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News Archive : October - December 2011

Times Higher Award honour for Outstanding Engineering Research Team

Date Added: 25th November 2011
Our Advanced Computer Architectures research group has won Outstanding Engineering Research Team of the Year in the prestigious Times Higher Education Awards 2011.

Winners were announced at a gala dinner on 24 November at the Grosvenor House Hotel in London. The awards, now in their seventh year, represent a high profile opportunity to celebrate the excellence and achievements of UK higher education institutions. York was named University of the Year in last year’s THE awards ceremony.

The Advanced Computer Architectures group was one of six shortlisted research teams in this category. The award is designed to recognise a team whose innovative research has made or has the potential to make, a far-reaching impact on its field and to catch the public's imagination.

The group is led by Professor Jim Austin. He said: "We are absolutely delighted by the award; it recognises the years of hard work of the team and its collaborators. I am sure that the main factors in winning have been our commitment to solving real problems, in real applications, with an understanding of the commercial constraints.

"We have benefitted from a consistent and talented team over the last 10 years, supported through Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) and Technology Strategy Board (TSB) grants. This has allowed us to build the deep expertise needed to solve the hard problems industry faces. Being in a successful, supportive Department and University has made all the difference. We are looking forward to a rosy future despite these hard times."

The Advanced Computer Architectures group's work is based on ideas of how the brain works. The team has successfully developed a breakthrough technology – AURA – which mimics the brain's ability to make sense of massive amounts of data.

Professor Austin said: “In basic terms, AURA allows large, complex and unstructured data to be stored and searched. Uniquely it allows textual, image and signal information to be analysed quickly, despite the inherent problems in ‘real’ data – that they are incomplete, badly described and large in quantity.

The team has worked with Rolls-Royce on Aero Engines, where AURA was used to analyse patterns of unusual activities in engines, while teams using AURA in the Department for Transport have improved management of the road system.

Its methods have proved so successful that the team has set up a spin-off company, Cybula Ltd, to further develop the application of these ideas in areas including power generation, wind energy systems and medicine.

Find out more about the work of the Advanced Computer Architecture research group at

IEEE honour for real-time systems Professor

Date Added: 23rd November 2011
Congratulations to Professor Alan Burns, who has been elected as a Fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE).

The IEEE is the world's largest technical professional society, and is made up of technical and scientific professionals making the revolutionary engineering advances which are reshaping our world today.

Recognising the achievements of its members is an important part of the mission of the IEEE. Becoming elevated to IEEE Fellow involves a rigorous evaluation procedure, and only a select group of recipients are recommended for one of the Association's most prestigious honours.

Professor Burns, a Professor of Real Time Systems in Computer Science at York, received his fellowship for contributions to fixed-priority scheduling for embedded real-time systems. This work has been applied to embedded systems in industries such as space, avionics and automotive. It results in systems that are appropriately predictable in the timing domain.

Professor Burns said, "I'm delighted to have received this honour from the IEEE. It reflects the work that the Real-Time group, here at York, has been engaged in for many years. I'm very pleased to be the one that get the credit for all this excellent research."

If you would like to find out more about the work of the Real-Time Systems research group, you can do so at

Considering studying for a PhD in Computer Science?

Date Added: 9th November 2011
Come along to our special event to find out more and meet some of our academics and students on Wednesday 16 November.

Are you considering - or just curious about - a doctoral degree? In this series of short talks by academics from the Department of Computer Science, you will discover what doctoral research involves, how a research degree can benefit you, and where our former doctoral students are now.

Funding opportunities and possible research topics will also be discussed, and any questions you have will be answered. This event is open to all students who are considering a doctoral degree in Computer Science, irrespective of their current department.

You can find out more about our PhD programme at and details of research carried out in the Department of Computer Science at

The event will be held on Wednesday 16 November, from 15.15 - 17.15, in the Ron Cooke Hub Lakehouse Room. For more information, please contact Louis Rose on

Rare American honour for Professor Sam Braunstein

Date Added: 19th October 2011
Professor Braunstein joins only 40 UK residents as a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) is the world's largest general scientific society. It is dedicated to advancing science around the world by serving as an educator, leader, spokesperson and professional association.

Currently out of the 8,156 fellows of the AAAS, only 350 have addresses outside the USA. Of these, only 40 are based in the UK.

Find out more about Professor Braunstein's recent revolutionary research into black holes.

Registration is now open for York Doctoral Symposium 2011

Date Added: 12th October 2011
The fourth York Doctoral Symposium (YDS) will be held on 20 October 2011, and is specifically designed for research students to showcase their work in a realistic academic setting.

There will be a keynote talk on "Robot Bodies and How To Evolve Them" by Professor Alan Winfield of UWE, several paper presentations by students in Computer Science and other departments, a second keynote by Lydia Oshlyanski from Google, and finally a poster presentation session with a drinks reception. You can read our full programme here:

YDS 2011 promises to be an intense and interesting day and there is also a suitably exciting culinary programme too. Both (a very good) lunch and an evening banquet at York's Olive Garden are included with registration, which this year is free of charge.

All information about YDS including the programme can be found on the website at: and you can register for the conference at

New public lecture: IBM's Global Technology Outlook - Predicting our technological future

Date Added: 5th October 2011
We're delighted to welcome Rashik Parmar, IBM's Chief Technology Officer for Northern Europe to give a public lecture on Monday 7 November 2011.

Rashik will be talking about the Global Technology Outlook, a yearly report prepared by IBM and some of the world's top scientists, which identifies significant technology trends five to ten years before they come to realisation.

Find out more about the lecture and how to attend at