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University of Oxford
UOA 23 - Computer Science and Informatics
RA5a: Research environment and esteem
University of Oxford: 23 Computer Science and Informatics
RAE 2008: RA5a – Research Environment and Esteem
Computer Science research at Oxford is in an exciting period of enrichment and expansion. Our key strategy over the review period was to widen greatly the range of research areas in which we work. We have deliberately moved beyond concentrating on topics springing from our roots in programming research and numerical analysis to encompass a much broader range of contemporary research fields. At the same time, we have greatly expanded our interdisciplinary work.
Key developments in the assessment period are:
- Many outstanding new appointments. Of the 42 academic staff returned in UoA23, 26 have been appointed since 2001. There were four new Professorial appointments: Georg Gottlob, Ian Horrocks, Marta Kwiatkowska, and Stephen Pulman (UoA58). Other new academics include Professors Benedikt, Burrage, Melham, and Anne Trefethen, and Drs Baltag, Cavarra, Clark, Coecke, Drape, Flechais, Hinze, Jirotka, Kreutzer, Kroening, Lopez-Herrejon, McKeever, Olteanu, Ouaknine, Palade, Simpson, Trigoni, Whiteley, and Worrell. The high quality of the people we have recruited is an indicator of the attractiveness and reputation of our research environment.
- Significant new research strengths, greatly expanding our research scope. With the arrival of Gottlob, Horrocks, Benedikt, Kreutzer, Motik, and Olteanu we now have a world-class group in information systems. Our new computational biology group, led by Professor Gavaghan, is 35-strong and growing. Abramsky and Coecke lead a flourishing new group in quantum computation. Pulman and Clark form the nucleus of a new computational linguistics group, one of few UK groups in this key field. The appointments of Kwiatkowska, Kroening, Melham, Ouaknine, and Worrell have given us a major new strength in verification. Our Software Engineering group, led by Professor Davies, has grown from 4 to 10 academic staff and now has significant research in model-based software engineering, software and systems security, and research informatics.
- Founding of the Oxford e-Research Centre (OeRC) in 2006, with University funding of over £1M complemented by £3M SRIF3 funding for the Oxford Supercomputing Centre. Led by Professor Anne Trefethen, the OeRC is 32-strong and growing. It works with researchers across Oxford to develop and exploit innovative computational and information technology in multidisciplinary collaborations. The founding of the Oxford Internet Institute (OII) in 2002, with initial funding of £15M. The OII studies the social, economic, political, legal, industrial, technical and ethical issues arising from the Internet.
- The opening in 2007 of the e-Science Building, a new 2000m2 building with £6.7M funding from SRIF2 and £1.4M funding from the Oxford University Computing Laboratory. This provides purpose-built facilities for interdisciplinary research and doctoral training.
- Technical leadership and management of several large interdisciplinary projects: the £2.4M e-Science Integrative Biology project (EPSRC), the £4.1M e-Diamond project (EPSRC, DTI, MRC, IBM, Mirada), the £1.7M GIMI project (DTI), the £2.3M NeuroGrid project (MRC), and the £2.3M CancerGrid project (MRC).
- Establishment of Doctoral Training Centres at the Life Sciences Interface and in Systems Biology, with total funding to date of nearly £8M. Major expansion in Oxford’s doctoral programme in Computer Science, with DPhil student numbers more than tripling between 2000/1 and 2007/8.
We are returning 56 research-active staff in category A. This includes 15 professors, of whom 12 became professors or were appointed during the assessment period. It includes 10 holders of personal fellowships—a significant source of financial support for our research. Professors Abramsky and Horrocks both hold EPSRC Senior Research Fellowships. We are also returning 2 EPSRC Advanced Research Fellows, 3 people who hold or are about to hold EPSRC Postdoctoral Research Fellowships, 2 Royal Society Research Fellows, and 1 Marie Curie Fellow. Research fellows make a major and stimulating contribution to our intellectual environment and serve as inspiring role models for younger researchers.
Oxford’s research in UoA23 is based largely in the Oxford University Computing Laboratory (OUCL), the University’s Computer Science Department within the Mathematics, Physical and Life Sciences Division (MPLS). Relevant research in other units, including the OeRC, is also included in this submission. For RAE 2008, Oxford is submitting OUCL’s Numerical Analysis research under UoA21.
The central aim of OUCL is to be among the world’s leading Computer Science Departments—to be a place where important basic and applied research is done, and where students can obtain an outstanding graduate or undergraduate education. The Laboratory’s research strength derives from its firm grounding in core Computer Science disciplines, a relatively high degree of mathematical sophistication among its researchers, and its committed engagement with applications and interdisciplinary work.
A strategic boost to OUCL’s research has been the appointment in 2006 of a Research Facilitator. This role provides support in fostering collaborative activity, finding appropriate funding, making applications, and ensuring that the quality of applications is high. By increasing communication and supporting staff at all stages of the application process, we have seen big improvements in both the number of successful applications and in enthusiasm for growth. The significant influx of new researchers has further increased our research income. The value of announced awards at OUCL in 2006/07 is more than double the average over prior years in the assessment period. Our funding sources have also become more diverse and interdisciplinary. The success of the newly-established OeRC in gaining research funding (£4.5M to date) has given an extra boost.
These strategic developments—new measures to support our researchers, new centres of interdisciplinary study such as the OeRC, and above all major research expansion in both scale and scope—have given Oxford Computer Science a vibrant, ambitious and exciting research atmosphere. Our strategic plans for 2008–13 build on this and are stated in Section 4 on Research Strategy.
2. Research Landscape
Research in OUCL is classified into five broad themes. This provides a map of the research landscape of the Laboratory for public presentation of our work, for example on our website and in discussions with funding bodies. The themes also help to structure our research management; each researcher is nominally assigned to one theme, according to main research interests, and each theme has a Head, who has general oversight of its work.
Our themes are not formal research groups. Research is conducted by teams of people or individually, as best suits the staff, the topic, and the funding. Many staff engage in several research activities or groups, or research across more than one theme. We have therefore chosen not to divide our staff submission into research groups, in the sense defined for RAE 2008.
2.1. Theory and Automated Verification (TAV)
The Theory and Automated Verification (TAV) theme encompasses our research into the mathematical underpinnings of Computer Science and their applications. Much of this work concentrates on investigations with practical benefits or clear prospects of these, often with close links to industry. Samson Abramsky heads the TAV theme.
Game semantics. Abramsky, Ong and their collaborators pioneered the development of game semantics in the 1990s and, during the assessment period, investigated many applications to programming languages and the semantics of logical proof. This research has now taken a major algorithmic turn, with striking applications to compositional model-checking and program analysis. We pioneered the use of games to characterise the complexity of program equivalence for certain classes of higher-order programming languages. Recently, a powerful combination of game semantic methods, automata and complexity theory, and verification techniques has led to exciting new results on decidability and complexity of verifying properties of infinite-state and probabilistic systems. Game semantics is now one of the liveliest approaches in the semantics of computation, and Oxford is a major centre.
