Computer Science Postgraduate Mini-Seminar Series

The PhD and research Masters students in the department of Computer Science are organising a "mini-seminar series" in which they are given the opportuinty to talk about a subject of their choice. These talks are organised on an adhoc basis and this page will be updated as new ones are scheduled. All are welcome to attend. Any research students wishing to contribute a talk please email or

Tuesday the 29th of August 2017 at 3pm in the Hamilton Seminar Room 3rd Floor Eolas:

  • Hao Wu - "MaxUSE: A Tool for Finding Achievable Constraints and Conflicts for Inconsistent UML Class Diagrams."

    In this talk, I will discuss my most recent research on integrated Formal Methods and Model Driven Engineering. In particular, I will show detailed algorithms and implementation about finding constraint conflicts for inconsistent UML class diagrams. This includes formally presenting a reduction from the set cover problem to boolean satisfiability (SAT/SMT) problem which can be efficiently solved by state-of-the-art SMT solvers. Therefore, people who are generally interested in software engineering/programming languages and algorithms (constraint solving) are particularly welcome.   

  • Marie Farrell - "Specification Clones: An empirical study of the structure of Event-B specifications."
    In this talk, I will present an empirical study of formal specifications written in the Event-B language. Our study is exploratory, since it is the first study of its kind, and we formulate metrics for Event-B specifications which quantify the diversity of such specifications in practice. We pay particular attention to refinement as this is one of the most notable features of Event-B. However, Event-B is less well-equipped with other standardised modularisation constructs, and we investigate the impact of this by detecting and analysing specification clones at different levels. We describe our algorithm used to identify clones at the machine, context and event level, and present results from an analysis of a large corpus of Event-B specifications. Our study contributes to furthering research into the area of metrics and modularisation in Event-B.

Monday the 8th of May 2017 at 3pm in the Hamilton Seminar Room 3rd Floor Eolas:

  • Caleb Derven - "Evaluating NER Classifiers Using Unstructured Texts"
    This talk will consider named entity recognition with regard to unstructured texts, discuss options for geocoding toponyms identified by the NER process and examines a model for encoding the data.

Monday the 27th of February 2017 at 3pm in the Hamilton Seminar Room 3rd Floor Eolas:

  • Yalemisew Abgaz - "Dr Inventor-Creativity Enhancement System"
    Dr Inventor is a creativity enhancement system built to support researchers to become more creative by comparing their ideas with existing publications.  To achieve this, Dr Inventor incorporates text processing, research object skeleton (ROS) generation, analogical mapping, inference generation and visualisation. This presentation focuses on analogical mapping and inference generation and discusses the tools and techniques used to identify and present creative ideas.  This talk will include a short demonstration of the Dr Inventor System and some interesting results.

Monday the 6th of February 2017 at 3pm in the Hamilton Seminar Room 3rd Floor Eolas:

  • William Clifford - "Smart Detection of Driver Distraction Events"
    Every year human lives have been claimed in road accidents from human interaction with the road itself and other road users. In 2014 this remained true for 86% of accidents on Irish roads. Although a lot of research has been carried out on sources of distraction within the car, less attention has been paid to external sources. In this talk I will discuss how eye-tracking can be applied to locate sources of distraction external to the car, how that data may be appropriately analyzed, and what will be used to simulate the environment of Irish roads.
  • Robert Kelly - "Lock-free memory reclamation algorithms"
    Lock-free data structures and algorithms often suffer from problems relating to memory management. Determining a safe point to delete and recycle memory is often a point of contention amongst threads. This talk will examine the problems surrounding memory management and some of the solutions with a focus on deferred memory reclamation.

Tuesday the 29th of November 2016 at 3pm in the Hamilton Seminar Room 3rd Floor Eolas:

