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University of Warwick
UOA 23 - Computer Science and Informatics
RA5a: Research environment and esteem
University of Warwick, UOA23, RA5a
In the period since 2001, the Department has seen significant developments in its research. The number of research active staff has risen from 20 at the last census date to 27, fulfilling our goal of enhancing our research by creating two new research groups, Computational Biology (CB) and Intelligent and Adaptive Systems (IAS) and strengthening the others. Current research awards amount to over £5M, a fourfold increase over 2001. The population of research students and fellows has more than doubled, now standing at over seventy. The average publication rate has increased to four per annum per research active staff member. Members of the Department have chaired seventeen workshops and conferences over the review period and served on over one hundred programme committees. A number of staff were awarded prizes and Paterson was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society. In short, the Department has demonstrably raised its research profile over the review period.
The strength of any department comes from the intellectual vitality and enthusiasm of its staff. We have attracted a number of outstanding researchers, at both senior and junior levels. We have made three appointments at professorial level: Peled to lead research in the area of formal methods (FM), Feng, appointed jointly with the University Centre for Scientific Computing (CSC), to initiate research in Computational Biology and Czumaj to strengthen the Algorithms and Computational Complexity (ACC) group, an important step in the context of the EPSRC award for a research centre in Discrete Mathematics and its Applications (DIMAP). Our cohort of professors was further increased by the promotion of Campbell-Kelly to a personal chair, in recognition of his contributions to the History of Computing. This has raised the professorial population from 3 to 7, a quarter of academic staff. At Senior Lecturer level, Anand and Cristea were appointed to develop a new research group in Intelligent and Adaptive Systems, taking the number of research groups in the Department to seven: Algorithms (ACC), Computational Biology (CB), Formal Methods (FM), Human Aspects of Computing (HAC), High Performance Systems (HPS), Intelligent and Adaptive Systems (IAS) and Signal and Image Processing (SIP). Six appointments were made at Lecturer level: He joined HPS; Jhumka joined FM; Li and Rajpoot joined SIP; Griffiths was appointed in the area of IAS and Jurdzinski to FM. In 2007, Timofeeva was appointed to an RCUK Fellowship in association with the Doctoral Training Centre in Complexity Science and Räcke to a lectureship in DIMAP.
A major theme in the assessment period has been the growth of interdisciplinary research, led by the University, with the creation of Research Council supported research centres in Molecular Organisation and Assembly in Cells (MOAC), which has just been funded for a further eight years, Systems Biology and Complexity Science. The University also established the Centre for Scientific Computing (CSC). Members of staff collaborate through these centres with colleagues in departments including Biology, Physics, Mathematics and Statistics. The Department has made its own contribution, through the Science and Innovation award from EPSRC of £3.8M to establish the DIMAP centre, a joint venture with the Mathematics Institute and Warwick Business School, Computer Science being the senior partner. This funds the appointment of 3 lecturers and will fund six 2-year postdoctoral fellowships and ten PhD studentships. The University has supported this centre by funding an additional academic post. The development of these multidisciplinary research activities is central to our research strategy.
2. Research Environment
The following sections present the essentials relating to the research environment for Computer Science at Warwick.
(a) Infrastructure, Facilities and Support
Warwick University has continued to pursue its aim of achieving internationally recognised research excellence across all departments, to gain a place in the top fifty universities in the world. It has committed significant funds to strengthening its interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary research centres (a total of £24M awarded by Research Councils, matched by over £5M invested by the University). It has set up an Institute for Advanced Studies, whose remit is to attract internationally renowned researchers across all disciplines, for collaborative work with Warwick staff, including workshops, seminars and short residences. It has increased its spending on Library and IT services, providing excellent coverage of on-line resources via high bandwidth links across campus and to JANET. Lastly, it has expanded its Research Development Fund to provide £500K per annum for strategic initiatives in research.
Furthermore, the University awarded £750K of SRIF-2 funds to the Department to improve its computing facilities, allowing it to install two PC clusters, a 4m by 2m stereoscopic wall display system and a unique video capture facility, with 48 high-resolution digital video cameras, each linked to a dedicated PC. A render cluster of 23 high performance processors is connected to the stereo display by a high bandwidth interface. Every member of staff is provided with a desktop and laptop machine and every research student has exclusive use of a desktop computer. Filestores and general computing resources are provided through the departmental servers. The departmental network is based on a backbone of gigabit ethernet, with 100Mb/s links to user machines. Through gigabit switches, there is access to the more powerful clusters operated in the CSC, facilitating the work of the HPS group, in particular.
