= Cambridge University Undergradaute Research Opportunities Programme - UROP Projects
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U R O P Projects 2017

The UROP has now closed and will re-open in 2018


Application Restrictions EPSRC funded Projects
The UROP projects are only available to Undergraduates studying at the University of Cambridge who are going to return for at least one more year of undergraduate study.
Final Year undergraduates and Postgraduate students cannot apply.

For projects that are EPSRC funded and marked with the blue flag,  European Union citizens ONLY students must meet certain criteria to apply.

( See LINK for criteria )

For EPSRC funded projects, students should be in the middle years of a first degree within EPSRC's technological remit and they should be EU citizens.


Information for Cambridge University students


Information for Cambridge University Staff

Please report any broken links to UROP Web Page Co-ordinator

Ms Vicky Houghton


Grapples: Graphical Programming with Physical Laws for Engineering Systems

Lead Supervisor: Dr. Phillip Stanley-Marbell Department of Engineering
Project Available

Project Description:

This project is based with the Physical Computation Laboratory

Developing safe, correct, and efficient software for computing systems that interact with the physical world is challenging. Such systems are constrained by physics and their software can therefore benefit from analyses of invariants that the physical world imposes on individual signals, and correlations that a system’s engineering design imposes between signals. For example, for a pendulum, there is an invariant relationship between the length of the pendulum and the rate at which it oscillates. Even though the underlying techniques needed to analyze such invariants and correlations for software are well understood, no tools to do so exist today. As part of the project, you will also get to play with some very exciting hardware that is not widely available.

The Grapples project will develop an interactive web-based tool to allow students to explore how physical laws and invariants dictated by properties of engineered systems affect software running on embedded systems that interact with the physical world. Examples of the target embedded systems range from the BBC micro:bit to the Raspberry Pi with attached sensor extension boards. The hypothesis of the Grapples project is that providing graphical annotation to highlight invariants induced by physical laws, units of measure, and measurement uncertainty of signals being processed by a program, can help students explore physical principles while at the same time helping them to develop computational thinking.

For further specific project details click here

Project objectives

  1. To design a web-based tool to allow engineering students to program sensor platforms while receiving visual feedback on physical signal invariants, signal correlations, signal value units of measure, and signal value measurement uncertainty. The user interface of the tool will be built on Blockly, an open-source graphical platform that makes it easy to provide a graphical interface for traditional text-based programming languages. The graphical interface we develop in the Grapples project will serve as a front-end to generating programs for the target computing platform (e.g., Raspberry Pi or BBC micro:bit), as well as a front-end to let students associate program variables with a set of standard physical signals.
  2. To implement algorithms for checking units of measure in programs, based on the information obtained from the graphical interface. The benefits of these unit checking algorithms will include providing the information needed to visually-annotate graphical programs when students make errors combining incompatible units of measure.
  3. To implement algorithms for checking physical invariants in computations involving physical signals. These techniques will be automated and implemented underneath the graphical programming interface. The benefits of these invariant-checking algorithms will include providing feedback to students about the relations between different signals in their programs.
  4. To catalog a library of physical invariants that are relevant to the signals from common sensors. One direct benefit of such a catalog of invariants will be to provide a starting point that educators using the Grapples system will be able to build upon when designing teaching exercises.

  • Knowledge, skills and attributes that would be advantageous: C/C++ programming, familiarity with HTML and Javascript would be a plus.
  • The project can start as soon as possible for the successful candidate until the end of the summer(or 1st October 2017).
  • This UROP can be expanded/transitioned into a 4th-year research project.
  • Please contact Dr. Phillip Stanley-Marbell for further details or to apply.

Insertion Date: 14 July 2017


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A collaborative and interactive role-play game for teaching intellectual property management (IPM game)

Lead Supervisor: Dr Frank Tietze IfM, Department of Engineering
Project Available

Project Description: Still accepting applications (as at 21 June 2017)

This project aims to develop an interactive learning format to teach Intellectual Property Management (IPM) using a problem- and game-based learning approach. The proposed offline (i.e. not software) game teaches students IPM related challenges and how to manage them in today’s interconnected and inter-dependent world, when developing new technologies commonly are joint efforts of multiple, collaborating actors and sometimes even competitors (such as large and small firms, start-ups, universities and other not-for profit organizations).

The half-day role-play game will be used for teaching undergraduate, graduate and post-graduate students, but also can be used to teach professionals, possibly even be played by school children. The game has a modular design and can be played by eight to 30 players (4-6 teams of 2-5 players).

In 2016, we developed a working prototype of the proposed IPM teaching game. These efforts involved Dr Ghita Dragsdahl Lauritzen, one of our research associates and an experienced designer of serious games, also supported by one UROP student during the summer break. In the second half of 2016 and early we developed a second-generation working prototype through three test runs with (i) eight PhD students from the Institute for Manufacturing, (ii) six IP professionals from a large German based multinational manufacturing business and (iii) 20 innovation and IP managers from a range of fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) companies and (iv) with attorney of a patent law firm.

The UROP student will support us with professionalizing the current prototype, particularly implementing suggestions collected during test runs and fine tune the game so it can be used for teaching and executive training from autumn 2017 onwards.

Helpful skills required:

  • Understanding of business strategies and patents
  • Interest in strategic role play games and game design experience
  • Interest in smartphones and the mobile phone industry
  • No software programming skills necessary

  • Please contact Dr Frank Tietze for further details or to apply.

