to confirm deadlines.


THE UNDERGRADUATE HANDBOOK.

  The Undergraduate Handbook is your one-stop resource for all information related to your studies. It contains information about our degree programmes, details on progression, how to change degree programmes or interrupt your studies, information on student support etc. The handbook also has information related to how to apply for mitigating circumstances if your learning has been affected by issues out of your control, such as an illness. You can always find the link to the handbook (as well as other useful links) at the top of each Monday Mail in the 'Essential Links' banner.


UNICS SPONSORED MOCK INTERVIEW EVENT.

  UniCS is excited to present a unique opportunity for our members: a mock interview event supported by our esteemed sponsors: bet365, Roku, Booking.com and BNY Mellon! Taking place on November 22nd from 3pm-5:30pm at the Alan Turing building room G.107, this event aims to enhance your professional skills essential for job and internship interviews. Join us for a valuable chance to practise and refine both your technical and social competencies in a simulated interview setting. It's an ideal platform to prepare for your internship and job applications this academic year. Your participation could be the key to unlocking your potential in the professional world. We encourage all students to seize this invaluable opportunity and come along! Register your interest for this event here!


DATA SCIENCE SOCIETY.

  Generative Adverserial Networks, Wed 22nd Nov 2-4pm; Simon 2.39. Generative Adversarial Networks (GANs) excel in creating realistic synthetic images, text, videos and sound. GANs are the precursor to popular generative AI such as ChatGPT, DALL-E and more. In this workshop we will:

  1. Understand what generative models are
  2. Intro to Autoregressive models
  3. Autoencoders and Variational Autoencoders (VAEs) for Generative Deep Learning

Join us for your first look at this dynamic and relevant field of research! As always, we're there to support your learning, and all questions are welcome. Prerequisites: Intermediate level, as some mathematics is required to understand GANs.


UNICS CHRISTMAS MARKET EVENT.

  Come along on Friday 24th November and join us at Manchester’s Christmas Market for a fun night of exploring food stalls, getting toasty cups of hot chocolate, getting to know new people, and enjoying the festive spirit! We will meet at Kilburn Byte Cafe at 5:30pm and walk there together as a group. Register your interest for this event here, we hope to see you there!"


CELEBRATING THE CAREER OF PROFESSOR STEVE FURBER.

  After 33 years in the Department of Computer Science at the University of Manchester, and more than 50 years in computing, we're celebrating the career of our colleague Steve Furber on Friday 12th January 2024, 9am - 4pm, with a Festschrift (“celebration publication”) to mark his retirement earlier this year.

Steve has led the Advance Processor Technologies (APT) research group in the Department since its inception in 1990, and before that designed a little known thing called the BBC Micro, as well as the original Arm processor. His most recent work has focused on the state of the art computation using spiking neural networks in the SpiNNaker powered Human Brain Project. From posting punched cards in the mail from the Manchester Grammar School to Imperial College London in the 60s through to studying mathematics at the University of Cambridge in the 70s, and becoming a Professor in the 90s, Steve has enjoyed a long and remarkable engineering career in industry and academia. You can find out more about Steve here or through his University research profile.

Register for this event to join us for a day of talks from Steve’s colleagues and friends, acknowledging his profound influence and contributions over 4 decades in computing, spanning both academia and industry. Speakers include: Ian Phillips, Sophie Wilson, Ivan Sutherland, Marly Roncken, Jamie Urquhart, Doug Edwards, Alex Yakovlev, Andrew Brown, Erik Brunvand, Piotr Dudek, Roger Woods, Ran Ginosar, Peter Cheung, Wayne Luk, Christian Mayr and more.


GOOGLE DEVELOPER STUDENT CLUBS MANCHESTER.

  Dive into IOT and Automation!

  • Date and Time: 22nd November from 4-5pm 
  • Location: Lecture theatre A, Eng. building A 

Further details to be released on our socials!


DIG DEEP KILIMANJARO CHALLENGE.

  @manchesterkili are a group of students who have partnered with the charity Dig Deep, to lead a team up Kilimanjaro in aid of improving water sanitation in Kenya. They are taking on the challenge next August and are currently looking to recruit individuals, both university students and beyond who are up for the challenge of fundraising for an amazing cause with the opportunity to climb Kilimanjaro. If you think you, or anyone else you know might be interested then check here to take you to the sign up page. Sign up closes on the 30th November. You can find more information here. For any questions, message their Instagram @manchesterkili for more information. 


ASSESSMENT AND EXAM SUPPORT FROM THE LIBRARY.

  As we get closer to the exam period then it’s good to know that the Library is here to support your revision and preparation. The University offers a range of workshops and online resources to support you with your productivity and wellbeing. Sessions include revising effectively, revision and preparation, dealing with procrastination, and managing exam stress.

To find out more about how the Library can help, visit our exams and assessment support page  or chat online to library staff via the website. New, additional support is also available from the new Ask Me@ The Library service. Remember you can also find wellbeing support by accessing helpful resources and workshops via the Counselling Service and Student Support website


LIBRARY & STUDY SPACE OPENING HOURS.

  After the Christmas break, from 2nd – 26th January 2024, there will be extended opening until 2am in the Main Library. During this period additional study space will also be made available at Prospect House, Booth Street East  (8am to 8pm, Monday to Friday) - which is behind the Kilburn building, next to the IT building. Bookable study space and group study rooms are available at the Main Library and Alan Gilbert Learning Commons. You can find opening hours of all library sites on the Library website which will be kept updated over the assessment period.

Welcome to Gareth’s Puzzle Corner, this is your weekly fix of brain teasers and logic puzzles. You are given 4 different puzzles to tackle. One is an easier Sudoku, the second is a more challenging Sudoku, the third is a different form of logic puzzle and finally we have a chess puzzle for you. I hope you enjoy the puzzles and if you have any puzzles you wish to feature or ideas for Puzzle Corner then please get in touch.

Easier Sudoku - Classic Sudoku by sudoku.com 

Normal sudoku rules apply.

Challenging Sudoku - Another Lost Toy by Sandra & Nala 

Normal sudoku rules apply. Every digit that appears in a circle must also appear in at least one of its 4 surrounding cells. If an arrow is present in a cell, the digit in the cell the arrow comes from appears in the grid in the direction of the arrow at a distance of N cells, where N is the digit in the arrow's cell. (Not all arrows are necessarily given - there is not a negative constraint.) Example: If R3C4 had an arrow pointing to the left and was a 3, and the digit below that arrow in R4C4 was a 5, then another 5 would be placed in R3C1. The grid is partially covered in fog. Placing correct digits will clear the fog from surrounding cells, possibly revealing more clues.

Pencil Puzzle - Thermometer by Otto Janko 

Tint the gray boxes of the chart black or white. A number at the edge of the chart indicates how many squares in that row or column are black. The fields of a "thermometer" may only be blackened from the bottom (circle) to the top (without a space in between), but they do not necessarily have to be all black.

Chess Puzzle - Maurizzi Vs. Rasmussen, 2023 

Drag and drop the White pieces to win the match.

Geoguessr

And Finally, our weekly competition from geoguessr.com.

We are playing another new map again this week called Flags of the World. All of the clues are there, you just need to find them, the flags might help! You need to take in as much information as you can from the google street view and then drop your pin on the map. The closer to the correct location you are the more points you get. Can you get the top score after all 5 rounds? Remember though, you only get 1 min per round and running out of time will give you 0 pts. Winners will be announced next week!

The Winner from Last Week was Ewan Massey with a score of 14,858 out of a possible 25,000. A great score considering how difficult rounds 2 & 3 were, what are the chances of two rounds being in Senegal? The winner of the closest individual guess this week was also Ewan Massey with a guess only 30 yards away on Round 1. An incredible guess, well done. I think you are definitely our player of the week this week.

Something to look forward to, in the last Monday Mail of this Semester (Week 12) we will be playing a custom Geoguessr Map that I have made! 5 rounds for you to complete, I wonder if anyone can figure out why the locations were chosen?

Answers to Last Week’s Puzzles

The answers to last week's puzzles can be found here.


Week 8 • Monday 13 November 2023 • #23.09          The Monday Mail

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Good morning UG! It’s Monday 13th November and we are in week 8 of the semester 1 teaching period. I hope everything is going well and you are managing to keep up with your work. It’s that time of the semester when pressures start to set in and you may find yourself struggling to keep up with everything and meeting deadlines for coursework.  If any issues prevent you from submitting your work by a deadline (illness etc) then you should ask for an extension (if available) and complete the work and submit late (within the extension period). You may also want to consider submitting a mitigating circumstances application if you are still struggling to meet the extended deadline. If you are impacted then it’s important that you seek help and advice by speaking to either your Academic Advisor, your Year Tutor, or contact a member of the Department Wellbeing Team (see below). Often students leave it until the last minute, usually after the exams, to let us know they've been affected during the year, by which point it is too late to do anything to help. Contacting us immediately when something happens, offers you the best chance of receiving help and support when you need it.

Have a good week. It’s a bumper edition of Monday Mail today, so on with today’s news …

Paul
Undergraduate Programme Director


STUDENT WELFARE SUPPORT IN CS.

  Issues can impact students at any time, usually when you least expect it. If you are affected by any issues, and if they start to impact your studies, then it’s vitally important that you speak to someone and get the help and support you need. You can speak to your year tutor, or you can speak to a member of our Student Wellbeing Team, Maria Sloan and Ben Herbert, or drop into the student hub in Engineering Building A and ask to speak to someone, in confidence, about anything that might be affecting you and your studies. Maria and Ben are also the Disability Coordinators for CS, so you can speak to them if you have any ongoing physical or mental health problems, or conditions such as ASD or ADHD, that affect your studies, even if you are not already registered with the DASS Team at the University. If you are registered with DASS and there are problems with your DASS plan you can speak with them about this too. You can contact Maria and Ben at soe.wellbeing@manchester.ac.uk.


COST OF LIVING SUPPORT.

  If you’re struggling to make ends meet and you’re unable to cover essential, day-to-day costs, the University’s Cost of Living Support Fund may be able to help. The fund can provide grants between £250 and £2,000 for students in need, which doesn’t have to be paid back. Any full-time student can apply, regardless of social background, nationality, or level of study. The amount you receive will be based on an assessment of your circumstances. For example, you may be:

  • relying on part time work, or struggling to find sufficient part time work, to supplement your living expenses
  • be a student whose sponsors have withdrawn funding, or where payments are delayed
  • be an international student experiencing difficulties in transferring funds from overseas
  • Or you may have another cause to be in financial hardship. 

Whatever the cause, if you are struggling financially, we want to hear from you. Find out more about applying to the fund, and read about our other cost of living measures


ANTI-BULLYING WEEK:

  MAKE A NOISE ABOUT BULLYING. This week marks anti-bullying week, so it’s a good opportunity to understand what bullying looks like and highlight the range of support we have available if you see bullying take place, or if you have been personally affected. Too often, we are silent when we see bullying, silent about the hurt bullying causes, and find it easier to dismiss it as ‘just banter’. Now is a good time to take a stand against bullying and the harm it causes. If you are affected and want to reach out and get help, then help is available. You can find further information here.


ACADEMIC ADVISORS.

  Your academic advisor provides pastoral support if you are having any issues during your studies. Who is your academic advisor? If you are a 1st or 2nd year student, your academic advisor is your personal tutor. You can find out your tutor group and tutor is here. In the 3rd year, your academic advisor is your project supervisor, and in the 4th year it is Tim Morris.


YEAR TUTOR OPEN HOURS.

  In the Department we have year tutors who are responsible for looking after the different cohorts in each year group. They are here to provide you with help and support if you need it, so feel free to contact your year tutor by email. They also run a weekly open hour where you can pop in for a chat during the teaching period:

  • Year 1 (not CM): Gareth Henshall. Open hour: Thursday 14:00 - 15:00, Kilburn 2.82
  • Year 2 (not CM): Ahmed Saeed. Open hour: Tuesdays 11:00 - 12:00, Kilburn 2.80
  • Industrial Experience Year: Duncan Hull. Open hour: Wednesdays 10:00 - 12:00. Kilburn LF25
  • Year 3/4 (not CM): Tim Morris. Open hour: Tuesday 11:00 - 12:00, Kilburn 2.107 
  • CM (all years): Andrea Schalk. Open hour: Tuesday 11:00 - 12:00, Kilburn 2.103
  • UG Director: Paul Nutter. Open hour: Tuesday 11:00 - 12:00, IT119.


STUDENT-STAFF LIAISON COMMITTEE.

  This from Tom Carroll, Chair of the SSLC: We held our most recent SSLC on 25th October, with a theme of "Student Voice". It was highlighted that as many avenues as possible should be given for students to make their voice heard. Your reps suggested an SSLC notice board to highlight the work of the SSLC, as well as providing a suggestion box. A notice board has now been installed in the LF area, and will soon be furnished for this year's SSLC. So please keep an eye out for new additions to the notice board - one of several ways in which you can learn about the work of the SSLC. Reps highlighted that students are unhappy with some aspects of functionality and the user interface of Blackboard. It has recently been announced that Canvas will be replacing Blackboard as our central learning environment in 2025. Find out more here. Reps highlighted that it is sometimes difficult to recognise GTAs when in a lab. The department has recently issued GTAs with purple name badges and lanyards, which will help with identification. Please don't forget, that if you have any issues that you wish to highlight, or if you want to let us know about a positive thing, then please contact one of your reps. You can view a list of reps, see what issues have been raised to the SSLC, track their progress, and also review minutes of the meetings on the Blackboard UG Community space. 


UG TO RESEARCHER.

  This week we hear from Alistair Kressel (graduated 2021, CSwIE). Alistair writes: For my third year UG project, I worked on optimising the first dynamic binary modification (DBM) tool for 64-bit RISC-V, under the supervision of Mikel Luján. This enabled powerful debugging and analysis of RISC-V binaries. Doing something which hadn’t been done before helped to spark my interest in the idea of research as a career path. This year we published a paper based on that work, which I presented at ISPASS’23 in USA in April. However, I still wasn’t sure if research was right for me or not. To find out, I next did an MPhil (like a PhD but one year) under the supervision of Pierre Olivier. During this year, I researched compartmentalisation in single address space OSes using a technology called CHERI which enables fine-grained memory isolation. This also resulted in a publication, which I presented at PLOS’23 in Germany in October.  I highly recommend an MPhil to anyone who is unsure about research.

