Computer Laboratory

Course material 2010–11

Current Research Topics

Principal lecturer: Mr Nishanth Sastry
Taken by: MPhil ACS

This course is a series of self-contained, introductory lectures on various current research topics. For a flavour of what to expect, see last year's version here. This course is non-examinable.

All lectures from 4-5pm in Lecture Theatre 1.
We are done with lectures for the Michaelmas term. Lectures will continue in Lent, starting Jan 21.

Schedule: (Also available for subscription from

Date Lecturer Topic Lecture Materials
Oct 15
Derek Murray Introduction to Data Center Computing
After attending this lecture, students should be able to: * describe the main applications of data-centre computing * explain the software and hardware factors that influence the construction of modern data centres * explain the trade-offs when choosing a programming model for distributed computation
Oct 22
Arno Pauly Algorithmic Game Theory
Two prototypic problems from Algorithmic Game Theory are presented: Finding Nash equilibria in bi-matrix games and finding pure equilibria in network congestion games. These problems are complete for the complexity classes PPAD and PLS, respectively, which will also be introduced.
Oct 29
Nishanth Sastry Building Secure Systems On and For Social Networks
This lecture will first explore the privacy consequences of online social networks and show how to support social applications without trusing an external provider like Facebook. Then we will turn tables and look at ways to build secure systems by leveraging the trust embedded in social links.
ppt, pdf
Nov 5
Joseph Bonneau Side-Channel Cryptanalysis
Most cryptosystems are designed and argued secure at a mathematical level. In the real world, however, implementations of ciphers often leak additional information to attackers-timing, power consumption, heat, and more. This talk will describe a variety of side channel attacks against common systems, and discuss possible countermeasures.
Nov 12
Kiran Rachuri Mobile phones based continuous sensing systems
This lecture will introduce the various sensors embedded in modern smart phones, and possible application scenarios. Details about EmotionSense, a mobile phones based emotion sensing platform will be discussed along with design techniques for energy efficient sensor sampling.
Nov 26
Programming Research
Dominic Orchard Mathematically Structuring Programming Languages
Goals gain a feel for using a language as a meta language to describe another - understand the concept of a monad and its use for structuring effects, in particular exceptions - understand the merit of using abstract mathematical structures to help structure programs and language semantics
Notes, pdf
Jan 21
Arno Pauly Computation with real numbers
Summary: How can real numbers be represented in order to compute with them? Floating point numbers offer only finite precision, and this can have a devastating impact in some applications. Exact real number computation is possible, however, using lazy lists. Some examples are given that demonstrate the principles of corresponding algorithms, and the limits of computability in this regard
Notes Slides
Fri, 18 Feb
Graphics and Interaction
Christian Richardt Non-Photorealistic Rendering (NPR)
At its core, NPR is aiming to make communication more effective and aesthetic, by abstracting and stylising digital images or videos. We will first look at historical developments in NPR and then concentrate on state-of-the-art techniques.