  • Insertion Date: 12 April 2017


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    Self-Provisioning of Test Infrastructure

    Lead Supervisor: Richard Mortier Computer Laboratory
    Project Available

     European Union citizens ONLY EPSRC criteria may apply CLICK HERE for criteria

    Project Description: Still accepting applications (as at 6 June 2017)

    Computer systems research requires test environments in which to undertake experiments to evaluate new system components and protocols. Engineering these test environments requires organisation and configuration of physical servers and network connectivity between them, interfacing to existing infrastructure systems, and provision of straightforward means for researchers to obtain access to test systems including the ability to determine which systems are currently available and to revoke access from researchers no longer actively using machines.

    We wish to take advantage of local infrastructure reorganisation to rebuild, integrate and extend an existing test infrastructure so as to enable researchers to utilise a heterogeneous collection of machines in a flexible fashion. This internship will involve physical test, configuration and documentation of a heterogeneous set of servers in a datacenter environment, alongside development of web and command-line tools to query machine statue, "lock" machines during use, provision custom boot images for machines, and provide appropriate protocols for reclaiming locked machines under appropriate conditions. Due to the planned infrastructure reorganisation, there is also the opportunity to incorporate other information and features into these tools, e.g., providing information about energy consumption, and access to serial concentrators.

    This project would suit someone having familiarity with Linux, including experience managing a Linux installation, who wishes to build tools that will be used by researchers to run experiments subject to satisfaction of both machine feature and availability constraints. Python experience would be desirable to integrate with existing infrastructure tools, built in Python using Flask.

  • The project is being co-supervised by Malcolm Scott
  • This project may be EPSRC funded therefore certain eligibility criteria must be met. Please check the details before you apply.
  • Please apply to the Lead Supervisor Richard Mortier


  • Insertion Date: 8 March 2017


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    Reproducible Comparison Study of Consensus Algorithms

    Lead Supervisor: Heidi Howard Computer Laboratory
    Project Available

     European Union citizens ONLY EPSRC criteria may apply CLICK HERE for criteria

    Project Description: Still accepting applications (as at 6 June 2017)

    Consensus is a long-standing research topic that is currently a hot topic due to advances in cloud computing and uptake of tools like Docker Swarm and Kubernetes. A number of different consensus algorithms are proposed in the literature, including Leslie Lamport's "Paxos" algorithm, Ongaro et al's "Raft" and Hunt et al's "Zookeeper".

    These approaches all provide different trade-offs in terms of implementation performance, and published results often make much of the different performance achieved. Unfortunately, little has been done to provide a set of comparable performance results where different implementations are fairly evaluated across a range of hardware platforms and network configurations.

    This internship will focus on using existing and in-development test infrastructure to compare performance of a set of different consensus algorithm implementations under a range of configurations and parameterisations. Outputs will include a set of experimental configurations and associated data allowing direct comparison among several different algorithms.

  • The project is being co-supervised by Richard Mortier
  • This project will suit someone with some familiarity with Linux, as well as basic understanding of experimental practice and data analysis. Prior expertise in consensus algorithms is not required.
  • This project may be EPSRC funded therefore certain eligibility criteria must be met. Please check the details before you apply.
  • Please apply to the Lead Supervisor Heidi Howard


  • Insertion Date: 7 March 2017


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    Robotic Harvesting

    Lead Supervisor: Fumiya Iida Department of Engineering
    Project Available

    Project Description: Still accepting applications (as at 10 May 2017)

    We have been working on a potential practical solution to this engineering challenge by using the state-of-the-art robotics technologies, with the hope that the "robotisation" of agricultural processes can relax the high demands of labour forces as well as expand the horizons of modern high-yield agriculture. This project conducts a quick and effective feasibility study of our robotics technology for the purpose of vegetable harvesting. So far our technology, a robotic manipulator equipped with artificial hands and various sensors, has demonstrated to pick and place variations of unstructured soft/rigid objects in the controlled lab environment. This project aims to test these technologies at the real-life harvesting sites of the collaborating company, and to perform a first feasibility assessment.

    Biologically Inspired Robotics Laboratory

    Details on the farm robotics research


  • The student working on this project needs to be able to design and construct mechanical and electronic components for robots, as well as assisting experimentation in the field.
  • The project can be continued as a 4th year student project.
  • Co-supervisor Chary Kisby, G's Growers
  • If interested, please contact Fumiya Iida as early as possible.

  • Insertion Date: 25 April 2017


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    Redesign of a control system for a Lego Mindstorms model of a production line in Java

    Lead Supervisor: Prof. John Clarkson Department of Engineering
    Project Available

    Project Description: Still accepting applications (as at 10 May 2017)

    Engineering Areas:

  • Design
  • Instrumentation and Control
  • Information and Computer Engineering


  • The Engineering Design Centre (EDC) has over the past few years, developed a Lego Mindstorms model of a production line called “Legoline”. This is used as a resource for teaching Integrated Systems Design (ISD) at the postgraduate level. Legoline is a system comprising 11 Mindstorms controllers, 29 motors and 39 light, touch and colour sensors controlled through MATLAB. The current system uses rubber bands as conveyor belts for pallet transfer. These bands degrade frequently and are very time-consuming to replace. A separate UROP project focusses on the design solutions for pallet transfer which will require a new control system.

