Computing Science academics support Covid-19 research

Dr Ke Yuan, Lecturer in Machine Learning and Computational Biology in our Information, Data & Analysis Section, is involved in a Wellcome Trust Covid grant to support some African countries fight with COVID-19: 

Within our Formal Analysis, Theory and Algorithms Section, Drs Jess Enright, William Petterson, Kitty Meeks, and Blair Archibald are assisting with model development within the Scottish COVID Response Consortium (SCRC), endorsed by the RAMP (Rapid Assistance in Modelling the Pandemic).  Enright is currently the modelling lead on one of the six COVID-19 models currently under development, and Petterson, Meeks, and Archibald will be assisting in development of these models as volunteer programmers and data managers.  Each modelling team consists of a modelling lead, a consulting epidemiologist, a research software engineer, and a number of volunteer developers sourced from organisations that have agreed to release their employees to assist with RAMP.   Enright is also an expert reviewer for the RAMP’s rapid review team providing 24 to 48-hour turnaround review of modelling outputs to support SPI-M.

How do you celebrate securing a grant about multilayer algorithmics? With a multilayer cake, of course!

Congratulations to Kitty Meeks (PI) and Jess Enright (co-I) on the funding of their EPSRC grant proposal entitled “MultilayerALGS (Multilayer Algorithmics to Leverage Graph Structure)”, total value £766k.  Kitty writes:


Multi-layer networks – see the cake for an illustration – can be used to represent qualitatively different types of connections between objects, and are very useful for modelling a wide range of real-world systems.  For example, when analysing a social network, we might want to consider face-to-face contact and online interaction separately.  These two types of links are different in the processes that produce them, and in their applicability to different questions (If we wish to compute the spread of an amusing online video then the online linkages may be more important, but if we are interested in the spread of a cold or flu then we only need consider the in-person links).  Also, perhaps most importantly for our purposes, we see different mathematical structure in the network “layers” formed by each type of connection - for example, online friendships are not geographically constrained, and you may have online friends that you have never met in person.


The goal of the project is to develop efficient computational methods to extract information from and to optimise multilayer systems of this kind.  Specifically, our aim is to understand and exploit the processes that generate the different layers and use the resulting structural properties to tackle important computational problems that are intractable in general.  In addition to general theoretical research, the project will involve a variety of case studies based on real-world multilayer systems arising in online social networks, medical statistics, and ecological and epidemiological disease transmission data.  The project will start in early 2020, led by Kitty Meeks and Jess Enright, with co-Investigators Mark Wong (Urban Studies), Duncan Lee (Statistics) and Heng Guo (Informatics, University of Edinburgh); two postdoctoral positions associated with the project will be advertised soon.

Glasgow hosts Chi 2019 - a Chair's perspective

I was one of the General Chairs of the ACM CHI 2019 conference held at the SEC and Crowne Plaza in May ( CHI is the top conference in human-computer interaction. It was the first time CHI had ever been in the UK and I was super happy that we got it to Glasgow. One reason was the great group that we have here.

CHI is big and this year was the biggest ever, with over 3800 attendees from 68 countries. We had ~3,000 full papers submitted and accepted 700. The conference had 22 parallel tracks. So, it was a huge event! You can see what we talked about in this nice visualisation: The three biggest topics were: VR, accessibility and AR.

We had some great keynotes, including Aleks Krotoski who does the digital human series on BBC Radio 4. They was a fantastic interactivity track, chaired by Julie Williamson, where people could try hands on demos. There were VR swings, a bucking bronco and lots of other crazy stuff.

Lots of people in the School helped organise it. Julie Williamson was the chair the hands-on Interactivity Track, Euan Freeman was the Web Chair, Helen Purchase the Certificates Chair, to name a few. Many GIST PhD students were student volunteers.

Organising it took a massive amount of time; I had been working hard on it for more than two years, but it was a great event. Lots of people came to visit the University and enjoyed the city. Glad it is done now though so I can get back to normal life!

Professor Stephen Brewster, General Co-Chair

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