Administrative support is provided through Warwick’s Research Support Services (RSS), who assist in the preparation of research contracts and in their completion, as well as identifying funding opportunities and dealing with IPR issues, with a member of the RSS team devoting half her time to Computer Science. Technology transfer is handled by Warwick Ventures, who have helped members of the Department to spin out two companies during the assessment period. The departmental administrator and accounts secretary assist academic staff in managing the finances of research contracts.
(b) Staff Development
As important as physical infrastructure and finance are the mechanisms for staff development. In line with University policy, the Department operates a probationary system for new staff in which each appointee is mentored by a senior colleague in their research group and is reviewed annually by the Head of Department, to assist their development as teachers and researchers. This is important in a department such as Computer Science, where there are currently five members of staff (four lecturers and one RCUK fellow) who are early career researchers. Probationers are given a reduced teaching load (at most 2/3 of the normal load) and a minimal administrative load. They are also provided with start-up funds to help them develop their research and assist in funding of research students and conference attendance.
With the University’s new career structure, on successful completion of their probation, staff are promoted to ‘Associate Professor’. Staff are eligible to apply for study leave and the Department operates a generous system, giving an entitlement of one year’s sabbatical after six years’ service. In recent years, three academic members of staff have been on leave in any given year. Staff time spent working on externally funded research projects and supervision of research students is recognised through the departmental workload model. Staff are appraised annually and the University runs a programme of staff development courses, covering many topics, from obtaining research funding to managing departments.
The Department holds weekly research seminars to stimulate communication and collaboration with colleagues from other disciplines and institutions. Recent highlights include a talk on the 4-colour theorem by Dr Georges Gonthier of Microsoft, Cambridge and one on ‘Boolean Footprints’ by Professor Don Knuth of Stanford. In addition, research groups hold regular seminars dealing with more specialised topics.
(c) Cumulative Impact of Research
As can be seen from their publications, members of the Department have made significant contributions to a number of important areas of research in Computer Science and its applications, including networking theory, algorithmic game theory, modelling of biological systems, quantum computing, software verification, the history and philosophy of computing, system performance modelling, web-based learning and assessment, and multiresolution stochastic modelling of image data. Production of refereed publications rose to 627 for the years from 2001-2006, or approximately four papers per year per member of academic staff, a twofold increase over the last RAE period. Citations give another measure: Table 1 shows the distribution of citations for papers listed in RA2, from Google Scholar. This indicates the impact of our publications, with a mean citation rate of about 3 per paper per year over the period, rising to 4 if papers from 2006-7 are excluded (half of those papers with fewer than 11 citations were published in the last two years).
Table 1: Number of citations of papers in RA2, from Google Scholar. Mean =15.9.
Another indication of the impact of our work is service in an advisory role. Since 2001, Nudd has acted as an advisor to the UK Cabinet Office and the Government of Singapore; he has been an advisor to NASA, the UK Research Councils and the US Navy on high performance computing systems. Campbell-Kelly has given presentations on IP issues to Microsoft, the Centre for New Europe, the Progress and Freedom Foundation and the Stockholm Network and served as an expert witness in legal cases in New York, Los Angeles, London and Birmingham. Cristea served as UNESCO personalisation and adaptation expert for Eastern Europe in 2004.
The Department’s work has also had significant commercial impact. Rudgyard founded Concurrent Thinking, now the UK’s leading provider and integrator of high performance computing systems. He left the Department in 2002 to play a full-time role at the company, which has won several awards, including ‘Best Spin-out Company’ in the 2003 Lord Stafford Awards. It currently employs over forty people, many of them Warwick graduates.
In 2006, Warwick Warp was founded by Bhalerao and Wilson with a former research student, Li Wang. After obtaining an award from Advantage West Midlands, the Regional Development Agency, the company won the UK Research Councils Business Plan competition. It has recently attracted £0.5M of venture capital.
Software developed within the HPS group is now in use at companies including Microsoft, Apple Computer, AWE and LANL. Software developed in collaboration with Improvision Ltd is currently used in their products for image analysis. New methods for cross-platform digital broadcasting, based on principles developed in the HAC group, were prototyped by the BBC through collaborative projects and contributed to the new PCF [Portable Content Format] standard.
The BOSS system for on-line assessment (Joy1), one of the first practicable, secure on-line submission and assessment systems in the world, is in use at a number of universities, including Birmingham and Tampere University of Technology. Seven members of staff currently hold or have applied for patents based on their research.
