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 …
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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).
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.
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.