Several notable achievements have flowed from Abramsky and Ong’s £300K EPSRC project on Algorithmic Game Semantics. Key results include a game semantics for generic polymorphism, solving a problem open for some 10 years. Murawski won the ETAPS’05 best theoretical paper award, and was elected to a Research Fellowship at St John’s College as well as an EPSRC Advanced Fellowship. Nikos Tzevelekos won the Kleene Best Student Paper award at LICS’07 for his work on Full Abstraction for Nominal General Reference. A £430K EPSRC Platform Grant was secured to support new developments within the Centre for Metacomputation.
Quantum information and computation. Led by Abramsky, we pioneered a new approach to developing high-level methods and new mathematical and logical tools for quantum information and computation. An international community is forming, with our group playing a leading role—Abramsky and Coecke have given over 100 invited presentations in this area. Key achievements include the award of Abramsky’s Senior Research Fellowship to work on High Level Methods in quantum computation. Coecke was awarded an EPSRC Advanced Research Fellowship and Duncan an EPSRC PDRF, both to work in quantum computation. We are coordinating (2007–9) an EU STREP within FP6-FET-Open, entitled Foundational Structures for Quantum Information and Computation, involving the leading quantum information and computation groups in Europe. This was ranked 2nd out of the 489 proposals across all subjects submitted to the FET-Open call.
Epistemic logics. Leading work in epistemic dynamic logic is carried out by Baltag, collaborating with Abramsky, Coecke and researchers at other universities. Baltag’s BMS approach has become the main paradigm in the field of Dynamic-Epistemic Logic (DES), and is becoming widely used in other groups for applications such as security.
Concurrency. Oxford has long been one of the main centres of concurrency research. Most of our work, by Roscoe, Lowe, Ouaknine and others, is based on the CSP process algebra, and David Walker is prominent in pi-calculus research. We develop and analyse models of concurrency and their operational, algebraic and other semantics, always with practical applications in mind. Key achievements include Roscoe’s solution to the problem of modelling in CSP beyond possible divergence, the publication of Walker’s book on the pi-calculus, and a $295K research grant from the US ONR on interoperability that led to the discovery of new models of concurrency fully abstract with respect to responsiveness.
Verification. The arrival of Melham in 2002, followed by Ouaknine in 2004, greatly raised the profile of verification research in the Laboratory. The subsequent appointments of Kroening, Kwiatkowska, and Worrell have consolidated this into a world-class verification group at Oxford. We emphasize practical, machine-assisted methods applicable to real-world problems and languages, and have strong industrial links. Our major strengths include abstraction, industrial-scale hardware verification, software model-checking, verification of real-time and probabilistic systems—with Norman leading on systems that are both probabilistic and real-time. Probabilistic verification has successful applications in security protocols, power management, nanotechnology, and biology.
Notable achievements include Ouaknine’s extension of the ANSI-C model checker MAGIC to concurrent systems, together with new algorithms to look for deadlocks in concurrent C programs. This was used to discover bugs in the Micro-C/OS II operating system, found in avionics systems, medical equipment, nuclear installations, and hundreds of other products. Ouaknine and his colleagues also found errors in a multi-threaded robotics control automation system that had gone undetected despite seven years of industrial use. Melham worked in close collaboration with Intel on their Forte verification system, which became well-established within the company for floating-point and other datapath verifications. Kroening was granted a US patent (7,225,417) for a new method to establish consistency between C and HDL descriptions of hardware.
Model checking. Roscoe leads the development of FDR, a model-checker for refinement in CSP. Recent research has used FDR as a vehicle to tackle state explosion and the parameterised verification problem using techniques such as induction, compression, and data independence. Kwiatkowska’s group pioneered quantitative probabilistic model checking techniques and their symbolic implementation, with Parker developing PRISM. Ouaknine and Worrell work on the decidability and complexity of checking classes of timed systems, and also software model checking. Kroening’s research addresses both algorithms and applications, including SAT, abstraction refinement, bounded model-checking, decision procedures, and model-checking for C/C++, Verilog, and SystemC.
Achievements include a series of papers by Ouaknine and Worrell that settled several outstanding decidability questions about Metric Temporal Logic, most notably the decidability of model-checking this logic on timed automata, a question open for over 15 years. PRISM became established as the internationally leading probabilistic model checker and attracted over £2M support from EPSRC, DTI and industry. FDR has hundreds of academic users and over 20 commercial ones. A Dutch start-up (Verum) has recently raised over £2M capital for a business model centred on FDR, and we have had research grants of nearly £1M to support this tool. Kroening developed the first symbolic software model checkers to reason about low-level programming artefacts such as bit-vector arithmetic and shared variable concurrency.
Security. There is an increasing variety of computer security research at Oxford, bridging TAV and SE. Lowe and Roscoe continue to refine their seminal protocol analysis and verification techniques, which are now capable of verifying or refuting most protocols very rapidly using FDR in conjunction with front ends to support protocol notations, including SOAP. This work has been further expanded by Pavlovic’s arrival. We also work in protocol development and information flow analysis.
Achievements include discovery of attacks and other flaws in many protocols, including several which were at advanced stages of standardisation, such as GDOI and Webservice SecureConversation. Our protocol analysis tools, Casper and Pavlovic’s Protocol Derivation Assistant, have become widely used in industry and international research. Roscoe’s group developed a new family of protocols for bootstrapping ad-hoc networks, leading to three patent applications. Ker has recently proved a fundamental new result: that steganographic capacity grows as N0.5 rather than linearly.
2.2. Program Development and Tools (PDT)
Research falling under the Program Development and Tools (PDT) theme includes the Laboratory’s work in programming language design and implementation, both long-established as key research strengths of OUCL. Two formal research groups have emerged from this heritage: the Programming Tools Group and the Algebra of Programming group. Richard Bird heads the PDT theme.
Programming Tools Group. Led by De Moor, this has 11 postdocs and research students whose research is focussed on tools for software evolution. It is supported by several substantial EPSRC grants and donations from Microsoft and IBM, totalling about £1.4M over the RAE period. Achievements include the first optimising compiler for AspectJ (abc). This has transformed academic research by providing a common platform for 20 research teams around the world. It has also influenced industrial practice; many of the optimisations pioneered in abc have been adopted by IBM. Several new language features, including tracematches and open modules, were also pioneered by the group on abc.