(d) Industrial Collaboration
The Department has several successful collaborations with industry, notably with IBM, who have sponsored a number of research projects and currently work closely with the HPS group, through both Hursley and the Thomas J Watson Center (He1). In 2001, IBM awarded Warwick the title ‘Centre of Research Excellence’ in recognition of this work. Mike Cowlishaw, an IBM Fellow, is a Visiting Professor at the Department and participates in the Department’s research activities, notably those of the FM group. HPS also has collaborations with AWE Ltd, NASA Ames Research Center (Nudd1,Nudd4,Jarvis3) and the US Army. Other collaborators include Los Alamos National Laboratory, CSIRO in Australia and NEC Research Laboratories, Germany. The HAC group has had collaborations with the BBC, INRIA, LECG (Chicago) and Indiana University and with Microsoft, the London Science Museum, the Software History Center, Los Angeles and the Computer History Museum, Mountain View. Members of the IAS group collaborate with companies across Europe, through their EU projects, PROLEARN and Minerva, including TURPIN-VISION, Eindhoven, SOFTWIN, Bucharest and VISTA, Sofia. They also have a collaboration with Jaguar Cars Ltd (Griffiths3). Industrial collaborators of the SIP group have included Sony Broadcast and Professional Ltd, Improvision, Oxford Glycosciences, the Institute for Nuclear Energy Research, Taiwan (Li2), DERA and the Forensic Science Service. They have begun a collaboration with dance and performance artists, using the multicamera studio and associated software, which is being pursued jointly with Professor Kershaw of the Department of Theatre, Performance and Cultural Policy Studies at the University.
(e) Academic Collaboration
Members of the Department collaborate with a wide range of colleagues, both within and outside the University, as indicated by the observation that of our publications in the years to 2006, some 55% were co-authored by members of other departments or institutions. One third of the staff in Computer Science have collaborated with other departments within the University, through joint projects, in the years 2001-2007. All research active staff have collaborations with external bodies. Those listed below are either funded or have led to publications. Where these publications are included in RA2 documentation, a reference is provided.
The Algorithms and Computational Complexity group focuses on the analysis and design of algorithms, randomised and approximation algorithms, algorithmic game theory, discrete mathematics, graph theory, parallel and distributed computations, string algorithms, networking and communication. Members of the group have worked with colleagues in Warwick Business School, in universities in the UK and worldwide, including Edinburgh, Liverpool (Paterson1-Paterson4), Leeds (Paterson3), LSE, Oxford, ENS, EPFL (Jurdzinski2), MIT, UC Berkeley (Jurdzinski2,Jurdzinski4), UCLA, Maryland (Paterson1), Warsaw (Czumaj1), RWTH-Aachen (Czumaj2,Czumaj3), Simon Fraser University (Czumaj3), Paderborn (Czumaj4), Aarhus (Jurdzinski1), ETH Zurich (Czumaj3), Tel Aviv (Jurdzinski3,Räcke2) and Kyoto. They were core members of the EU ALCOM programmes, which ran under various forms until 2004. They are the initiators and main partners in the EPSRC DIMAP centre, where they collaborate with members of the Mathematics Institute and Warwick Business School.
The Computational Biology group’s work covers both neural and molecular systems, with current projects on the analysis of spike train data recorded from multiple microelectrode arrays and modelling of networks of neurons. With Benjamin’s group at Sussex, they developed the first model of the central pattern generator of the feeding system of the snail. The group collaborates with the DTC’s in Complexity Science and Systems Biology, MOAC and the CSC. They have collaborated with Cambridge University (Feng1) and maintain strong links with the Universities of Sussex (Feng3), Nottingham (Timofeeva1) and Leng at Edinburgh and Kendrick’s group at the Babraham Institute (Feng2), funded by grants from BBSRC and EPSRC. Their overseas collaborators include CNRS at Gif sur Yvette (Feng2), Tirozzi of Rome University ‘La Sapienza’, the University of Houston, Florida Atlantic University, Jost of the Max Planck Institute, the University of Paris 6 (Feng4), the University of Hamburg (Kalvala3) and several universities in China, including Jaotong Universities in Shanghai and Fudan.
Research within the Formal Methods group addresses the problems of specifying, developing and maintaining reliable computing and communicating systems. Specific areas of research in the group include: logics, automata and games in computer science; algorithms and complexity of formal verification and synthesis; probabilistic, real-time, embedded, and quantum computing systems; fault tolerance and security. Members have collaborated with Imperial College (Nagarajan4), with the Universities of Oxford (Sinclair1,Sinclair2,Nagarajan2,Lazic1), Bristol, York, Newcastle, Birmingham and Glasgow (Nagarajan1,Nagarajan3). Overseas links include McGill, the University of Paris 7, the University of Provence (Peled1), CNRS Grenoble, ENS Cachan (Lazic3), UI-UC (Peled2), Rice (Peled3), Pennsylvania (Peled4), AIST Japan (Lazic4), Innsbruck, Mannheim (Jhumka1) and the Technical Universities of Dresden and Darmstadt (Jhumka2,Jhumka3). Nagarajan is a member of the EPSRC Network on the Semantics of Quantum Computation and the EU FP6 project on Secure Communications based on Quantum Cryptography (SECOQC).