    Over the coming summer it is desired to develop a new control system for Legoline in Java to replicate all the functionality in the current MATLAB version and reflect the new pallet transfer solution. This UROP will focus on the software challenge but students will need to work closely with other students on the mechanical design side of the system. A GitHub organisation has already been set up for this system and the successful applicant will be working on this.

    For this project, the student will be expected to:

  • Develop a good understanding of Legoline and its control system in MATLAB.
  • Follow a rigorous design process in the analysis of the problem and the synthesis of a solution.
  • Develop and rigorously test the software solutions.
  • Work together with other students focusing on other parts of the system in achieving a reliable, resilient and robust system as a whole.


    • An ideal candidate therefore would have significant experience in programming with Java and able to understand MATLAB Code. Experience building complex structures with Lego, an interest in design with good attention to details are desirable. You must also be able to work well independently as well as in a group.
    • This project will start in July and will last for eight weeks. It can potentially lead to a final year undergraduate project.
    • Co-supervisor: Dr. Alexander Komashie
    • Please contact Dr. Alexander Komashie for further details or to apply.

    Insertion Date: 23 March 2017


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    Intelligent Video Interaction

    Lead Supervisor: Prof. Alan Blackwell Computer Laboratory
    Project Available

    Project Description:

    The goal of this project is to create intelligent tools for video browsing, that combine video streams recorded from multiple moving cameras into a single interactive user interface. Back-end development will use deep-learning computer vision techniques for geometry recovery and semantic feature extraction. The front-end user interface will involve creating prototypes of novel interactive controls for time-based stream processing and rendering.

    The project is part of an ongoing collaboration with Boeing Corporation, and students will work in a distributed team together with interns located at Boeing, and post-doctoral researchers in the Computer Laboratory and at Boeing research.

  • Skills: Software development in one or more of: video encoding, image processing, machine learning, graphical interaction and visualisation
  • Please contact Prof. Alan Blackwell to register your interest or to apply.


  • Insertion Date: 10 April 2017


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    The sounds of plucked-string instruments

    Lead Supervisor: Professor Jim Woodhouse Department of Engineering
    Project Taken  European Union citizens ONLY EPSRC criteria may apply CLICK HERE for criteria

    Project Description:

    Plucked-string instruments come in many varieties, with distinctive sounds.

    This project will use experimental measurements, modelling and sound synthesis to try to identify key components that allow the sounds of a guitar, harp or banjo to be distinguished and recognised. It will build on previous work within the Engineering Department on the distinction between the sounds of a classical guitar and a lute: this means that experimental methodology and equipment is already in place, and some modelling software.

    • This project may be EPSRC funded therefore certain eligibility criteria must be met. Please check the details before you apply.
    • Please contact Professor Jim Woodhouse for further details or to apply.

    Insertion Date: 23 February 2017


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    Aerodynamics of road haulage vehicles

    Lead Supervisor: Prof. Holger Babinsky Department of Engineering
    Project Taken

    Project Description:

    Aerodynamic drag is responsible for a significant proportion of the fuel consumption and of the C02 production of road haulage vehicles travelling at motorway speeds. In this project we will focus on how changes to the overall shape of a typical double-decker tractor/trailer combination can reduce aerodynamic drag. The project will involve a detailed literature survey as well as wind tunnel tests in the Department's low speed Markham tunnel. Particular focus will be placed on modifications to the rear of the trailer (e.g. boat tailing) as well as on tractor-trailer gap flow treatment and underbody flow. Therefore, different models and drag-reducing devices will be designed, built and tested. Following on from wind tunnel tests, it is possible that full-scale road tests can be conducted to test promising concepts.

    • This project is offered in combination a 4th year engineering MEng project. Therefore, this project is ONLY available for current 3rd year engineering students.
    • Module 3A1 is essential to this project.
    • Co-supervisor: Isabel Vallina-Garcia
    • 10 weeks in summer + 4th year MEng project in 2017/18
    • Please contact Isabel Vallina-Garcia for further details or to apply.

    Insertion Date: 9 March 2017


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    How do engineers think when they solve problems?

    Lead Supervisor: Dr Nathan Crilly Senior Lecturer, Department of Engineering
    Project Taken  European Union citizens ONLY EPSRC criteria may apply CLICK HERE for criteria

    Project Description:

    When engineers are solving design problems, they are often required to search a large ‘solution space’ to arrive at creative solutions. ‘Design Fixation’ is a phenomenon where designers unknowingly limit the space within which they search for solutions. That is, they become ‘blinded’ to solutions other than the ones they are considering. This is a problem in professional practice, and also in educational settings. For over 20 years research into design fixation has improved our understanding of why fixation occurs and how it might be mitigated. However, design fixation studies suffer from a number of limitations, including limited data capture and a highly subjective evaluation of the design behaviour. To address these problems, we are studying design fixation with computer-based tasks reflecting simple design activities (e.g. building truss structures as in the CUED Structural Design Project). Our method provides a viable alternative for studying design fixation experimentally offering a more objective, repeatable and comparable description of the various phenomena of interest.

    The UROP student will run the first real research project to implement the computer-based experimental method to answer research questions. This will involve running a complete experiment, including design, ethics, sampling, data collection, data analysis and write-up. We expect this to lead to a publication on which the student will be a contributing author. In addition to working with the supervisors, the student will be part of the Design Practice Group within the Cambridge Engineering Design Centre.