Three things I learned during my MPhil year were, firstly, research is hard but also really rewarding. You become an expert in your field of research and will produce new and exciting work, which has never been done before. Secondly, you will get to travel to some cool places when you get papers published (I have been lucky enough to go to the USA, Italy, and Germany in the past 6 months!). Finally, as a researcher, you are more like an employee than a student, which brings with it more responsibility and autonomy, including the management of your own time and research.

I am now continuing the work started in my MPhil in my PhD! Please feel free to send me an email if you have any questions regarding research in general or would like to discuss my research further!


STUDENT PUBLICATION SUCCESS.

  Congratulations to Andrei Hutu (on placement, CS4wIE) who had his paper published in the Proceedings of the IEEE International Conference on Communications, Control, and Computing Technologies for Smart Grids (SmartGridComm 2023). Andrei presented his paper at SmartGridComm, in Glasgow, the leading conference in smart grid. “Privacy Preserving Billing in Local Energy Markets with Imperfect Bid-Offer Fulfilment” provides privacy-friendly billing mechanisms for users while tackling discrepancies between committed volumes of energy at local energy markets and the actual volumes delivered. He wrote and submitted the paper while working on his third-year project. Andrei is now doing a placement as a Software Engineer Intern in arm, in Cambridge, where he is based in the Machine Learning Engineering department working on Apache TVM in the ML Compilers team. Very well done, Andrei!


MEET A STUDENT REP.

  The student rep of the week this week is Callum Bridges (Y1, CSwIE). Callum writes:  I'm a caring person with varied interests, ranging from swimming to gaming. I aim to develop my skills in computer science through helping others and supporting the Department. As a creative individual, playing two different instruments (classical guitar and saxophone), I will listen to my colleagues and provide suitable feedback to the Department. I have also had experience creating end products for consumers - as an organiser for a local Lego show, I was responsible for designing a suitable website for the charity. 


GREATUNIHACK 2023.

  Two weeks ago, UniCS ran GreatUniHack 2023 at the MMU Business school and a whopping 200 people came and took part! We would like to say a big congratulations to the winners of GreatUniHack 2023: ‘Number Ninjas Math Game’ in first place, ‘Pronounce It’ in second place, and ‘Visual sizer’ in third place. Congratulations to all the other teams that won prizes in various categories as well, and to everyone who came and took part. We loved seeing all of your cool projects come together over the 24 hours and we hope you enjoyed it just as much as we did! FInally, thank you to the hackathon directors Asma Alshebli and Asma Ali, and the team for spending the last 10 months organising this and ensuring everything went well despite all the unexpected challenges that surfaced near the end.


COMPUTING CAREERS FAIR.

  Duncan Hull writes: Thanks to all the exhibitors at our annual Computing Careers Fair in the engineering building foyer last week. We hope you enjoyed speaking to staff and former Computer Science students now working at arm.com axelera.ai, bjss.com , morganstanley.com, spglobal.com, pwc.co.uk, mediatek.com, matillion.com seechange.com, bet365.com, codethink.co.uk, netcraft.com, intel.com, palantir.com, roku.com and tpp-uk.com More upcoming employer events are described at www.careers.manchester.ac.uk and the next big careers fair for Computer Science students will be the Digital Skills Festival in the Bridgewater Hall, Manchester on the 7th February 2024 after the January exam period, see digitalskillsfestival.com


EXTENSION REQUESTS.

  If you find you are falling behind due to circumstances beyond your control with an assessment then you can apply for a short extension to allow you to complete your work. You must apply for an extension BEFORE the deadline through the Department Mitigating Circumstances page. Please note that you are unable to apply for an extension for some assessments, these are detailed in the deadlines Gantt chart, or in SPOT. You should only be applying for an extension if you really need one, we will be monitoring applications to ensure the system is not being abused. 


THE UNDERGRADUATE HANDBOOK.

  The Undergraduate Handbook is your one-stop resource for all information related to your studies. It contains information about your degree programmes, details on progression, how to change degree programmes or interrupt your studies, information on student support etc. The handbook also has information related to how to apply for mitigating circumstances if your learning has been affected by issues out of your control, such as an illness. You can always find the link to the handbook (as well as other useful links) at the top of each Monday Mail in the 'Essential Links' banner.


UNICS GAMDEV WORKSHOPS.

  Hello everyone! Join us a week from now, James Chadwick Building, Room 3.008 , on November 15th from 3 - 4pm and participate in our 3rd Game Dev workshop! This workshop will cover the basics of Monogame Rendering and I/O. We will also explore more complex Object Oriented concepts like interfaces and structs. Follow my GitHub and star the repository below to keep track of and refer to things programmed during our live coding sessions (we will be using this repository for subsequent workshops). As always, these workshops are still beginner-friendly and aim to shed light on underlying concepts which apply to any engine! See you guys there :) Register your interest here


STRIKE NIGHT AT TENPIN PRINTWORKS.

  This from Google Developer Student Clubs. Join us for an evening of bowling at Tenpin Printworks! VERY LIMITED TICKETS – Are you quick enough to snag one? Check the link in our bio and secure your spot via the SU website!

  • Date: Friday, November 17, 2023
  • Time: From 19:00 onwards
  • Location: Tenpin Printworks
  • Address: 27 Withy Grove, Manchester M4 2BS

Please note:

  • Please book only one game per person as we'll all play simultaneously in multiple lanes. Feel free to book more games at your own expense!
  • Student ID and Age proof required – make sure they're valid!
  • Food and Drinks not included.
  • Exclusively for students.


UNICS LEETCODE WORKSHOP.

   Join us this Wednesday, November 15th, in Collab 1 from 4 to 6 PM to learn about Competitive Programming, the interview process, and getting started with Leetcode! We'll guide you through the typical steps of a technical interview, share ideal timelines for starting your application process, discuss how to approach problems, and provide resources on essential data structures and problem-solving patterns to learn. Additionally, we'll walk through some example problems, dissecting them to show how to make incremental improvements. Register your interest here


UNICS INTERNSHIP NETWORKING EVENT.

  Come along to Revolution Manchester (Oxford Road) from 7pm onwards on Friday November 17th for a casual networking event where you get to hear from our students that have gained internship experience from various companies, such as Amazon, ARM, Wise, and BNY Mellon! This is your chance to ask any burning questions you have about application processes and advice, or any general things you are curious about, all in a casual setting! Register your interest here


GRAPHENE HACKATHON.

  Unleash your inner entrepreneur: Design, Prototype & Pitch a new graphene product idea over a weekend of hacking at the University of Manchester, 9-10th December 2023! Join us in an energetic environment for rapid development, failing & innovating! Work with entrepreneurs, industry experts, and academics. Win cash prizes and startup support! The Graphene Hackathon is open to everyone from all backgrounds. You can enter in ready-made teams (4-6 people) or we can group you together with other applicants.  Visit our website for more information & information on how to apply before the 18th November. Travel and accommodation costs for people outside of the University of Manchester will be covered. Email us with any questions: info@graphenehackathon.com.


POSTGRADUATE OPEN DAY.

  If you are a final year student, have you thought about your next steps and maybe consider moving into research to do a PhD, then this is for you. The Faculty of Science and Engineering will be running a Postgraduate Research Open Day On Wednesday 15th  November (this Wednesday) – 12 pm to 4.30 pm, in Engineering Building A. Find out whether a PhD at Manchester is right for you at our Open Day. If you’re passionate about your subject, and have the dedication needed for research, a PhD could be for you. Come along to our Open Day on Wednesday 15 November discover more about research in the area you’re most interested in, including entry requirements, available projects, how you could be fully funded, and much more. Find out more and register your place.


UNICS HACKATHON CO-DIRECTOR APPLICATIONS.

   We are now accepting applications for two Hackathon Co-Directors UniCS! As a Hackathon Co-Director, you will be in charge of planning and running our annual StudentHack, as well as planning the foundations of GreatUniHack2024. Applications close today at 6pm so apply here ASAP!


STUDY RECRUITMENT.

  This from Paul Stott, PhD Researcher in Linguistics: Hello everyone. I am recruiting participants for a study. It’s a simple task: you’ll listen to 120 sentences and respond to words that pop up on the screen. You’ll also answer some comprehension questions. It should take around 40 mins to 1 hour to complete. Please see the Participant Information Sheet which provides detailed information on the study. If you’d like to participate, or have any questions, please do get in touch with me via: PAUL.STOTT-2@MANCHESTER.AC.UK. I am recruiting participants as of NOW and will begin running the study as soon as possible.

Welcome to Gareth’s Puzzle Corner, this is your weekly fix of brain teasers and logic puzzles. You are given 4 different puzzles to tackle. One is an easier Sudoku, the second is a more challenging Sudoku, the third is a different form of logic puzzle and finally we have a chess puzzle for you. I hope you enjoy the puzzles and if you have any puzzles you wish to feature or ideas for Puzzle Corner then please get in touch.

Easier Sudoku - Classic Sudoku by sudoku.com 

Normal sudoku rules apply.

Challenging Sudoku - Lexicon by MicroStudy 

Fillomino: Divide the grid into regions of orthogonally-connected cells such that no two regions of the same size share an edge. Enter a number into each cell equal to the size of its region. Look-and-Say Cages: Digits can repeat in cages. The number in the top left corner should be read as a look-and-say number and says which digits are in that cage. For example, if a cage has the clue "12" then it means there is one 2 in the cage. If it has the clue "3314" then it means there are three 3s and one 4 in the cage.

Pencil Puzzle - Snake by Otto Janko 

Colour the grey cells of the grid black or white. The black cells must form a single "snake" which is exactly one cell wide, starts and ends in the marked cells and never touches itself, not even diagonally. A number on the top and left edge of the grid indicates how many cells must be blackened in the corresponding row or column.

Chess Puzzle - Pogosyan Vs. Pultinevicius, 2022 

Drag and drop the Black pieces to win the match.

Geoguessr

And Finally, our weekly competition from geoguessr.com.

We are playing the new map again this week called GeoDetective. All of the clues are there, you just need to find them! You need to take in as much information as you can from the google street view and then drop your pin on the map. The closer to the correct location you are the more points you get. Can you get the top score after all 5 rounds? Remember though, you only get 1 min per round and running out of time will give you 0 pts. Winners will be announced next week!

The Winner from Last Week was Again Me (but I still don't count), so it was HillyCanyon282 with a score of 15,107 out of a possible 25,000. A great score considering how difficult round 2 was! The winner of the closest individual guess this week was again Ewan Massey with a guess only 7 yards away on Round 5. An incredible guess, well done.

Answers to Last Week’s Puzzles

The answers to last week's puzzles can be found here.


Week 7 • Monday 6 November 2023 • #23.08          The Monday Mail

Paul pic

Good morning UG! Today is Monday 6th November, it’s week 7 of teaching, and November is here already! I hope you managed to take a break over Reading Week to recharge your batteries. I also hope you enjoyed the celebrations on Bonfire Night.

Teaching activities resume as normal this week, so please make sure you check your personal timetable. We are hitting that point in the semester where you may find deadlines start to bunch up. As such, it’s important to manage your time and do not leave coursework to the last minute. Don’t forget we have the deadlines chart (see below) so you can visualise the deadlines across the semester. Information is also available in SPOT (see below).

Have a good week. On with today’s news …

Paul
Undergraduate Programme Director


SUPPORT SERVICE SPOTLIGHT - NIGHTLINE.

  In the Week 6 Monday Mail I advertised the services of Nightline. However, unfortunately Nightline is no longer available as a service. 


SUPPORT SERVICE SPOTLIGHT - My Learning Essentials.

  My Learning Essentials is the Library’s award winning programme of skills support, including both online resources and face-to-face workshops which will aid you in your personal and professional development. The workshops offer a relaxed group environment where you can try out new strategies for yourself while learning from and with peers whilst the online resources help you develop skills and interests which are relevant to you, at times and using the methods that suit you best. My Learning Essentials is a great way to get the most out of your time at Manchester; helping you to make the best use of all of the specialist resources and support the University has to offer.


WELFARE WEEKLY - SLEEP IS FOR THE WEEK.

   This from Ben Herbert, Student Support and Wellbeing: Sleep can very easily be something we can struggle to get enough of when at university. Whether it be from being up all-night partying or cramming in that last minute coursework, binge watching Married at First Sight, or being kept awake by noisy flatmates. When we do get to sleep it can sometimes be low quality due to stress, worry, alcohol, or caffeine in our system.

Sleep hygiene is a term I learnt last week, that refers to habits and practices that promote good, restful sleep. By incorporating sleep hygiene into your daily routine, you can optimise your sleep quality and overall health. Ways to improve sleep hygiene include: 

  • Maintaining a consistent sleep schedule to regulate your body's internal clock, making it easier to fall asleep and wake up feeling rested; 
  • Creating a Sleep-Friendly environment with dim lights, a cool temperature, and removal of distractions; 
  • Limiting stimulants by avoiding caffeine, nicotine, and heavy meals close to bedtime. 

More tips on Sleep hygiene can be found in this article from Cornell University and this one from the NHS.

Sometimes, despite practising good sleep hygiene, insomnia can persist. Here are some additional strategies to help overcome this:

  • Engage in relaxation techniques like deep breathing exercises, progressive muscle relaxation, or meditation; 
  • Develop a wind-down routine that signals to your body and mind that it's time to sleep, such as reading, taking a warm bath, or listening to calming music; 
  • Limit electronic device usage; 
  • Consider Cognitive Behavioural Therapy for Insomnia (CBT-I) and seek help from a qualified professional who can provide CBT-I techniques to address and manage the underlying causes of your sleep difficulties.

Achieving good sleep hygiene and managing insomnia requires consistency and patience. By implementing these tips and strategies, you can set the stage for restful nights and wake up feeling refreshed, making your waking hours more productive. This in turn will have benefits on your grades and general wellbeing. Sleep well!

Do you have insomnia? Take the self-assessment test, get tips, and find support on the NHS website here. If you have any concerns, speak to your GP. Learn about sleep hygiene in this podcast.


KEEPING SAFE ON CAMPUS.