Algebra of Programming Group. This researches mathematically sound yet convenient techniques for manipulating and reasoning with programs, with particular strengths in the functional and relational paradigms and in generic programming. It seeks patterns in specifications, algorithms and programs, and abstracts these patterns to derive solutions to general classes of problems. An active weekly seminar forms a national hub in the mathematics of program construction, with regular participation by colleagues from other universities.
Achievements include Hinze’s ground-breaking work on generic programming, the basis of Generic Haskell and Generic Clean, Spivey’s patent on Profiling Computer Programs, the first treatment of Functional Quantum Computing by Mu and Bird at APLAS’01, and the first rigorous presentation of Arithmetic Coding by Bird, Gibbons and Stratford at AFP’03. Gibbons secured EPSRC funding for Datatype-Generic Programming and Generic and Indexed Programming. Bruno Oliveira won the best paper award at TFP’06 for Extensible and Modular Generics for the Masses.
Centre for Metacomputation. Started in 2006, this is funded by a £431K EPSRC Platform Grant and led by Abramsky, de Moor, Melham, and Ong. Metacomputation covers several fields, including logic, automated theorem proving, compiler construction, program analysis, and software engineering. The Centre aims to integrate some of these separate strands, to develop metacomputation as a field, and to provide it with solid theoretical foundations. Our approach is to conduct a programme of pilot case studies that cut across the research of the individual PIs and lead to further funding proposals. Among our achievements to date are EPSRC grants: Aspect Refactoring Tools (£546K) and Abstraction Discovery and Refinement (£175K). Scientific outcomes include the first fully abstract model for a functional language of additive aspects, arising from a study of aspect calculi semantics.
2.3. Applications and Algorithms (AAG)
The Applications and Algorithms (AAG) theme encompasses our work on the application of sound algorithmic design principles to challenging computational problems arising in a wide variety of areas. It has recently grown rapidly in Information Systems and Computational Biology. Peter Jeavons heads the AAG theme.
Information systems. Since Gottlob’s arrival in early 2006, we have built a leading group in databases. With Horrocks’s arrival in 2007, it is developing into a world-leading group in information systems, concentrating on the twin themes of databases and knowledge representation. Other researchers recruited to this group include Benedikt, Cali, Kreutzer, Motik and Olteanu. Our database research addresses topics ranging from query languages and optimisation to web data extraction and the implementation of lightweight database applications for devices such as mobile phones. Horrocks and Motik’s main interests are in knowledge representation and reasoning, in particular Description Logics and their application in ontology languages and engineering.
Key achievements include Gottlob’s highly cited work on the XPath Query Language, which also gave rise to a patent; his work on Information Extraction (best paper, PODS’02), the commercial version of which was a finalist in the 2003 World Technology Award competition; and his work on Hypertree Decompositions (best paper, PODS’07). Horrocks played a central role in the development of ontology languages such as OWL (now a W3C recommendation), and the description logic dialects, decision procedures, and optimised reasoning systems that made OWL possible. Benedikt’s work on XML integrity-constraint management tools is now used in many safety-critical systems (e.g. by Alcatel-Lucent), and his work on social search algorithms is being prototyped at Yahoo. Motik won the 2007 ERCIM Cor Baayen award for his work on reasoning algorithms and systems for description logics.
Algorithms and complexity. We have had a strong group in algorithms and complexity over the past few years. Members include Richard Brent and Jeavons, and Donald Knuth is a visiting professor. Brent, now at ANU, is now also a visiting professor at Oxford. Gottlob has interests in complexity and constraints, and we have recently appointed Kreutzer, much of whose research is on graph algorithms and finite model theory. Most current work in this area focuses on the constraint satisfaction group, led by Jeavons and Gottlob.
Among our achievements is the work of Bulatov and Jeavons, supported by a £220K EPSRC grant, resulting in a new dichotomy theorem for constraints, settling a question which had been open for 25 years. In a separate £130K EPSRC project Krokhin and Jeavons successfully classified the complexity of all temporal reasoning problems involving subsets of Allen’s interval algebra, a question studied for 20 years. Jeavons, Petrie and collaborators won a best paper award at the Conference on Principles and Practice of Constraint Programming in 2005 for Symmetry definitions for constraint satisfaction problems. Petrie was awarded a Dorothy Hodgkin Fellowship in 2007. Jeavons co-organised a Newton Institute satellite workshop in 2006 on the Mathematics of Constraint Satisfaction: Algebra, Logic and Graph Theory.
Computational Biology Group. This is led by Gavaghan and is growing rapidly—presently comprising 35 members. It engages in theoretical and applied, interdisciplinary and practise-based research at the interface between computer science and the biomedical sciences, focussing on applying computer science and mathematical techniques to clinically and biologically pressing problems. Key applications include physiological modelling (heart, cardiovascular and cardiorespiratory systems, soft tissue mechanics and cancer), biological image- and signal analysis, and systems biology. Work is almost entirely done jointly with domain specialists in life sciences and clinical departments. Several members of CBG are being submitted to other UoAs or being cross-referred.
CBG also plays a key role in interdisciplinary initiatives across the University, including the Life Sciences Interface and Systems Biology DTCs which are led by Gavaghan and housed in the e-Science Building, and the BBSRC/EPSRC-funded Centre for Integrative Systems Biology.
Achievements include major funded projects such as the Integrative Biology e-Science Pilot Project and e-DiaMoND, which have resulted in the group establishing international collaborative networks in heart and cancer modelling involving over 20 HEIs from across Europe, America, and Australasia. CBG members have won several awards for best paper or presentation at major international meetings, and have been awarded three research council fellowships and a College Junior Research Fellowship in the last two years. In 2007 Rodriguez applied for Fellowships from MRC, Wellcome, Leverhulme and BHF and was offered all four.
Computational Linguistics. The appointment of Clark in 2004 and the move in 2006 from Oxford’s Linguistics department by Pulman established a leading group in computational linguistics. Their work encompasses and combines established knowledge-based approaches with statistical and machine learning methods. Their new group, currently comprising 15 members, is growing rapidly and has been particularly successful in attracting top-class doctoral students. Notable achievements include links with industry such as Sharp Laboratories of Europe, currently sponsoring an EPSRC CASE studentship, and Corpora Software, fully funding a DPhil student. The group also has interdisciplinary links with other Oxford departments, a notable example being collaboration with the Engineering Department on robot navigation. It is a partner in the 12M FP6 Companions project for research into learning methods for human-machine dialogues.
Other AAG work in the broad area of artificial intelligence includes Cameron’s group working on spatial reasoning and Palade’s machine learning research. AAG also encompasses our work on computer graphics.
2.4. Software Engineering (SE)
The Software Engineering (SE) theme engages directly and in depth with industrial needs, practices and challenges. Our software engineering researchers also teach on a programme of advanced, professional education. This gives them invaluable insight into industrial context that motivates and informs their research, and opportunities for research collaboration. Jim Davies heads the SE theme.