    The project does not require specific knowledge and/or skills. However, it would be advantageous to have an interest in one (or more) of the following topics:

    • Design
    • Psychology
    • Human behaviour
    • Experimental methods
    • Computers and computer games
    • Statistics
    • Writing
  • Co-supervisor: Dr Maria Adriana Neroni, Research Associate, Department of Engineering
  • The project will last 10 weeks
  • This project may be EPSRC funded therefore certain eligibility criteria must be met. Please check the details before you apply.
  • Please apply to the Lead Supervisor Dr Nathan Crilly

  • Insertion Date: 8 February 2017


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    Air traffic management for drones in smart cities

    Lead Supervisor: Cecilia Mascolo Computer Laboratory
    Project Taken  European Union citizens ONLY EPSRC criteria may apply CLICK HERE for criteria

    Project Description:

    Unmanned aircraft vehicles, also called drones, have become widely used in civil applications (e.g., natural disaster control and monitoring, security, traffic and crowd management, infrastructure monitoring, agriculture, environmental monitoring) and are actively contributing to the development of smart cities of the future. As the number of such devices flying in the city skies at low altitudes is constantly increasing, one of the main challenges is their traffic regulation.

    In this project, you will design and build novel traffic control and management services to prevent drones to collide with buildings, larger aircraft, or one another. You will design the airspace and flight planning services, and also exploit recent advances in communication technologies to guarantee safe and efficient operations. We expect to test and validate the software with simulations, however real-world experiments are not excluded given that we have the possibility to build two quadcopters.

    • A student with some previous development experience in embedded systems, knowledge of robotic simulation environments and basic notions of electronics would be ideal for the project.
    • This project may be EPSRC funded therefore certain eligibility criteria must be met. Please check the details before you apply.
    • Please apply to the Lead Supervisor Cecilia Mascolo

    Insertion Date: 17 February 2017


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    Exotic quantum oscillations in insulators

    Lead Supervisor: Suchitra Sebastian Department of Physics
    Project Taken

    Project Description:

    Quantum oscillations have been observed in some exotic categories of materials in the magnetisation, but not in the resistance [B. S. Tan et al. Science 349, pp. 287-290 (2015)]. This project will involve tuning of the material in question using applied strain to test whether quantum oscillations evolve with strain until eventually they are observed in the resistance. Experiments will involve building a strain device which will be measured down to very low temperatures and high magnetic fields.

    For more information visit Quantum Materials group.

    This UROP project may be submitted as a Long Vacation Project in lieu of one Part II item of Further Work or one Part III Minor Topic. However, The Department of Physics does not allow long vacation work to be used as the basis of a Part III Project.

    • Co-supervisor:Hsu Liu, Department of Physics
    • This project requires Excellent communication skills. The aptitude to be open to seeking new and unexpected experimental findings, coupled with seeking theoretical understanding.
    • The project will last for 10 weeks.
    • The Cavendish Lab has agreed to provide a Long Vacation Bursary of £230 per week (up to 10 weeks) to cover the costs of this project.
    • Please apply to the Lead Supervisor Suchitra Sebastian

    Insertion Date: 7 February 2017


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    Tuning the Neel Temperature in Lanthanide Garnets

    Lead Supervisor: Sian Dutton Department of Physics
    Project Taken

    Project Description:

    It has recently been shown that doping Ising lanthanide garnet magnets can enhance the anti-ferromagnetic ordering temperature by a factor of 20 and suppress the underlying frustration of the magnetic lattice. This is proposed to occur through coupling of the fluctuating spins of the dopantand lanthanide. This project will investigate this effect in a variety of doped lanthanide garnets to explore the role of the dopant concentration, dopant type,and lanthanide on the observed magnetic properties. The students will prepare samples of doped lanthanide garnets using solid state and sol-gel synthesis, characterise the structure using X-ray diffraction, and investigate the magnetic properties through measurements of the dc and ac magnetic susceptibility and heat capacity.

    This UROP project may be submitted as a Long Vacation Project in lieu of one Part II item of Further Work or one Part III Minor Topic. However, The Department of Physics does not allow long vacation work to be used as the basis of a Part III Project.

    • This is an interdisciplinary project which is open to all students studying physical sciences. Part 1A Materials and Physics is an advantage.
    • The Cavendish Lab has agreed to provide a Long Vacation Bursary of £230 per week (up to 10 weeks) to cover the costs of this project.
    • Please apply to Contact/Lead Supervisor Sian Dutton

    Insertion Date: 3 February 2017


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    Interrogating response to traumatic brain injury by Raman spectroscopy and imaging

    Lead Supervisor: Dr Sarah E. Bohndiek Department of Physics
    Project Taken

    Project Description:

    Traumatic brain injury (TBI) constitutes a major cause of death and long-term disability. This pathology and biochemistry is temporally complex and still poorly understood but is clearly emerging as a crucial determinant of ultimate neurological outcome and a deeper understanding may offer a potential window for novel therapeutic interventions to improve outcome. Raman spectroscopy (RS) is an incoherent scattering technique that we have recently applied to track the spatio-temporal evolution of the injury. During this project, the student will experimentally optimise data acquisition from mouse brain sections using RS. Multivariate statistical analysis methods will need to be implemented computationally and validated against histopathology. The outcome of this project will be the identification of potential Raman biomarkers that identify the spatiotemporal progression of TBI, contribute to the understanding of disease progression, and ultimately impact patient management given that RS is already utilized as a clinical technique in spectroscopy and intraoperative imaging.