The Human Aspects of Computing group addresses computing from conceptual, philosophical, historical, social and legal perspectives. Principles and tools developed by the group have been applied to re-engineering and design, in collaboration with UNESP (Brazil) and the School of Engineering, to educational technology with the Universities of Joensuu and Savoie and the Centre for New Technologies for Research in Education (CeNTRE) in the Institute of Education, and to humanities computing with the Centre for Computing in the Humanities at Kings College London (Beynon4). They have also been sponsored to give postgraduate summer schools in Kaohsiung, Taiwan and Rostock and as part of a ‘Showcase’ event for the EU KALEIDOSCOPE Network of Excellence. Collaborations with the Philosophy departments at Munich and Kansas State address a fundamental concern for the research group: formal and informal aspects of logic as they relate to mathematics and computing, both historically and in contemporary practice.
The research in the High Performance Systems group is focused on the analysis and evaluation of software-systems combinations. Their work includes the development of tools for parallel programming environments with McColl at Oxford, performance monitoring with Mitrani and van Moorsel at Newcastle, and Dove and Hayes at Cambridge and the building of performance-aware schedulers with Andrieux at the Globus Alliance, Berry at the National e-Science Centre, Garibaldi at Nottingham, MacLaren at Manchester, Jiang at Nebraska-Lincoln and Snelling at Fujitsu Labs, Europe. The techniques which the group has developed have wide application, including to medicine, with Saunders at the William Dunn School of Pathology Oxford and Rueckert at Imperial College London and to defence, with Vernon at Wisconsin, Madison. The group’s work has also had a large impact on e-infrastructure design, with Schopf and Gropp from Argonne National Laboratory, Leese from Daresbury Laboratory, Tierney from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and Cao of the MIT Center for Space Research.
The Intelligent and Adaptive Systems group’s work is centred around the themes of web engineering, data mining, agents and learning technologies. Through its membership of the EU Minerva project ‘Adaptive Learning Spaces’, the group has collaborations with many partners, including the Technical University of Eindhoven (Cristea4), Johannes Kepler University, Linz, National College of Ireland and Bauhaus University. Through the EU PROLEARN ‘network of excellence’, it has contact with over 100 partners, including Nejdl of the University of Hannover, the L3S Institute, Germany, de Bra, of Eindhoven University of Technology and colleagues at the Open University, Politecnico di Milano, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, the ARIADNE Foundation, Belgium, the Open University of The Netherlands. Other collaborations include the Universities of Southampton, Joensuu, Coventry (Griffiths3), Nottingham, Queen Mary London, Westminster, Ulster (Anand1,Anand3), Trinity College, Dublin (Anand3), Universidad Autónoma of Madrid, Aalborg, Athabasca, Bari and the University of Electro-Communications, Japan.
The Signal and Image Processing group’s work ranges over a wide area, from medical image processing to multimedia coding and image retrieval, using methods such as multiresolution random fields, wavelet packets and Markov chain Monte Carlo (MCMC) simulation, pioneering the use of MCMC methods for Bayesian inference on multiresolution image representations. Members of the group have collaborations with members of staff in the Departments of Statistics (Wilson3, Wilson4), Psychology (Bhalerao4) and Biological Sciences at Warwick, as well as Warwick Horticulture Research Institute. Since 2001, they have worked with academics at Oxford University (Bhalerao4), the University of Sheffield (Bhalerao3) and King’s College London (Bhalerao4). International partners include Kikinis of Harvard Medical School, Yale (Rajpoot1,Rajpoot2), the University of Colorado, Boulder (Rajpoot1,Rajpoot2), Xiao of UC, Davis, the Chinese University of Hong Kong (Martin1), Nattkemper of Bielefeld, Zerubia of INRIA, Sophia-Antipolis and Ma of Northeastern University, China.