Model-based software engineering. This includes work on the design and semantics of modelling languages, test generation and automation, and model-driven engineering. Achievements include the development of a technology for the automatic generation of information systems from precise object models, leading to a patent application and several demonstration systems, one of which will be supporting 8,000 users from April 2008.
Research informatics. This includes several examples of the application of computer science in support of research activity in other disciplines. Achievements include the data management, security, and metadata work on the e-DiaMoND breast cancer imaging project, the design of a distributed computing architecture for climatePrediction.net, a world-wide experiment on climate, and the automatic generation of semantically-aware information systems for clinical research, used in five cancer centres in the UK and being evaluated for use in clinical trials run by the US Department for Veterans’ Affairs.
Software and systems security. This complements the more theoretical work in security in the TAV theme by addressing systems-oriented security issues. Achievements include the inception of a European summer school on Trusted Infrastructure Technologies, sponsored by HP, Microsoft, and Intel. Another is the design of a generic infrastructure for medical informatics, with a particular focus upon information security, funded by the Department for Trade and Industry and a candidate for inclusion in the National Cancer Research Institute’s platform for research informatics.
Requirements engineering. Work on this topic is led by Jirotka. There are current projects in usability, virtual research environments, ethical and legal issues, and support for interdisciplinary working, undertaken jointly with colleagues in OeRC, the Saïd Business School, and the OII. Achievements include new techniques for studying the workplace and communicating with designers using audio-visual materials and a report on the management of large-scale, multi-site and multidisciplinary projects.
Sensor networks. Research into sensor networks, led by Trigoni, focuses on systems for traffic monitoring, emergency detection, and wildlife sensing. Three projects are underway, funded by EPSRC and EOARD.
Research questions are increasingly of a much larger scale, scope and ambition than has previously been the case, and require interdisciplinary teams to tackle them. e-Research is the research and development of new technologies to enable disciplinary work that is increasingly dependent upon information and computational infrastructure. Building on the computer science research in OUCL and the symbiosis between scholarship and technology, OeRC has a portfolio of research activities that involve all divisions of the University as well as its libraries. This in turn drives the development of research infrastructure.
OeRC was established in August 2006 as an independent unit, building on the existing e-Science Centre. Directed by Anne Trefethen, it now has four academic link positions in the areas of e-Social Science (with the OII), Imaging (with Engineering), Computational Biology and Information systems (both with OUCL).
Specific research areas include visualisation and imaging, high-performance computing, OxGrid (a campus-wide computational infrastructure), security of e-science infrastructure; virtual research; data lifecycle, and information systems (including data curation), and e-social science including e-Horizons, a partnership with the OII.
Achievements. In collaboration with researchers at UCSD, we have developed a capability building on optical networking for researchers to use the unique microscope facilities at each site in real-time. The OxGrid stack of software has been used at other Universities, including Monash and Porto. The OeRC was chosen as a partner to support e-Science activities in the CSE support of HeCTOR. Software developed in the ShibGrid project is being taken up to provide security across the National Grid Service, and, together with SE, OeRC will be running a theme on Trust and Security for the e-Science Institute. OeRC has attracted £4.5M of research funding as well as £4M investment from the University.
3. Research Environment
3.1. Infrastructure, Facilities, and Administrative Support
A new 2000m2 building, adjacent to OUCL’s existing building, was opened in 2007. This was funded mainly by SRIF2 (£6.7M), with contributions from OUCL and the Software Engineering Programme of around £1.4M. This e-Science Building houses OeRC and much of OUCL’s work in e-Science and Computational Science. The Software Engineering Programme is based there, as is the Computational Biology group. In addition, the building houses the Doctoral Training Centres described in Section F below. It has been custom-built for the groups that occupy it around the idea of collaboration, with ample space for industrial and academic visitors.
As part of the same project, an additional 700m2 has been added through the incorporation of three adjacent terraced houses into OUCL and OeRC, providing space for expansion and research in computational science. With space in the existing building freed by the move of existing activities into the new buildings, and another 500m2 being released when Numerical Analysis departs in about 2010, we will have further space to implement our 2008–13 strategy.
The University is investing £3M of SRIF3 money in the Oxford Supercomputing Centre (part of OeRC). This will transform it from having a couple of relatively small systems used by a consortium of departments, to a University-wide facility of over 1000 processors. OeRC is one of four sites that support facilities for the National Grid Service and, through OxGrid (the campus grid), it provides access to these and other computational resources across campus providing approximately 1000 further processors, and supporting a broad range of applications. OeRC has a large collaboration room that enables meetings and shared seminars with sites around the globe. It has also created two high-definition visualisation walls.
Oxford University has world-class libraries, holding the UK’s largest academic collection. One of six UK legal deposit libraries, it receives a copy of all British publications. The Radcliffe Science Library, the main science reference library, is five minutes’ walk from OUCL. The 2006/07 budget for acquisitions in the sciences was in excess of £2.5M, including over £1M for electronic resources. Data tools and e-provision are supported by targeted and bespoke training. OUCL also has its own library on-site.
The Laboratory’s research facilitator arranges regular briefing and training sessions for all staff, often coordinated as MPLS events to encourage dialogue with other departments in the division and with the funding programme managers.
Research Services has an office at the heart of the University Science Area with 11 grants and contracts experts providing front-line funding support services to science departments. It handles all bids for external research funding.
Isis Innovation is the technology transfer company of Oxford University. Isis provides researchers with commercial advice, funds patent applications and legal costs, negotiates exploitation and spin-out company agreements, and manages consultancy opportunities for researchers. During the period 2001–06 it handled 26 invention disclosures and 8 patent applications for OUCL.
While UoA 23 research is focused on OUCL and OeRC, it receives valuable support from the college system. This funds research through the provision of Junior Research Fellowships, roughly equivalent to EPSRC PDRFs. 9 college Junior Research Fellows were associated with OUCL in the period under review. Colleges also provide financial and academic support for research students. Finally, colleges are ideal for interdisciplinary work, and valuable collaborations with colleagues in other departments have arisen this way. An example is the seminar held at Balliol College in 2006/07 on the Conceptual Foundations of Systems Biology.
3.2. Staff recruitment, development and support
Oxford places the highest priority on recruiting, developing and supporting academic staff of the highest international standing. All academic appointments at the level of University Lecturer and above within OUCL are made by boards containing external, often international, representation after open advertisement and appropriate searches. Other than at the professorial level, new appointees have a mentor for the first five years, during which they engage in a programme of reviews with appropriate feedback.
