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News Archive : April - June 2013

National competition success for York Computer Science student

Date Added: 28th June 2013
PhD student Frank Soboczenski has scooped top prize in a national competition after inspiring judges with a three-minute presentation on research into reducing number-entry errors in medical devices.

Frank won the inaugural 3 Minute Thesis UK Competition and a £150 prize after facing strong competition from 14 other postgraduate students from across the country.

Hosted by the Leeds University Union, the competition challenged researchers to communicate the impact of their work in just three minutes using plain and simple English.

Frank’s research focuses on understanding what errors people make when entering numbers in medical devices and how we can make these devices safer to use. While typing errors in general are little more than an inconvenience, in healthcare a small error can have serious consequences.

Frank said: “I found the 3 Minute Thesis competition challenging but also tremendously rewarding because it helped me to demonstrate what my research is about and what the potential impacts for society are. In addition, it was good to meet lots of people afterwards who were really excited about my work and wanted to know more, which in itself is rewarding.

“It was incredible to win particularly as all the other participants were really fantastic. I think being a good communicator is immensely important because it gives researchers the ability to reach a wider, non-specialised audience by explaining a sometimes very technical or difficult topic in an understandable or even amusing way.“

Frank took part in the competition alongside fellow York PhD students Ema Sullivan-Bissett, from the Department of Philosophy and Jennifer South-Palomares, from the Department of Psychology. Also taking part in the event were postgraduate students from the London School of Economics, Queen Mary University of London and the Universities of Glasgow, Leeds and Salford.

Competitors presented to a 140-strong audience, as well as judges Elizabeth Gibney, a science and research reporter with Times Higher Education, Dr Laura Bellingham, Assistant Director in Research, Information and Enquiry at the Quality Assurance Agency, and Dr Tony Bromley, Regional Advisor for Vitae in Yorkshire and the North East.

Dr Karen Clegg, Director of Researcher Development at the University of York, said: "We are delighted that Frank has won the first ever national 3 Minute Thesis (3MT) event. The competition was fierce with some exceptional presentations from PhD students across the country.

“The 3MT competition provides research students with the opportunity to develop their presentation and research communication skills by explaining their research to an intelligent but non-specialist audience. This is seen as important by the research councils and government in developing world leading research that has impact on society.”

Next year’s 3 Minute Thesis challenge will be hosted by the University of York in collaboration with Vitae.

York Computer Science academic appointed to REF2014 panel

Date Added: 20th June 2013
Professor Edwin Hancock will be part of the Computer Science and Informatics panel for the Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2014.

Professor Hancock, head of our Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition research group, has been appointed to the panel as an assessor for REF 2014. REF 2014 is the new system for assessing the quality of research in UK higher education institutions. It will replace the 2008 Research Assessment Exercise (RAE).

The role of the assessor augments the expertise on the panels assessing UK universities’ research. Those appointed are practising researchers or those with professional experience of using, applying or benefitting from academic research, and will help to assess the impact and quality of research outputs.

Professor Hancock has been active in computer vision and pattern recognition research for 20 years, and his research topics include machine learning in computer vision, graph-spectral methods, 3D surface reconstruction from 2D images and quantum computing. He is also a Royal Society Wolfson Research Merit Award holder for outstanding achievement.

Mike Burke from BAE Systems, a member of our Industrial Advisory Board has also been appointed as an assessor. They both join Professor Alan Burns, who is a member of the panel.

Exciting new internship scheme launched for taught MSc students

Date Added: 13th June 2013
We're delighted to announce a new internship scheme for students starting a taught postgraduate course in September 2013.

The internship scheme makes the most of our excellent industrial links, and our best MSc students will be able to apply to join a company for an internship.

The internship will begin once the MSc course has finished, and will take place between October and December. The internship is designed to help students put what they have learnt into practice in a real workplace environment, whilst also earning some money and increasing their employment prospects.

Find out more about the scheme.

In India and need advice on applying to study in the Department of Computer Science?

Date Added: 21st May 2013
Dr Will Smith, a lecturer in Computer Science, is visiting India this week to help prospective Computer Science students.