(f) Research Students
Including those jointly supervised with other departments, notably MOAC and those currently in submission or writing, the population of research students in the Department is 70, of whom 62 are registered for PhD’s, a near doubling of the number at the last RAE submission (32). Support for research students is provided by a departmental induction event and by tailor-made courses on technical writing and on teaching, as well as the many courses and events organised at Faculty or University level. In addition to the short course, the Warwick Writing Programme provides one-to-one tutorials on request to students in all years of study. Every student receives funding to attend at least one conference during their period of study, to allow them to present a paper. Where appropriate, students are funded to make study visits to collaborating bodies, whether industrial or academic. Every student, whatever their source of funding, is provided with desk space in an office or laboratory and a desktop computer. To complement their supervisor, an advisor is allocated to each student to mentor them during their studies, while issues of general concern are handled by the postgraduate Staff-Student Liaison Committee, whose minutes are published on the departmental website. In accordance with University guidelines, students’ progress is monitored by the departmental Graduate Studies Committee, on the basis of annual review examinations, requiring students to submit a written report, on which they are examined orally.
Students are expected to participate and to present their work in group seminars. These events are complemented by the research students’ own annual conference, now in its fifth year, at which every student is expected to present a paper, with a prize awarded for the best paper.
(g) Research Income
The Department’s total research income has also risen: current grants from all sources total £5.3M, distributed as shown in Table 2 below. While the bulk of the funding comes from Research Councils, there has been an important component from industrial and other sources, notably IBM, NASA, AWE and Intel Corporation, demonstrating our commitment to develop international and industrial links. We have put in place a series of measures to help us to sustain and grow our research income, including support for early career staff, assistance from RSS and incentives to individuals through our workload model and to groups through the allocation of overheads.
Table 2: Current grants from various sources. Figures in £000’s.
(h) Research Organisation
The vitality of the Department’s research is indicated not only by its publications and student population, but also by its interactions with outside bodies and researchers from other institutions in the UK and overseas. The Department has hosted a number of workshops and conferences in the review period and there has been a steady stream of visitors of international standing. A brief description of each group’s activities follows.
The ACC group comprises five academic staff, two post-doctoral fellows and a number of PhD students. Seminars are organised on a weekly basis and are given by group members. Members also participate in weekly DIMAP research seminars, usually given by a distinguished external speaker. Over the assessment period, the group has received many distinguished visitors, including Turing Award winners Donald Knuth from Stanford and Stephen Cook of Toronto, Fulkerson Prize recipients Alistair Sinclair of UC Berkeley, Mark Jerrum from Queen Mary and Martin Dyer from Leeds University; Uri Zwick of Tel Aviv and Berthold Voecking from RWTH Aachen. Members of the group have organised conferences in the International Conference and Research Center for Computer Science in Dagstuhl and in the Mathematisches Forschungsinstitut Oberwolfach and the inaugural DIMAP Workshop on Algorithmic Game Theory in 2007, with keynote speakers Noam Nisan of the Hebrew University, Christos Papadimitriou from UC Berkeley, Tim Roughgarden from Stanford, Eva Tardos of Cornell and Vijay Vazirani from Georgia Tech.
Set up in 2005, the CB group has two permanent members, one RCUK Fellow, three postdoctoral fellows, two long term visitors (NSF of China) and eight PhD students. The group has provided a lively environment and attracted visitors from both within and outside the University. It has close associations with MOAC, with three PhD students under joint supervision and the Systems Biology centre. Interactions are centred around weekly meetings that include journal clubs and seminars and are attended by the group members and other interested staff. Journal clubs are usually led by the members of the group, while seminars are most often given by external visitors and collaborators. Recent seminar speakers include Simon Schulz from Imperial College, Alister Nicol from the Babraham Institute, Gareth Leng from Edinburgh and Vladimir Brezina from the Mt. Sinai School of Medicine, New York. The group also hosted a Workshop on Parkinson’s Disease, which attracted researchers from a range of disciplines and organised the ’Spring School on Computational Neuroscience’ in Shanghai, with speakers among the top researchers in the area.
The FM group has grown in prominence over the last few years and is now recognized internationally. It comprises six staff members and ten postgraduate students working in a range of areas. There are frequent group seminars. Recent visiting speakers have included Carl Seger of Intel, Filip Murlak and Mikolaj Bojanczyk from Warsaw University, Tomas Brihaye of LSV, CNRS and ENS Cachan, Hugo Gimbert from LIX, Ecole Polytechnique and Hynek Mlnarik of Masaryk University, Brno. Members of the group have given invited talks at conferences and seminars at many universities and industrial laboratories including Edinburgh, Oxford, General Motors (India), Microsoft, both Redmond and Cambridge, ENS Cachan, York, Philips Research, Eindhoven and the Technical University of Denmark. In 2005, members of the group organised the Fifth International Workshop on Verification of Critical Systems (AVoCS’05); the keynote speakers were Cliff Jones of Newcastle and James Worrell, then of Tulane University. The proceedings appeared in the series Electronic Notes in Theoretical Computer Science and selected papers were published in the August 2007 issue of Formal Aspects of Computing.
