Computing Department: An Overview and News Awais Rashid
Introducing the Department • Overview • A research leddepartment with a strong international reputation (rated 5 in the 2001 RAE) • Ranked 7th (out of 110) in the Guardian Education Guide • Strong practical focus with excellent links to industry • Over £10m currently held in research grants with a high percentage coming directly from industry • Current size • 30 academic staff • 50 research associates • Over 100 registered PhD students (including innovative route for Professional Researchers)
Research Strategy: Goals • To be at least in the top 10 Computer Science departments in the country in terms of research (as measured by the next RAE ratings); • To be recognised as the best in the country in terms of practical and experimental systems research; • To increase research income and research overheads coming into the department by on average 20% per annum over the next three years.
Key Research Themes • Networked and distributed systems • Blair, Coulson, Hutchison, Pink, et al • Software systems engineering • Rashid, Whittle, Sawyer, et al • Mobile and ubiquitous systems • Davies, Gellersen, et al • Cooperative and interactive systems • Dix, et al “leading edge systems research”
Co-operative and interactive systems Mobile and ubiquitous computing Software systems engineering Networked and distributed systems Encouraging Cross/ Multi-disciplinary Research Environmental informatics Health informatics Digital arts/ multimedia Telecommunications Computer Corpus Research Institute for Advanced Studies Lancaster Environment Centre Management School Lancaster Institute for Contemporary Arts Linguistics and English Language
Research Highlights • Substantial growth from high baseline • Balanced portfolio (EPSRC, EC, Industry) • Over 40 active grants • Major Industrial Collaborators • Siemens • SAP • Microsoft • IBM • BP
Highlight: Networked and Distributed Systems • Mobile IPv6 Systems Research Lab • Grant Value: £ 750,000. • Sponsors: Microsoft, Cisco and Orange • Code produced at Lancaster incorporated in commercial releases of Windows CE operating systems • Microsoft Windows Embedded Award for Academic Excellence
Highlight: Software Systems Engineering • AOSD-Europe: European Network of Excellence on Aspect-Oriented Software Development • Grant Value: € 4.4m • Sponsor: European Commission • Leading nine academic institutions and two major companies • A companion project funded by the EC for € 3.78 m • Lancaster tools and techniques being applied to parts of Siemens Toll Collection System and SAP’s Customer Relationship Management System
Highlight: Mobile and Ubiquitous Computing • NEMO: Networked Embedded Models and Memories of Physical Work Activity • Grant Value: £ 1.05m • Sponsor: Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council • Multi-disciplinary project with Management School and Psychology • Industrial Partners: Agilent, BP, Carillion, In Touch. • Enabling physical entities to recognise their work context and enable decision making with respect to safety critical situations • Two-week deployment of a smart drill at Carillion
Highlight: Cooperative and Interactive Systems • ECampus • Grant Value: £ 600K • Sponsor: Strategic Research Infrastructure Fund (SRIF) • Cross-campus research infrastructure for future interactive displays • Ad-hoc 3D displays on physical locations such as trees and buildings
Academic Staff Changes • Prof. Doug Shepherd passed away • Prof. Ian Sommerville left • Recent Appointments: • Prof. Jon Whittle (Software Engineering) • Prof. Ian Marshall (Environmental Informatics) • Dr. Mike James (RCUK Fellow – Environmental Informatics) • Dr. Enrico Rukzio (RCUK Fellow – Ubicomp) • Dr. Mike Hazas (RCUK Fellow – Ubicomp) • Dr. Utz Roedig + 1 (Jointly with Comms) • Lectureship in Software Engineering (advertised)
Teaching Strategy: Goals • To be at least in the top 10 Computer Science departments in the country in terms of teaching (as measured by league tables – not the Guardian!); • To reverse the decline in UG numbers and strive for a target of 75; • To significantly increase the quality of the intake; • To increase PGT numbers from 35 to 75; • To have a modest increase in PGR numbers (linear growth with our increasing number of staff).
Teaching Strategy: Actions • Significant but capped growth in our MSc in Advanced Computer Science; • Increased income from our involvement in the flagship MSc in eBusiness and Innovation; • The introduction of a new hybrid MSc in Networking; • The embracing of outreach activities to schools and colleges including involvement in the Headstart scheme; • The introduction of a new flagship BSc in Computer Science Innovation, building on InfoLab21; • Taking steps to increase our entrance requirements particularly on this flagship course but also across our portfolio;
… continued • The introduction and subsequent expansion of 2+2 programmes with targeted institutions overseas; • The involvement in other schemes such as the Students Associate Scheme to appeal to a broader set of students, e.g. those interested in educational careers. • Comprehensive overhaul of our web presence and also associated marketing materials.
Computer Science Innovation • Brand new flagship course from 2005 • Focuses on creative problem solving • Very small group tuition alongside conventional lectures • Available as a 3 or 4 year course (BSc/MSci) • Extends existing degree with courses on • fundamental problems and challenges in computer science, • innovation dissemination and exploitation, and • experimental computer science • Research and innovation focused projects • Builds on the research profile of InfoLab21 Entrance level: AAB
MSc in Networking and Internet Systems • A hybrid conversion/ advanced course • Overall structure • Term 1: Building the foundations • Introduction to ICT • Introduction to Operating Systems and Distributed Systems • Network and Distributed Systems Programming • Network Systems Architecture I • Term 2: Advanced study in networking • Network Systems Architecture II • 3 x Advanced Options • Supported by new networking lab
Admin Staff Changes • Sarah Brown moved to research project admin • Paula Robinson left the department • New Appointments: • Jessica Froude (Admissions Secretary) • Krista Calvert (Teaching Secretary) • Yvonne Rigby (AOSD Project Officer)
About the RAE • Assessment of quality of an institution’s research activity, by discipline (‘unit of assessment’) • Assessment period 2001 to 2007 • ‘Submissions’: input into the assessment • Panel-based review • Result: ‘Quality profile’ • Determines funding • Will also be used to produce league tables
Submission Staff selected for inclusion Four papers per selected individual Postgrad degrees awarded, studentships Research income (collective) Environment and esteem • Prose on structure, strategy, etc • List of esteem indicators (0-4 per individual, 2N total)
Grading of components • Every submitted paper gets graded on scale of 0-4 stars • Same for every listed esteem indicator • Also stars for environment factors • Data analyses, e.g. PhDs/staff, ££/staff, … • Strategy, qualitative factors
So What Can You Do • Firstly, the prime responsibility must lie with academic staff • An ideal publication profile for PhD students • Year 1/2: One or more workshop publications • Year 2/3: One or more publications in quality conferences • Year ¾: One or more publications in quality journals • Are you almost done with your PhD? • Finish by census date (end July 2007)!
The Overall Position • A continuing success story • Significant rise in research income • Great place to work • Healthy budget in spite of adverse conditions • Dropping student numbers • HEFCE regrading of Computer Science • Strategy now in place with aim of modest growth • Threat posed by lack of space in InfoLab21 • RAE outcome is key to long term health of the department
Questions? thanks for listening