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7th March 2017 - Dr. William Langdon

Long-Term Evolution in Genetic Programming

We evolve 6-mux populations of genetic programming binary Boolean trees for up to 100,000 generations. As there is no bloat control, programs with more than a hundred million nodes may be created by crossover. These are by far the largest programs yet evolved. Our unbounded Long-Term Evolution Experiment LTEE GP appears not to evolve building blocks but does suggests a limit to bloat.

We do see periods of tens even hundreds of generations where the whole population is functionally converged. In contrast to wetware LTEE experiments with bacteria (genome 4.6 million base pairs in length and 66000 generations), we do not see continual innovation, but instead although each tree in the population may be different, they all have the same phenotype (in that they can all solve the multiplexor benchmark) and the code next to the tree's root becomes highly stable.

We test theory about the distribution of tree sizes. Surprisingly in real finite populations with typical GP tournament selection we do see deviations from crossover only theoretical predictions.

Speaker: Dr. William Langdon
Venue: MB220
Time: 14:00 - 15:00

21st February 2017 - Eike Neumann

Representations for feasibly approximable functions

Given a continuous real function, two of the most basic computational tasks are the computation of its integral and its range. Both problems are generally perceived to be ``easy'' by practitioners (given that the domain is one-dimensional). Hence it was surprising when Ko and Friedman in 1982 proved that these problems are #P-hard and NP-hard, respectively.

Our hypothesis is that this discrepancy is due to the fact that complexity theorists use the simplest natural representation of continuous real functions, which treats all polytime computable functions equally. Practitioners, on the other hand, use representations which are biased towards a small class of functions that typically occur in practice. We evaluate this hypothesis using both theoretical and practical tools.

Building on work by Labhalla, Lombardi, and Moutai (2001) and Kawamura, Mueller, Roesnick, and Ziegler (2015), we review several common admissible representations of continuous real functions, study their polynomial-time reducibility lattice and benchmark their performance using the AERN Haskell library for exact real computation.

We include the standard continuous function representation used in computational complexity theory where all polytime computable functions are polytime representable.

The other representations we study are all based on rigorous approximations by polynomials or rational functions with dyadic coefficients. In these representations maximisation and integration are feasibly computable but not all polytime computable functions are polytime representable.

We show that the representation by piecewise-polynomial approximations is equivalent to the representation by rational function approximations with respect to polynomial-time reducibility.

These two representations seem to form a sweet spot regarding the trade-off between the ability to feasibly represent a large number of functions and the ability to feasibly compute operations such as integration and maximisation.

Speaker: Eike Neumann
Venue: MB220
Time: 14:00 - 15:00

14th February 2017 - Dr. Anakreontas Mentis

Productivity tools for a legacy interpreted programming language

Phoebus Software Ltd is a leading provider of software for the management of lending and savings at financial institutions. Phoebus has been able to produce high quality reliable software fast with the help of their in-house programming language called P4. P4 has features for rapid development of complex form-based database-backed applications. However, P4 was designed 20 years ago and lacks tools present in modern programming languages such as code checkers and IDEs. Moreover, P4 is interpreted and supports code changes on-the-fly when deployed. This dynamic nature of the language has become an obstacle as the code base has grown very large. We describe how we improved the definition of the P4 language and produced a validator that, when integrated with an IDE, identifies various classes of programming defects while editing a P4 program. In particular, we have added a type system to P4 and defined finite-state models for the database interaction. We also give an overview of the technology used under the hood, namely the Haskell functional programming language, the Parsec parser library and the Hoopl library for control flow analysis.

Speaker: Dr. Anakreontas Mentis
Venue: MB220
Time: 14:00 - 15:00

7th February 2017 - Dr. Dimitris Kolovos

Towards Scalable Model-Driven Engineering

Model-Driven Engineering (MDE) is a software engineering approach that promotes domain-specific models as first-class artefacts of the software development and maintenance lifecycle. As MDE is increasingly used for the development of larger and more complex software systems, the current generation of modelling and model management technologies are being pushed to their limits.

In this talk I will provide an overview of some of the most important scalability challenges that manifest when working with large (collections of) domain-specific models. I will then go through ongoing work that attempts to address these challenges by providing support for parallel and reactive code generation, partial model loading, and model indexing.