The HAC group has three academic members and five research students. The group holds regular seminars, in which all members are encouraged to participate. In 2001, members of the group organised the 4th International Conference on Cognitive Technology, at which keynote speakers included Andy Clark, now at Edinburgh, Judith Donath from the Media Lab at MIT and David Gooding of the Science Studies Centre at Bath. Among the group’s visitors have been Bill Aspray from Indiana and Mike Williams of Calgary, current president of the IEEE Computer Society. Visiting speakers have included Michael Jackson from the OU, Lars Mathiassen from Georgia State, Hans Roeck from Rostock, and Willard McCarty from KCL. In November 2007, the group hosted a 2-day workshop, ‘Thinking through Computing’, funded by AHRC, with guest speakers including Peter Wegner from Brown University, Susan Stepney of York and Don Ihde from SUNY, Stony Brook.
The HPS group consists of three permanent academic staff, one postdoctoral researcher and thirteen research students. The group comprises four research areas: grid computing, peer-to-peer computing, scientific computing and e-Business computing. The working groups in these areas meet weekly and the group as a whole meets monthly; regular conference calls and meetings are also held with collaborators: the group thrives on its international academic and industrial links. During the assessment period, it has hosted a number of academic and industrial researchers, including Darren Kerbyson of the Los Alamos National Laboratory, Donna Dillenberger from IBM Thomas J Watson Research Center, Andrew Herdman from the UK AWE, Jenny Schopf of Argonne National Laboratory and Junwei Cao of MIT. The group has been at the forefront of the Department’s IBM Centre for Research Excellence, managing an IBM S/390 Parallel Enterprise Server with sufficient processor power and cluster connectivity to support several thousand independent clients; the group runs several research clusters and contributes to the Warwick Campus Grid. Research students from the group have benefited from short-term placements at overseas collaborators, such as IBM and Los Alamos. The group has also contributed to national initiatives, including hosting the 19th UK Performance Engineering Workshop in 2003.
Formed in 2006, the IAS Group comprises four staff and eight student members. The group organises regular seminars and workshops and has formed collaborations with some of its invited guests and speakers. Recent visitors include Erki Sutinen, Head of Computer Science at Joensuu University. Guest speakers have included Cristina Hava-Muntean from the National College of Ireland and Gabriel Muntean of Dublin City University. Members of the group have given invited talks for international and national audiences, for example at the University of Electro-Communications, Tokyo, Shinshu University, Japan, and Southampton University. They have regularly visited prominent researchers such as Wolfgang Nejdl and Paul de Bra. They have organised international workshops and events, for example with Alfred Kobsa, father of User Modelling and with data mining expert Bamshad Mobasher, of DePaul University.
The SIP group has grown since 2001, now comprising five academic staff and some fifteen research students and assistants. Group seminars are organised on a fortnightly basis and every member is expected to give one seminar a year. The group has received many distinguished visitors over the assessment period, including Hans Knutsson of Linköping University, who has collaborated with the group over many years and Tim Nattkemper from Bielefeld, with whom they are collaborating on the analysis of histological images. Visiting speakers have included Alison Noble of Oxford, Graham Finlayson of UEA, David Hawkes from UCL, Bob Fisher from Edinburgh, Stephane Lafon from Yale and Andrew Fitzgibbon of Microsoft. Members of the group have given talks at universities including Cambridge, Harvard, Yale, Edinburgh, UCL, UCLA, Washington University and at INRIA, Sophia-Antipolis. In 2004, members of the group organised a Mathematics Interdisciplinary Research (MIR) day, in conjunction with the Mathematics Institute, at which the keynote speakers were Andrew Blake of Microsoft and Ed Hancock from York. The group hosted the 2007 British Machine Vision Conference, with 150 attendees, many from overseas.
The preceding sections show how our research has developed since 2001. In this process, we have been well supported by the University, which has allowed us to make some excellent appointments and has provided us with first class facilities. This has been assisted by two key features of Warwick University: its clearly stated strategic goal of conducting internationally leading research in all disciplines; and the University’s administrative structure, which keeps lines of communication short and minimises delays in decision-making. This has allowed the department to respond quickly to new conditions and to develop new lines of research.
