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News Archive : July - September 2009

CPD 4 Health Innovation

Date Added: 15th September 2009
Following the success of a previous masterclass in April, the Department will be delivering another one day masterclass and a week-long course in Patient Safety - A Systems Safety Approach

The Department is pleased to host another one day masterclass on Wednesday 7 October 2009, as well as a one week course from 30 November to 4 December 2009, in Patient Safety - A Systems Safety Approach. Both courses are being delivered by Professor John McDermid and Dr Mark Nicholson.

The courses are being delivered in collaboration with CPD4 Health Innovation who deliver exciting programmes of CPD courses for the health sector. The teaching team in the Department of Computer Science has a worldwide reputation for its CPD activity in system safety.

The courses aim to educate health professionals (medical device developers, healthcare procurers, managers, clinicians) to understand the scale and impact of the problem of unsafe practice, and to recognize hazardous or unsafe situations, as well as to develop skills with which to appraise and analyse how and why unsafe practice may have arisen.

For more information contact Dr Mark Nicholson. Email: Tel: 01904 432789. Web:

10 years on: 'Most influential' functional programming paper

Date Added: 8th September 2009
A 1999 paper, written by Dr Malcolm Wallace and Professor Colin Runciman for the ACM SIGPLAN International Conference on Functional Programming, has been voted 'most influential', ten years later.

The award is given annually to the authors of a paper presented at the ICFP held 10 years prior to the award year. The award includes a prize of $1,000 to be split among the authors of the winning paper. A panel of experts judges the papers by their influence over the past decade.

Wallace and Runciman's paper, "Haskell and XML: Generic combinators or type-based translation?", was one of the first papers to spell out the close connection between functional programming languages and XML. It described a typed correspondence between XML's document type definitions (DTD) and Haskell datatypes. This correspondence leads to a natural representation of XML data in functional languages and permits native functions to operate on this representation. The paper also describes a generic encoding of XML trees together with a combinator language for querying and transforming the XML.

The paper led to a widespread awareness of the close connection between XML and functional programming and initiated a flurry of research on functional XML processing. Moreover, the accompanying implementation was widely distributed as part of a CD with various XML tools, thus making an impact in the problem domain beyond the functional programming community: a perfect example of functional programming solving real world problems.

The work described in the 1999 paper was funded by Canon Research Europe.

The University of York celebrates new rail link

Date Added: 19th August 2009
The University of York has announced a major new collaboration with Crossrail Ltd, to support a new course in Computer Science.

Through a new agreement, Crossrail, the company delivering the new railway for London and the South-East – Europe's largest civil engineering project – will provide annual sponsorship of £60,000 for the Master of Engineering course in Embedded Systems.

The four-year course offered by the University’s Department of Computer Science aims to give students practical experience of hardware and software development and working with a major industrial collaborator.

Crossrail will be involved in the design of the course and will also provide guest lectures, as well as an annual prize of £250 for the outstanding student. Students on the course will be able to visit Crossrail's premises in London and may also be offered one-year internships on the project.

An embedded systems laboratory in the new Computer Science building currently under construction on the University's Heslington East campus expansion will be named 'the Crossrail Laboratory'.

For the full story please visit:

Student’s 'green' use for online social networking

Date Added: 17th August 2009
A Computer Science student at the University of York has created a new Facebook application that uses the social networking website for monitoring home energy consumption.

Derek Foster developed the WattsUp application, which will also allow people to assess their carbon dioxide emissions, as part of his project for the MSc in Human-centred Interactive Technologies.

The domestic sector accounts for about 30 per cent of all energy consumed in the UK. The application aims to raise awareness of energy consumption in the home to both reduce usage and have a positive impact on climate change.

The WattsUp application records users' live and historical household energy consumption and carbon dioxide emissions, via a special energy monitor – the WATTSON monitor.

For the full article please visit:

University marks important links with IBM

Date Added: 10th August 2009
The University of York has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with IBM UK, to underline the close links between the two institutions.

The University of York has enhanced its links with industry by joining IBM UK’s University Relations Program. The aim is to expand the scope of the resources and experiences offered to students, better preparing them for the careers of tomorrow with skills that will stimulate growth and drive innovation.

Please see the full story at

Two new visiting professors

Date Added: 7th August 2009
The Department is glad to welcome two new visiting Professors, from IBM and Credit Suisse.

The department is pleased to announce the recent appointment of two new Honorary Visiting Professors:

Professor Maurice Perks is our new Royal Academy of Engineering Visiting Professor in Integrated Systems Design. He has worked for IBM for almost 40 years, and is now an IBM Fellow, one of the company's top scientists and engineers. He specialises in the application of IT through the evolution of complex IT systems, and is a world authority on the design and development of complex commercial systems.

Professor Mark Rodbert is a Director in IT Risk, currently responsible for Regulatory and Audit Support for IT across Credit Suisse. He has been a member of the Department's Industrial Advisory Board for many years, and is looking forward particularly to working with the Enterprise Systems group, under Professor Richard Paige, both on the CS with Business Enterprise Systems degree and on research projects.

Honours for two York Computer Science academics

Date Added: 28th July 2009
Professor Edwin Hancock has received a Royal Society Wolfson Research Merit Award, and Professor Alan Burns has been elected to the Royal Academy of Engineering.

Professor Hancock, an expert on computer vision, is one of the recipients in 2009 of the prized Royal Society Wolfson Research Merit Award for outstanding achievement.

An expert in real-time systems, Professor Burns was one of 45 new Fellows of the Royal Academy of Engineering, including academics and industrialists, elected at the Academy’s annual general meeting this month.

Class of 2009: Computer Science Graduates

Date Added: 17th July 2009
MSc Gas Turbine Control students were amongst those graduands celebrating their achievements at the recent Graduation Ceremony.

Department of Computer Science students celebrated their achievements at the recent Graduation Ceremony.

The first cohort of MSc Gas Turbine Control students were amongst those who attended the ceremony, which saw the University award Honorary Degrees to Professor Kel Fielder and Sir Robin Saxby.

Before the Ceremony, the Department hosted a Reception, at which the Department awarded a number of prizes to the Graduands: Gary Plumbridge - BAE Systems prize for outstanding overall performance on a 4 year programme; James Hogan - Detica prize for outstanding overall performance on a 3 year programme and the IET prize for the best performance on an IET accredited programme; Derek Wall - outstanding performance on the MSc Gas Turbine Control course.

Prizes were awarded by the Chair of Board of Studies, Dr Jeremy Jacob.