Professor Mike Gordon FRS

It is with great sadness that we announce the death of Professor Mike Gordon FRS. Mike Gordon joined the Computer Laboratory in 1981 and he made magnificent contributions to the Department in many different ways. He will be sadly missed.


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Zafar Gilani presents research on Twitter bots

PhD student Zafar Gilani recently presented the results of research on Twitter bots, at the International Conference on Advances in Social Networks Analysis and Mining in Sydney, Australia.

Twitter has more than 300 million monthly active users. But Gilani and his fellow researchers (Zafar Gilani, Ekaterina Kochmar, Jon Crowcroft: Classification of Twitter Accounts into Automated Agents and Human Users) have estimated that between about 30 million and 50 million of those are Twitter bots—automated accounts that do the bidding of their code-writing creators.

Zafar Gilani said “There could newsbots, and there could be spam bots. Or there could be bots doing political infiltration, which is obviously bad. Or social infiltration which could be bad.”

Gilani has built an algorithm to single out bots from human accounts, using factors like tweet frequency or content, and how much users interacted with other users. The system is able to tell bot from human 86 percent of the time.

Zafar is a member of the NetOS research group under the supervision of Professor Jon Crowcroft.

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Computer Laboratory researchers win best paper award at ACM SIGCOMM 2017

Computer Laboratory researchers Gianni Antichi, Marcin Wójcik, and Andrew W. Moore, along with co-authors, have won the best paper award at ACM SIGCOMM 2017.

The paper “Re-architecting datacenter networks and stacks for low latency and high performance” is a joint work between members of the Computer Laboratory’s Systems Research Group, Mark Handley at University College London, and Costin Raiciu, Andrei Voinescu, and Alexandru Agache of the University Politehnica of Bucharest.

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Ramana Kumar wins the ACM SIGPLAN Doctoral Dissertation Award

Ramama Kumar has been awarded the ACM SIGPLAN John C. Reynolds Doctoral Dissertation Award for 2017. The award is presented annually to the author of an outstanding dissertation in the field of programming languages, and includes a prize of $1000. This prize was established to honour the theoretical contributions made by John C. Reynolds to programming languages including type theory and Lambda calculus.

Ramana is the third PhD student from the Computer Laboratory to have been awarded this prize, in this case for his dissertation Self-compilation and self-verification. This dissertation establishes the possibility of end-to-end verification of software, and makes use of this property for both the compiler and theorem prover using the CakeML language.

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Raspberry Pi wins UK’s top engineering innovation prize

Raspberry Pi has won the UK’s top engineering innovation prize – the Royal Academy of Engineering MacRobert Award.

Known for spotting the ‘next big thing’, the annual MacRobert Award is presented to the engineers behind the UK engineering profession’s most exciting innovation.

Originally conceived as a way to boost computer science applications to the University of Cambridge, Raspberry Pi has created a whole new class of computer that has transformed the way engineers design control systems in industry.

The Pi has also proved phenomenally successful in its original educational ambition. Over 12 million devices have been sold in total, re-engaging people with the power of coding, and helping to ensure that future generations are equipped for the increasingly digital jobs of the future.

Dr Dame Sue Ion DBE FREng FRS, Chair of the MacRobert Award judging panel, said:

“All three of this year’s finalists demonstrate exceptional engineering, but what sets Raspberry Pi apart is the sheer quality of the innovation, which has allowed the computer to be used far beyond its original purpose. By blending old and new technology with innovative systems engineering and circuit board design, the team has created a computer that is cheap, robust, small and flexible. It is manufactured in the UK cheaper and at higher quality than elsewhere. Raspberry Pi’s original educational goal has actually resulted in a computer control system that can influence many different industries.

“Raspberry Pi has also inspired multiple generations to get into coding: children are learning about coding for the first time, often alongside their parents and grandparents. Communities in the developing world are being empowered by the Raspberry Pi and its modern day computing-on-a-budget.”

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Wheeler lecture video now available

The video of Angela Sasse’s lecture entitled “Can we make people value IT security?” is now available. This lecture was given on 24th May as this year’s Wheeler lecture, and is now available to view.

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Dr Marwa Mahmoud presents research on new artificial intelligence system

Dr Marwa Mahmoud recently presented the results of research on a new artificial intelligence system designed to detect pain levels in sheep, at the 12th IEEE International Conference on Automatic Face and Gesture Recognition in Washington, DC.

The new system can detect different parts of a sheep’s face and compares them with the standardized measurement tool developed by veterinarians for diagnosing pain.

‘You can see a clear analogy between these actions in the sheep’s faces and similar facial actions in humans when they are in pain,’ said Dr Mahmoud.

The research could improve sheep well-being with early detection leading to faster treatment and pain relief.

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Diana Popescu named Google Women Techmakers Scholar

Diana Popescu has been named a Google Women Techmakers Scholar 2017.

Through the Women Techmakers Scholars Program – formerly the Google Anita Borg Memorial Scholarship Program – Google is furthering Dr. Anita Borg’s vision of creating gender equality in the field of computer science by encouraging women to excel in computing and technology and become active leaders and role models in the field.

Diana is a PhD student and a Marie Curie Early-Stage Researcher in the Networking and Operating Systems Group. She is under the supervision of Dr Andrew Moore.

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Professor Andy Hopper appointed Treasurer of the Royal Society

Professor Andy Hopper CBE FREng FRS has been appointed Treasurer of the Royal Society. The appointment, which is for five years, starts on November 30 2017.

Andy has been a recipient of numerous prestigious awards for his influential work, with the Science Council naming him as one of the UK’s 100 leading practising scientists in 2014.

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Cambridge Computer Lab Ring Company of the Year, Improbable, raises $500m

Cambridge Computer Lab Ring Company of the Year, Improbable, has raised $502m from Japan’s SoftBank corporation.

Founded in 2012 by Computer Lab graduates Herman Narula and Rob Whitehead, Improbable’s software simulates systems on a massive scale with a level of detail not previously possible.

Improbable will remain independent with Softbank having only a minority stake in the business.

You can read more about Improbable in the latest edition of The Ring.

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