Deep thoughts from the Centre for Applied Computer Science @ The University of Bolton

Category: Uncategorized (Page 2 of 2)

Hackathon 2021 with Bolton Council: Data-Digging for the local environment!

What a busy and exciting week it’s been!

This week saw our inaugural annual Bolton data hackathon as students from our computing degrees organised themselves into teams to rise to the challenge thrown down to them by our friends at Bolton Council: discover something new relating to the local environment by “digging deep” into complex open data sets to truly turn data into meaningful and insightful information.

Students at all levels, from first-year undergraduates to postgraduates, set to work over the two-day event to sift, sort, shape, examine and explore a variety of complex datasets during what proved to be an enlightening, challenging and entertaining event for everyone.

7 teams presented their conclusions and the members of the top 3 teams who were judged as having produced the best outcomes, were awarded £50 Amazon gift vouchers each.

But not only were cash prizes up for grabs, the top-scoring team’s lucky members also get the opportunity of several work experience days at Bolton Council to learn more about how computing shapes and supports what the council does in many different ways.

The winning teams were:

1st Place – Team Mountain (Nathan Barron, Ike Igweze, Umara Akhtar, Ash-Lee Ashton, Nitesh Pandit)

2nd Place – Team Ctrl Alt Delete ( Josh Price, Alison McCaughtrie)

3rd Place – Team Data Miners (Isa Hussain, Faizaan Mohmed, Subodh Shah, Anis Patel, Abimbola Abatan-Balagun)

Our hard-working and creative winners, Team Mountain!

Well done to them and to everyone who took part!

This is a great outcome and shows once again that The University of Bolton truly has a focus on graduate employability as those experience days will greatly add to their CVs and give them valuable insight into the working world and the work of local councils.

Thanks again to the amazing people at Bolton Council and Data Mill North who helped us to make this possible, we look forward to seeing you again in 2022!

Who knows what the theme will be next year, but one thing’s for certain: our students will love taking part!

Can they dig it? Yes, they can! 😉

“November to Remember” powers on into its second week!

What a fantastic week it’s been for our Our November to Remember series of guest lectures series.

This week has seen two more great speakers, you can watch them below and catch up with all of them from our official YouTube channel:

Business creativity and Innovation with Christopher Agbamuche,Vice President Bank of America. USA
Research and Publication Experiences with Dr. Thippa Reddy Gadekallu

“November to Remember” gets off to a flying start!

Welcome dear reader.

As the darker, longer nights draw in, are you in need of something different to grab your interest and keep you engaged this November?

Quite possibly yes I’d have thought!

Well then, look no further! Our November to Remember series of guest lectures has gotten off to a flying start last week!

If you weren’t able to catch them live, fear not, you can catch up via our official YouTube channel, onto which we’ve just uploaded the first two lecture recordings from last week:

Monday 1st: Career Nuggets: Employability with Jane Egerton-Idehen, Head Of Sales Middle East & Africa, Facebook
Tuesday 2nd: Viable Systems Model Cybernetics Research with Paul Hollins PhD MSC MBA FCybS

Make this a “November to Remember” with UOB Computing!

Prepare to be inspired and enthralled this November with our “November to Remember” series of guest lectures!

We have an exciting line-up of guest speakers to bring you engaging and thought-provoking lectures that bring business literacy, employability skills and research methods to life in the context of Computing:

All lectures are delivered online, with recordings available soon after on our official YouTube channel.

Lecture Schedule:

Date In NovemberSpeakerTopic
1stJane Egerton-Idehen,
Facebook’s Head Of Sales,
Middle East & Africa
Career Nuggets-Employability
2ndPaul Hollins, PhD MSC MBA FCybS
Cultural Research Development Arts & Management University Bolton
Viable Systems Model: Cybernetics Research
8thChristopher Agbamuche,
Vice President bank of America. USA
Business creativity and Innovation
9thThippa Reddy Gadekallu, Associate Professor Grade 1 Department of Information Technology. Senior Member, IEEE Vellore Institute of Technology, IndianResearch and Publication Experiences
15thChidinma Maduka
Talent Management Leader | Global Competency Development and Career Management Expert | Driving HR Tech Change Projects, that Deliver Succession Plans and Ensure Sustainable Business Operations
Winning CV and Business Growth
16thDr. Eng. Christos P. Antonopoulos,
Assistant Professor University of Peloponnese
Electrical & Computer Engineering Department, University of Peloponnese, Patra, Greece
Internet of Things: End-to-End Research Overview. The Ambient Assisted Living Environment
22ndMohammed M. Alani
Professor of Cybersecurity, School of Information Technology Administration and Security, Seneca College of Applied Arts and Technology, Toronto, Canada.
Forensic Analysis and Preventing Cyberattacks in Organisation
23rdProf.(Dr.) Sandeep Kautish,
Dean-Academics
LBEF Campus, Kathmandu (Nepal)
Research Collaborations
30thDr Celestine Iwendi, Senior Lecturer, Centre for Applied Computer Science, The University of Bolton The Secret To Academic Research Excellence

All lectures start at 6pm and are free to join with the Zoom details given below:

Zoom URL: https://bolton.zoom.us/j/3559164017?pwd=SzRoMDFPNUllNHUrbzNxMGgy

Password: UEU3UT09

We hope to see you there!