  Just like any large city, Manchester can have problems with crime. The University student support webpage offers a variety of resources that you can utilise to help keep safe. SafeZone is a mobile app that can also be used to quickly connect with the University Campus Support and Security team if you have an immediate concern, or require first aid or wellbeing assistance. The app is free to download, easy to use, and operates not just across our campus and accommodation areas, but also MMU and Salford campuses. Find out more about SafeZone here, along with additional Safety Apps that are available. There is also a Safe Taxi scheme, which is an exclusive partnership with Street Cars, to help get you home safely even if you can’t pay at that moment. Our Report and Support team are also available to contact should you experience or witness any safeguarding concern, and you would like to speak to a trained advisor.


EXAM SUPPORT.

  Do you need support for a disability, a long term medical or mental health condition, or a learning disorder for your Exams? If you need extra time, rest breaks etc. due to any of these, please contact the Disability Advisory and Support Service (DASS) ASAP to register. Alternatively you can contact the Department Wellbeing Team to discuss a referral. Please note that you must have fully registered with DASS and have met with a Disability Adviser to discuss and agree any exam adjustments by 16th November 2023 in order to receive support in the January 2024 examinations.


ACADEMIC WRITING AND SPEAKING WORKSHOPS.

  The University provides free workshops to help students develop key academic English skills via the Academic Success Programme. Workshops are delivered face-to-face and online and focus on:  

  •  Academic speaking 
  • Academic writing and grammar 

Information on the workshops and details of how to register can be found here. New start dates will be made available from 6 November 2023. 


YEAR TUTOR OPEN HOURS.

  In the Department we have year tutors who are responsible for looking after the different cohorts in each year group. They are here to provide you with help and support if you need it, so feel free to contact your year tutor by email. They also run a weekly open hour where you can pop in for a chat during the teaching period:

  • Year 1 (not CM): Gareth Henshall. Open hour: Thursday 14:00 - 15:00, Kilburn 2.82
  • Year 2 (not CM): Ahmed Saeed. Open hour: Tuesdays 11:00 - 12:00, Kilburn 2.80
  • Industrial Experience Year: Duncan Hull. Open hour: Wednesdays 10:00 - 12:00. Kilburn LF25
  • Year 3/4 (not CM): Tim Morris. Open hour: Tuesday 11:00 - 12:00, Kilburn 2.107 
  • CM (all years): Andrea Schalk. Open hour: Tuesday 11:00 - Kilburn12:00, 2.103
  • UG Director: Paul Nutter. Open hour: Tuesday 11:00 - 12:00, IT119.


PASS2.

  The PASS2 team (See Jia Tong (Y3, CS), Salma Aljama (Y3, AI) and Divya Radhakrishnan Nair (Y3, CS)) write: Hi everyone! welcome back, we are aware of the many upcoming deadlines you have and wanted to dedicate a session to discussing the best way to tackle your upcoming coursework from our experiences.


STUDENT PUBLICATION SUCCESS.

  Congratulations to Alexandru Buburuzan (On placement, AIwIE) who had his paper published in the Proceedings of the 5th International Workshop on Uncertainty for Safe Utilization of Machine Learning in Medical Imaging held in conjunction with the 26th International Conference on Medical Image Computing and Computer Assisted Intervention (MICCAI 2023). Alexandru presented his paper at MICCAI, in Vancouver, the leading conference in computer vision for medical image analysis. "Breaking Down Covariate Shift on Pneumothorax Chest X-Ray Classification" tackles one of the main problems when deploying computer vision algorithms in clinical scenarios: their generalisation on out-of-distribution data. As one of the two primary authors, Alexandru proposed LISA-topK, a domain generalisation algorithm for multi-label classification on X-ray scans, which improved the out-of-distribution performance of his model on three covariate shifts. He wrote and submitted the paper in his second year, during his previous part-time position as a Research Engineer at Rayscape. In the company, he was deploying computer vision algorithms in hospitals and wanted to study their possible degradation in performance. Alexandru is now doing a placement as a Research Engineer Intern in computer vision for self-driving cars at FiveAI, in Cambridge. His current research focuses on multimodal perception and ways to fuse different modalities, such as camera and lidar. Very well done Alexandru!


MEET A STUDENT REP.

  This week’s featured student rep of the week is Arefin Ahammed (Y2, CSwIE). Hi, I'm Arefin Ahammed, one of your student reps this year. As an advocate for our student community, I'm dedicated to bridging the gap between students and faculty. Whether it's addressing concerns, organising events, or lending a helping hand, I'll be there to help you in all the matters. Feel free to reach out whenever you need or have issues. You can contact me at arefin.ahammed@student.manchester.ac.uk or any other social media or even whenever you see me in person. I'll be looking forward to hear your feedback on Uni life so that we could make it better for everyone.


DATA SCIENCE SOCIETY.

  Introduction to Computer Vision, Wednesday 8th 2-4pm, Simon 2.39. Get ready for this week's workshop on Medical Image Analysis using Convolutional Neural Networks! Computer Vision tools for Medical Image Analysis are allowing radiologists to become faster, better, and more accurate in diagnosis. Content list:

  • Understand how Convolutional Neural Networks (CNN) work.
  • Learn how to build a Computer Vision pipeline using PyTorch.
  • Train a CNN to classify organs from CT scans.

Prerequisites: It would be useful to understand how basic neural networks work. 


MANDATORY UNITS.

  First Year students must complete the tests in the COMP1HS unit for Health and Safety and the COMP1AMP for the Academic Malpractice. Students must achieve 70 or above in all 4 Health and Safety Modules and must achieve full marks in the Academic Malpractice module along with completing the Self Declaration form. Please email soe.programmes@manchester.ac.uk stating your student ID number and department along with your screenshots showing the completed tests. The very latest deadline to complete these is 10th November 2023 (this Friday). If you fail to do so, a Negative Service Indicator (NSI) will be added to your student record, which will prevent you from seeing your grades on SPOT and from seeing your exam results. 


SPOT.

  SPOT shows all your assessment marks in one central system for the course units that you are taking with the department of Computer Science.  SPOT also provides other information for the course units you are taking, for example, assessment weights and deadlines, any git tags required for submission, etc.  There are also links to the UG Handbook and an overview of all deadlines. SPOT can be accessed here and further guidance can be found on the departmental wiki pages


NEED A PLACE TO WORK?

  You are free to use any of our teaching rooms/labs in the Kilburn building when they are not being used for scheduled teaching activities. If you are interested in knowing when a lab is free to use, then you can find out on the University Timetable pages (you will need to be on campus). To look for a room in Kilburn, select “Location”, then in the form that opens select “Kilburn Building” for the building, select the lab/room you would like to use under “Select Location”, the default view is this week, or you can select a particular week. Selecting “View Timetable” will show what activities are taking place in the selected room for the week. Please note that for the labs 1.8 and 1.10 look at the 1.8+1.10 timetable. If a room is booked for teaching, then you should avoid using it.


COURSEWORK DEADLINES CHART.

  The Department has put together a coursework deadlines chart, which can be accessed here. The chart is populated with the deadlines for all COMP course units, for each year group, in semester 1. It aims to give you an overview of your deadlines to help you plan your time. Which deadlines are relevant will depend upon the course units you are taking. The chart also lets you know if it's possible to apply for an extensions for a given piece of work. Please note that deadlines may still change and that only SPOT indicates up-to-date information on deadlines, so please use SPOT to confirm deadlines.


GDSC INTERN INSIGHT EXCHANGE.

  In the job hunt? Join us for the Intern/Placement Insight Exchange event, where fellow students who've made their mark with prestigious internships and placements will share invaluable insights and experiences.

  • Date: November 8th (Wednesday)
  • Time: 16:00 onwards
  • Location: Engineering Building A, Theatre A

Tentative companies we’ll cover (keep an eye out on our socials for more information): Microsoft, Tradedesk, Atmos, EY, Arm, UBS, Intel, Visa, JLR and NHS. Ever wondered how to make a mark at top-tier companies? This session is your gateway! Can't wait to see you there! Follow us here.


HOUSE HUNTING FOR 2024-25.

  If you are looking for somewhere to live next academic year (2024-25), make the most of the help Manchester Student Homes (MSH) can provide by attending one of the upcoming fairs, where you can meet University accredited accommodation providers. MSH Accommodation Fairs will take place as follows, and you are welcome to attend either:

  • Wednesday 8th November 2023  –  The Drum, University Place, UoM  –  10am to 4pm
  • Thursday 9th November 2023  –  Brooks Building, Birley, Manchester Met  –  10am to 4pm

More information can be found on the MSH Accommodation Fair website.


UNIVERSITY CYBERHIVE.

  Do you want to take part in simulated cyber incidents, make high-stakes decisions to thwart the attackers? Then this competition with a difference is for you! This is not about technology...there are no flags to capture! This is a competition about strategy and policy. We’re looking for students from all Faculties to join our CyberHive team for the UK Cyber 9/12 Strategy Challenge. We want to build a diverse team that brings together students from all academic disciplines and backgrounds (but do not work in cyber security or have held positions that would give them an advantage).  The University of Manchester CyberHive team will aim for glory at the finals, set to take place at the BT Tower in London from 20th – 21st February 2024.  Critical thinking and communication skills are essential! You can find out more information here, along with details on how to apply.


TELL US HOW IT SERVICES CAN WORK FOR YOU.

  For your chance to have your voice heard and to shape the student experience, sign up today for one of our IT Services workshops. You’ll be helping to generate innovative ideas to resolve pain points and contributing to our vision and strategy for IT Services. This is your opportunity to really make a difference. In return you’ll receive free tea/coffee, free lunch and a £30 Amazon voucher! There are a number of workshops running:

  • Monday, 6 November (9.45am – 4pm), Room 5.204, University Place
  • Tuesday, 14 November (9.45am – 4pm), Room A3.7, Ellen Wilkinson Building
  • Thursday, 23 November (9.30am – 4pm), Location: TBC

You can find more information here, along with details on how to register for the workshops.


TANGO BINARY TRANSLATOR.

  Mikel Lujan writes: The Xiaomi 14 has a 32bit to 64bit Arm Translator - Can you guess the technology behind it? The Xiaomi 14 is a flagship Android smartphone using the Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 3. This System-on-Chip lacks hardware support for AArch32 (ARM 32 bit), but there are still plenty of Android Apps relying upon AArch32. Here you can read about some nice detective work to uncover that the underlying technology is known as Tango. Thanks Mishaal Rahman. To learn more about the Tango Binary Translator check out this website. Another important milestone for Tango. Great to see technology developed at The University of Manchester helping the Arm ecosystem and having industrial impact. Amanieu D’Antras studied his undergraduate degree and PhD in Computer Science in our Department. The Tango Binary Translator is the successful commercialisation of his PhD. The PhD was supervised by Prof Mikel Lujan and Dr Jim Garside. This news item can also be found on LinkedIn.


ELECTRICAL WORK ON THE LOWER FIRST FLOOR.

  The electrical work has now been completed, and the new furniture (tall desks and pods on lower first and the seating behind lecture theatre 1.1) has now been connected, so any plug or USB sockets should now be working. Apologies for the delay in connecting these up.


NEW CENTRAL LEARNING ENVIRONMENT ANNOUNCED.

  Over the summer staff and students were asked to evaluate potential replacement for Blackboard Learn, as the main central learning environment (CLE) used by the University. As a result of this consultation the Flexible Learning team have decided to adopt Canvas by Instructure as the new CLE from 2025. You can find out more information here.

Welcome to Gareth’s Puzzle Corner, this is your weekly fix of brain teasers and logic puzzles. You are given 4 different puzzles to tackle. One is an easier Sudoku, the second is a more challenging Sudoku, the third is a different form of logic puzzle and finally we have a chess puzzle for you. I hope you enjoy the puzzles and if you have any puzzles you wish to feature or ideas for Puzzle Corner then please get in touch.

Easier Sudoku - Classic Sudoku by sudoku.com 

Normal sudoku rules apply.

Challenging Sudoku - Killer In The Mist by Flinty 

Normal sudoku rules apply. Most of the grid is covered in fog. Placing correct digits will clear the fog from the surrounding cells. No guessing is required. Digits in cages must sum to the small clue in the top-left corner of the cage. Digits cannot repeat within a cage. All cages are exactly 3 cells in size, and do not overlap / share cells.

Pencil Puzzle - Suguru by puzzlemadness.co.uk 

The aim of Suguru is to fill each n-sized region with the numbers 1-n. For example, if a region has 3 cells, you need to insert the numbers 1, 2 and 3 into those cells. If a region has 4 cells, you need to insert the numbers 1, 2, 3, and 4 into those cells. Each number can't be next to the same number in an adjacent cell, this includes horizontally, vertically, and diagonally.

Chess Puzzle - Dvoirys Vs. Feher, 1991 

Drag and drop the White pieces to win the match.

Geoguessr

And Finally, our weekly competition from geoguessr.com.

We are playing the new map again this week called GeoDetective. All of the clues are there, you just need to find them! You need to take in as much information as you can from the google street view and then drop your pin on the map. The closer to the correct location you are the more points you get. Can you get the top score after all 5 rounds? Remember though, you only get 1 min per round and running out of time will give you 0 pts. Winners will be announced next week!

The Winner from Last Week was Me (but I don't count), so it was Mo_Bargit with a score of 17,252 out of a possible 25,000. A brilliant score considering how difficult round 4 was! The winner of the closest individual guess this week was Ewan Massey with a guess 1,237 yds away on Round 3. A brilliant guess, well done.

Answers to Last Week’s Puzzles

The answers to last week's puzzles can be found here.


Week 6 (Reading Week) • Monday 30 October 2023 • #23.07          The Monday Mail

Paul pic

Good morning UG! It’s Monday 30th October, it’s week 6 and we are halfway through the semester. This week is Reading Week, which means there are no teaching activities scheduled for COMP course units. However, you may still have activities scheduled for any non-COMP course units you are taking, and may still have some coursework to complete. Please check your personal timetable if you are not sure. The University, and the Kilburn building, remain open as normal. 

It’s great to see the Kilburn building, particularly the lower first area, so busy. Hopefully the sense of community will continue to develop after the impact of COVID. We hope you feel at home in the Kilburn building.