Dr Smith will be visiting a number of agent offices and recruitment fairs on his trip to India this week. If you'd like to meet with him to discuss your application to the Department of Computer Science at York, or perhaps if you're thinking of applying here, find out where he'll be visiting, and when.

We welcome enquiries at both postgraduate and undergraduate level. Contact us if you would like more information and to make an appointment to meet with Dr Smith on

York Computer Science rise in Complete University Guide

Date Added: 29th April 2013
The subject league table for Computer Science sees York rise up to ninth in the 2014 Complete University Guide.

We're delighted to have risen in the Complete University Guide league table, based on measures including student satisfaction, graduate prospects and research assessment. In the University league table, York held its position at number 12.

View the full Computer Science subject league table.

Developing winning apps for NASA in the largest hackathon ever!

Date Added: 24th April 2013
The Department of Computer Science was host to teams competing with others around the world in the NASA Space Apps Challenge.

Teams competed throughout the weekend of 20-21 April, working on real-life challenges set by NASA. In the largest hackathon ever held, more than 9,000 people and 484 organisations from around the world came together in 83 cities across 44 countries, as well as online, to engage directly with NASA.

In York, the winning team was OTG York, who worked on creating an extending social media tool to increase user awareness of environmental footprint. You can find more details of their project at

Second place went to Team Centauri, who developed a cross-platform mobile/web app to spot space stations. You can find more details of their project at:

Both OTG York and Team Centauri were nominated for global judging. This will take place in May. Keep up to date with the latest news on the Challenge at

To find out more about the event, including the projects worked on in York, check out Well done to everyone who took part in the event!

York to host NASA Space Apps Challenge

Date Added: 3rd April 2013
Join us for one of the NASA challenges being held across the world on 20-21 April 2013, and design an app that could end up in space!

The Space Apps Challenge is a global student-organised event created by NASA, its supporting agencies and collaborating companies. The Challenge takes place at locations across the globe simultaneously, and the Department of Computer Science at the University of York is among the 50 host locations.

The Challenge is a codeathon-style event, which will bring together people interested in collaborating on developing solutions to address some of NASA's real-life challenges. Challenges range from creating an app to allow observers of a meteor shower to trace the location, colour and size of the shooting star, to exploring the dark side of the moon using available images and data by creating web applications and 3D-printed objects. Find out more about the challenges involved at

The challenge is an international collaboration between government agencies, organisations, academic institutions and individuals from across the globe. Participants will work together in teams to create these solutions over the two-day event. Over 2,000 people participated in last year’s event, creating 101 open source solutions to challenges in space and on Earth. This year over 6,000 people have already registered, making this possibly the largest ‘hackathon’ in history.

York's event is organised and run by PhD students from the Department of Computer Science, and will also include involvement from industrial partners and a job fair. The York event is sponsored by the Department of Computer Science, Cybula, ARM, the Met Office, UK Space Agency, Satellite Applications Catapult, GitHub and Media Skunk Works. Several of the sponsors will host stands at the event and provide local prizes, and ARM and Media Skunk Works will act as judges.

Frank Soboczenski, a PhD student in York’s Department of Computer Science, is one of the organisers of the York student-led event. He said: “We’re really excited about hosting Space Apps in York. It is a fantastic opportunity for students, developers, designers and creative minds - everyone who is interested in space and Earth-related sciences – to present their skills and make a difference.

“I participated in last year’s event and it was great fun, as it’s a unique opportunity to work together with people from all over the world. NASA has not just created this event, but they are also involved in every aspect of Space Apps. This means that NASA, its supporting agencies and hundreds of collaborating companies will be watching what you are doing.

“We are also really pleased to have a number of industrial partners and companies working with us at York, both observing and judging the results.“

Winning global projects will go on show at the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, with the winning teams receiving special attention from NASA to further develop their app.

Between 60 and 80 people are expected to take part in the two-day challenge at York, with additional input from virtual participants from across the UK and beyond. The NASA Space Apps Challenge will take place from 10am on Saturday, 20 April until 5pm on Sunday, 21 April. The challenge is open to anyone interested in helping humankind explore space.

To join the challenge at York visit Follow on Facebook at or Twitter By taking part, you could be creating something that may be blasted into space in the near future!