Congratulations Gareth Weston on winning a WCIT Outstanding Student award

The School of Creative Technologies would like to congratulate our student Gareth Weston on winning an Outstanding Information Technology Student Award from the Worshipful Company of Information Technologists. Gareth was among five winners of the award in a ceremony held at the historic 19th century Armourers’ Hall in the City of London on Wednesday 22nd February.

City of London Alderman Vincent Keaveny presenting Gareth with his award (photo courtesy of Gerald Sharp Photography sharpphoto.co.uk)


Gareth is a final year student on the BSc Computing with Website Development course. He is an outstanding student on track to receive a first class degree if all goes well in his final semester. His academic achievements are particularly impressive as a mature student who joined the University as a Foundation student. This route is open to prospective students who don’t always have the traditional academic qualifications normally required to apply to university. Gareth’s success and achievement along with others over the years shows the benefits of extending Higher Education to applicants who would not normally be considered.
“It’s a big step to leave an established career and go to University as a mature student. Gareth has shown how hard work and passion for his subject area can pay off. Gareth has shown real enthusiasm for learning and demonstrated leadership supporting others in his cohort to step out of their comfort zone and take on the challenges wholeheartedly.” said Brennan Tighe (Associate Teaching Professor).

Gareth Weston pictured with Sheldon Stoutt
The Worshipful Company of Information Technologists is the 100th Livery Company of the City of London. Founded in 1992 the company promotes Information Technology. They undertake considerable charitable works and have a particular interest in promoting Information Technology in Education at all levels.

Which Programming Languages do we teach at Bolton?


Many students ask how we decide which programming languages to use in our teaching at the University of Bolton.
On the Software Engineering degree we have to make decisions about which programming languages to teach. The main purpose of a programming language is to be a tool to produce applications and as such the language takes second place to the use of effective Software Engineering Practices. In commercial environments good practice is preserved and built upon from project to project. A good software engineering team will use a programming language that will allow the customers requirements to be met effectively.
There are two criteria for inclusion. These are the exemplification of popular programming paradigms and commercial exposure.
We teach three programming paradigms on the courses procedural using python, object oriented using C++ and Java and functional using scala and haskell. All of the languages taught are platform independent and in most cases open source.
The TIOBE index shows the most popular based on a number of factors and is updated monthly. This is used in conjunction with the current practice of our Industrial Partners to determine which programming languages are in current demand from employers

Voice… The Final Frontier?

Talking to the computer
Do you feel awkward talking to the computer? How about in front of other people? Voice control is in its infancy really. Speech recognition is getting better. By utilising cloud-based services the big players are able to parse speech and recognise what is being said very well. Certainly your mobile can understand phrases like “navigate to work” or “call Aunt Jemima“. Well it can if you use Google Voice or Siri; Samsung’s Bixby assistant still can’t understand English.

Skills and vocabulary

What we say to dogs - the Far Side

Far Side Cartoon (c) Gary Larson


Sadly your digital assistant does not really understand you! It has a limited instruction set which you learn how to use. Your device has a vocabulary of keywords such as “call” and “install”, if you go beyond that limited range there’s no understanding. Sure the designers are clever, with the cute Easter eggs built into their systems. Try asking Siri “what’s your favourite colour?” or “what are you wearing?” and you get a clever canned response. The key word is canned, the system does not understand speech.
This shortcoming is the next step that the companies need to fix. The key is to recruit external developers. There are parallels with the iPhone. When it launched in 2007 you could only run the applications Apple shipped. The App Store was announced the following year and now hosts millions of apps.
Amazon are following a similar path with Alexa. Third party developers can create their own ‘skills’ for Alexa. As this Wired article states: they recently reached the milestone of 10,000 skills. This is an increase from 135 skills in 2015.
Skills are the element which can propel voice control from the limited state we have today to something truly useful. Accurate speech recognition plus the utility of skills will give us something that is a real breakthrough technology.

The Wired article quotes Amazon “We had this inspiration of the Star Trek computer,” says Steve Rabuchin, who heads up Alexa voice services and skills at Amazon. “What would it be like if we could create a voice assistant out of the cloud that you could just talk to naturally, that could control things around you, that could do things for you, that could get you information?”

Maybe Star Trek is the future after all.

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