Tuesday is Halloween, so have a spooktacular day! Sunday (5th November) is Bonfire Night (or Guy Fawkes night) in the UK. What’s it all about? Bonfire Night is when we commemorate the failed gunpowder plot of 1605, where a dissident group attempted to kill King James I by trying to blow up the Houses of Parliament in London. The event is observed by setting off fireworks and lighting bonfires where we burn a ‘guy’, an effigy of Guy Fawkes, one of the key conspirators in the plot.

Have a good week and try to take a break if you can. On with today’s news …

Paul
Undergraduate Programme Director


SUPPORT SERVICE SPOTLIGHT - NIGHTLINE.

  Greater Manchester Nightline is a confidential listening and information evening service run for students by students. They offer anonymous, non-judgemental and non-directive support for all callers, regardless of the situation, where you can talk about anything you like. As well as the listening service, Nightline can also provide information, such as contact numbers for a wide range of places. Just give Nightline a ring and ask – it’s as easy as that! You can contact Nightline by phone or instant message. Find out more about and see contact information on their website


STUDENT SUPPORT HUB EMAIL ADDRESS.

  Just a reminder that if you need to contact a member of the Teaching, Learning and Student Experience team, then the email addresses are as follows:

If you are unsure which email to use then use soe.hub@manchester.ac.uk for general queries. 


WELFARE WEEKLY - FEELING SAFE AND SUPPORTED AT UNIVERSITY.

   This from Ben Herbert, Student Support and Wellbeing: With the conflict between Israel and Hamas understandably impacting many people in the University community, we understand this can lead to personal struggles, heightened emotion, and potential conflict among individuals. I wanted to take some time to remind you of the University's stance and the support on offer here.

The University has a zero tolerance policy to hate and discrimination in all its forms - If you experience or witness discrimination on campus then please do report this  to our specialist Report and Support team here. This can be done anonymously, however confidentially providing your details will allow the team to offer you support. Alternatively you can report incidents to the Students’ Union Advice Centre or the Student Support and Wellbeing team at the Student Support Hub. It is important to reiterate that signalling support for a proscribed terrorist organisation in the UK, such as Hamas, including expressing an opinion or belief that is supportive, is a criminal offence as outlined in the Terrorism Act (2000).

The University can offer support for any difficulties you are experiencing both personally and academically - You can reach out to the school's Student Support and Wellbeing team either at the Student Support hub or by e-mailing soe.wellbeing@manchester.ac.uk if you have any concerns and we will endeavour to support you. Alternatively you can speak to one of our trained counsellors by booking an appointment here.

You can find the full statement regarding the Israel and Hamas conflict, its stance on discrimination , and support on offer, written by the University and Student's Union here.


COST OF LIVING SUPPORT.

  The University, along with the Students’ Union, is committed to supporting you with the rising costs of living. There are lots of ways that help is available, including:

  • Helping you to spend less whilst you’re on campus
  • Providing financial support when you need it
  • Providing free health and wellbeing support

You can find more information here, or full details about all the support on offer can be found on the Cost of Living webpages.


YEAR TUTOR OPEN HOURS.

  In the Department we have year tutors who are responsible for looking after the different cohorts in each year group. They are here to provide you with help and support if you need it. The Year Tutors will not be running office hours in Reading Week, however, you can still contact them by email:


PASS1.

  The PASS1 team (Max Beck-Jones (Y3, CS4), Luke Sanderson (Y3, CS), Sarah Saad (Y3, AI4), Nicolo Micheletti (Y3, CS), and Rosie Halsall (Y3, CS4)) write: Hi everyone! We hope you're all settled in now and have had fun over the past 5 weeks. Next week is reading week which means there will be no activities timetabled for any COMP units, including PASS sessions. During this reading week, as well as catching up on your learning, it’s important for you to take time and have a break: go and see a movie or a show, visit a museum, or go on a day trip somewhere with your friends. The important thing is to come back refreshed and ready for the rest of the semester! Sessions will continue after this week where we you will be planning a roadmap for the remainder of the semester, including how to plan your revision for the first exam period (so don’t stress!).


STUDENT-STAFF LIAISON COMMITTEE.

  This from Tom Carroll, Chair of the Student-Staff Liaison Committee (SSLC): On Wednesday 25th October, we held our first SSLC with the theme of "Student Voice". The meeting was well attended, and your reps discussed ways in which we can encourage more students to make their views and opinions known. We discussed issues such as accessibility in the Department, and noise in labs whilst teaching is occurring. Reps also highlighted good teaching within the Department, such as the workshops in COMP23111, the GTA marking in COMP26120, and feedback in COMP22712. It is also good to hear that people like the addition of new study booths in the LF area of Kilburn. I will give further updates in a future edition of the Monday Mail, once the minutes of the meeting become available. Please don't forget, that if you have any issues that you wish to highlight, or if you want to let us know about a positive thing, then please contact one of your reps. You can view a list of reps, see what issues have been raised to the SSLC, track their progress, and also review minutes of the meetings on the Blackboard UG Community space.


HACKCHESTER.

  Happy reading week everyone! There will be no Hackchester workshop this week, however that doesn't mean we're not doing anything! Today we're hosting a small event in the Benugo Café in the Simon building at 10am where you can meet the founder of Teachforce. If that sounds like something you're interested in then please come along! Otherwise we'll see you next week for our usual weekly workshop.


MEET A STUDENT REP.

  This week’s student rep is Vidhi Jalan (Y1, CMwIE). Vidhi writes: Hii guys! I'm Vidhi from Chennai, India. I am currently a first year studying BSc Computer Science and Mathematics with IE. Sports is my therapy (especially basketball and football). I love socialising and meeting new people. I am so excited to be your Student Rep this year. Having been the Sports Captain of my school, I have some experience in being a representative of the student body. Feel free to reach out if you have any questions or concerns regarding the course or uni life!! You can reach out to me on Instagram (@vidhijalan27) or email me.


STUDENT PUBLICATION SUCCESS.

  Congratulations to Yang Cui (Graduated 2023, CS, now MSc) who has had his research paper titled "MedTem2.0: Prompt-based Temporal Classification of Treatment Events from Discharge Summaries" by Yang Cui, Lifeng Han and Goran Nenadic, published in the Proceedings of the 61st Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics (ACL, Volume 4: Student Research Workshop). ACL is a top-tier conference in the NLP and AI field, and ACL-SRW publishes papers that have the first author as a student. While the vast majority of papers in that track comes from PhD students, the paper presents Yang’s final year UG project, in which he has built on the development in clinical NLP by temporally classifying treatments in clinical texts. Yang developed state-of-the-art NLP methods including prompt-based learning on Generative Pre-trained Transformers (GPTs) models and fine-tuning on pre-trained language models to classify temporal relations between treatments and hospitalisation periods as reported in clinical letters. You can find out more information here. Congratulations Yang on what is a great achievement indeed!


FREE BREAKFASTS.

  Weekly free breakfasts are now available every Wednesday during term time. The Library Team will hand out vouchers in Alan Gilbert Learning Commons which can be exchanged for breakfast goodies, including a hot drink and pastry, at the Learning Commons Café. The giveaways start at 9am, every Wednesday. Get your breakfast fix before stocks run out! Check out our Cost of Living page for more initiatives, including information on our Cosy Campus spaces with hot water and microwaves, and free fresh food available in the community fridge.


HARDWARE LIBRARY.

  Did you know we have a hardware library in the Department that contains a wide range of hardware components that are completely free to borrow? You can use these to support your 3rd year project, generally just to have a play with, or support a Hackathon. There are all sorts of items available, from Raspberry Pi components to drones,  a wide range of microcontroller boards to gesture devices, basic electronic components to robots … even VR headsets. We also have computer items, such as keyboards, mice, and tablets  - there’s a wide range of items available. To see what is available for you to borrow (for free!) have a look at the library catalogue. If you want to borrow an item then all you have to do is reserve it online. You will then be contacted by Steve Rhodes who will tell you when you can pick the item up from Tootill 0 on the lower first floor of Kilburn. Please note that items should not be taken away from Manchester and it is your responsibility to replace any damaged/lost items you borrow. You can also propose new items for the library, which we will consider. However, please note, we do have a limited budget to purchase new items, so we can’t fund all requests. 


3D PRINTER.

  The Department has two 3D printers that are free for you to use (Original Prusa i3). The 3D printers can be found in Tootill 0. If you’d like to use one of the printers, then please speak to Steve Rhodes (corner off Tootill 0) first.


GITLAB DOWNTIME WARNING.

  On Wednesday 1st November the Department of Computer Science GitLab system will be taken offline to perform essential maintenance and upgrades. Work on the system will start at 14:00 and may take until 17:00, although we will attempt to minimise the time that GitLab is unavailable. A notice banner is currently shown on GitLab pages as a reminder for this work, and it will be removed when the work on the server is completed. While GitLab is offline you will be able to continue to work locally in any currently cloned git repositories, including adding commits. However, attempts to interact with the GitLab server (via `git push`, `git pull`, `git fetch` and so on) will fail.


COURSEWORK DEADLINES CHART.

  The Department has put together a coursework deadlines chart, which can be accessed here, The chart is populated with the deadlines for all COMP course units, for each year group, in semester 1. It aims to give you an overview of your deadlines to help you plan your time. Which deadlines are relevant will depend upon the course units you are taking. The chart also lets you know if it's possible to apply for an extensions for a given piece of work. Please note that deadlines may still change and that only SPOT indicates up-to-date information on deadlines, so please use SPOT to confirm deadlines.


HOW DO I CHECK IF I’VE SUBMITTED MY WORK?

  We often get asked by students how to check that they have submitted work successfully, and it’s quite easy to do.

  • Blackboard: if the submission method is using Blackboard, then you can check under the “My Grades” link on the left on each course unit Blackboard page (under “Submitted” or “Marked”). You can also check via SPOT, although SPOT is only updated at 12pm and 6pm daily, so any submission between those times will not be shown until the update takes place.  You can check yourself when SPOT last received data from Blackboard since SPOT tells you this information.
  • Git: if the submission method is using git, then you can check via SPOT.  Submissions via git will show in SPOT immediately (but you do need to refresh the SPOT web page).  You know if you have submitted correctly because the text ‘not submitted’ under the column heading submission will change to show the date and time of the submission.
  • Software Engineering Y2: work submitted for Software Engineering will not show as submitted in SPOT until the work has been marked because tags are not used.
  • Whilst SPOT shows you something has been submitted, it does not know what, so cannot be used to verify you've submitted the correct required files.  To check the files you have submitted use Blackboard or GitLab.


EXTENSION REQUESTS.

  If you find you are falling behind due to circumstances beyond your control with an assessment then you can apply for a short extension to allow you to complete your work. You must apply for an extension BEFORE the deadline through the Department Mitigating Circumstances page. Please note that you are unable to apply for an extension for some assessments, these are detailed in the deadlines Gantt chart, or in SPOT. You should only be applying for an extension if you really need one, we will be monitoring applications to ensure the system is not being abused. 


MANCHESTER TECH FESTIVAL.

  Manchester’s biggest tech festival returns this week at the Victoria Baths from 1st to 2nd November. Former Computer Science student Anna Lackey (MEng 2023, now at https://www.roke.co.uk) will be talking about “AI for the completely baffled”, alongside many other talks from tech employers in Manchester.  Discounted Student tickets are available. If you’d like to see a “dress rehearsal” of Anna’s talk, she’ll be doing it in Kilburn 2.19 on Wednesday 1st November at 1pm.


LOWER FIRST FLOOR ELECTRICAL INSTALLATION.

  During Reading Week we will be having electrical supplies installed to the new furniture on the lower first floor of Kilburn. We believe this is taking place on Friday, but it could be another day of the week. As such, there may be disruption as the power is switched off to allow the work to be undertaken. We apologise if this affects any labs you are working in. 

Welcome to Gareth’s Puzzle Corner, this is your weekly fix of brain teasers and logic puzzles. You are given 4 different puzzles to tackle. One is an easier Sudoku, the second is a more challenging Sudoku, the third is a different form of logic puzzle and finally we have a chess puzzle for you. I hope you enjoy the puzzles and if you have any puzzles you wish to feature or ideas for Puzzle Corner then please get in touch.

Easier Sudoku - Classic Sudoku by sudoku.com 

Normal sudoku rules apply.

Challenging Sudoku - Deep Space 9x9 By Haley Prochilo 

Normal sudoku rules apply. Circles contain odd digits. Each line contains a sequence of consecutive digits in any order. There is a hidden 9 cell ‘thermometer’ entirely contained in one box, along which digits increase from one end to the other. It only moves orthogonally and does not cross itself. 

Pencil Puzzle - Light Up by puzzlemadness.co.uk 

Your aim is to place light bulbs in to the grid so that all white cells in the grid are lit. One light bulb is not lighting another light bulb. Some of the black cells in the grid will have number clues. This clue tells you how many light bulbs are surrounding that cell. A light bulb will light all the cells horizontally and vertically away from it until it either hits the grid's edge, or reaches a black cell.

Chess Puzzle - L'Ami Vs. Gujrathi, 2023 

Drag and drop the White pieces to win the match.

Geoguessr

And finally, our weekly competition from geoguessr.com.

We are playing a new map this week called GeoDetective. All of the clues are there, you just need to find them! You need to take in as much information as you can from the google street view and then drop your pin on the map. The closer to the correct location you are the more points you get. Can you get the top score after all 5 rounds? Remember though, you only get 1 min per round and running out of time will give you 0 pts. Winners will be announced next week!

The Winner from Last Week was Lewis Pankhurst with a score of 17,913 out of a possible 25,000. A brilliant score considering how difficult round 2 was! Last week's winner of closest individual guess (Idris) has been beaten this week by CoffeeDrinker89 with a guess which was only 27 yds from the exact location! Well done both of you!

Answers to Last Week’s Puzzles

The answers to last week's puzzles can be found here.


Week 5 • Monday 23 October 2023 • #23.06          The Monday Mail

Paul pic

Good morning UG! It’s Monday 23rd October and it's the 5th week of teaching - the semester is flying by! Next week (w/c 30th October) is Reading Week, which means there are no teaching activities scheduled for COMP course units. However, you may still have activities scheduled for any non-COMP course units you are taking, and may still have some coursework to complete. Reading week is a good time to catch up on your work (including the 3rd year project) and maybe to do some revision of the material that has been taught so far. However, it is also a time for you to take a bit of a break and relax if you can. The clocks change on Sunday 29th October (at 02:00 am), going back by one hour so we move back to Greenwich Mean Time (GMT). So, 02:00 am becomes 01:00 am giving you an extra hour in bed on Sunday morning!

