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News Archive : April - June 2014

Undergraduate student research goes to prestigious robotics conference

Date Added: 18th June 2014
Work performed by Artjoms ​​Rizihs as part of his MEng major project dissertation is to be published as part of a paper in a leading European conference on robotics.

Art’s work was to develop “swarm based” algorithms for the new robotic platform developed by the York Robotics Laboratory (YRL), part of the Department of Computer Science at the University of York.

Art’s work was instrumental in the understanding of the new robotic platform and its limitations with respect to the sensors on the robots. The paper, entitled "The Pi Swarm: A low-cost platform for swarm robotics research and education” will be presented at the 15th Towards Autonomous Robotics Conference in Birmingham, in September 2014.

Art is a student on our MEng in Computer Science, and graduates this year.

J.A. Hilder, R. Naylor, A. ​​Rizihs, D. Franks and J. Timmis The Pi Swarm: A low-cost platform for swarm robotics research and education, Accepted for the 15th Towards Autonomous Robotic Systems Conference (TAROS) 2014.

York Computer Science PhD student chosen by Royal Society to represent UK

Date Added: 27th May 2014
Chris Marriott has been chosen as one of just two UK PhD students to represent the UK at the Commonwealth Science Conference, to be held in Bangalore, India on 25-28 November 2014.

Organised by the Royal Society and the Indian Government, this will be the first Commonwealth Science Conference (CSC) for nearly 50 years. It will be attended by 300 specially invited scientists and 70 selected PhD students from across the Commonwealth.

Chris, whose PhD explores the application of Formal Methods to safety-critical systems, is part of the High Integrity Systems Research Group within the Department. His work focuses on proving the correctness (or not) of systems before they are deployed in the real world, for example, pacemakers or cruise controllers in cars. Chris will present a poster of his work at the CSC, alongside other cutting-edge research from across the Commonwealth.

Chris said, “I’m really delighted to have been chosen to represent the UK at the Commonwealth Science Conference. It’s a real honour to present my own work at such a prestigious conference. It promises to be a great learning experience and I’m sure I’ll meet a lot of interesting people.”

The Royal Society chose Chris to attend the conference from applications from PhD students across the UK. He will be joined at the conference by Sarah Baker, an Engineering Doctorate student from the University of Birmingham, whose research topic is very different – Sarah is studying Friction Stir Welding (FSW), a technique that joins metals without melting them together.

The conference aims to celebrate excellence in Commonwealth science; to provide opportunities for cooperation between researchers in different Commonwealth countries; to inspire young scientists; and to build scientific capability in the developing nations within the Commonwealth.

Keynote speakers include Sir Paul Nurse, President of the Royal Society and Professor CNR Rao, Chairman of the Scientific Advisory Council to the Prime Minister of India, and there will be presentations from leading scientists across the Commonwealth. For more information about the conference, visit

York Royal Society Research Fellow at the Hay Festival

Date Added: 13th May 2014
Professor Ana Cavalcanti will join three other Royal Society Fellows to discuss her cutting-edge research.

The talk takes place on Thursday 29 May at the Hay Festival, and Professor Cavalcanti will discuss her research into "The Mathematics of Software Engineering". Here is a short abstract of the talk:

Computer technology and software engineering, in particular, have changed the face of our society in a radical way in the last few decades. Software is everywhere, and the smooth running of our every day lives very much depend on software working properly. Despite that, software products do not come with the same warranty levels as pieces of hardware, for instance. The basic mathematical principles that underlie software engineering are known, but as the programming technology evolves, its mathematical principles need to be uncovered. Additionally, they need to be reflected in programming and verification practices for the wide benefit of our society. We will discuss the challenges that we need to face so that software engineers can provide proper assurance for their products, just like every other engineer does.

To find out more about the event and book your ticket to hear these four cutting-edge Royal Society Fellows discuss things from solar science to fungi sensing, go to

York team are global NASA finalist!

Date Added: 9th May 2014
We're delighted to congratulate What's next, one of the York Space Apps Challenge teams, on becoming global finalists.

The What's next project explores the data from missions to Mars to create a knowledge map, that highlights gaps in data and experience. Find out more about the project.

The project will be judged by NASA executives in the Best Mission Concept category. Good luck to the team!

Check out all the global finalists.

Successful Space Apps Challenge 2014 held at York

Date Added: 21st April 2014
The International Space Apps Challenge was hosted in the University of York Department of Computer Science over the weekend of 12th -13th April 2014.

The event was also live streamed on YouTube for 32 continuous hours and received a total of 464 playbacks from 30 different countries, totalling 153 hours of total view time.

There were eight teams working on projects at York, with 40 attendees in total. This included current students from the University of York, as well as other universities from around the country and even representation from IBM based with the Department of Computer Science at York.

Each project was judged by a panel of judges: Dr. Flavio Lerda (Google UK), Dr. Gary Morgan (ETAS) and Gav Winter (The Test People). Two teams were selected by the panel as winners for Space Apps York in two categories: Best Use of Data and Best Mission Concept. A third winner was selected for the People’s Choice award based on anonymous voting from those attending the event at York.

The team What’s next won in the Best Mission Concept category. The team was made up of: Andrew Wise (, Will Soutter (, Fujia Di and Fanlu Hai (postgraduate students in the Department of Computer Science), George Baines (an undergraduate in the Department of Computer Science), and Aleksandra Borisova (a final year PhD student from the Department of Chemistry undertaking research in Green Chemistry).

Their winning project solved the Space Mission Roadmap Challenge, and explored the knowledge gained from past Mars missions and what could be learnt from the scheduled missions in attempt to create a "knowledge map", identifying any gaps in the data that could be addressed by future missions.

You can read more about this winning project at

What’s up were the winning team in both Best Use of Data and the People’s Choice categories. The team was made up of: Ben Ezard, Callum Hewitt, Raluca Morel and Arushi Aneja (all first year undergraduates in the Department of Computer Science); Vishnu Sunil (from York’s Environment Department); and Neel Rana (University of Liverpool).

"What's Up?" addressed the Alert-Alert! Challenge, and provides users with accurate data of night sky events in their area. Users can find out when the next events will be happening, with a brief description about each one. The events recorded include full and new moon phases, solar and lunar eclipses, conjunctions and meteor showers. The project site also includes educational resources including information on the Aurora Borealis, climate change, constellations and light pollution.

You can read more about this winning project at

The winning teams have submitted a 30-second video in order to be eligible for global judging by NASA and their partners. NASA will review all nominees to narrow the field to 25 global nominees and 25 People’s Choice nominees. These 50 finalists will be publicised on the Space Apps website, and each People’s Choice finalist will be given a hashtag so the public can vote for their favourite through Twitter. A senior panel from NASA will select a winner from the 25 global award finalists.

All UK winners will present their solutions at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London on 27th May 2014 at the Digital Futures. The Space Apps Challenge York organisers are considering funding travel expenses for up to one person from each team to present their solutions.

You can see the projects demonstrated at the event on the International Space Apps York YouTube channel at