OUCL gives newly appointed staff reduced teaching duties at the rate of 0.5, 0.67 and 0.83 of normal non-research duties in their first three years to allow them to establish their research. All academic staff are entitled to apply for sabbatical leave at the rate of one term for every six worked.
The Oxford Learning Institute provides a wide range of training and support for academic staff, most intensively for early-career staff but also for others.
We encourage our academic staff to apply for personal research fellowships: three presently hold EPSRC Fellowships. We are delighted to play host to many young researchers holding various forms of research fellowships, and do our best to incorporate them (consistent with their wishes and the terms of their fellowships) into the full academic life of the department. We regard this as a vital training function for the next generation of academics. At least 23 people who were research fellows, assistants or students in OUCL (UoA23) in the period 2001-7 have since taken up their first academic position at universities in the UK and around the world, and several others have moved to permanent positions in prominent research organisations such as CNRS.
Departmental and university funds are available to academic staff for academic travel in addition to those provided by research grants. Many academics also have college funds that support travel, computing equipment, books and similar research expenses. Incoming staff are frequently supported in transferring doctoral students, and arriving professors are typically given start-up funds and dowry lecturers.
OUCL is introducing a flexible scheme for determining duties that, inter alia, offers the more active and successful researchers the opportunity to have reduced teaching and administrative duties.
3.3. Cumulative Impact of Research
No fewer than 21 members of academic staff submitted under UoA23 have over 1000 citations to their work shown on Google Scholar. Horrocks and Abramsky have had an exceptional impact, judging by their respective 10767 and 5502 citations. Horrocks is one of the most highly cited UK computer scientists—157th in the world according to the August 2006 CiteSeer weighted list.
ISI, whose index is strongly journal based, identifies a group of researchers as ‘Highly Cited’ in each of many major subjects. There is no ordering within these lists. The Computer Science list (presently 339 predominantly US-based scientists) includes five people currently working in UK Computer Science departments. Three of the five are in OUCL: Gottlob, Roscoe, and Walker.
A major source of impact is the adoption by others of tools resulting from our research. The following either have, or are rapidly developing, major international user communities.
- The AspectBench Compiler (abc) for AspectJ is downloaded about 4000 times a year, from 1500 distinct IP addresses. It is used as a research platform by groups at IBM Watson Research Center, University of Tokyo, Imperial College, Manchester University, Technical University Darmstadt, University of Magdeburg, and many other sites.
- FDR, the CSP refinement checker, is used by over 20 active industrial users, and several hundred universities. More than 1000 papers refer to it.
- The Casper security protocol compiler, one of several tools that are front ends for FDR, has a wide user base and has been extremely influential on other tools. It has been cited in over 300 papers.
- The probabilistic model checker PRISM has been downloaded over 7000 times and used or extended in about 150 papers.
- Spivey’s Fuzz type-checker for Z is probably the most widely used Z tool.
- The C&C natural language parser, a joint project of researchers at Oxford and Sydney, already had over 270 subscribers by August 2007, only a year after its release.
3.4. Industrial Collaboration, Research Users, and Outreach
We have identified current and recent industrial links with 51 different organisations. In addition to these there are the many industrial users of the Oxford-generated tools and other software discussed in Section 3.3. The following paragraphs pick out a few highlights.
Melham has worked closely with Intel’s Strategic CAD Labs, one of the world’s leading industrial research organisations, in formal verification. He has spent over 21 weeks there since 2001, contributing to research and development for Intel’s formal verification tools, and to the design of a novel functional language in widespread use within Intel’s CAD infrastructure.
FaCT++, an updated version of Horrocks’s FaCT, is widely used. It is, for example, being used to check and repair a large medical terminology ontology that will be used in the UK healthcare system. FaCT has been widely imitated in academic and commercial systems such as Racer (Racer Systems GmbH), LexiLink (Arity Inc.), Cerebra (Cerebra Inc), Pellet (University of Maryland) and DLP (Bell Labs). His OWL language has had a major impact on industry: development and application of OWL based systems and products is now being undertaken by numerous companies and government agencies, including NASA, UN-FAO, IBM, Oracle, Hewlett Packard, Siemens, Renault, BT, Mitre and Lockheed Martin.
Roscoe, Lowe and Davies have a long-standing collaboration with QinetiQ, which has led to the use of our research in a wide range of projects including Eurofighter, security applications, dynamic networking and safety-critical systems.
There are connections with Microsoft across a wide range of topics. For example OeRC has research collaborations in imaging, HPC tools, climate prediction models and financial mathematics. The Programming Tools group also has a fruitful series of collaborations, originating with the intentional programming project, totalling over £600K of funding since 1998. In 2004, De Moor was invited to give Bill Gates a personal briefing on refactoring tools.
We have connections with IBM, which include collaboration on e-Science related projects such as e-Diamond, close engagement with the Software Engineering Programme, and the recent launch of the IBM India Scholarships, which sponsor Indian students to do doctorates here. IBM has awarded the Programming Tools group several Eclipse Awards, to work on aspects and the Eclipse meta-tooling platform.
Gottlob founded Lixto (www.lixto.com), an Austrian company that offers advanced products and services for Web data extraction. A research-based cooperation with Lixto is planned in the context of the OeRC.
A major investment in Oxford has recently been announced by MAN Investments, setting up the £13M Oxford MAN Institute, an interdisciplinary centre for research on finance and investment. OUCL/OeRC have connections with this through Mike Giles (UoA21), Gottlob and Anne Trefethen.
Contributions to Public Awareness
The Oxford e-Social Science Project, involving OII and OeRC, is looking at the social shaping of the e-Sciences. A key part of the project is to increase public understanding and stimulate debate about the impact of these technologies on science and research. The e-Horizons Institute, a joint venture between OII and OeRC examines the role large-scale online ICT networks are having throughout research and society.
The climateprediction.net project had a significant element of the public understanding of science. Most of this went on explaining climate model simulations, but in the process it brought a form of distributed computing to an audience of over 100,000 world-wide users—with at least a rudimentary understanding of why one might wish to run models in this way. Its results have high media visibility: Google News yields over 200 links.
The e-Diamond project gained a high public profile, highlighted by references to it in a Royal Society speech on British Science by the former Prime Minister (May 2002).
Roscoe and Anne Trefethen are respectively on the steering committees of the Technology Strategy Board funded knowledge transfer networks on Cyber Security and Grid Computing. Abramsky has taken a leading role in advocating the creation of a learned society for Computer Science.
The Geomlab system created by Spivey has been used to teach programming within schools. It was the subject of an article by Andy Kemp in the July 2007 edition of Mathematics Teaching. Cameron, Pitt-Francis and Voiculescu gave their robot sheepdog demonstration to a large audience at the Royal Society Summer Exhibition in 2001.
