Linux.cs update

From 1st November 2016, the alias will be directed to a replacement virtual machine which runs the version of Linux currently in use in the cluster in Daysh 6.37. It is named after the late J.A. Presper Eckert, the inventor of the ENIAC computer in 1946 (from Wikipedia).

This service is being moved to the centrally hosted resilient VMWare platform. Virtual CPU provision increases from Dual Intel(R) Xeon(R) CPU X5660  @ 2.80GHz to Quad Intel(R) Xeon(R) CPU E5-2697 v3 @ 2.60GHz. This service is intended for general command-line use. It does not have sufficient resources to run full desktop sessions.

Computing Science Website Update for December 2015

Urban Sciences Building takes shape – time lapse video now available of building progress

Work has commenced on the construction of Newcastle University’s Urban Sciences Building on Newcastle Science Central. Newcastle University is investing £60 million in the new building, which will house the School of Computing Science and Institute for Sustainability, creating world-class facilities from which to lead international research into digitally enabled urban sustainability.

Read more about the construction from a recent news item and view a time-lapse video of the new Urban Sciences Building being constructed, which is also accessible from the front page of the Computing Sciences website.

We have also updated the banner on the Computing Science website which depicts an artist’s impression of the new building.

New YouTube video highlighting Computing Science & EEE research impact

The University is creating a new campaign to promote the impact of research. The campaign focuses on eight new stories from the University, one of which is about Computing Science and Electrical and Electronic Engineering entitled ‘Powering Industry with Computing Science‘. There is now a YouTube video (on the University YouTube channel) about this story:, which is also embedded in our webpage about the impact of this research.

New graphics added to the Computing Science front page

The Computing Science front page (footer) contains two new graphics, 1) The Athena SWAN Bronze Award (to highlight the School’s ECU Athena SWAN Award), 2) a REF2014 logo/graphic to show the School’s number 1 ranking in the REF2014, for research impact.


Mill cluster news

The Linux cluster in The Mill defaults to a fairly heavyweight Gnome3 desktop session. If you prefer something lightweight, you can now change this by clicking on the tools icon after entering your login name and before signing on. This is remembered on a per-user basis. LXDE and GNOME Classic are both fairly straightforward. Openbox has no visible desktop. You use the right mouse button to bring up a menu of applications or to log out.


The remmina remote desktop viewer has recently been installed alongside the default vinagre client.

If you have other requests for software with a reasonable academic use, please ask.

Chris Ritson — NUIT support —

Computing Science Website Update for March 2015

The old internal website for staff ( is to be retired in the near future. The School has moved much of the content and facilities from these pages to the new internal site for staff at: Until recently, both sites have been running in parallel while the content has shifted from the old site to the new one.

Information and documents on the new internal site include: Administrative Duties, Staff Handbooks, Annual Reports, Welcome Week (induction information), Archive Handbooks and Regulations.

Also, for updating theses and staff/student records, the following facilities are available on the new pages,

1) Staff/Student Records and Telephone Lists, for updating:

Telephone Lists, your own records, adding staff/student records, adding/updating taught student records.

2) Adding Theses, for updating:

PhD, MSc, MPhil theses titles and abstracts.

The only facility remaining on the old/previous internal pages is the ‘ request leave‘ section for staff to request holidays, this will move to the new internal website soon.

Support Team Leader

After nearly five years as Head of Support in the School of Computing Science and 10 years in the wider University, I’ve decided it’s time to move on to something new. From early February I will be joining the Open Source company Red Hat, working in the Middleware division.

John Snowdon, who joined the School last May, has been appointed as the new Head of Support, to take the team forward and meet the challenges facing the team and the School in the future. John has very quickly settled in and brought his experience and talents to the School and I’m confident he will do a great job as leader.

There are further plans to strengthen Computing Science Support going forward, including a planned two new positions. For more information, watch this space!

I’d like to thank the School for all their companionship and support over the last five years, offer congratulations to John and my best wishes to John and team for the future!


