20 April 2020

The winner has been announced of the Distinguished Dissertation award, a prestigious academic award, run jointly by BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT, in collaboration with the Council of Professors and Heads of Computing (CPHC).

Matthew Dale, University of York, won the competition for his PhD, 'Reservoir Computing in Materio'.

Wenda Li and Guy Edward Toh Emerson, both from the University of Cambridge, were the highly commended runners-up for 'Towards Justifying Computer Algebra Algorithms in Isabelle/HOL' and 'Functional Distributional Semantics: Learning Linguistically Informed Representations from a Precisely Annotated Corpus', respectively.

The competition aims to increase the visibility of the significant research contributions made by the UK to computer science by postgraduate students.

Due to the substantial number of high-quality dissertation entries, the committee extended their examining time to ensure that they found the one dissertation that stood above the others. The troubles caused by coronavirus only exacerbated the decision making time.

Referees for Matthew’s thesis make reference to the “ground breaking results” and a PhD-project that “required quite a bit of courage to be truly novel.”

The Chair of CPHC/BCS Distinguished Dissertation Competition Committee, Dr Iain Phillips from Loughborough University, said: “The selection this year took a significant amount of time. This is a tribute to the quality of all the submissions. The prestige of this award brings attention to the high-quality research of the winner and runners-up and, hopefully, improves their career prospects. We hope to present the award at the Needham lecture when it next occurs.”

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