Speaker: Dr. Dimitris Kolovos
Venue: MB220
Time: 14:00 - 15:00

24th January 2017 - Raghavendra Raj

Business Intelligence Solution for an SME: a Case Study

Business Intelligence (BI) leverages the usefulness of existing information. It equips business users with relevant information to perform various analyses to make key business decisions. Over the last two decades, BI has become a core strategy for the growth of many companies, in particular large corporations. However, studies show that small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) lag behind in implementation and exploitation of BI solutions. To stay ahead of the competition, SMEs must be able to monitor and effectively use all of their resources, in particular information resources, to assist them in making important business decisions. We have examined the challenges such as lack of technical expertise and limited budget when implementing a BI solution within an SME in the UK. In light of our experiences in tackling these issues, this seminar discusses how these challenges can be overcome through applying various tools and strategies and the potential benefits.

Speaker: Raghavendra Raj
Venue: MB220
Time: 14:00 - 15:00

20th January 2017 - Dr. Stephen Marsh

Slow Computing, Wisdom, and ideas for Comfort-able Answers to Fake News

Remember Flash Crashes? Computing is fast, by default. That's good, but there are times when it does to slow down to the speed of thought and consider what the fast decisions might result in, not far down the line. More, it behooves us to think more about the people in the system, and how they can help the system be 'more'. This idea, the concept of Slow Computing, grew from discussions at Dagstuhl about a year ago, and gradually began to contribute to explorations of Wisdom in computational systems. Wisdom, the capacity for contextually guided rational and correct thought in unfamiliar situations, seems exactly the kind of thing we need to bring our computational systems into the human world, where they are going to have to be. This talk presents our thoughts and research on Slow Computing and Wisdom before diving into the related concepts of Device Comfort and Computational Trust, and ends with a look at how thinking more slowly and integrating and comfort and trust reasoning into information systems might just help us in some of the more pressing challenges of social media.

Speaker: Dr. Stephen Marsh
Venue: MB146
Time: 14:00 - 15:00

29th November 2016 - Dr. Yulan He

Unsupervised Event Extraction and Storyline Generation from Text

This talk consists of two parts. In the first part, I will present our proposed Latent Event and Categorisation Model (LECM) which is an unsupervised Bayesian model for the extraction of structured representations of events from Twitter without the use of any labelled data. The extracted events are automatically clustered into coherence event type groups. The proposed framework has been evaluated on over 60 millions tweets and has achieved a precision of 70%, outperforming the state-of-the-art open event extraction system by nearly 6%. The LECM model has been extended to jointly modelling event extraction and visualisation in which each event is modelled as a joint distribution over named entities, a date, a location and event-related keywords. Moreover, both tweets and event instances are associated with coordinates in the visualization space. Experimental results show that the proposed approach performs remarkably better than both the state-of-the-art event extraction method and a pipeline approach for event extraction and visualization.

In the second part of my talk, I will present a non-parametric generative model to extract structured representations and evolution patterns of storylines simultaneously. In the model, each storyline is modelled as a joint distribution over some locations, organizations, persons, keywords and a set of topics. We further combine this model with the Chinese restaurant process so that the number of storylines can be determined automatically without human intervention. The proposed model has been evaluated on three news corpora and the experimental results show that it generates coherent storylines from new articles.

Speaker: Dr. Yulan He
Venue: MB404A
Time: 14:00 - 15:00

15th November 2016 - Dr. David Sanderson

Advanced Manufacturing: An Application Domain for Adaptive Systems Research

This talk will discuss manufacturing as an application domain and some of the research being done at the Institute for Advanced Manufacturing at the University of Nottingham. The talk will be grounded in real demonstration scenarios designed to address industrial problems. Particular detail will be given to the adaptive agent-based architectural concept and an approach for determining the realisability (or manufacturability) of products in a "batch-size-of-one" situation, where each product being made in a system may be unique.

Speaker: Dr. David Sanderson
Venue: MB404A
Time: 14:00 - 15:00

11th October 2016 - Dr. Antonio Garcia-Dominguez

From linked files to NoSQL graphs: analysis of Eclipse projects

Hawk [1] is an indexing solution that can monitor collections of structured files, mirror them into typed graphs, and query them in an efficient and concise way. Nodes can be indexed by attribute values, and types can be extended with derived attributes and edges depending on the queries to be done.

Hawk has been recently extended with the capability for reading the metadata that links Eclipse plugins together and groups them into high-level projects. In this talk, I will introduce the concepts behind Hawk and discuss the state of our current studies on the eclipse.org codebase. I am looking for feedback on our current approach and pointers to structural pattern recognition approaches that may be useful for this software repository mining problem.

[1]: https://github.com/mondo-project/mondo-hawk

Speaker: Dr. Antonio Garcia-Dominguez
Venue: MB404A
Time: 14:00 - 15:00