Although strong individual researchers remain the foundation of our research culture, it benefits from the cohesion which a group structure can provide. Every group in the Department, apart from IAS, is led by a professor (IAS has three senior lecturers). Thus, each group can draw on the experience of a senior academic, of international standing, in formulating and pursuing its research goals. The groups provide a natural focus for research students, an increasingly important factor, as the population of students has risen. Apart from their role in focusing research, groups have been given a direct voice in the management of the Department, through representation on its Steering Committee. Secondly, they receive a proportion of the overheads accruing to the Department for each research contract they obtain. The Deputy Head of Department acts as Director of Research in the Department, to co-ordinate the development of research strategy and its implementation.
A number of good researchers have left the Department in the last few years to take up promoted posts or join industry. The evidence from our publications and esteem factors is that the Department has grown in strength over the period and, by any measure, is more productive in research terms than it has ever been.
The University’s research goal in the next ten years is to raise the quality of its research across all departments, earning it a place in the top fifty research universities in the world. It aims to achieve this by supporting and rewarding research quality at every level in the University, via mechanisms such as the Research Development Fund, postgraduate studentships and collaborations through the Institute for Advanced Studies. It recognizes the key part which interdisciplinary research will play in this and plans to establish at least three major new centres of interdisciplinary research in the next five to ten years. It aims to develop selected research collaborations with overseas partners.
The Department’s research is characterised by a rigorous, analytical approach to the modelling and design of ever more complex systems, from biological neural systems to communication networks, from multidimensional image data to quantum communication systems, from software systems to high performance computing, web applications and learning environments. Our goal as a department is to enhance our capacity and to develop our multidisciplinary research and international collaborations in a sustainable way. We shall build on our inherent strengths in the theory of computation, developing its application in areas as diverse as Business, Medicine, Defence, Education and Biology, in which we have successful partnerships; and we shall explore promising new lines of research, such as adaptive learning environments, the applications of algorithmic game theory and the use of free viewpoint video in the performing arts. To accomplish this, we are implementing a strategy based on three components: devolution of power to research groups; building on success; and developing links with industrial and overseas partners. To oversee this process, the Steering Committee, which includes one representative from each research group, will play the central role, with the Director of Research taking a leading role.
As has been shown, we have developed a number of significant links to other institutions in the UK and overseas. In addition, we have recently entered into an exchange scheme with the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, which provides mechanisms for exchanges of students and staff. Several other overseas universities have expressed interest in similar ventures. We have established a Computer Science Advisory Board, whose role is to help us to develop our teaching and research in ways which are relevant to industry. It comprises representatives from a number of leading international companies, including IBM, Microsoft and Deutsche Bank and important local firms, such as Blitz Games and Concurrent Thinking. It will help us to strengthen our ties with industry and give these stakeholders a voice in our organisation. Furthermore, DIMAP’s remit includes the development of industrial collaboration, which is being facilitated by the Smith Institute. Computer science is moving from a period of rapid technological development to one of expanding application in science and industry. Our strategy will ensure that we are placed at the forefront of these developments.
The following represents a selection of the indicators of esteem gained by members of the Department in the review period. They are attributed to individual staff members in the accompanying list.
1. S S Anand.
1.1 Guest Editor, ACM Transactions on Internet Technology, Special Issue on Intelligent techniques in Web Personalization, May, 2007
1.2 Co-chair, AAAI and IJCAI workshops on Intelligent Techniques in Web Personalization, 2006, 2007.
2. W M Beynon
2.1 Conference chair, 4th International Conference on Cognitive Technology, 2001.
3. A H Bhalerao
3.1 Co-chair, British Machine Vision Conference, 2007
3.2 Programme Committee member, IEEE Medical Image Computing and Computer Assisted Intervention, 2004-6.
4. M Campbell-Kelly
4.1 Editorial Board member, IEEE Annals of the History of Computing.
4.2 Advisor to Microsoft and LECG.
4.3 Keynote speaker at ‘Measure IT and Innovate: Launching the Stockholm Network’s Intellectual Property Index for the Information Technology Sector’, Brussels, 2006.
5. A Cristea
5.1 Associate Editor, Journal of Advanced Technology for Learning.
5.2 Guest Editor, International Journal of Learning Technology, Special Issue on Authoring of Adaptive and Adaptable Hypermedia, 2007.