Linux.cs updated to match Mill cluster

The alias has been updated to point to borg, named after Anita Borg. This machine runs the same Liux distribution as is available in our cluster in The Mill.

The previous version of this service will continue to run on ritchie for a few weeks. It was named after Dennis Ritchie. If you find that you need to back off and start using ritchie for your day to day work, please inform us. We plan to withdraw ritchie after the start of semester 2.

Research Groups: – Computing Science Website Update for November 2014

Research Group pages.

The School of Computing Science has 4 new research groups. Each group has a set of webpages on the Computing Science website; here is a brief description of each group:

1)     Advanced Model-Based Engineering and Reasoning (AMBER)

The AMBER groups work aims to help contain risk by equipping engineers with methods and tools that allow them to explore, verify and refine the properties of such complex systems by means of models with well-founded semantics. Such model-based engineering can permit detection of optimal (and defective!) designs long before the sometimes expensive commitment is made to implementations on real hardware.

2)     Scalable Computing

The Scalable Systems Group is creating the enabling technology required to deliver tomorrow’s large-scale services. This includes work on scalable cloud computing, big data analytics, distributed algorithms, stochastic modelling, performance analysis, data provenance, concurrency, real-time simulation, video game technologies and green computing.

3)     Secure & Resilient Systems

The Secure & Resilient Systems group investigates fundamental concepts, development techniques, models, architectures and mechanisms that directly contribute to creating modern information systems, networks and infrastructures that are dependable and secure in all aspects. Such systems need to be resilient to malicious attacks and accidental faults to deliver services that can be justifiably trusted by their stakeholders.

4)     Teaching Innovation

The Teaching Innovation groups’ aims are to encourage, foster and pursue Innovation in Teaching and to maximize the impact of Innovation efforts on the School’s teaching practices, programmes and curricula.

The School now has 6 groups in total (including the 2 groups already established, DI and ICOS).

Computing Science Website Update for September 2014

PhD student posters for 2014

All Computing Science PhD students presented their research posters this year in July.  Many of these posters are now online and we expect the remaining ones to be available soon.  Posters for previous years (2012 and 2013) are also available.

PhD Student theses for 2013

We now have a complete listing of PhD theses for 2013, including title, abstract and full text for each thesis.  As was reported in a previous blog, we also have comprehensive listings for theses dating 1966-2012, which means that our records from 1966 to Dec 2013 are complete.  Abstracts are also available for PhD theses for this year and we will list the full texts for these soon.

New “Interdisciplinary Computing and Complex BioSystems” research group

The research group “Biology, Neurosciences and Computing” has expanded and rebranded. It is now known as “Interdisciplinary Computing and Complex BioSystems” (ICOS).  The ICOS group has their own website which contains details of research projects, staff, resources, and lab information.  Some of this information is also listed on our webpages.

There will also be several new changes to the current research groups as well as new ones announced in the coming future, all of which will be reflected on our website.


Revamped Support Team website

Today we are making public our new, revamped support team website at

This new, publicly-accessible site is the result of a large effort to review all the content on our former website, the internally-accessible-only Support Team Wiki.

The older wiki was organised around the notion of “Guides”, one per operating system, such as “Linux Guide”, “Mac Guide”, etc. There was a wealth of information but much of it was out of date and as a result the general impression of the wiki’s reliability was lowering. The structure also suffered from duplication where information was common across platforms.

For the new site, we have reworked the structure to be centred around three principles:

  • Services – the portfolio of services we offer the School;
  • Policies – what our policies are for some of our services, e.g. hardware refresh cycles;
  • Advice – tips and tricks for getting things done, including supplementary information for services from other teams,  tailored to our audience.

We hope the new site, incorporating much of the content from the old site, is found to be more useful and up-to-date. However we’re aware that there is a lot more work to do! If you find something that is inaccurate, misleading or simply missing, please get in touch to let us know – via the “Report a problem with this web page” link at the bottom of every page, where appropriate.