3.5. Academic Collaboration
We hold that computer science is the archetypal interdisciplinary science: much of it grew out of mathematics and engineering. Today nearly all researchers, whether in humanities, social sciences or the exact sciences, routinely use computers and software applications of ever greater complexity and sophistication. OUCL and OeRC are at the hub of interdisciplinary collaboration in Oxford, having major research links with many Oxford departments including Mathematics, Statistics, Biochemistry, Engineering, Physics, Materials, Anaesthetics, Neurology, Pharmacology, Physiology, Psychiatry, Archaeology, Classics, and the OII.
Almost 60% of the 174 papers published by academic staff of OUCL, excluding numerical analysts, in the academic year 2004/05 were written with co-authors from outside OUCL. In all, there were 115 different co-authors from 71 institutions outside Oxford, and 18 co-authors in 9 other Oxford departments.
New joint graduate teaching ventures are playing a key part in establishing interdisciplinary links and training. OUCL collaborates with other university Departments in running two Doctoral Training Centres, described in Section 3.6. In the next few years we hope to develop a programme of courses in computational science for researchers across the disciplines.
Essentially all the work of the CBG is joint with other departments in close collaborations. Oxford collaborators are drawn from the departments of Biochemistry, Chemistry and Medicine, together with several clinical departments. More widely, collaborations are in place with groups from across the UK (Nottingham, Sheffield, Leeds, UCL, and CCLRC) and internationally (Auckland, Johns Hopkins, Calgary, Tulane, Colorado, Monash, Sydney, Graz, and Utrecht).
We have detailed elsewhere how the OeRC have advised leading universities on the implementations of Grid services. OeRC has collaborations with leading UK Universities and a number of international ones, including Harvard, Monash, San Diego and Auckland.
SE is engaged in large-scale interdisciplinary work in collaboration with leading universities, including Cambridge, London, Birmingham, Nottingham, Utrecht, San Diego, Tulane, and Auckland, and engages with important organizations such as the UK National Cancer Research Institute and the US National Cancer Institute Centre for Bioinformatics.
As detailed elsewhere, Oxford co-ordinates the QICS STREP (8 partners, from both Computer Science and Physics). It is also a founding member of the EPSRC network on Quantum Computation and the EPSRC network on Symmetry and Search.
3.6. Research Students and Research Degrees
Training research students is integral to our work; it is perhaps the most vital contribution we make to the future of our subject. During the period under review, OUCL set out to increase the research student population significantly. In 2000/1 there were only 33 research students in OUCL outside numerical analysis; in 2007/8 it is forecast there will be 112, including 45 new admissions. (This excludes students in the first year of the Doctoral Training Centres.) Plan for this total to expand further, for example as the new academic staff begin to recruit students. With these sharply increased admissions, we can expect the number of completions to accelerate rapidly over the next few years. Only 3.83 of the doctoral completions reported in the RA3 relate to the 39 submitted staff appointed during this census period: this is not surprising since the great majority of these appointments were made in the second half of the period.
We attract applicants from Oxford’s high-quality undergraduate population, and from the Master’s degrees in Computer Science (approximately 50 students/year) and MFoCS (Mathematics and the Foundations of Computer Science, approximately 15 students/year and an ideal training for those wanting to research in more theoretical areas). We also recruit very widely both nationally and internationally.
OUCL has a 25% stake in Oxford’s two Doctoral Training Centres (DTCs), the established DTC at the Life Sciences Interface and the new DTC in Systems Biology. These EPSRC-funded centres offer an innovative programme of training, equipping students for interdisciplinary work during their first 4–5 terms of a 4-year doctorate, after which they move to a project. Both the training and supervision of these students is a major activity of the academic staff in CBG: for example Gavaghan is the leader of the DTCs as well as that group. The DTCs are housed in custom-designed accommodation in the e-Science Building, with CBG located in the surrounding offices.
Research students in years 1–4 are assigned dedicated desk space and computers. Following the recent expansion, many research groups, including their research students, have been allocated dedicated areas within the Laboratory.
In their first year, research students are expected to take and be examined on 3–4 formal courses of study, frequently ones from our MSc courses. They then take a formal examination to transfer from initial to DPhil status. A similar procedure is followed, usually during the 3rd year, to confirm DPhil status. At that stage students have to prove that they are capable of, and well advanced in, the preparation of a thesis of sufficient quality.
All students have a supervisor (or, in an increasing number of cases, joint supervisors, usually in different departments), and departmental and college advisors. Students’ performance is monitored within the department, where ultimate responsibility rests with the Director of Graduate Studies, and within their colleges.
Research students have a teaching skills course, and in practice most of them gain teaching experience. All students are encouraged to gain presentation skills by preparing and giving research talks. This is both within research groups and at two departmental forums: weekly ‘cakes talks’ given by research students, and an annual student conference with a formal programme and prizes.
We have been able to call on growing DTA funds thanks to increasing research grant activity, but this only represents a small fraction of the funding required. Some scholarships are provided by the University (e.g. the Clarendon Awards for overseas students), and the Laboratory contributes funds both to a general scheme paralleling the DTA (£80,000 per annum) and towards particular funding requirements such as the students accompanying incoming academics. We benefit from the funding of the students who join us from the DTCs. Probably the single largest source of funding is project studentships from EPSRC and other organisations (12 awarded in 2006/7), and we have also been notably successful in raising research student funding from industry.
3.7. Research Income
This assessment period has seen tremendous growth in the flow of external research grants. In the financial years 2001/2 to 2006/7 the grants to OUCL/OeRC announced to people being submitted herein amounted to £1167K, £3780K, £1718K, £3201K, £3975K and £7241K. 2006/7, also saw £1866K being transferred in with incoming staff and £828K being declined thanks to multiple fellowship awards to the same person.
In addition to this, staff submitted in UoA23 were investigators on awards to other Oxford units during 2001–7 totalling at least £17,371K including £7740K for two doctoral training centres.
We have every confidence that this position is sustainable: we can expect to see significant future growth from the many new academic staff recruited since 2006. It should be noted that the growth in research spend (as reported in RA4) inevitably lags behind announced grants. The number of research assistants and research fellows employed on external funds has grown from 29 to 64 between 2005 and October 2007.
In 2002–4 the growth was led by a few large interdisciplinary grants such as Integrative Biology (£2504K), eDiamond (£1181K) and GIMI (£1439K). This success was followed by a much wider participation in research funding, so that by 2006/7 there were no less than 80 applications of which 40 have been successful to date (the success rate on ones decided has been 62.5%). This expansion has been due, in no small part, to the hiring of research facilitators in 2006 by OUCL and OeRC, who have helped and encouraged staff at all stages of the research grant application process.