5.3 General Workshop chair, 7th IEEE International Conference on Advanced Learning Technologies, 2007.
5.4 Co-Chair, Practical Hypertext Track, ACM Hypertext 2007 Conference.
6. A Czumaj
6.1 Editorial Board member, Journal of Discrete Algorithms.
6.2 Editorial Board member, Discrete Mathematics and Theoretical Computer Science.
6.3 Programme Committee member, ACM Symposium on Theory of Computing, 2007.
6.4 Programme Committee member, ACM SIGACT-SIGOPS Symposium on Principles of Distributed Computing, 2005.
7. J-F Feng
7.1 Local organizer, IEEE International Conference on Data Mining, 2004.
7.2 Conference organizer, Conference on Computation and Control in Spiking Neuronal Networks, 2004.
7.3 Co-author, invited review paper in the journal Chaos, 2006.
8. N E Griffiths
8.1 Invited speaker, IEEE Conference on Systems, Man and Cybernetics, 2004.
8.2 Editorial Board member, Multiagent and Grid Systems.
9. S A Jarvis
9.1 Awarded ‘Best Paper’ prize, 13th IEEE Symposium on Modeling, Analysis and Simulation of Computer and Telecommunication Systems, 2005.
9.2 Recipient, William Penney Fellowship, 2006.
9.3 Programme Committee member, International Conference on Parallel Processing, 2006.
9.4 Awarded ‘Best Paper’ prize at IEEE International Conference on Dependable Systems and Networks, Philadelphia, 2006.
10. H A Jhumka (ECR)
10.1 Awarded ‘Best Paper’ prize at International Conference on Dependable Systems and Networks, 2001.
10.2 ‘Young Researcher’ award at IEEE Symposium on High Assurance Systems Engineering, 2002.
11. M S Joy
11.1 Elected Fellow of the BCS, 2004.
11.2 Programme Committee member, IEEE International Conference on Learning Technology, 2005-7.
12. M Jurdzinski (ECR)
12.1 Co-chair, 2nd Workshop on games in Design and Verification, 2005.
12.2 Invited speaker, 3rd Workshop in Games in Design and Verification, 2006.
13.3 Invited Speaker, Annual Workshop of EU-RTN GAMES, Paris, 2005.
13. S Kalvala
13.1 Programme Committee member, International Conference on Theorem Proving in Higher Order Logics, 2001-2004.
14. R Lazic
14.1 Co-chair, 5th International Workshop on Automated verification of Critical Systems, 2005.
14.2 Consultant to Intel Corporation, 2001.
14.3 Programme Committee member, 6th International Workshop on Automated Verification of Critical Systems, 2006.
15. C-T Li
15.1 Associate Editor, International Journal of Applied Systemic Studies.
15.2 Track Chair, IEEE International Conference on Digital Ecosystems and Technologies, 2007.
16. G R Martin
16.1 Member, BSI IST/37 Technical Committee on Coding of Picture, Audio and Multimedia Information.
17. R Nagarajan
17.1 Co-chair, 5th Workshop on Automated Verification of Critical Systems, 2005.
17.2 Invited speaker, 22nd International Conference on Mathematical Foundations of Programme Semantics, 2006.
18. G R Nudd
18.1 Awarded ‘Best Paper’ prize, IEEE International Parallel and Distributed Processing Symposium, 2004.
18.2 Advisor on High Performance Computing Systems, UK Cabinet Office.
18.3 Advisor on High Performance Computing Systems, US Navy and NASA.
19. M S Paterson
19.1 Elected Fellow of the Royal Society, 2001.
19.2 Awarded Edsger W Dijkstra prize in Distributed Computing, 2001.
19.3 Awarded European Association for Theoretical Computer Science Distinguished Achievements Award, 2006.
19.4 Awarded ‘Best paper’ prize at International Conference on Automata, Languages and Programming, 2006.
20. D Peled
20.1 Invited speaker, International Conference on Automata, Languages and Programming, 2003.
20.2 Invited speaker, Conference on Integrated Formal Methods, 2005.
21. N M Rajpoot
21.1 Co-chair, British Machine Vision Conference, 2007.
21.2 Programme Committee member, Conference on Medical Image Understanding, 2005.
22. H Räcke (ECR)
22.1 Awarded ‘Best Paper’ prize and ‘Best Student Paper’ prize, IEEE Annual Symposium on Foundations of Computer Science, FOCS 2002.
23. J E Sinclair
23.1 Programme Committee member, Conference on Integrated Formal Methods, 2000-2007.
24. A Tiskin
24.1 Co-chair, 3rd International Workshop on High-level Parallel Programming and Applications, 2005.
24.2 Programme Committee member, 3rd International Workshop on Practical Aspects of High-level Parallel Programming, 2006.
25. R G Wilson
25.1 Elected Fellow of the Institute of Mathematics and its Applications, 2001.
25.2 Programme Committee member, International Conference on Pattern Recognition, 2002.
25.3 Editorial Board member, Pattern Recognition.
25.4 Invited speaker and long-term participant, Workshop on Multiscale Geometry and Analysis in High Dimensions, IPAM, University of California, Los Angeles, 2005.