The first meeting of SSLC takes place this week focused on “Student Voice”, if you’d like to raise any issues with your students reps then please do so (see below). Finally, congratulations to everyone who took part in UKIEPC on Saturday (see below).

Have a good week, on with today’s news …

Paul
Undergraduate Programme Director


SUPPORT SERVICE SPOTLIGHT:

   The Student Union Advice Centre. The Student Union offers advice and support with any wellbeing problems you’re facing in a safe and confidential space away from the University.  What can they do?

  • Give free, impartial and confidential advice or simply offer a place to talk.
  • Provide free contraception and sexual health tests.
  • Help you report a hate crime, and give you advice and support if you have been the victim of a hate crime.
  • Provide confidential advice and support if you have been a victim of sexual assault.
  • Help you understand University procedures around bullying, harassment and discrimination.

You can find more information on their website. Remember you can also contact the Department welfare team, Guy and Maria, for help and advice.


WELFARE WEEKLY - MAÑANA,

  MAÑANA!  This from Ben Herbert, Student Support and Wellbeing: About 8pm last Sunday, along with the haunting sounds of the Antiques Road Show theme tune, came the realisation I'd done nothing with my day. I'd not done the laundry, or the washing up, or called the guy about booking driving lessons (again!), or done anything productive on my to-do list. This wasn't because I spent all day doing fun stuff I'd much rather do. It's because I'd watched a week's worth of Four in a Bed, listened to all the YouTube reviews on an amplifier I can’t afford anyway, and then spent so long scrolling through reels on Instagram that my eyes started to hurt.

We are all guilty of procrastination. When we start to let it get out of hand to the point it impacts our work, home life, and mental health, we have a problem. Symptoms of procrastination include: Being distracted from work by non-work activities; Leaving everything until the last second; Worrying about work but not getting it done; spontaneously performing tasks that you wouldn't normally be enthusiastic about; A sense of helplessness at feeling you have too much to do.

Procrastination and time management issues in general have a pivotal role to play in many people coming to see me. Students start with not managing their time well; From there they fall behind in their work. This gets them stressed and anxious which makes the situation worse. Feeling in control of your workload and remaining productive is a cornerstone of good marks and better mental health.

If your mental health is impacting your day-to-day life and/or your studies, or you think you may have ADHD then contact your GP. The University Counselling Service is also there to help. DASS can also provide support to those with ADHD. Where procrastination is an issue for you, time management strategies such as creating a weekly schedule and setting realistic goals can really help.

This great set of two online resources put together by the My Learning Essentials team and the Counselling service are well worth doing instead of doom scrolling. The first gets you understanding the procrastination cycle and the second covers strategies for dealing with procrastination. Also, while you're on your way into Uni, listen to this Podcast on beating procrastination from the Skills team at the University of Derby (33 mins). Plus this one on overcoming procrastination from the Exam Study Expert podcast (20 mins)


YEAR TUTOR OPEN HOURS.

  In the Department we have year tutors who are responsible for looking after the different cohorts in each year group. They are here to provide you with help and support if you need it, so feel free to contact your year tutor by email. They also run a weekly open hour where you can pop in for a chat during the teaching period:

  • Year 1 (not CM): Gareth Henshall. Open hour: Thursday 14:00 - 15:00, Kilburn 2.82
  • Year 2 (not CM): Ahmed Saeed. Open hour: Tuesdays 11:00 - 12:00, Kilburn 2.80
  • Industrial Experience Year: Duncan Hull. Open hour: Wednesdays 10:00 - 12:00. Kilburn LF25
  • Year 3/4 (not CM): Tim Morris. Open hour: Tuesday 11:00 - 12:00, Kilburn 2.107 
  • CM (all years): Andrea Schalk. Open hour: Tuesday 11:00 - 12:00, 2.103
  • UG Director: Paul Nutter. Open hour: Tuesday 11:00 - 12:00, IT119.


UK IRELAND PROGRAMMING COMPETITION.

  This from Ian Pratt-Hartmann: On Saturday, 21st October, the UK Ireland Programming Competition (UKIEPC) took place, in which teams of three attempted a series of programming challenges over a five hour period. Teams from universities across the British Isles competed at a number of sites, one of which was Manchester. Twenty teams from Manchester took part. Of these, the teams Beef Chew Mein, Duduienii, SYS, Solo Bolo, 404, Ctl+Alt+Defeat, MVJ, CoKoMan23 and GTS solved a creditable five problems. The final standings can be found here.  Congratulations to the top three Manchester teams:

  • Beef Chew Mein: Yang Hu (Y3, CS4) , Thomas Jones (Y3, CS) and Shani De Silva (Y3, CS).
  • Duduienii: Alexandru Stoica (Y3, CSwIE), Mihnea Popeanga (Y3, CSwIE) and Diana Constantin (Y3, CSwIE).
  • SYS: Muhammad Hussain (Y2, CMwIE), Shay Boua (Y2, CMwIE), Stanley James (Y2, CM).

Well done to everyone who took part.


STUDENT-STAFF LIAISON COMMITTEE:

  This from Tom Carroll:  Our first Student-Staff Liaison Committee (SSLC) meeting is coming up on 25th October (this week!) and will have the theme of "Student Voice". We will be particularly interested in hearing how you feel your Student Voice is heard within the Department, and ways in which we can improve how we incorporate Student Voice in the Department. Also, if you have any other issues you want to raise to the department, or you wish to highlight something that you particularly like (maybe some good teaching), then please  contact one of your SSLC Reps. You can find a list of your Reps here.


UNICS MAILING LIST.

  To make sure you don't miss out on any activities you're interested in, you now have the option to opt-in to our mailing list! You will have a  wide array of activities to choose from (Socials, Workshops, Networking events, Hackathons,...). Whatever you choose to select, we will email you whenever we have an event planned for it! (P.S you can choose to opt-out at anytime!) 


MEET A STUDENT REP.

  Meet our first student rep to feature this academic year: Hanzila Hussain (Y2, CSwIE). Hanzila writes: University of Manchester was always my dream university and I am forever honoured to be given the position of a Student Representative, to be able to uphold the voice of students in the Computer Science faculty. As a second-year student hoping for a placement, I am deeply committed to fostering a supportive academic environment. So, if you ever spot me in the corridors of Kilburn (or playing a table tennis match), feel free to drop by, say hi, and have a nice chat. This role presents a wonderful opportunity to bridge the gap between the student body and the faculty, so do not hesitate to raise your concerns. Your feedback is invaluable in creating an inclusive and enriching university experience for everyone.


UG TO RESEARCHER.

  Next in our series looking at past UG students who have moved into PhD study. This from Gwydion Smit (graduated 2023, CS): For my third year project I worked on optimising quantum computing circuitry, under the supervision of Richard Banach. It was extremely theoretical and needed a lot of background research, which helps if you want to make the jump from bachelors straight to PhD. Otherwise, you can always apply for an MSc/MPhil first.

Upon submitting my project work Richard had a preliminary look over it and sent me an email saying there was potential for a PhD in that subject area if I wished to pursue it. I didn't really know what my next step was after graduation at that point, so I thought why not, and agreed to pursue it. Now a couple months of work into it interspersed with some funding and registration confusion, I realise I made the right choice and like it a lot. I'm now researching in the same area, in more depth and with a bigger end goal. If you're into research definitely consider it - you get paid to do it unlike your UG study. Ask your supervisor about any research opportunities if you're interested in their area, or someone else's in the department/university.

If you're at all curious about what I exactly did for my project or what I'm doing now, you can send me an email, or alternatively I will probably be a TA for the 3rd year quantum computing module next semester and you could ask me there. Explaining it further may take a bit though...


NEW TABLE FOOTBALL TABLE.

  As the old table in the Turing lounge got damaged, we have replaced it with a new table football table for you to enjoy. Have fun, and please try not to lose the balls!


MANDATORY UNITS.

  First Year students must complete the tests in the COMP1HS unit for Health and Safety and the COMP1AMP for the Academic Malpractice. Students must achieve 70 or above in all 4 Health and Safety Modules and must achieve full marks in the Academic Malpractice module along with completing the Self Declaration form. You must complete this by the deadline of Friday 3rd November as failure to do so will result in a Negative Service Indicator (NSI) being added to your student record. This will prevent you from seeing your grades on SPOT and from seeing your exam results. Please email soe.programmes@manchester.ac.uk stating your student ID number and department along with your screenshots showing the completed tests.
* EXTENDED OPENING HOURS. Normal working hours for the Kilburn building are 8am - 6pm, Monday to Friday.  However, extended opening hours are available from 6pm - 9pm, Monday to Friday. Please note that access to the Kilburn Building is still not available outside these times or at weekends. If you would like to use the Kilburn building during the extended opening hours (6pm - 9pm) then you will need to complete the following tests:

  • Health & Safety (On the CS UG Community for all except First Years)
  • Academic Malpractice (On the CS UG Community for all except First Years)
  • EDIA Test
  • Extended Working Hours test

First Year students will need to complete the test in the COMP1HS unit for Health and Safety and the COMP1AMP for the Academic Malpractice. Continuing students (Years 2-4) who have previously been granted Extended Working Hours will need to complete the EDIA test as it is new for the 23/24 Academic Year. If you experience any issues with any of the tests or have further questions, please email soe.programmes@manchester.ac.uk along with your student ID number and department. The extended working hours test will tell you how to obtain access once you have successfully completed the test, which will enable your university swipecard for access during the extended working hours. Entry to the building outside of normal working hours is via the loading bay entrance (opposite University Place) using your swipecard. During extended hours access is restricted to the lower first area of the Kilburn building. You will not be able to use labs or meeting spaces in any other locations in Kilburn. You may be required to show proof that you have extended hours when requested by a building attendant or security. Please note: there is no access to the Kilburn building at weekends.


EDIA TRAINING.

  The Faculty has produced training on Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDIA) based on feedback we have received from students directly in the Faculty. The eModule has been updated in consultation with the University of Manchester’s Students’ Union and student societies. This new eModule is more reflective of day-to-day experiences in the Faculty – particularly with our new Engineering A and Engineering B buildings. The training covers a variety of experiences including the challenges men face, misconceptions on disability, the experience of women and gender diverse people in STEM, and others. Please can you complete the test by the end of teaching week 7 (the week after reading week). The training takes roughly 45 minutes and you can access the eModule here. Feedback on the training is welcomed.

* UNICS GAMEDEV WORKSHOP.  Join us for our second Game Development workshop on the 25th of October from 3-4pm in University Place room 4.209. In this workshop, we will delve into Monogame and its inner workings. As a byproduct, we will also discuss the fundamentals of rendering and game architecture, which are essential for building any large-scale game project. This workshop is beginner-friendly, and snacks will be provided :) Register using this link. See you there!


GDSC - INTRO TO ML AND TENSORFLOW.

  Join us for an Exciting Workshop: "Intro to ML and TensorFlow!"

  • Date: Wednesday, October 25th
  • Time: 15:00 - 16:30 BST
  • Location: Engineering Building A, Lecture Theatre A

Calling all aspiring data scientists and computer science enthusiasts! Are you eager to dive into the world of Machine Learning and master TensorFlow? 

Here's what you can expect:

  1. Understanding the fundamentals of Machine Learning.
  2. Hands-on experience with TensorFlow.
  3. Practical tips and tricks for building ML models.
  4. Insight into how these concepts can elevate your Third Year CS Project!

Whether you're new to ML or looking to sharpen your skills, this workshop is tailored for you. See you there!


HACKCHESTER.

  This week at Hackchester, we'll be holding our third workshop of the year on Tuesday at 5pm in Atlas. Come along to play with Kali Linux and nmap this week. We're looking at network vulnerabilities and how to spot them. As always, this is a introductory workshop series, so we welcome anyone with any experience in ethical hacking (including none) and there's no requirement for you to have already attended any of our previous workshops. Additionally, we're looking for people to join our podcast team. Anyone who wants to be involved in PR, Audio Editing/Post Production, or Script and Content development should apply here by Tuesday 31st October. 


DATA SCIENCE SOCIETY.

  Introduction to Deep Learning, Simon 2.39, Wednesday 25th 2-4pm. Journey into deep learning and neural networks, taught by our very own president Saurav! Neural networks are the basis of many AI/ML models, and the starting point to more advanced topics. Deep neural networks are applied to an almost infinite range of problems, from financial forecasting to protein folding prediction. In this workshop you'll learn about the components of neural networks and will program your own for classifying objects. Prerequisites: This is the second of our introductory ML workshops. To make the most of this session you should understand basic Python concepts (see the first half of MUDS Week 4), and have preferably seen simple uses of NumPy. Join our discord server


INSTITUTE FOR DATA SCIENCE AND AI SEMINAR.

  The next seminar will take place on Friday 27th October, 13:45 - 15:30, at No 1 Circle Square, Manchester. The talk will be presented by Petar Veličković, Staff Research Scientist, Google DeepMind and Affiliated Lectureship at the University of Cambridge, and is titled: “Decoupling the Input Graph and the Computational Graph: The most important unsolved problem in graph representation learning”. When deploying graph neural networks, we often make a seemingly innocent assumption: that the input graph we are given is the ground-truth. However, as this talk will unpack, this is often not the case: even when the graphs are perfectly correct, they may be severely suboptimal for completing the task at hand. This will introduce us to a rich and vibrant area of graph rewiring, which is experiencing a renaissance in recent times. Petar will discuss some of the most representative works, including two of our own contributions, one of which won the Best Paper Award at the Graph Learning Frontiers Workshop at NeurIPS'22. Places are limited so we advise you to secure your place now to avoid disappointment. We hope to see you there! 


CAREERS FAIR.

  A two day careers fair aimed at students from The University of Manchester looking for internships, placements and graduate jobs. We are delighted to be welcoming recruiters across the two days offering opportunities from Consultancy to Marketing, Business to Finance, HR to Project Management and much more. Taking place centrally on campus in the Whitworth Hall, this careers fair is an ideal opportunity to speak directly and in-person with organisations from a range of industry sectors and find out more about their opportunities. You can find out more information here.