    For the project, the student should be prepared to undertake both hands-on experimental data acquisition and computational analysis. Therefore, previous research experience is desired, but not essential. We will offer training on the state of the art laser confocal Raman/fluorescence system, which is based in the Department of Physics. This is a complex system, the operation of which will be initially overseen by Dr Surmacki. There is a laser risk, for which the student will have to had attended laser safety training. We already have tissue sections available for analysis from a collaborating site in Milan. The student will need to develop manual dexterity in handling fragile samples and will be given appropriate training to handle the associated health and safety implications.

    This UROP project may be submitted as a Long Vacation Project in lieu of one Part II item of Further Work or one Part III Minor Topic. However, The Department of Physics does not allow long vacation work to be used as the basis of a Part III Project.

    • Co-supervisor: Dr Jakub M. Surmacki Department of Physics
    • The Cavendish Lab has agreed to provide a Long Vacation Bursary of £230 per week (up to 10 weeks) to cover the costs of this project.
    • Please apply to Contact/Lead Supervisor Dr Sarah E. Bohndiek

    Insertion Date: 3 February 2017


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    Nanoparticles as local Raman probes in hollow-core waveguides

    Lead Supervisor: Dr. Tijmen G. Euser Department of Physics
    Project Taken

    Project Description:

    In this interdisciplinary project you will embed gold nanoparticles in hollow waveguides and use them as local spectroscopic probes for Raman-active molecules. The optical field near nanostructures can be strongly enhanced at specific wavelengths by localized surface plasmon resonances. As a result, the Raman scattering signal of nearby molecules is increased by many orders of magnitude, making it possible to detect and identify very small quantities of chemicals [1].

    You will work with 'photonic crystal fibres' that comprise a microscale central channel, surrounded by a periodic array of air holes that traps the light by constructive interference effects. This allows light to be guided at the centre of a microfluidic channel where it can strongly interact with infiltrated nanoparticles and chemicals. A major application is an 'optofluidic microreactor' for photocatalytic reactions [2,3] and the results of your project will significantly improve the optical sensing capabilities of these devices.

    References:

    [1] S. Kasera et al., Nano Lett 12, 5924 (2012).

    [2] A.M. Cubillas et al., Chem. Soc. Rev. 42, 8629 (2013).

    [3] M. Schmidt et al., Chem. Cat. Chem. 5, 641 (2013).

    This UROP project may be submitted as a Long Vacation Project in lieu of one Part II item of Further Work or one Part III Minor Topic. However, The Department of Physics does not allow long vacation work to be used as the basis of a Part III Project.

    • Co-supervisors: Philipp Koehler, Department of Physics and Dr Marlous Kamp, Department of Chemistry
    • The ideal student will have a strong interest in experimental optics research. Experience with (optics) experiments and/or basic chemical preparation would be helpful.
    • The proposed length of this project is 8-10 weeks.
    • The Cavendish Lab has agreed to provide a Long Vacation Bursary of £230 per week (up to 10 weeks) to cover the costs of this project.
    • Please apply to the Contact/Lead Supervisor Dr. Tijmen G. Euser

    Insertion Date: 7 February 2017


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    Optimized control over ultracold atom production

    Lead Supervisor: Dr. Ulrich Schneider Department of Physics
    Project Taken

    Project Description:

    This project consists of two parts that can either be done in parallel, or the student might wish to concentrate on one of the aspects.

    The first part is the use of evolutionary algorithms to optimize the cooling sequence for ultracold atoms. In our experiment, we produce a new cloud of ultracold atoms every 20-30s by applying a computer controlled sequence consisting of various cooling steps with many parameters. Your task is to use Python to implement an evolutionary algorithm that is able to optimize functions in a high-dimensional parameter space and interfaces it with our experimental control system to autonomously improve the experimental sequence.

    The second option combines programming with digital and radio-frequency electronics and aims at improving and benchmarking a new radio-frequency source based on a Direct Digital Synthesis (DDS) chip together with our electronics engineer. These novel and relatively inexpensive devices are employed to coherently manipulation of atomic hyperfine states, as applied for instance in single-qubit gates in quantum computing, and have the potential to replace whole racks of microwave and pulse generators.

    For further information visit the information available from the Many-body Quantum Dynamics group.

    This UROP project may be submitted as a Long Vacation Project in lieu of one Part II item of Further Work or one Part III Minor Topic. However, The Department of Physics does not allow long vacation work to be used as the basis of a Part III Project.

    • For both parts, prior programming experience in Python is highly desirable. For the first option, knowledge of numerical optimization would be helpful as would practical experience with electronics be regarding the second part. Both are however not required.
    • The proposed length of this project is 10 weeks.
    • The Cavendish Lab has agreed to provide a Long Vacation Bursary of £230 per week (up to 10 weeks) to cover the costs of this project.
    • Please apply to Contact/Lead Supervisor Dr. Ulrich Schneider

    Insertion Date: 6 February 2017


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    Building a high-dynamic range virtual-reality head-set

    Lead Supervisor: Dr. Rafal Mantiuk Computer Laboratory
    Project Taken

    Project Description:

    Virtual reality (VR) headsets can provide truly immersive experience, but they currently lack high dynamic range capabilities. The goal of the project is to add HDR capability to an existing VR headset, such as Occulus DK1.

