Monday, August 10, 2009

Vijay Nagarajan

I am delighted to announce the appointment of Vijayanand Nagarajan to a lectureship in Informatics, funded by the Numerical Algorithms and Intelligent Software Centre.

Vijay 's research interests lie in the areas of compilers, computer architecture and software engineering. He plans to work within ICSA on problems that span these areas. He plays cricket, violin and electric guitar.

Vijay received his MS degree in Computer Science from the University of Arizona in 2005. He spent the summer of 2006 as a research intern at the Intel Programming Systems Laboratory, and has studied for his PhD under the direction of Prof. Rajiv Gupta, in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering at the University of California, Riverside. His dissertation proposes an efficient and programmable runtime monitoring approach for multicores, which can be used to increase the performance and reliability of parallel programs running on such architectures.

Vijay expects to defend his PhD in August 2009, and will then join the school in October.

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Sunday, July 05, 2009

Guido Sanguinetti

I am delighted to announce that Dr Guido Sanguinetti will join the School of Informatics on 1st August, as a SICSA lecturer.

Guido received his MSc (Laurea) in Physics in his native Genova, and then pursued a D.Phil. in Mathematics at the University of Oxford, working on algebraic and differential geometric methods to solve nonlinear differential equations.

After two years as a professional musician, he returned to research in 2004 as a postdoc and then a lecturer in Computer Science in Sheffield. His main research interests lie in reverse engineering dynamical systems governed by sets of (stochastic) differential equations, with a particular focus on applications in systems biology.

Guido will take a leave of absence to allow him to complete some projects at Sheffield, but he plans to make several extended visits to Edinburgh before moving to Scotland in 2010.

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Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Charles Sutton

Charles Sutton portrait

I am delighted to announce the appointment of Dr. Charles Sutton to a SICSA lecturership in the School of Informatics.

Charles has been a postdoctoral researcher at the University of California, Berkeley, since 2007. His recent work has aimed at new statistical machine learning methods designed to aid the management of large-scale computer systems. In particular, he has developed methods for performance modeling that are rooted in machine learning, applying them to the control, visualization, and diagnosis of distributed Web applications. More generally, his research interests include machine learning, graphical models, approximate inference, structured prediction, natural language processing, and the application of machine learning methods to computer systems. Charles received his PhD from the University of Massachusetts Amherst in 2008. His thesis work concerned efficient training methods for conditional random fields, with applications in natural language processing.

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Sunday, June 07, 2009

Iain Murray

Iain Murray portrait

I am delighted to announce that Dr Iain Murray will join the School of Informatics on 1st August, as a SICSA lecturer and a member of the Institute of Adaptive and Neural Computation.

Iain received MA and MSci degrees in Natural Sciences (Physics) from the University of Cambridge before obtaining a PhD from the Gatsby Computational Neuroscience Unit at University College London. His thesis introduced a range of new 'Markov chain Monte Carlo' algorithms for solving integrals in hard statistical inference problems. While at Gatsby Iain also developed strong interests in probabilistic modelling and efficient algorithms for solving inference problems.

Partly supported by a Canadian Commonwealth Research Fellowship, Iain moved to Toronto in 2007 and joined the Machine Learning group there as a postdoctoral fellow. He has continued to expand the applicability of Markov chain Monte Carlo methods for statistical applications, such as the evaluation of large-scale probabilistic models. Iain has also formed collaborations to apply and extend hierarchical Bayesian methods. Recent application areas include understanding human perception and inferring celestial dynamics.

Iain will take a leave of absence to allow him to complete his Fellowship in Toronto, but he plans to make several extended visits to Edinburgh before moving to Scotland in 2010.

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Wednesday, March 11, 2009

The Space and Motion of Communicating Agents

I am delighted to announce that Robin Milner is returning to the University of Edinburgh, part-time. He will be a SICSA Advanced Research Fellow and will hold the Chair of Computer Science.

Robin Milner graduated from Cambridge in 1958. After short posts he joined the University of Edinburgh in 1973, where he co-founded the Laboratory for Foundation of Computer Science in 1986. He was elected Fellow of the Royal Society in 1988, and in 1991 won the ACM's A.M. Turing Award. He joined Cambridge University in 1995, headed the Computer Laboratory there for four years, and retired in 2001. His research achievements (often joint) include: the system LCF, a model for many later systems for interactive reasoning; Standard ML, an industry-scale but rigorously based programming language; the Calculus of Communicating Systems (CCS); the Pi Calculus.