CYBERSECURITY CAREER INSIGHTS FOR STUDENTS.

  The Cyber Resilience Centre is running an event, Securing Your Future: Cybersecurity Career Insights for Students, focused on the world of cybersecurity careers, specifically designed for students. Get ready to explore the endless possibilities and gain valuable insights from industry experts. including the University’s Chief Information Security Officer, Heather Lowrie, on 24th October at the Manchester Technology Centre. You can find out further information, as well as book a place at the event here.


NEW COLLABORATIVE RESEARCH PROJECT:

  Securing Ethereum's Consensus Protocol: A Path to Blockchain Innovation. Researchers from The University of Manchester, Youcheng Sun and Lucas Cordeiro, recently kicked off the collaborative research project with the Ethereum Foundation. Their research focuses on software testing and formal verification for securing Ethereum's consensus protocol. The consensus mechanism is a fundamental component of any blockchain. Ethereum is a blockchain platform that supports smart contracts, and its cryptocurrency ether holds the second-largest market capitalisation after bitcoin. The platform operates as open-source software. This collaboration is closely related to several student projects currently being supervised by the Systems and Software Security (S3) research group in the computer science department, and it offers future opportunities. Please contact Youcheng Sun or Lucas Cordeiro to collaborate with this research via a summer internship or a final-year project

Welcome to Gareth’s Puzzle Corner, this is your weekly fix of brain teasers and logic puzzles. You are given 4 different puzzles to tackle. One is an easier Sudoku, the second is a more challenging Sudoku, the third is a different form of logic puzzle and finally we have a chess puzzle for you. I hope you enjoy the puzzles and if you have any puzzles you wish to feature or ideas for Puzzle Corner then please get in touch.

Easier Sudoku - Classic Sudoku by sudoku.com 

Normal sudoku rules apply.

Challenging Sudoku - "Breakout" By BremSter 

Normal sudoku rules apply. Digits within cages are friendly (i.e. they correspond to the number of their row, column, or box).

Pencil Puzzle - Dotchi Loop by Otto Janko 

Draw a singe closed loop in the grid which passes through a cell at most once, but does not necessarily pass through all cells. The sections of the loop run horizontally and vertically between the centres of orthogonally adjacent cells. The Loop must pass through all white circles and must not pass through any black circle. Within each region , the loop must either turn in all white circles or go straight through all white circles.

Chess Puzzle - Alexander Vs. Cherepkov, 1967 

Drag and drop the Black pieces to win the match.

Geoguessr

And Finally, our weekly competition from geoguessr.com 

You need to take in as much information as you can from the google street view as you can and then drop your pin on the map. The closer to the correct location you are the more points you get. Can you get the top score after all 5 rounds? Remember though, you only get 1min per round and running out of time will give you 0pts. Winners will be announced next week!

The Winner from Last Week was CoastalSummit660 with a score of 20,494 out of a possible 25,000. A brilliant score! And our closest guess winner was a tie for distance but Idris was 1s faster and was only 38 yards away from the exact spot in Round 5! Well done both of you!

Answers to Last Week’s Puzzles

The answers to last week's puzzles can be found here.


Week 4 • Monday 16 October 2023 • #23.05          The Monday Mail

Paul pic

Good morning UG! It’s Monday 16th October and the 4th week of teaching in semester 1. I hope everything is going okay and you have now settled into a routine. It’s that time of year when coughs and colds are prevalent among the student and staff population. If you are ill, then you should consider staying away to minimise the spread of infection. If any illness impacts your ability to complete work by the deadline then you should request an extension and submit at the appropriate time. If you're unfortunate enough to be ill for more than a week, then please fill in a mitigating circumstances application and tell us about all the assessments that were affected - you will need evidence to support an application. Remember that you can find useful links in the Essential Links banner below. 

Congratulations to those who were successful in becoming elected as student representatives in the Department. Student representatives are an important part of the student body, they form the link between students and the department with a view to improving the student experience.

If you have anything you would like to share in Monday Mail, such as advertising an event, promoting your success in a hackathon etc, or whatever you think the UG student body will find interesting, then just get in contact with me. 

Have a good week, on with today’s news …

Paul
Undergraduate Programme Director


STUDENT SUPPORT HUB EMAIL ADDRESS.

  If you need to contact the Department/School then there are a range of email addresses that can be used to communicate with the Teaching, Learning and Student Experience teams. The email addresses are as follows:

If you are unsure which email to use then use soe.hub@manchester.ac.uk for general queries. 


WELFARE WEEKLY - THE CURSE OF EXTENSIONS.

  This from Ben Herbert, Student Support and Wellbeing: Some of you may have one-week automatic extensions granted through DASS support plans. Others, at some point during your time at university, need to request an extension from the Student Support and Wellbeing team. Extensions can be very useful to give yourself a little extra time needed to get your work done and submitted at the standard you expect from yourself, when mitigating circumstances arise. But extensions are a double-edged sword. Especially if you get them for multiple pieces of work. Time after time I see students running into difficulties caused by them taking full advantage of their extension and submitting exactly a week after the original deadline. 

In Computer Science the assessments come thick and fast. The programme has one of the highest volumes of coursework at the university. Taking a week extra to complete one assignment will mean, if you don't manage your time well, you will simply have one week less for the next assignment.

If you get extensions through DASS or apply for them through our team, then it is very important that you manage your time well and use only what time you need to submit. Keeping on top of your assignments will prevent a concertina effect that risks you ending up in a worse position than when you started. It's important to note that the impact on assessments caused by extensions to deadlines is not an acceptable reason to request more extensions or mitigating circumstances. Don’t forget, extensions can only be requested prior to the deadline. You can find further details on the extensions and mitigating circumstances process in the undergraduate handbook, and the main university page here.


REPORT AND SUPPORT.

  The University’s Report and Support Service is available to students. If you or someone you know has experienced or witnessed any form of bullying, harassment, discrimination, gender-based violence, hate or micro-aggressions, or have a safeguarding concern, you can report it anonymously or get support from a trained advisor through Report and Support. To report an incident and speak to a caseworker, you can either fill out the online form or someone can do it on your behalf. You, or the person reporting can make special requests for a certain type of advisor. The last page of the form will ask for details of who they should speak to about this report. The team will seek to understand your situation and aim to give you information, advice and support tailored to your individual circumstances. You can access this service here. Please be mindful that whilst you can send anonymous reports, the team are unable to contact you to offer support unless you provide your name and contact details.


TRAFFORD RAPE CRISIS STUDENT DROP-IN.

  Trafford Rape Crisis (TRC) Sexual Abuse and Rape Support Greater Manchester will be holding monthly drop-ins at the Students’ Union Advice Service (first floor of the Student’s Union). You can go to the drop-in for information, advice, support or just someone to talk to about any form of sexual violence, harassment, abuse or rape. This is not a clinical or therapeutic drop-in, simply just a safe space where you can talk to someone who understands sexual violence and has a knowledge of the help available in Greater Manchester. No matter when something happened, you can come along; If you are confused about exactly what happened, you can come along; and if you are worried about a friend or loved one, you can also come along. Drop-in dates:

  • Dates for semester 1
    Thursday 9th November 2023, 12pm – 2pm
    Thursday 7th December 2023, 12pm – 2pm
  • Dates for semester 2
    Thursday 1st February 2024, 12pm – 2pm
    Thursday 7th March 2024, 12pm – 2pm
    Thursday 11th April 2024, 12pm – 2pm
    Thursday 2nd May 2024, 12pm – 2pm

Confidentiality: TRC is an external service and independent of the University of Manchester. Their drop-in service is a confidential service and you do not need to disclose your personal details to them. If you do share personal details at the drop-in they will usually only share information with the University or other external third parties with your consent. If TRC do not have your consent they will not release information about you to third parties unless they have significant concerns about your wellbeing and/or safety, or the wellbeing and/or safety of other members of the University community.


YEAR TUTOR OPEN HOURS.

  In the Department we have year tutors who are responsible for looking after the different cohorts in each year group. They are here to provide you with help and support if you need it, so feel free to contact your year tutor by email. They also run a weekly open hour where you can pop in for a chat during the teaching period:

  • Year 1 (not CM): Gareth Henshall. Open hour: Thursday 14:00 - 15:00, Kilburn 2.82
  • Year 2 (not CM): Ahmed Saeed. Open hour: Tuesdays 11:00 - 12:00, Kilburn 2.80
  • Industrial Experience Year: Duncan Hull. Open hour: Wednesdays 10:00 - 12:00. Kilburn LF25
  • Year 3/4 (not CM): Tim Morris. Open hour: Tuesday 11:00 - 12:00, Kilburn 2.107 
  • CM (all years): Andrea Schalk. Open hour: Tuesday 11:00 - 12:00, 2.103
  • UG Director: Paul Nutter. Open hour: Tuesday 11:00 - 12:00, IT119.


PASS2.

  The PASS2 team (See Jia Tong (Y3, CS), Salma Aljama (Y3, AI) and Divya Radhakrishnan Nair (Y3, CS)) write: The tech interview is more than just getting answers right. Recruiters value many skills like sharp problem-solving, and your ability to explain your methods. To help you through this, we're hosting a mock interview in our next PASS session, be sure to attend!


STUDENT REPRESENTATIVES.

  This from Tom Carroll, Chair of the Student-Staff Liaison Committee (SSLC): I would like to thank all who applied to become a Student Rep, and to welcome your Student Reps for this academic year. You can find a list of your Reps here. The role of the SSLC is to facilitate dialogue between the students and the department, allowing your elected student reps to discuss ideas and issues relating to teaching, learning, and the department and facilities as a whole. The SSLC has brought about many positive changes in the past, and will do so again in the future. The first step is for you to speak with your rep about any issues, and ideas, that should be discussed, or any positive aspects that you think we could potentially adopt elsewhere. Maybe you loved some teaching activity last week, and you think this should be recognised? Do you love the new study facilities in Kilburn LF? Is there an idea for change that you think would benefit many students in the department? Our first SSLC meeting is coming up on 25th October (Week 5) and will have the theme of "Student Voice". We will be particularly interested in hearing how you feel your Student Voice is heard within the Department, and ways in which we can improve how we incorporate Student Voice in the Department. Also, if you have any other issues you want to raise to the department, or you wish to highlight something that you particularly like (maybe some good teaching), then please  contact one of your SSLC Reps. You can find a list of your Reps here.


GITLAB AND ACADEMIC MALPRACTICE.

   It's important to adhere to academic integrity and ethical standards when using platforms like GitLab or any other tools for coursework. Sharing or distributing materials related to your assessments or assignments, such as your answers, can be considered a form of academic malpractice, and it can lead to serious consequences, including disciplinary action.  To prevent the risk of inadvertently sharing files stored in git repositories (within the Department or on an external account) make sure you set those repositories immediately to Private. This will restrict access to only authorised individuals and will prevent other students from seeing your solutions and then being able to copy your work. Be assured that when we create git repositories for you that are required for your courses, we automatically set them to private for this very reason.   Even if you didn’t mean to share your work, you could still be found guilty of academic malpractice. 


THE UNDERGRADUATE HANDBOOK.

  The Undergraduate Handbook is your one-stop resource for all information related to your studies. It contains information about your degree programmes, details on progression, how to change degree programmes or interrupt your studies, information on student support etc. The handbook also has information related to how to apply for mitigating circumstances if your learning has been affected by issues out of your control, such as an illness. You can always find the link to the handbook (as well as other useful links) at the top of each Monday Mail in the 'Essential Links' banner.


ACADEMIC MALPRACTICE.

  The use of external services to help you complete assessments is Academic Malpractice (AMP). These services often advertise that they can write your coursework, essays or even undertake programming tasks for you, advertising it will be 100% plagiarism free, but ultimately engaging with their services is cheating. What also constitutes academic malpractice?

  • copying code from the internet and substituting it as your own, 
  • copying work from a friend, or working too closely with a friend,
  • using services such as ChatGPT (unless your assignment specifically allows you to do so),
  • giving other students access to your work, even if unintentionally, as it allows other students to plagiarise you. Make sure your git repo is private and treat requests from other students to see your work with caution.

What are the implications if you get caught? You mark will be penalised in some way, such as being zeroed. However, repeated cases of AMP could lead to sterner action, such as facing a University malpractice hearing, or ultimately you could be withdrawn from your studies. The work you submit should be your own; passing off someone else’s work as yours is AMP! We ask you to complete coursework as part of your learning; engaging in AMP means that you are missing out on being able to understand the course material, which ultimately will make future work more difficult for you. 


DATA SCIENCE SOCIETY.

  Introduction to Python for Data Science, Simon 2.39, Wednesday 18th 2-4pm. Driven by popular demand! Based on your feedback, MUDS is delighted to offer an interactive and introductory Python bootcamp. Expect to learn basic Python with a data science twist! We'll cover basic syntax and popular data science libraries, followed by introductory OOP (essential for our machine learning workshops). Come along and tell your friends - this is an ideal opportunity for all STEM and non-STEM beginners. As usual, all our workshops are absolutely free ;-) Get ready to step into coding! Join our discord server.


GOOGLE DEVELOPER STUDENT CLUBS.

  Explore the Potentials of TypeScript with Rossano D'Angelo in our Upcoming Session: TypeScript 101!  (in collaboration with GDG: Google Developer Groups Manchester)

  • Date: Monday, October 18th
  • Time: 16:30 - 18:00
  • Location: TBD

Based on the attendance of our last event, we are in search of a new, larger venue. Stay tuned to our social media channels for upcoming details and further information. Connect with us here. Dive into the powerful world of TypeScript with our expert speaker, Rossano D'Angelo, a proficient software engineer with an impressive trajectory that includes his current role at KrakenFlex (Octopus Energy Group) in Manchester and notable stints at IBM, BBC, and Lego. Rossano will guide you through a comprehensive journey exploring TypeScript, its functionalities, and its edge over JavaScript with his vast experience and multifaceted knowledge from the industry. During this insightful session, you'll delve into:

  • JavaScript vs TypeScript
  • TypeScript basics
  • TypeScript workshop
  • An interactive Q&A to clarify all your curiosities!