The majority of our funding, at present, comes from the Research Councils (EPSRC, MRC, BBSRC, and NERC), with most of the rest coming from government (e.g. JISC and DTI), medical charities and industry. We have had significant success with US agencies such as ONR and AFOSR. Expansion in interdisciplinary and practical areas has led us to explore a much wider range of funding sources, frequently in partnership with academic and industrial collaborators.
A key improvement has been in the number of researchers seeking their own funding through fellowships, including many at an early stage of their career. In 2006/7 there were 14 fellowship applications and 9 were successful (a further one has yet to be decided). Applications in the first three months of 2007/8 already exceed the total for 2006/7.
We have had consistent industrial sponsorship from QinetiQ, Intel, and Microsoft, as well as other project-specific links. We aim to increase industrial funding as a fraction of our research income, and are encouraged by new links that are developing between industry and our key researchers in areas such as computational linguistics, computational biology, embedded systems verification and computer security.
3.8. Credibility, Vitality and Sustainability
We believe that much evidence for these aims is provided elsewhere in this document. Oxford’s credibility is further demonstrated by the external visitors we host, both to give lectures and for research collaborations. OUCL’s termly Strachey Lectures routinely attract the most distinguished names in Computer Science such as Moshe Vardi, John Reynolds, Michael Rabin, and Tom Henzinger.
In addition to these, there are weekly departmental seminars in OUCL and regular seminars in OeRC. A number of research groups organise their own seminar series, including Concurrency, Verification and Security; Foundations and Quantum Computer Science; Software Engineering; Computational Linguistics; and Metacomputation.
Recent long-term research visitors include Carl Seger (Intel), Prakash Panangaden (McGill), Neil Jones (DIKU) and Phil Scott (Ottawa), as well as regular visits from, and interaction with, our Visiting Professors: Don Knuth, Martyn Thomas, Stephen Emmott, Richard Brent and Michael Goldsmith. Thomas chairs an external advisory panel of distinguished representatives from industry and academia who give OUCL regular feedback on departmental policy, including research.
4. Research Strategy 2008–13
Over the past seven years we have made significant progress towards the goal of making Oxford a world-leading centre for a broad spectrum of computing research. Our key aim for the next five years is to reinforce this, always conscious of the need to ensure research is both relevant and of a high intellectual quality. We aim to continue to increase the range of strong research groups we have in a predominantly practical direction.
We regard it as fundamental to allow all academic staff to pursue their own research agendas. But we also encourage staff to pursue research that, directly or indirectly, is relevant to the real world. This can be done by engaging with the academic community in Grand Challenges, by looking into the implications of new and potential technology such as pervasive computing, quantum computer science and the semantic web, or by engaging directly with industry or other user community.
We believe we have a good mix between staff who are established and may have spent some time in Oxford, and those whose careers are at their most vigorous stages of development. We can now hope for a relatively stable period when the groups and themes we have developed can thrive.
The arrival of Gottlob and Horrocks, together with Benedikt, Kreutzer, Olteanu and Horrocks’s group including Motik, means that we have just assembled a world-class group in information systems. This group will tackle fundamental problems relating to data representation and querying. There will be a particular emphasis on Web-based technologies, but it will also cover traditional styles of database and more flexible styles of data exchange. The group will tackle theoretical and practical problems in the design of logics, algorithms and logic based ontology languages, the design and implementation of reasoning systems, and the application of such languages and systems. A particular focus will be the development of ontology languages and infrastructure motivated by applications in the life sciences and the so-called semantic web. The group will continue their established pattern of engaging and collaborating with application stake-holders in both industry and academia in order to validate existing research and identify areas where new research is required.
We aim to be a world-leading centre for verification technology across a wide range of technologies and application areas. We have well developed plans for FDR and PRISM with significant funding for each: making them more powerful and easier to use and with wider applicability. We are making FDR Open Source, which should substantially increase its user base. In each case we expect to develop a wide range of new verification techniques and application areas such as software verification (in C/C++ etc), developing seamless platforms that are easier to use and which have increasing integration between them. We anticipate that Melham’s group on theorem proving and hardware verification will expand substantially.
We plan to reinforce our position in algorithms and complexity by making at least one appointment in a central area of algorithms to add to our current strength in constraints. In this area we already have close links with researchers in Statistics and Mathematics. We aim to raise funding to unite this loose partnership into a centre, for example by applying for an EPSRC Science and Innovation award.
The importance of health informatics—the use of advanced, mainly networked technology in the health sector including the NHS—has recently been thrown into focus by well-publicised problems in expensive public procurements. We are pleased to be engaged in a number of major projects in this area led by Jim Davies and Andrew Simpson, and see it as one for future expansion—giving a real potential for rapid public benefit. Most of our current or past projects in this area concentrate, at their core, on efficient and secure sharing of data.
The idea of computational science, as set out, for example in the Microsoft sponsored publication Science, a 2020 vision is that, gradually, scientists will do more and more experiments via computational models and that advanced computational and modelling techniques will be required for this. The OeRC encompasses much of this vision and plans to build on HPC activity engaging numerical analysts and application scientists alike, and to develop a rich research portfolio in visualisation and, through the academic-link post, in imaging, data management and informatics. Its existing links with all five research themes in OUCL will continue to grow, and it will develop further links in sciences, social sciences, and humanities.
A related development is the growth of systems biology, where numerical modelling and computational thinking (amongst other techniques) are brought to bear on the understanding of biological systems. Oxford is an ideal location for the development of these ideas, both because of the presence of world-class biology departments and because of its existing expertise in relevant computational areas such as numerical modelling, process algebra and stochastic analysis.
We believe that Oxford is well placed to play a key role in the development of computer science research over the next five years. We have adapted rapidly to the changing challenges and opportunities over the past seven years, and we plan to do the same in the time ahead. We have seen many new paradigms develop in recent years, such as web services, the semantic web and pervasive computing. It is important that, when further paradigms come along, we are in a position to recognise and reason both about what is genuinely different about them, and the aspects where tried and tested principles still apply.
Indicators of Esteem
* = Early Career Researcher
LiCS Test of Time Award, 2007.
EPSRC Senior Fellowship, 2007.
Member, Scientific Steering Committee, Newton Institute 2002–06.
Invited Speaker, Logic Colloquium, 2003.
Invited Speaker, International Colloquium on New Perspectives on Games and Interaction, 2007.
Invited Speaker, 7th Workshop on “Games in Logic, Language and Computation” 2002.
Invited 3-day Tutorial, Logic Colloquium, 2003.
Invited Speaker, LICS, 2005.
Associate Editor, Journal of Computer and Systems Science, 2006–.
Best paper, Open Source Systems, 2006.
Member, International Expert Panel reviewing Computer Science in Denmark, 2005.