  • Colin Fitzsimons - "Immersed in the Immersive: An Overview and Tool Demo of Immersive Technologies"
    The acquisition of the Oculus Rift for 2 billion USD by one of the world’s largest technology giants, Facebook, led to the beginning of main stream production of immersive hardware.  Companies such as Valve, Sony, Google and Microsoft are all vying for consumer attention in the immersive market, but they’re not all necessarily direct competitors.  In this talk we will look into the types of immersive technologies that are coming into market, their key differences, what they’re currently being used for and finally, jump into a quick demo of how simple it can be to get VR working in a 3D engine called Unity.
  • James Lockwood - "A Neurofeedback System to Promote Learner Engagement"
    This presentation describes a series of experiments that track novice programmer’s engagement during two attention based tasks. The tasks required participants to watch a tutorial video on introductory programming and to attend to a simple maze game whilst wearing an electroencephalogram (EEG) device called the Emotiv EPOC. The EPOC’s proprietary software includes a system which tracks emotional state (specifically: engagement, excitement, meditation, frustration, valence and long-term excitement). Using this data, a software application written in the Processing language was developed to track user’s engagement levels and implement a neurofeedback based intervention when engagement fell below an acceptable level. The aim of the intervention was to prompt learners who disengaged with the task to re-engage. The intervention used during the video tutorial was to pause the video if a participant disengaged significantly, however other interventions such as slowing the video down, playing a noise or  darkening/brightening the screen could also be used. For the maze game, the caterpillar moving through the maze slowed in line with disengagement and moved more quickly once the learner re-engaged. The approach worked very well and successfully re-engaged participants, although a number of improvements could be made. A number of interesting findings on the comparative engagement levels of different groups e.g. by gender and by age etc. were identified and provide useful pointers for future research studies.

Wednesday the 16th of November 2016 at 3pm in the Hamilton Seminar Room 3rd Floor Eolas:

  • Keith Nolan - "The role of anxiety when learning to program"
    The World Health Organisation assert that the number one global health issue for young people is their mental health. For students mental well-being is associated with effective learning and their ability to navigate through college, having the resilience to cope effectively with the challenges and stressors that are a part of everyday student life. The My World Survey , the first of its kind on youth mental health in Ireland, found that for any given 100 students, irrespective of discipline, 40 suffer from depression and 38 from anxiety. In Ireland, Computer Science is only available as a third level course. This means that students often have no prior formal education in Computer Science to build on and so have to learn it for the first time in third level. Computer Science in third level has a high number of contact hours. This is to ensure that the large amount of theoretical and practical work is covered. Alongside the large number of contact hours, there is a considerable need for independent study in order to comprehend the fundamental concepts. The sheer volume of work that novice programmers have to complete is a contributing factor to the students stress. At our institution a large number of Computer Science students register for university counselling services. Learning to program is notoriously difficult with high attrition and failure rates. Learning typically takes place in a lab environment where inexperienced programmers will begin to type ("code") shortly after being presented with a problem rather than spending time designing a solution. Thus the lab becomes active and busy from the onset, making struggling students cripplingly perceive their peers know more. Further, novice programmers use the compiler to constantly monitor their progress and generating syntax errors can be perceived as negative feedback. Such an environment can create or compound anxiety and stress. The objective is to determine and collate the current state-of-the art on how anxiety affects students when learning to program.
  • Natalie Culligan- "Predicting novice programming performance and planning interventions"
    I will be talking about Susan Bergin's PreSS system, Keith Quille's PreSS# system and my VEAP system. PreSS and PreSS# are systems for predicting if a first year student is likely to pass or fail an introduction to programming module, with 80% accuracy. VEAP is a visualization system that shows teachers which students are likely to fail or pass, and to help them decide what kind of help a student needs in order to raise their chances of doing well. I will talk about how these systems make their predictions, and what this means for computer science education.

Wednesday the 26th of October 2016 at 3pm in the Hamilton Seminar Room 3rd Floor Eolas:

The theme of this session will be "Navigating the Theory Supermarket". The analogy here is of a theory supermarket where one can shop for features with the confidence that they will work well and correctly together.

  • Andrew Healy - "Reading the Ingredients to Predict the Recipe"
    The modular architecture of the Why3 verification system supports the use of many automatic theorem provers and SMT solvers. The choice of correct solver for any verification goal can depend on the logical theories which need to be supported, among other factors. This talk will present my Where4 tool which automates this choice by extracting static metrics from programs and using machine learning to predict the appropriate solver. The availability of such a portfolio solver makes the Why3 platform more approachable for non-expert users.
  • Marie Farrell - "Shopping for Specifications"
    We use an array of software development tools to carry out software verification, however most of these tools use very different programming languages and are often concerned with proving different properties of a system. As systems increase in complexity it is often important that they preserve a variety of properties (e.g safety and temporal). Therefore there is a clear requirement for correct heterogeneous  specification. The Heterogeneous Tool Set (HETS) provides a framework which facilitates multi-formalism specification. HETS is a parsing, static analysis and proof management tool for heterogeneous specification. This talk will provide an example-based introduction to HETS.