Currently he works on Bigraphs, a topographical model which aims to provide a theoretical foundation for mobile interactive systems. Cambridge University Press has just published The Space and Motion of Communicating Agents, Robin's book on this area.

Robin will be giving a short course on bigraphs in Edinburgh on May 13th and 14th 2009. So that we can keep track of numbers, please sign up for the course at (password is milner).

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Saturday, September 29, 2007

Elham Kashefi

We are pleased to announce that Elham Kashefi will be appointed to a Lecturership in the School of Informatics, from 1st October.

Elham received her BSc. and MSc. degrees, in Mathematics (Major in Combinatorics), from Sharif University of Technology, Tehran, Iran. In 1999 she joined Imperial College of London as a research assistant in the formal methods and programming language group.

She started her Ph.D. in 2000 under the supervision of Vlatko Vedral and graduated from department of computing, Imperial College in 2003. Her thesis was on complexity analysis and semantics for quantum computing.

She was then awarded a four-year junior research fellowship at Christ Church College, Oxford to work on foundational structures for quantum information and computation. During this period she spent 2005 in Canada as a post doctoral fellow at the Institute for Quantum Computing, University of Waterloo, to work on depth complexity and parallel computing. From March 2006 until 2007 she was a visiting scientist at MIT, in the Department of Theoretical Physics, exploring the connection between measurement-based models, adiabatic and topological quantum computing.

Elham has recently been awarded a five-year EPSRC Advanced Research Fellowship, which she will hold at Edinburgh, to allow her to focus on measurement-based quantum computing and its relation to other quantum models.

Elham's current research interests include: formalising physical computations, classical cryptography secure against quantum attacks, models of quantum computing and their structural relations, and exploring new applications, algorithms and protocols for quantum computing.

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Vincent Danos

We are pleased to announce the appointment of Vincent Danos to a Chair in Computational Systems Biology.

Vincent has pursued various lines of research during his career, from mathematical logic and the semantics of programming languages, to probabilistic and agent-based models, and comes to us from a position as Directeur de Recherches at the CNRS. He has spent the past year visiting the Harvard Medical School, and working in a start-up company trying to bring agent based techniques to bear on the representation of cellular signalling networks.

At Edinburgh he plans to lead the development of an efficient bottom-up simulation platform for cellular signalling, that will enable the rapid generation of cellular insight—including causal information—without requiring significant modeling or quantitative capability from the user.

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Thursday, September 27, 2007

Sharon Goldwater

We are delighted to announce that Sharon Goldwater has accepted a lectureship in Informatics at Edinburgh, with effect from October.

Sharon graduated from Brown University in Providence, RI, in May '98 with an Sc.B. in mathematics- computer science and a strong interest in linguistics. From 1998-2000, she worked as a researcher in the Artificial Intelligence Laboratory at Stanford Research International (SRI), where she developed telephone-based and multi-modal dialogue systems.

Sharon then returned to Brown, where she received her Sc.M. (2005) in Computer Science, and Ph.D. (2006). Her thesis, supervised by Mark Johnson in the Department of Cognitive and Linguistic Sciences, developed non-parametric Bayesian models for unsupervised learning of linguistic structure.

In 2006 she joined the Stanford natural language processing group as a visiting post-doctoral scholar. There she has continued her work on unsupervised language learning and cognitive modelling, as well as investigating the effects of prosody on speech recognizer errors.

Sharon's current research interests include unsupervised learning, computational modelling of human language acquisition (especially phonology and morphology), and Bayesian models of language.

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Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Richard Mayr

We are pleased to announce that Richard Mayr will be joining Informatics in October, as a lecturer.

Richard received his MSc in Computer Science from the TU-Müunchen, Germany, in 1994. In 1998 he obtained his PhD in Formal Methods (Model Checking Infinite-State Systems) from the TU-München, Germany.

During postdoctoral stints at the University of Edinburgh (UK) in 1999 and the University Paris 7 (France) in 2000, he worked on semantic equivalences. He joined the Department of Computer Science at the University of Freiburg (Germany) in 2001. There he extended his research area to infinite real-time and probabilistic systems and received a postdoctoral degree ("Habilitation") in 2002.