    Note that this project will include a significant hardware component, including soldering and working with Arduino boards.

  • A student is the second year of CST may continue the work into a Part II project.
  • Recommended skills: Basic knowledge of electronics, good knowledge of C and C++, basic knowledge of OpenGL.
  • The proposed length of this project is 8-10 weeks.
  • The funding is from the ERC Consolidator Grant. No restrictions apply.
  • Please apply to the Lead Supervisor Dr. Rafal Mantiuk


  • Insertion Date: 24 February 2017


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    Better 3D with a multi-focal plane display

    Lead Supervisor: Dr. Rafal Mantiuk Computer Laboratory
    Project Taken

    Project Description:

    One of the main limitations of 3D-stereo displays is that they cause the eyes to converge at one depth while the lens in the eye accommodates at another depth. This causes conflict, leading to inability to properly see 3D or discomfort. We avoid this problem by creating a display with multiple planes of focus.

    The goal of the project is to create a software for displaying 3-dimensional images on a multi-focal plane display.

  • A student is the second year of CST may continue the work into a Part II project.
  • Required skills: basic knowledge of OpenGL, good knowledge of C and C++.
  • The proposed length of this project is 8-10 weeks.
  • The funding is from the ERC Consolidator Grant. No restrictions apply.
  • Please apply to the Lead Supervisor Dr. Rafal Mantiuk


  • Insertion Date: 24 February 2017


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    Accelerating visual models with OpenCL

    Lead Supervisor: Dr. Rafal Mantiuk Computer Laboratory
    Project Taken

    Project Description:

    We created a comprehensive model of low level vision, which is currently used to evaluate new HDR (high dynamic range) image and video compression standards. The biggest limitation of the model is the processing time, which takes up to 30 seconds to process a single full-HD resolution frame.

    The goal of the project is to accelerate the current Matlab implementation of the model by rewriting it so it can run on a GPU and without Matlab. OpenCL and Halide will be used to reimplement the model.

  • A student is the second year of CST may continue the work into a Part II project.
  • Recommended skills: very good knowledge of C and C++, some fundamentals of image processing, willingness to learn OpenCL and Halide.
  • The proposed length of this project is 8-10 weeks.
  • The funding is from the ERC Consolidator Grant. No restrictions apply.
  • Please apply to the Lead Supervisor Dr. Rafal Mantiuk


  • Insertion Date: 24 February 2017


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    Low-latency head tracking for hyper-realistic displays

    Lead Supervisor: Dr. Rafal Mantiuk Computer Laboratory
    Project Taken

    Project Description:

    We currently work on creating new display devices, which provide much higher sense of realism of perceived scenes. One of the key problem in one of our prototypes is the alignment of the displayed images with the current position of the eyes.

    The goal of the project is to create fast tracking of the head position using a high speed camera and to update displayed images accordingly. This will require creating software for the computer vision part of the system (tracking) and for the display part (OpenGL).

  • A student is the second year of CST may continue the work into a Part II project.
  • Recommended skills: familiarity with OpenGL, interest in Computer Vision, good knowledge of C and C++.
  • The proposed length of this project is 8-10 weeks.
  • The funding is from the ERC Consolidator Grant. No restrictions apply.
  • Please apply to the Lead Supervisor Dr. Rafal Mantiuk


  • Insertion Date: 24 February 2017


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    Application of ‘soft’ flow variable constraints in adjoint based optimisation

    Lead Supervisor: Prof. Matthew Juniper Department of Engineering
    Project Taken  European Union citizens ONLY EPSRC criteria may apply CLICK HERE for criteria

    Project Description:

    The adjoint method offers a computationally efficient approach to constrained shape optimisation. This approach, coined by Jameson as ‘design via control theory’, finds wide application from 2D wing section optimisation to complex aircraft design. However, in problems where an optimisation constraint is itself a flow variable, the computational efficiency of the method is undermined, as additional calculations are required to enforce a ‘hard’ variable constraint - one that must be satisfied for each iteration of the optimisation. One solution to this challenge is to incorporate penalty terms into the objective function such that the constraint is met by the converged solution.

    The aim of this project is to investigate different penalty functions, and how these ought to be varied depending on the objective function and constrained variables so as to improve overall solution convergence. Various optimisation problems will be investigated, a simple example being the design of an aerofoil section to minimise drag while maintaining constant lift. Implementation will be using the FEniCS platform.

    Find out more about Prof. Matthew Juniper

    • Essential knowledge: Fluid mechanics (incompressible flow) and some skill in object-oriented programming such as Python
    • The proposed length of this project is 10 weeks.
    • This project may be EPSRC funded therefore certain eligibility criteria must be met. Please check the details before you apply.
    • Please contact Prof. Matthew Juniper for further details or to apply.

    Insertion Date: 24 February 2017


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    Simulations of solenoid ioniser detectors for ultra High sensitivity He atom detection

    Lead Supervisor: Dr John Ellis Cavendish Lab, Department of Physics
    Project Taken

    Project Description:

    Thermal energy helium atoms make ideal probes of surface and nano structured systems, being uncharged, entirely inert and non destructive. The surface physics group makes extensive use of helium beams in atom microscopy applications that can yield submicron images of 3 dimensional structures, and scattering applications which probe atomic motion on Angstrom length and picosecond timescales. These experiments are limited by the sensitivity of the helium atom detectors, and this project is part of an ongoing project to improve detection efficiencies. In this project is proposed to perform MATLAB simulations of the ioniser and ion optics in order to shed light on the instabilities demonstrated by current high sensitivity detectors, and to develop ways of controlling the limits on these detectors imposed by spacecharge and gas throughput.