A video of this session can be downloaded from:

Monday the 25th of April 2016 at 11am in the Hamilton Seminar Room 3rd Floor Eolas:

  • Emlyn Hegarty - " A Demonstrators look at Virtual Programming Lab" : With the hard work completed by a fourth year student, Eric Butler, for his fourth year project, the Virtual Programming Lab has been introduced in the first year labs. Virtual Programming Lab is a moodle plugin that is hosted on a jail server and allows the students to write and evaluate code within moodle. This talk will provide an overview of the background code behind (VPL) and what it means for the Lab.
  • Robert Kelly - "Lock-free - Allies and enemies of the state": Lock-free algorithms and data structures offer significant performance improvements but (as is life) they come at the cost of code readability and maintenance, and mental overhead. I will be covering the basic knowledge required in understanding lock-free algorithms, as well as common pitfalls in their implementation.

Monday the 29th of February 2016 at 11am in the Hamilton Seminar Room 3rd Floor Eolas:

  • Taina Lehtimäki - " Visual perception of holograms, stereo images, and 2D images - an eye tracking study":  Our long term aim is to contribute to the understanding what requirements human visual system, eye movement behavior, and visual perception process has for the new generation of 3D holographic displays. The purpose of this study is to find out how people look at a 3D scene captured in a hologram. We wish to find out how people move their eyes when viewing holograms and how the eye movement patters differ from viewing 2D and stereo stimuli. We also wish to find out how the two eyes work together when viewing particular details at different depths and what differences and similarities there are when viewing stereo images and holograms. And finally we want to see how people are able to estimate the actual depth of the scene from these different type of stimuli.
  • Tomi Pitkäaho - "Digital holographic microscopy in analysis of three-dimensional cell cultures.": Digital holographic microscopy (DHM) is an efficient technique for imaging three-dimensional (3D) cell cultures in which hundreds of cells form independent structures called cysts. This talk is a short introduction to digital holographic microscopy and introduces novel cyst segmentation and analysis techniques. Imaging results of 3D cysts with digital holographic and confocal microscopes are presented.

Monday the 15th of February 2016 at 11am in the Hamilton Seminar Room 3rd Floor Eolas:

  • Siti Khadijah Binti Mohd Salleh - "A. I Application: Chatbox": This talk will present a brief description of chatbox application; examples and tools to develop simple chatbox.
  • Lingfei Zhang - "Introduction to Optical Encryption": The aim of this talk is to help people have more intuitive understanding of optical encryption, especially the differences between conventional cryptography and optical encryption. The most popularized optical encryption system called double random phase encoding (DRPE) will be introduced. Meanwhile the security of this system will be discussed and few optimization algorithms will be presented.     

Tuesday the 8th of December 2015 at 12pm in the Hamilton Seminar Room 3rd Floor Eolas:

  • Andrew Healy - "The Work of Art in the Age of Digital Production": This talk will present an interpretation of Walter Benjamin's seminal 1936 essay The Work of Art in The Age of Mechanical Reproduction for the current cultural moment. Although the repercussions of Benjamin's thinking can be seen in social media, film theory, collage and appropriation techniques, particular emphasis will be given to Benjamin's notion of "aura" as it can be applied to post-internet art and the so-called "new-aesthetic".
  • Hao Wu - "Building your own verifier": This talk will outline the mechanism behind building a simple program verifier.

Tuesday the 17th of November 2015 at 12pm in the Hamilton Seminar Room 3rd Floor Eolas:

  • Robert Kelly - "C++ move semantics": An addition to the C++ standard allowing references to r-values via a new type, with associated constructors and assignment operators for objects. This provides a mechanism for handling temporary variables, giving way to more efficient code (via avoiding unnecessary copies) with standardised semantics and properties. The talk will look into why a new type needed to be introduced via examples, and the benefits of these addition.
  • Marie Farrell - "Event-B by example": Event-B is a formal specification language that enables the user to prove safety properties of a specification. It uses set theory as notation and facilitates the modelling of systems at different levels of abstraction through the verifiable process of refinement. This talk will provide a brief introduction to Event-B and its associated platform Rodin. Notable uses of Event-B are the fully automated Paris metro line 14, air traffic control, and pacemakers.


Last Modified: Thu, 24/08/2017 - 13:19