In 2004 he moved to Raleigh, NC, USA, to join the department of Computer Science at NC State University as assistant professor.

His current research interests include Petri nets and process algebra, model checking and semantic equivalences, efficient algorithms for the verification of real-time and probabilistic systems, Markov chains, Markov reward models and stochastic games.

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Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Victor Lavrenko

We are pleased to announce that Victor Lavrenko will be joining the School as a lecturer in October.

Victor received his Ph.D. in Computer Science from the University of Massachusetts Amherst in 2004. His dissertation focused on a generative framework for modeling relevance in Information Retrieval. In 2005 he joined the Center for Intelligent Information Retrieval at UMass as a post-doctoral research associate, working on statistical models for searching large semi-structured databases. From 2006 Victor worked as a language technology consultant for the Credit Suisse Group. He has served as a co-chair of a HLT/NAACL 2003 student workshop and gave a tutorial on language modeling techniques at the SIGIR 2003 conference. Since 2000, he has served as a reviewer for SIGIR, CIKM, NAACL/HLT, IJCAI and NIPS conferences.

Victor's current research interests include formal models for searching text in multiple languages, annotating and retrieving images, and detecting and tracking novel events in the news.

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Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Dr. Michael Herrmann

We are pleased to announce that Dr. Michael Herrmann will be joining the School as a Lecturer, in September this year.

J. Michael Herrmann received a Diploma in Mathematics in 1988 and, in 1993, a doctoral degree in Computer Science, both from Leipzig University.

He has held post-doctoral positions at NORDITA, Copenhagen, and at RIKEN's Laboratory for Information Representation in Japan. From 1996 to 2001, he was with the Max-Planck Institute for Fluid Dynamics at Goettingen, Germany. In 2002 he became an assistant professor at Goettingen University.

Dr. Herrmann is currently an associated researcher at the Max-Planck Institute for Dynamics and Self-Organization and a principal investigator at the Goettingen Bernstein Center for Computational Neuroscience.

His research is focused on learning theory in autonomous agents and behavioral neuroscience, machine learning, and dynamics of neural systems.

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Migration Coordinator Appointed

Marije ('Mariah', with 'i' pronounced 'a') Vugts, already known to those based at KB, has been appointed to the post of Migration Coordinator. She will work with David Wyse, Joanna Treichel, and a host of others within the School, the University, and the Potterrow Project Team, to ensure an orderly succession of moves from our current distributed state to a new order in the Forum and Appleton Tower.

Marije will be collecting information from various sources over the next few weeks, and I hereby request and require all those whom it may concern to afford her such assistance as may be necessary. Your prompt and full responses to her queries will be much appreciated.

We will hold the traditional Informatics Open Meeting at the end of induction week in September, and plans for migration will be the main topic for discussion.

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Saturday, July 14, 2007

Dr. Subramanian Ramamoorthy (Ram)

We are pleased to announce that Dr. Subramanian Ramamoorthy will be joining the School as a Lecturer, in September this year.

Subramanian Ramamoorthy

Ram comes to us from the Intelligent Robotics Laboratory at The University of Texas at Austin, where he recently obtained his PhD in Electrical and Computer Engineering, under the supervision of Prof. Benjamin Kuipers. Previously, he graduated with an ME degree from the University of Virginia in 1999, and a BE from Bangalore University in 1996.

From 1999 to 2007, Ram was a member of the research and development team at National Instruments Corp. in Austin, Texas, working in the areas of computer vision, motion control and dynamic simulation.

He is primarily interested in the use of intelligent computing and machine learning to solve problems involving complex dynamical systems. He has made contributions to robotics and autonomous agent design. He is also interested in using similar techniques to address questions involving integrative and systems approaches to biology.

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Monday, June 18, 2007

Rahul Santhanam

I am pleased to announce that Dr. Rahul Santhanam will be joining the School as a Lecturer in August this year. He is currently a postdoctoral researcher in the Computer Science Department at the University of Toronto.

