G’day, me ol’ CompSoc!

The academic year has begun! To all those who’ve just signed up - welcome!

We still have a Discord! Please feel free to join usIf you are an official member of CompSoc, ping @Secretary and I’ll give you the Member role so that you can take part in conversation outside the #welcome channel. Non-members can still feel free to use #welcome as they like, however. Membership is £5 and will last you a lifetime!

Would you like to go to Bletchley Park?

We have 50 spaces for our all-day Bletchley Park trip on Saturday of Week 7. Bletchley Park, once the top-secret home of the World War Two Codebreakers is now a vibrant heritage attraction. Explore, experience and enjoy the once top-secret world of iconic Codebreaking Huts and Blocks set within an atmospheric Victorian estate. We’re also visiting the National Museum of Computing on that trip. Free for members, and £10 for non-members - so you’ve got a pretty good deal regardless!

Push your interest onto this stack here.

These next couple of weeks feature a Geek Night co-run with CodeSoc, a talk from Semmle on QL and LGTM with a related hackathon the following Saturday, CS essentials is starting up - starting with an introductory session on command line, and we’ll be having a talk in week 3 from JP Morgan.


The CompSoc Committee - Joe G, Edward H, Ben S


Week 1 Geek Night: Wikipedia Game - 13th October, Undergraduate Social Area

It is a well known fact of most Wikipedia pages that if you click on the first link in a page’s body, and continue to do so for the next page and so on, you will eventually land on Philosophy. Using this, you could form a crude strategy for finding a path from one source page A to target page B:

This will of course not necessarily find the shortest path from A to B, however. The Wikipedia Game is to write a program that will find a path as short as possible!

This Geek Night is in collaboration with CodeSoc. Bring your laptops and pizza will be provided ;)

By the by, should you find yourself locked out and need to enter and are a CS student (or joint schools CS student), swiping your bod card and entering this code followed by # may help you… (note: this may require several attempts)

Semmle Tech Talk: QL - 17th October, Lecture Theatre A, Department of Computer Science

Semmle will be giving a tech talk on LGTM and QL.

LGTM is the software engineering analytics platform that combines deep semantic code search and data science insights from a community of hundreds of thousands of developers to help everyone involved in software development better understand their code, engineering processes and people. The LGTM software engineering analytics platform combines deep semantic code search and data science insights from a community of hundreds of thousands of developers to help everyone involved in software development better understand their code, engineering processes and people.

QL treats code as data, allowing security response teams and individual developers to quickly and accurately explore their code through simple, powerful queries that find all variants of zero-days, as well as other severe security problems and coding mistakes. The same kinds of logical coding mistakes are made over and over again, sometimes repeatedly within a single project, and sometimes across the whole software ecosystem. These mistakes are the source of many of today’s critical software vulnerabilities.

Using QL, you can codify such mistakes as queries, find logical variants of the same mistake elsewhere in the code, and prevent similar mistakes from being introduced in the future by automatically catching them before code gets merged. QL’s deep semantic code search allows you to find security vulnerabilities, and much more. The key: QL treats code as data. By writing queries customised to your needs, you can drive major architecture transformations and refactorings, enforce coding standards, and explore your code.

QL ships with extensive libraries and abstraction features that enable you to write advanced queries without having to worry about low-level language concepts and compiler specifics; instead you can focus on investigating and interrogating your own codebases. Use QL in the most effective way for you. Our QL plugins for your favourite IDE allow you to write queries and execute them locally. The results appear directly in your development environment. Or use LGTM’s Query Console to write QL directly in your web browser, and query your entire portfolio for security vulnerabilities.

You can also make use of your custom QL queries with LGTM’s automatic code review for pull requests in GitHub and BitBucket: find those critical issues early and prevent them from ever getting merged or deployed. Every development organisation struggles with finding enough security experts and with finding more effective ways of sharing their security expertise.

CS Essentials Session 1 - 7:00 pm 18th October, Lecture Theatre A, Department of Computer Science

CS Essentials is a brand new course that CompSoc organises for beginners. If you are into either exploring the Linux command line or learning how to create a beautiful document using LaTeX, this is just the course for you!

You do not need any prior experience, just come along and have some fun! All you need is a laptop to get through the exercises. What we will be teaching is:

Please arrive a bit earlier just so we can register everyone before the lectures begin. (This is mandatory for fire regulations.) If you need directions to the department, send us a message and we’ll be more than happy to help!

The course is open to all members of the University of Oxford.

P.S. If you have any experience in any of the topics and a little spare time, you can volunteer to help during the events.

Geek Night 2: Semmle Coding Challenge - 7:00 pm 20th October, Undergraduate Social Area, Department of Computer Science

The workshop will be given by Oxford Comp Sci graduates Julian Tibble and Aditya Sharad. We’ll start with an introduction to lgtm.com and QL, and tell you about some of the technological challenges we faced when developing the query language and engine. After that, there’ll be a workshop on how to write queries to find your own security vulnerabilities. Various prizes will be awarded, and of course there’ll be drinks and pizzas.

See you all there!

Tech talk with JP Morgan - 7:00 pm 24th October, Lecture Theatre A, Department of Computer Science

Abstract from JP Morgan:

Ever wonder how you can carve out a successful career in financial services with a technology background? Are you curious to find out how we can match your interests to our opportunities?

In partnership with the Oxford University Computer Society, join us for a Tech Talk where you can meet our technologists and see how technology at JP Morgan inspires change and makes a difference in our communities.

Join us for food, drink and interesting conversations!

We encourage you to look for communications about our upcoming events and programs and to check our careers website regularly for dates and deadlines.


Other Notices

2018 Milner Award Lecture - 18:30 pm 20th November, The Royal Society, London

How can we ensure system correctness in the presence of uncertainty?

Computing devices support us in almost all everyday tasks, from mobile phones and online banking to wearable and implantable medical devices. We are now experimenting with self–driving cars and robots.

Since embedded software at the heart of these devices must behave correctly in presence of uncertainty, probabilistic verification techniques have been developed to guarantee their safety, reliability and resource efficiency.

Using illustrative examples, this lecture will give an overview of the role that probabilistic modelling and verification can play in a variety of applications, including security, medical devices, self-driving cars and DNA computing. It will also describe recent developments towards model synthesis, which aims to build these systems so that they are correct by construction. Finally, it will explore the problems of ensuring that systems that rely on learning will behave correctly, both in situations that they have seen in training, and in situations that they haven’t.

The prize lecture will be webcast live and the video recording of the event will be available shortly after the event.

Attending this event

The Oxford University Computer Society (CompSoc) aims to organise meetings and events for our members to use and further their computing interests. See all of our upcoming events on our Facebook Page or visit our Website for more information about the society.

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