FREEBIES ALERT!!! Drop in, enjoy pizza on us, plus, get your hands on some exciting Google swag such as exclusive Google Pins, stickers, trendy T-shirts, handy notepads, etc. Looking forward to seeing you there! Please register here for the event.


AI SAFETY FUNDAMENTALS PROGRAMME.

  Adrians Skapars writes: Why are researchers worried about AI? Join our new 8-week UoM-based fellowship to find out! Explore why this field may be the most important work of our time. Grow your ML knowledge. Prepare for future research projects with your cohort. Receive personalised career coaching. AI Safety Fundamentals: Our curriculum has been developed by Richard Ngo (OpenAI) with input from multiple experts in the field of alignment such as David Krueger (University of Cambridge), Adam Gleave (FAR) and Beth Barnes (Alignment Research Center Evals). See who else was involved on our site. It begins with an exploration of what general AI systems look like today and what they might look like in the future. We'll investigate fundamental alignment problems such as reward misspecification and goal misgeneralization, and why these might lead to undesirable or even catastrophic outcomes.The latter half of the course covers four techniques which aim to prevent misalignment, followed by research which tries to understand ML systems at a deeper level, including interpretability and agent foundations. Finally, we'll cover two topics at a high level: AI governance and careers in alignment. Want a quick introduction? Check out these videos: Intro to AI Safety Remastered, The Easiest Path to Transformative AI Likely Leads to AI Takeover. Have a peek at our curriculum: Alignment Course - Note that most readings are available in audio! If you are interested then please  APPLY HERE BEFORE 20th OCTOBER. Existing knowledge of Machine Learning is beneficial to your applications success, though we will do our best to organise groups according to the cohort’s expertise. Even as a student, you have the power to shape this technological revolution! For any questions, feel free to email me

Welcome to Gareth’s Puzzle Corner, this is your weekly fix of brain teasers and logic puzzles. You are given 4 different puzzles to tackle. One is an easier Sudoku, the second is a more challenging Sudoku, the third is a different form of logic puzzle and finally we have a chess puzzle for you. I hope you enjoy the puzzles and if you have any puzzles you wish to feature or ideas for Puzzle Corner then please get in touch.

Easier Sudoku - Classic Sudoku by sudoku.com

Normal sudoku rules apply.

Challenging Sudoku - Why Not? By EasilyAmused 

Normal sudoku rules apply. Digits within cages are friendly (i.e. they correspond to the number of their row, column, or box).

Pencil Puzzle - LITS by puzzlemadness.co.uk 

The grid is split up into regions with at least 4 cells each, your aim is to insert a Tetromino in each region such that, Two Tetrominoes of the same type can't touch horizontally or vertically. Additionally, this applies to rotations and reflections as well. The Tetrominoes should form one continuous area. 2×2 filled cells are not allowed.

Tetrominoes are the possible shapes made of 4 connecting cells. There are 5 Tetromino shapes in total: L, I, T, S, and O, but rule 3 means we can't use the 'O' Tetromino. This is where the name of the puzzle comes from.

Chess Puzzle - Sarana Vs. Clarke, 2022 

Drag and drop the Black pieces to win the match.

Geogueser

And Finally, our new weekly competition from geoguessr.com 

You need to take in as much information as you can from the google street view as you can and then drop your pin on the map. The closer to the correct location you are the more points you get. Can you get the top score after all 5 rounds? Remember though, you only get 1 min per round and running out of time will give you 0 pts. Winners will be announced next week!

The Winner from Last Week was Muhammad Kalmani with a score of 24,631 out of a possible 25,000. A brilliant score! And our closest guess winner is Popz who was only 166 yards away from the exact spot in Round 3! Well done, both of you!

Answers to Last Week’s Puzzles

The answers to last week's puzzles can be found here.


Week 3 • Monday 9 October 2023 • #23.04          The Monday Mail

Paul pic

Good morning UG! It’s Monday 9th October and teaching week 3. Course unit selection has now closed, so hopefully you have enrolled on the course units that you are interested in. You may find that your timetable gets busier from this week as labs for course units will have started, so planning your time is important - as is making sure you take regular breaks from your work! If you are experiencing any issues that may be impacting your learning, then you should speak to the relevant Year Tutor or a member of the Department Wellbeing Team (see below). We have a new feature this week called "UG to Researcher", where I invite a former UG student who has made the transition into research to discuss what interested them in starting a PhD.

When it comes to submitting work, you should always check that it has been submitted properly, especially if you are submitting via Blackboard, (which at times can be slow). The onus is on you to ensure you have submitted the correct item, in the correct place, and by the deadline. We’ve provided some advice (see below) on how you can check whether your work has been submitted.

Have a good week, on with today’s news …

Paul
Undergraduate Programme Director


* STUDENT WELFARE SUPPORT IN CS. Issues can impact students at any time, usually when you least expect it. If you are affected by any issues, and if they start to impact your studies, then it’s vitally important that you speak to someone and get the help and support you need. You can also speak to the relevant year tutor, however, you can speak to a member of our Student Wellbeing Team, Maria Sloan and Ben Herbert, or drop into the student hub in Engineering Building A and ask to speak to someone, in confidence, about anything that might be affecting you and your studies. Maria and Ben are also the Disability Coordinators for CS, so you can speak to them if you have any ongoing physical or mental health problems, or conditions such as ASD or ADHD, that affect your studies, even if you are not already registered with the DASS Team at the University. If you are registered with DASS and there are problems with your DASS plan you can speak with them about this too. You can contact Maria and Ben at soe.wellbeing@manchester.ac.uk.


WELFARE WEEKLY - BOOST YOUR STUDY SKILLS.

  This from Ben Herbert, Student Support and Wellbeing: As many of you will already know and some of you will soon find out, university is a big step-up form school and college, and things only get harder year on year.

Your old techniques for taking notes, managing your time, and revising for exams will just no longer cut it. I didn't learn a revision technique that worked for me until the second year, and I don't think I ever really developed an effective note taking strategy. My personal approach to revision was to read through a section of notes and then present them to someone (ideally someone also doing the course). This technique helped me memorise the information and practice my wording for exam answers. Having someone doing my course doing the same back to me, helped me pick up on areas of knowledge and understanding I might have missed. You probably won't get a lot of guidance to improve your study techniques in class, but those that do have the skills will do best when it comes to assessment. Luckily for you I have a great resource to use.

My Learning Essentials is the University's one stop shop for helping you gain the skills you need to make your studies go more smoothly and hopefully up your grades. Good study skills can easily make the difference between and 2.2 and a 2.1 degree. They also have resources to help you develop skills around mindfulness, resilience, and other ways to generally improve your mental health and wellbeing. Alongside that there are a bunch of useful podcasts. My learning essentials has a host of on-campus workshops such as Academic writing, Note making, Critical analysis, and Proof reading. You can book onto workshops  and see the full list here. There are also online resources including Referencing, Group work, Dissertation skills, Presentations, and Revision. The full list can be found here. Do yourself a favour this week and book on to just one workshop or work through just one online resource. See how it goes. Block out some time for personal development on My Learning Essentials once every week or two. I promise it will be worth your time!


SUPPORT SERVICE SPOTLIGHT:

  QWELL. Qwell offers a range of anonymous support options for students, including an online messaging service with qualified mental health professionals, providing safe and anonymous online mental health support whenever you need it. There are no waiting lists for support, and no referral needed and access is available instantly 24/7. You can find out more here, and you can access the service at quell.io.


YEAR TUTOR OPEN HOURS.

  In the Department we have year tutors who are responsible for looking after the different cohorts in each year group. They are here to provide you with help and support if you need it, so feel free to contact your year tutor by email. They also run a weekly open hour where you can pop in for a chat during the teaching period:

  • Year 1 (not CM): Gareth Henshall. Open hour: Thursday 14:00 - 15:00, Kilburn 2.82
  • Year 2 (not CM): Ahmed Saeed. Open hour: Tuesdays 11:00 - 12:00, Kilburn 2.80
  • Industrial Experience Year: Duncan Hull. Open hour: Wednesdays 10:00 - 12:00. Kilburn LF25
  • Year 3/4 (not CM): Tim Morris. Open hour: Tuesday 11:00 - 12:00, Kilburn 2.107 
  • CM (all years): Andrea Schalk. Open hour: Tuesday 11:00 - 12:00, 2.103
  • UG Director: Paul Nutter. Open hour: Tuesday 11:00 - 12:00, IT119.


PASS1.

  The PASS1 team (Max Beck-Jones (Y3, CS4), Luke Sanderson (Y3, CS), Sarah Saad (Y3, AI4), Nicolo Micheletti (Y3, CS), and Rosie Halsall (Y3, CS4)) write: Hello everyone! We hope you found your first PASS session enjoyable and worthwhile. This week, the theme is going to be more academic as you’ll be discussing your first coursework deadlines and time management tips. As always there will be icebreaker activities and snacks so you’re not going to want to miss out. Keep an eye out for emails from your group leaders as your room assignment will have changed since last week (hopefully for good!). Finally, please be sure to give any feedback on the scheme to us directly (through email or in person in Collab 1+2 before the sessions start at 13:00) or to your PASS leaders; we want to make these sessions as engaging and useful to you as possible.


PASS2.

  The PASS2 team (See Jia Tong (Y3, CS), Salma Aljama (Y3, AI) and Divya Radhakrishnan Nair (Y3, CS)) write: Join our upcoming application session! This session would provide you information about the application process and personal internship/placement application experiences. This session will also provide you top tips to help you succeed. We have invited a special guest, Duncan, who will share his invaluable experiences and advice in this session too. So, don't miss out on this opportunity. Join us on Thursday 12/10 12 - 1pm at Kilburn Collab 1.


HACKCHESTER.

  This from the Hackchester team: Welcome back to a new year at Hackchester! Our old members will remember us as Crackchester, but we assure you we're the same and ready to jump back into it. This week we're holding our first workshop "Introduction to Hackchester" on Tuesday at 5pm in IT 407, Kilburn. The bigger room means we can support our expanding base of regulars, so feel free to bring yourself and your friends to our event. We'll be covering an introduction to Ethical Hacking and Cyber Security.  There's no experience or prior knowledge needed and it's completely free. Soon we'll be advertising for discord moderators and PR team staff, so if you want more responsibility in the society, look out for our links! As always more info can be found on our Discord.


STUDENT PUBLICATION SUCCESS.

  Congratulations to Alex Havlin (Year 2, CM) who has had his research paper titled "Signer Discretion is Advised: On the insecurity of Vitalik’s threshold hash-based signatures" by Alexander Havlin and Mario Yaksetig, accepted for presentation at the ACM Conference on Computer and Communications Security.  The result in the paper came about from Alex’s summer Enterprise Cayman (EC) Internship Programme, working with BitFashioned SEZC, a technology consulting firm specialising in the web3 space. The paper critically examines a proposal for the Ethereum network by Vitalik Buterin concerning a threshold Lamport scheme for signatures of blocks. We identified a vulnerability in the proposal that would allow a malicious block to be perceived as valid by all signers, risking its addition to the Ethereum network. The research was inspired by a blog post from Vitalik Buterin and was further explored with the guidance of Mario Yaksetig, a Cryptographer at BitFashioned SEZC. Our demonstration code proved the feasibility of the attack in mere seconds, emphasising the importance of thorough scrutiny and testing of proposals for large networks like Ethereum. Alex will present his work at the conference, which is taking place in Copenhagen, Denmark, in November. Alex says “This internship deepened my understanding of the tech industry and honed my research skills. Being recognised at a renowned conference like ACM emphasises the value of diligent research in tech. This milestone has fueled my passion for research and the ongoing quest for knowledge in a rapidly evolving field.”. You can find out more information here. Congratulations Alex on what is a great achievement!


UG TO RESEARCHER.

  This from Maciej Lewandowski (graduated 2023, CS). I did my final year undergraduate project under the supervision of Christoforos Moutafis from the Nano Engineering and Spintronic Technologies (NEST) research group. My project turned out to have two parts: simulations of some spintronics devices, and creating a basic simulator. 

For simulations, I focused on simulating new nanodevices using micromagnetics, in particular, these nanodevices used skyrmions, a magnetic quasi-particle which can be thought of as magnetic vortices. Firstly, I focused on simulating skyrmion-based logic gates using micromagnetics simulations. I was able to successfully reproduce the result of a publication for AND, OR and INV gates, and then extended these simulations by adding a synchronisation mechanism using the Voltage Controlled Magnetic Anisotropy effect (which involves applying voltage to direct the movement of these quasi-particles). I replicated the simulations of skyrmion-based synapses that could be used potentially to design a neuromorphic computing system (low-power, brain-inspired hardware for AI). I extended these by experimenting with RKKY and Synthetic antiferromagnetic coupling, in order to make a multilayer structure for these synapses.

For the other side of the project, I implemented a simple Python-based, GPU-accelerated micromagnetics solver. The goal of it was to learn more about micromagnetics (from the computer science/numerical perspective) and for it to solve a few, very simple micromagnetics problems. The code had multiple solvers (both basic and adaptive time-step size), few physics terms and was expanded to use a GPU. The results of the solver were evaluated against a popular micromagnetics package (mumax3), which produced very similar results. The time for calculating the demagnetization tensor (one of the most computationally expensive terms to calculate) was reduced from 3 h (naive CPU implementation) to 15s (GPU).

I really enjoyed learning more physics and trying to use spintronics to design hardware for low-power computers (conventional or targeted for AI) so I decided to do a PhD and I am now a first-year PhD student in the NEST group, with my supervisors being Christoforos Moutafis and Paul Nutter. The goal of my project is to use these nanodevices (or design new ones) to create larger neuromorphic systems. I still work in micromagnetics but now also work with analog and mixed-signal CMOS, to create a larger system that perhaps could be used for Spiking Neural Networks.


HOW DO I CHECK IF I’VE SUBMITTED MY WORK?

  We often get asked by students how to check that they have submitted work successfully, and it’s quite easy to do.