Rahul graduated with a B.Tech in Computer Science and Engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology, Madras, in 1998. He obtained an M.S. in Computer Science from the University of Chicago in 2001, and a Ph.D. in Computer Science from the University of Chicago in 2005 under the supervision of Prof. Lance Fortnow and Prof. Janos Simon. Before taking up his current post in Toronto, he was a postdoctoral associate at Simon Fraser University, working with Prof. Valentine Kabanets.

Rahul's primary research interest is in theoretical computer science, with an emphasis on computational complexity. He is currently working on problems concerning hierarchy theorems, derandomization and circuit lower bounds.

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Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Amin Coja-Oghlan

I am pleased to announce that Dr.Amin Coja-Oghlan will be joining the School as a Reader in October this year. He is currently supported by a Heisenberg advanced researcher fellowship awarded by the German research foundation.

Amin received his MSc in Mathematics from the Freie Universität Berlin, Germany, in 1999. In 2001 he obtained his PhD in Probability Theory from the University of Hamburg, Germany, where he also graduated with an MSc in Computer Science in 2003.

In 2001 Coja-Oghlan joined the Algorithms and Complexity group at Humboldt University, Berlin, as a postdoc. Since then, his research has been focused on probabilistic methods in computer science -- particularly on the use of randomness in the design and analysis of algorithms. In 2005 he received a postdoctoral degree ("Habilitation") at Humboldt, where from 2003 until 2006 he held a temporary professorship. In 2007 he moved to Pittsburgh, PA, USA, to hold his Heisenberg fellowship as a visiting research scholar at Carnegie Mellon University.

His current research interests include the use of spectral techniques and semidefinite programming in algorithm design as well as the impact of concepts from statistical physics on computer science.

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Thursday, January 18, 2007

Lectureship and Readership in Algorithms and Complexity

The University of Edinburgh invites applications from candidates with research of international standing in Algorithms and/or Complexity, for appointment to a Lectureship (reference 3006910 corresponding approximately to US Assistant Professor) and Readership (reference 3006911 corresponding approximately to US Associate Professor). The successful candidates will become members of the Laboratory for Foundations of Computer Science within the School of Informatics.

We welcome applications from candidates with research interests and achievements in any area of Algorithms and Complexity, including, for example, computational complexity, randomized algorithms, approximation algorithms, data structures, combinatorial optimization, cryptography, distributed algorithms and complex systems.

Closing Date: 2007-03-02

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Friday, July 14, 2006

Welcome to Peggy Seriès

Peggy Seriès joins Informatics this month as a lecturer, working in our Institute for Adaptive and Neural Computation.

Peggy started her higher education with a degree in Engineering from the Institut Supérieur d'Électronique de Paris (ISEP) and an MSc degree in Knowledge Based Systems from the University of Sussex in 1996. In 2002, she received a PhD in Computational Neuroscience from the Université Pierre et Marie Curie (Paris). Her PhD was supervised by Dr Y. Fregnac and Dr J. Lorenceau.

She has held postdoctoral positions at the University of Rochester (NY, USA) with Prof. A. Pouget, and at the Gatsby Unit (UCL, London) with Dr P. Latham. Until May next year Peggy will be spending most of her time on a fellowship at NYU, working with Prof. Eero Simoncelli, but she will be making a number of visits back to Edinburgh during this time.

Peggy's primary research aim is to understand how sensory information is encoded and transmitted in the collective activity of large populations of neurons in the brain. She is also interested in understanding how neural activity gives rise to perception and behavioral performance, and how it can be decoded by experimentalists. To investigate these questions, she employs mathematical models and simulations and focusses on the processing of visual information in the cortex.

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Monday, March 06, 2006

Introducting Alastair Knowles


On February 27th 2006, Alastair Knowles started in post at the School of Informatics as Business Development Executive for Bioinformatics, Systems Biology and Neuroinformatics. Alastair brings experience of industrial and academic research development at the Newcastle Institute of Neuroscience (, which included drawing together a series of projects in e-Science and neuroinformatics. During a previous appointment at the National e-Science Centre, he also coodinated the research funding application for the National Digital Curation Centre. As part of his induction into the school, Alastair wishes to arrange meetings with all academics and researchers that have relevant research to discuss with him.

Alastair can be found in Room C11 at the Forrest Hill Building, and should be contacted on [0131] 651 3158 or to arrange a meeting.

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