    It is possible that the project will also involve some experimental work to test the results of the simulations on a prototype ioniser. Further details on the research group Nanoscale Surface Dynamics.

    This UROP project may be submitted as a Long Vacation Project in lieu of one Part II item of Further Work or one Part III Minor Topic. However, The Department of Physics does not allow long vacation work to be used as the basis of a Part III Project.

    • The project will need to be completed before the start of September.
    • Applicants should be familiar with the 1B Nat Sci Physics B course on electromagnetism, or be able to demonstrate an equivalent level of knowledge, and a working knowledge of MATLAB would be useful.
    • The Cavendish Lab has agreed to provide a Long Vacation Bursary of £230 per week (up to 10 weeks) to cover the costs of this project.
    • Please apply to Contact/Lead Supervisor Dr John Ellis

    Insertion Date: 3 February 2017


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    Sharp eyes on spacecraft: interferometric imaging of geosynchronous satellites

    Lead Supervisor: Dr. John Young Department of Physics
    Project Taken

    Project Description:

    The detailed imaging of Geosynchronous (GEO) satellites using ground-based telescopes is an outstanding technical challenge. Their small apparent size suggests that the only feasible approach will be to use interferometric telescopes, i.e. the optical analogs of radio synthesis arrays, at near-infrared wavelengths, but the limits to performance, and exactly what type of array should be built are currently unanswered questions.

    This project will aim to explore the reach of GEO imaging at infrared wavelengths, by means of computational simulations. These will use existing state-of-the-art image reconstruction codes (including BSMEM and PAINTER), together with new code written by the student for generating input images of typical satellites and synthetic interferometric data for simulated observations of these satellites.

    The specific topics to be investigated include the impacts of the following factors on the fidelity of the reconstructed images:

    • Varying the solar illumination and rotation of the satellite's solar panels during the observations;
    • Variations of the target albedo with wavelength and the approach for combining data from different wavelength channels;
    • The signal-to-noise of the interferometric data given various assumptions about the aperture sizes and fringe tracking scheme used;
    • The spatial extent of the satellite and the availability of low-spatial frequency interferometric data.

    The above physical issues can be modelled and then studied independently of each other, but also subsequently brought together if time permits. Many of these issues are key to the design of a potential multi-million Euro "GEO-imager", and our group is playing a major role in defining the scope of such a facility.

    Publications relevant to this project include: Optical interferometry — the sharpest tool in the box and Numerical simulations of MROI imaging of GEO satellites

    A full list of publications from our research team can be found can be found here

    This UROP project may be submitted as a Long Vacation Project in lieu of one Part II item of Further Work or one Part III Minor Topic. However, The Department of Physics does not allow long vacation work to be used as the basis of a Part III Project.

    • Co-supervisor:Prof. Chris Haniff Department of Physics
    • The project would suit a student with an interest in any/all of the following: astronomical instrumentation, Fourier optics, data analysis and experimental design.
    • The candidate should be fluent with the content of the IB Physics A "Waves, Oscillations and Optics" course (though they need not have taken it) and have some capability in programming in, e.g. MATLAB, Python, C++. No previous experience of astronomical instrumentation design is required.
    • A commitment for a *minimum* of 8 weeks is necessary (with a maximum of 10 weeks possible). A 1-2 week break mid-way through the project may be possible.
    • The Cavendish Lab has agreed to provide a Long Vacation Bursary of £230 per week (up to 10 weeks) to cover the costs of this project.
    • Please apply to the Lead Supervisor Dr. John Young

    Insertion Date: 10 February 2017


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    Scrambling to find exoplanets

    Lead Supervisor: David Buscher Department of Physics
    Project Taken

    Project Description:

    Exoplanets (planets around other stars) can be detected by looking for "wobbles" in their parent stars caused by the gravitational attraction of the planets. These wobbles result in tiny doppler shifts of the stellar spectral lines and these can be measured using ultra-stable spectrographs such as the HARPS-3 spectrograph being built in Cambridge. One factor limiting the precision of the doppler shift measurement is any instability in the position of the centre of the light spot at the input to the spectrograph, which can be caused by drifts in the pointing of the telescope.

    If an optical fibre is used to transport the light from the telescope to the spectrograph, this can to some extent alleviate these problems, because the fibre "scrambles" the position of the light at its entrance. However position shifts of a few parts per million can be important when trying to detect smaller planets and this requires an exquisite level of scrambling.

    This project involves building a laboratory testbed for experimentally measuring the position-scrambling effects of optical fibres and using this testbed to measure the effects of controlled stretching of the fibres for improving the scrambling. There is also an opportunity to develop theoretical models for the scrambling effects in the fibre and compare these to experimental measurements.

    This UROP project may be submitted as a Long Vacation Project in lieu of one Part II item of Further Work or one Part III Minor Topic. However, The Department of Physics does not allow long vacation work to be used as the basis of a Part III Project.