  • Blackboard: if the submission method is using Blackboard, then you can check under the “My Grades” link on the left on each course unit Blackboard page (under “Submitted” or “Marked”). You can also check via SPOT, although SPOT is only updated at 12pm and 6pm daily, so any submission between those times will not be shown until the update takes place.  You can check yourself when SPOT last received data from Blackboard since SPOT tells you this information.
  • Git: if the submission method is using git, then you can check via SPOT.  Submissions via git will show in SPOT immediately (but you do need to refresh the SPOT web page).  You know if you have submitted correctly because the text ‘not submitted’ under the column heading submission will change to show the date and time of the submission.
  • Software Engineering Y2: work submitted for Software Engineering will not show as submitted in SPOT until the work has been marked because tags are not used.
  • Whilst SPOT shows you something has been submitted, it does not know what, so cannot be used to verify you've submitted the correct required files.  To check the files you have submitted use Blackboard or GitLab.


NEED A PLACE TO WORK?

  You are free to use any of our teaching rooms/labs when they are not being used for scheduled teaching. If you are interested in knowing when a lab is not booked for a timetabled activity, then follow this link to open the University Timetable pages. To look for a room in Kilburn, select “Location”, then in the form that opens select “Kilburn Building” for the building, select the lab/room you would like to use under “Select Location”, the default view is this week, or you can select a particular week. Selecting “View Timetable” will show what activities are taking place in the selected room for the week. Please note that for the labs 1.8 and 1.10 look at the 1.8+1.10 timetable. You must be on campus to access the timetable. If a room is booked for teaching, then you should avoid using it.


EXTENSION REQUESTS.

  If you find you are falling behind due to circumstances beyond your control with an assessment then you can apply for a short extension to allow you to complete your work. You must apply for an extension BEFORE the deadline through the Department Mitigating Circumstances page. Please note that you are unable to apply for an extension for some assessments, these are detailed in the deadlines Gantt chart, or in SPOT. You should only be applying for an extension if you really need one, we will be monitoring applications to ensure the system is not being abused. 


SPOT UPDATE.

  Stewart Blakeway writes: SPOT is a student assessment record system used in the Department of Computer Science that shows all your COMP course units, in one convenient place.  Once a course unit is selected by clicking on the course unit code, information about the course is shown, for example the course unit lead details, the coursework/exam split, and the coursework elements. For each coursework element there is also information related to that element, such as the deadline, weight, out of mark, submission status (and git tag if applicable). Once the work is marked the grade will be shown too.   There are also handy links to the UG Handbook and an overview of all deadlines.SPOT has recently been updated to help make extensions and late information clearer.  This PDF provides further details. SPOT was created by Toby Howard and is currently maintained and further developed by Stewart Blakeway


COURSEWORK DEADLINES CHART.

  The Department has put together a coursework deadlines chart, which can be accessed here, The chart is populated with the deadlines for all COMP course units, for each year group, in semester 1. It aims to give you an overview of your deadlines to help you plan your time. Which deadlines are relevant will depend upon the course units you are taking. The chart also lets you know if it's possible to apply for an extension for a given piece of work. Please note that deadlines may still change and that only SPOT indicates up-to-date information on deadlines, so please use SPOT to confirm deadlines.


THE UNDERGRADUATE HANDBOOK.

  The Undergraduate Handbook is your one-stop resource for all information related to your studies. It contains information about your degree programmes, details on progression, how to change degree programmes or interrupt your studies, information on student support etc. The handbook also has information related to how to apply for mitigating circumstances if your learning has been affected by issues out of your control, such as an illness. You can always find the link to the handbook (as well as other useful links) at the top of each Monday Mail in the 'Essential Links' banner.


UNICS WORKSHOPS.

  Join us on Wednesday, the 11th of October, for our weekly GameDev workshops! Our first meeting will tackle interpolation methods, the importance of interpolation in games, and a brief overview of the Monogame Framework. Feel free to join in and bring a friend, as anyone can attend these beginner-friendly workshops!! Register your interest now to receive more details soon about the time and location of the workshop.


UKIEPC PROGRAMMING CONTEST - GET INVOLVED!

  This from Ian Pratt-Hartmann:  The UK and Ireland Programming Contest (UKIEPC) will take place this year on Saturday, October 21st, 2023, 11:0016:00. UKIEPC is an annual event in which teams of three participants try to crack a series of programming challenges. This year, as usual, Manchester will be one of the participating sites. Note that participation at Manchester is be available ONLY to teams consisting entirely of students in the Department of Computer Science at Manchester (this, however, includes students on joint honours programmes such as Computing and Mathematics). The contest itself will take place in the labs on the Lower First Floor of the Kilburn Building. Refreshments will be provided in the common area on the Lower First Floor for participants.  (Obviously, no food and drink will be permitted in the labs.) Details can be found here.  You should register using the Competition website. (There is a "Take Part" button in the top right corner, which is surprisingly easy to miss.) Registration is now open. Completing the form should be easy.  The best teams from Manchester will be able to compete in the North West Europe Regional Programming Competition (NWERC), which will be held at the Delft University of Technology from 24th to 26th November 2023. Realistically, we can expect to be able to enter two or three teams from Manchester. Note that we will enter a team to NWERC only if all of its members have competed in UKIEPC 2023. The detailed rules on eligibility are explained on the ICPC website. However, in practice, any UG or Master's student at Manchester, as well as some PhD students, are eligible. Have fun and good luck!


GDSC - INTRODUCTION TO FRAMEWORKS AND REACT.

  The GDSC team write: Are you ready to take your skills to the next level? GDSC Manchester invites you to our exclusive event on "Introduction to Frameworks and React!"

  • Why Use Frameworks?: Discover the compelling reasons to embrace frameworks in your development journey. 
  • Dive into React!: Get a head start with React, one of the most in-demand JavaScript libraries for building user interfaces. Unleash your creativity and develop the skills to create stunning web applications.
  • What's in it for You? Boost your resume with valuable skills;  Excel in your first-year team project; Create your personalised profile website; Network with like-minded enthusiasts; Elevate your coding game to new heights.
  • Save the Date: Date: 11th October, Wednesday, Time: 4pm onwards, Location: Kilburn LT 1.4

Don't miss out on this incredible opportunity to supercharge your coding journey! Whether you're a beginner or a seasoned developer, this event is tailored to help you succeed. Ready to Level Up? See you there!


COMPUTER SCIENCE FC.

  Bryn Dowton (Year 3, AI) and Shivam Ray (Year 2, AIwIE) write: Hey guys, we are starting another season of Campus League Football this year and would love for Computer Science to be represented! All abilities welcome, as we are starting up - training location may vary but will be at 16:00 on Sunday afternoon's. All details will be posted in our WhatsApp group chat. Look forward to meeting you all! Bryn and Shiv

Welcome to Gareth’s Puzzle Corner, this is your weekly fix of brain teasers and logic puzzles. You are given 4 different puzzles to tackle. One is an easier Sudoku, the second is a more challenging Sudoku, the third is a different form of logic puzzle and finally we have a chess puzzle for you. I hope you enjoy the puzzles and if you have any puzzles you wish to feature or ideas for Puzzle Corner then please get in touch.

Easier Sudoku - Classic Sudoku by sudoku.com

Normal sudoku rules apply.

Challenging Sudoku - Barbed Wire by Jobo 

Normal sudoku rules apply. Digits cannot repeat on a marked diagonal. Digits along an arrow sum to the digit in the attached circle.

Pencil Puzzle - Tents by puzzlemadness.co.uk 

Your task is to insert tents in the grid so that, each tree is paired with a tent - the tent must be next to the tree horizontally or vertically. Tents are never placed next to each other, including diagonally. The horizontal and vertical clues tell you how many tents are in that row or column.

Chess Puzzle - Bagheri Vs. Sambuev, 2022 

Drag and drop the White pieces to win the match.

Geogueser

And Finally, our new weekly competition from geoguessr.com 

You need to take in as much information from the Google street view as you can and then drop your pin on the map. The closer to the correct location you are the more points you get. Can you get the top score after all 5 rounds? Remember though, you only get 1 min per round and running out of time will give you 0 pts. Winners will be announced next week!

The Winner from Last Week was Nick Lodeon with a score of 24,356 out of a possible 25,000. A brilliant score! And our closest guess winner is Vedant Agrawal who was only 12 yards away from the exact spot in Round 1! Well done, both of you!

Answers to Last Week’s Puzzles

The answers to last week's puzzles can be found here.


Week 2 • Monday 2 October 2023 • #23.03          The Monday Mail

Paul pic

Good morning UG! It’s Monday 2nd October and teaching week 2 of semester 1. I hope everything has settled down and you now know your timetable and where your teaching activities are taking place. Apologies if any timetabling issues have affected you, this is due to a problem with the software used for timetabling. Don't forget that you have until this Friday to choose any optional course units. We know some course units have reached capacity due to room capacities being reached, we are looking at alternative arrangements to increase capacity so please bear with us. If you are a 1st year student who has yet to complete the boot-up labs, then it's essential you do so, as you will need to set up Git which you will need for a number of course units. Finally, I have put together a deadlines Gantt chart so you can visualise where assessment deadlines fall across the semester for all COMP course units (more below). Hopefully this will help you with managing your time. 

I hope this week goes well, on with today’s news …

Paul
Undergraduate Programme Director


SUPPORT SERVICE SPOTLIGHT:

  The Counselling Service. The University counselling service is free to students and can offer help and support with a range of personal issues. Support is provided through a range of activities including;

  • Confidential one to one appointments
  • Group workshops
  • Online support materials and self-help tools

You can find more information about the counselling service and what support they offer here. Remember, you can always contact the School Wellbeing Team are advice or help at any time.


WELFARE WEEKLY - MAKE TIME FOR YOU.

  This from Ben Herbert, Student Support and Wellbeing: When I'm chatting to a student who is struggling with their studies I always ask them the same kind of questions: "What do you do to have fun?"; "What are your hobbies?"; "What sport do you play?"; "What do you do to make you feel good?" The answer is almost always the same… Nothing. When you have work to do, the idea of playing football, going to Pilates, or getting lost in the latest cinema release sounds counterproductive. But good work comes from people with a healthy body and a clear mind.

Make time for yourself. It will help your physical and mental fitness and allow you to decompress in a way that will complement your studies. I'm not talking about wasting away hours playing computer games or drinking down the pub. I mean blocking out a set time, even if it's only 20 minutes. Personally I use walking the dog to unwind after work; I use bouldering and working out to clear my mind and focus only on the here and now; I play board games to socialise while still stimulating my brain; I look after my houseplants to find my zen; and I listen to shouty, punk, ska, and hardcore while doing the washing up to blow off steam while still being productive.

What do you do to make time for you? If the answer is nothing, fix that now. It will be harder to fix when the work starts piling up. Why not take a look at the wellbeing calendar for some options. Coming up soon there is Meditation, Sunday Film Night, Breathwork for resilience, and Dog cuddling. DOG CUDDLING! This week, if you haven't already, sign up to one of the many societies at the SU. Block out set time to do something productive for your physical and mental health and stick with it for the semester. It will show benefits in your work!


REGISTER FOR A GP.

  It’s vital that you register with a GP (General Practitioner) - what we call local, or family doctors in the UK. GPs provide a range of non-emergency services by appointment – including examinations, medication prescriptions, vaccinations and referrals to other medical specialists. It is especially important if you want to provide evidence to support a mitigating circumstances application related to illness. The University GP Service is on-campus, located in Crawford House near south campus (shown on the Campus map here as Building 31). You can register as a patient using their online portal  by filling in a quick form. If you want to register with a GP closer to where you live then use the NHS Find a GP website to find a list of practices near your address. This will direct you to the GPs’ websites to find out how to register as a patient. 


ACADEMIC ADVISORS.

  Your academic advisor provides pastoral support if you are having any issues during your studies. Who is your academic advisor? If you are a 1st or 2nd year student, your academic advisor is your personal tutor. You can find out your tutor group and tutor is here. In the 3rd year, your academic advisor is your project supervisor, and in the 4th year it is Tim Morris.


LOST IN KILBURN.

  Have you found yourself wandering aimlessly around Kilburn? Do you find Kilburn a maze? Have you struggled to find staff offices or teaching rooms? Well, help is at hand. We provide floor plans for all the floors in Kilburn and the IT buildings, which you can find here.


SAFEZONE.

  Safezone is our mobile app designed to provide you with enhanced security and assistance whilst studying or living on campus. The app is free to download and easy to use. You can use it to:

  • 'Check in' any time of day – tell us where you are on campus 24/7
  • Quickly and discreetly call for assistance – whether it’s for first aid or in an emergency
  • Keep up to date – notifications sent directly to your phone if there is an incident on campus

Further information about Safezone and how to download and use Safezone can be found here.


LATE ARRIVING STUDENTS.

  If you are a late arriving student, then the latest start date, when you need to be physically on campus and attending, is 9th October 2023. Students who cannot physically be on campus ready to study by this date will need to request a deferral of their offer until the next academic year via the Admissions team or take a period of interruption.


YEAR TUTOR OPEN HOURS.

  In the Department we have year tutors who are responsible for looking after the different cohorts in each year group. They are here to provide you with help and support if you need it, so feel free to contact your year tutor by email. They also run a weekly open hour where you can pop in for a chat during the teaching period:

  • Year 1 (not CM): Gareth Henshall. Open hour: Thursday 14:00 - 15:00, Kilburn 2.82
  • Year 2 (not CM): Ahmed Saeed. Open hour: Tuesdays 11:00 - 12:00, Kilburn 2.80
  • Year 3/4 (not CM): Tim Morris. Open hour: Tuesday 11:00 - 12:00, Kilburn 2.107 
  • CM (all years): Andrea Schalk. Open hour: Tuesday 11:00 - 12:00, 2.103
  • UG Director: Paul Nutter. Open hour: Tuesday 11:00 - 12:00, IT119.


PASS1.

  The PASS1 team (Max Beck-Jones (Y3, CS4), Luke Sanderson (Y3, CS), Sarah Saad (Y3, AI4), Nicolo Micheletti (Y3, CS), and Rosie Halsall (Y3, CS4)) write:  Now that everyone has gotten into the swing of things, it’s time for your first PASS session! PASS sessions run on Wednesdays at 13:00 to 14:00 (the time was incorrect in the PASS intro lecture but is correct in your timetable). PASS leaders will be in touch through email before the session with a brief introduction and details of the room you need to go to. In the session, you will meet everyone else in your group and take part in a quick icebreaker before moving on to discussions about how you are settling in and how you are finding the course so far. At the end of the session, make sure your attendance is registered with your PASS leaders and you give them feedback from the ses