Managing Editor, Functional Pearls section: Journal of Functional Programming, 1991–
International conference held in his honour for 60th birthday, leading to publication of The Fun of Programming (Macmillan).
Federation Fellowship, Australian Research Council, 2003.
Mathematics and IT Committee for the New Zealand Research Assessment Exercise in 2003 and 2006.
Invited speaker, 2nd Workshop on Foundations of Databases and the Web, 2007.
Invited speaker: International Workshop on Inconsistency and Incompleteness in Databases, 2006.
Invited speaker: Geometric Modelling and Processing, 2002.
Editor: Software and System Modeling, 2003-.
Editorial Board: Journal of Natural Language Engineering, 2005.
Invited speaker: Barcelona, 2006 Natural Language Processing summer school.
Invited speaker: CLUK’07.
Invited speaker: Princeton conference in honour of von Neumann's contributions to quantum mechanics 2007.
2004 Biennial Prize for Meritorious Research in the Field of Quantum Structures by the International Quantum Structures Association.
Chair: International Conference on Integrated Formal Methods, 2007.
Programme co-chair: International Conference on Formal Engineering Methods, 2004.
PC chair: AOSD’07.
Invited speaker: GPCE’05.
Co-organiser: International QICS workshop 2007.
Invited lecture at the SIAM Annual Meeting, 2004.
PC member: International Conference on Global eSecurity 2007.
Member, EPSRC Life Sciences Interface Programme Strategic Advisory Team 2002–06.
Lead guest editor: Phil. Trans. Roy. Soc. A (two issues) 2006.
Member: National Cancer Research Institute Bioinformatics Task Force on strategy for developing a national IT infrastructure for UK Cancer research.
Programme Co-chair: IFIP TC2 Conference on Generic Programming, 2002.
Secretary: IFIP Working Group 2.1, 1997-.
Steering committee: MPC conferences, 1989–2008.
Fellow: ECCAI, the European Artificial Intelligence Society, 2002.
Full Member: Austrian Academy of Science, 2004.
Programme chair, IJCAI’03.
ISI Highly Cited Scientist, 2006.
Secretary, IFIP Working Group 2.8.
General Chair, ICFP 2007.
EPSRC Senior Research Fellowship, 2006.
Roger Needham Award, 2005.
PC Chair, ISWC 2002 International Semantic Web Conference.
Invited speaker, CADE’02.
Invited speaker, International Conference on Modern Algebra, 2002.
Best paper, 11th International Conference on Principles and Practice of Constraint Programming, 2005.
Organiser, Newton Institute Workshop 2006, Mathematics of Constraint Satisfaction, Algebra, Logic and Graph Theory.
Editorial Board, International Journal of Requirements Engineering 1996–.
PC member, IEEE International Conference on Requirements Engineering 2003–.
Royal Society URF, 2003–08.
Publicity co-chair, LICS 2006–2009 and FLoC 2006.
PC member, CSL’07.
Best Dissertation Award 2002 jointly awarded by the Austrian German, and Swiss
PC member, CAV’05.
PC member, FMCAD’07.
Invited speaker, LICS 2003.
Editorial Board, Transactions on Computational Systems Biology 2005–.
Appointed in 2007 to be lead organiser of the 2008 Royal Society Discussion Meeting From Computers to Ubiquitous Computing, by 2020
Best paper award, ASE 2002.
Best paper award, MoDELS 2006.
Breaking and fixing NSPK listed in Wikipedia’s ‘Important Publications in Computer Science’ 2007.
Editorial Board, Journal of Computer Security 2001-.
Invited speaker, MFPS, 2001.
PC member, CSFW 2001, 2004–06.
Director, First European Summer School on Trusted Infrastructures, September 2006.
Co-chair, Workshop on Grid Security, Practice and Experience 2003 (and guest editor, Software Practice and Experience for the best papers).
Conference Chair, TPHOLs Oxford, August 2005.
Co-ordinating Conference Chair, TPHOLs and 11th Advanced Research Working Conference on Correct Hardware Design & Verification Methods, 2001.
Best paper, ISWC 2005.
PC chair, DL 2007.
EATCS Best Theoretical Paper Award, ETAPS’05.
PC Member, ICALP’07
PC membership, QEST, 2005–07.
PC Member, ICDE 2008.
PC Chair, LICS’07.
PC Chair, CSL’05.
Invited speaker, MFCS’07.
Chair, Expert Panel on Mathematics and Informatics, Academic Research Council, Republic of Singapore.
Invited speaker, ETAPS Workshop on Quantitative Aspects of Programming Languages
PC Member, LICS’06.
Invited Speaker, ICMLA’06.
General Chair, KES’2003, Oxford, (major international conference, 400 delegates).
Co-Editor-in-chief, International Journal of Hybrid Intelligent Systems (IOS Press) 2004–.
PC member, FMICS’07.
Best paper, QEST’06.
Invited speaker, MFPS XIX, 2003.
Distinguished Lecture in Software Engineering at IDPT, 2002.
Most Promising Women in Technology under 25, Blackberry Women & Technology Award 2006.
Best paper, Conference on Principles and Practices of Constraint Programming, 2005.
Conference Chair, International Symmetry Conference, 2007.
Fellow, Geometric Modelling Society UK and president, 2006.
Editorial Board, Phil. Trans. Roy. Soc. A (Medical Engineering, Biological Mathematics and Biophysics) 2007–.
First Prize, Young Investigators Award Competition (Basic Science), Heart Rhythm Society, 2004.
Invited speaker, Gordon Conference on Cardiac Arrhythmias Mechanisms, 2007.
ISI Highly Cited Scientist, 2002.
Theory and Practice of Concurrency listed in Wikipedia’s ‘Important Publications in Computer Science’ 2007.
Elected to UKCRC, 2005.
PC member, ACM Computer Applications in Healthcare 2005–07.
Holgate Lecturer, LMS, 2007–08.
The Z Notation: A Reference Manual listed in Wikipedia’s ‘Important Publications in Computer Science’ 2007.
Director and Deputy Director, UK e-Science Core Programme, 2001–06.
Co-Chair, NSF Review Committee for CyberInfrastructure, 2006.
Plenary speaker: SC’05.
Member, International Panel reviewing Australian Partnership in Advanced Computing Grid Plan, 2004.
Best Paper, International Workshop on Data Management for Sensor Networks, in conjunction with VLDB, 2004.
Invited Speaker, Location Privacy Workshop, 2004.
Fellow, UK Geometric Modelling Society, 2002.
ISI Highly Cited Scientist, 2004.
PC member, MFCS’07.
PC member, MFPS’07.
Invited speaker, Workshop on Quantum Programming Languages, 2003.
Australian Research Council Federation Fellowship, 2005.
Hannan medal of the Australian Academy of Science 2005.