    • This project requires an interest in high-precision laboratory work and an ability to write custom data analysis programs. A good understanding of basic optics (e.g. lenses, interference) and some grounding in electromagnetic theory (especially waveguides) would both be assets to making the most of this project.
    • The project will last 8 or 9 weeks, timing to be negotiated.
    • The Cavendish Lab has agreed to provide a Long Vacation Bursary of £230 per week (up to 10 weeks) to cover the costs of this project.
    • Please apply to Contact/Lead Supervisor David Buscher

    Insertion Date: 7 February 2017


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    Development of a Kinetic and Kinematic Profile of the Canine Forelimb

    Lead Supervisor: Dr Michael Sutcliffe, Department of Engineering
    Project Taken

    Project Description:

    An opportunity exists for a student with an interest in biomechanics to participate in an exciting new collaboration between the Department of Engineering and the Department of Veterinary Medicine. The long-term goal of this collaboration is to develop and validate a robotic test method for simulating joint function (kinematics) in the dog. Once established, the robotic joint simulator will enable researchers to evaluate new surgical techniques and implants without the need for research animals.

    The specific goal of this summer project will be to relate data collected from dogs on a walkway to the drive program on a robotic test cell recently purchased in the Vet School. The captured data includes kinematic data from a small series of diseased dogs, using a combination of force plate and motion capture techniques. This data now has to be incorporated into the robot control software and tested to demonstrate that the load cycle delivered by the robot matches the measured situation in the dogs.

    Work has already been undertaken by two MEng project students on this project and the UROP will follow on that effort. The project is suitable for following up with an MEng project in Oct 2017.

    This project would be an excellent fit for an engineering student with an interest in biomechanics.

  • Specific knowledge of the custom software is not needed as training will be provided, but familiarity with MATLAB would be desirable.
  • The proposed length of this project is 10 weeks.
  • Co-supervisor: Prof Matthew Allen, Department of Veterinary Medicine.
  • The project is also suitable for following up with an MEng project in Oct 2017.
  • Please contact Dr Michael Sutcliffe for further details or to apply.

  • Insertion Date: 21 February 2017


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    Particle Tracks Today

    Lead Supervisor: Prof. Mark Thomson High Energy Physics Group, Department of Physics
    Project Taken

    Project Description:

    The Cambridge HEP department runs the “Particle Tracks” experiment, in which undergraduate students analyse Kaon decays looking at (liquid hydrogen) bubble chamber film.

    The idea for this project is to:-

  • i) create a simple simulation of Kaons crossing a volume of hydrogen using the available software (e.g. GEANT library)
  • ii) reconstruct the tracks observed with the Pandora framework, a pattern recognition software used in current experiments and developed by the Cambridge MicroBooNE group, whose members will supervise this work.
  • The project will therefore involve a well defined task achievable in 10 weeks that will allow the student to get direct contact with current experimental research practices and tools.


    This UROP project may be submitted as a Long Vacation Project in lieu of one Part II item of Further Work or one Part III Minor Topic. However, The Department of Physics does not allow long vacation work to be used as the basis of a Part III Project.

    • Particle Physics course taken (desirable), good computing skills and some computing experience (essential).
    • The proposed length for this project is 10 weeks from the 1st of June to the 10th of August, during this time there might be a period of about one week of break or remote supervision of the project, expected at the end of July.
    • This project will be co-supervised by Dr. Lorena Escudero Sánchez and Dr. John Marshall
    • The Cavendish Lab has agreed to provide a Long Vacation Bursary of £230 per week (up to 10 weeks) to cover the costs of this project.
    • Please send your application by 5th of March 2017 to the Lead Supervisor Prof. Mark Thomson and CC your email to Dr. Lorena Escudero Sánchez and Dr. John Marshall

    Insertion Date: 6 February 2017


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    Monitoring of sleep in early Alzheimer's disease via contactless mobile sensors

    Lead Supervisor: Cecilia Mascolo Computer Laboratory
    Project Taken

    Project Description:

    There is increasing interest in the investigation of sleep in Alzheimer's disease (AD). Sleep disturbances can predate the onset of symptoms in AD by several years and can accelerate the AD pathological process. Furthermore, disruption of non-REM sleep in AD may impair memory consolidation, contributing to the memory decline that is the hallmark symptom of AD. To date, studies of sleep in AD have been limited by the difficulty of acquiring data on sleep measures such as REM/non-REM phases, efficiency and duration. Polysomnography has traditionally been used to acquire such data but is a lab-based technique and not suitable for application in the community, whereas reporting of sleep outcomes is necessarily subjective and difficult to correlate with objective sleep parameters.

    The use of mobile sensing represents a means of acquiring objective sleep measures with minimal cost and user inconvenience that is also potentially scalable for application on a large scale. In this project sleep parameters will be measured in patients with early AD, correlating sleep data with other measures of disease including cognitive data (such memory and attention) and MRI measures of brain structure and connectivity.

    The student will be exposed to mobile system development and machine learning. It would suit a student with good programming skills and some machine learning knowledge.


    Insertion Date: 9 March 2017


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    Liquid impacts: from engineering to planet formation

    Lead Supervisor: Maylis Landeau Department of Applied Mathematics and Theoretical Physics
    Project Taken  European Union citizens ONLY EPSRC criteria may apply CLICK HERE for criteria

    Project Description:

    The impact of a liquid volume at a solid or a liquid surface is a classical problem in fluid dynamics. This process plays an important role in industrial systems, such as quenching of liquid alloys or accidental release of liquid metallic fuel in liquid coolant inside nuclear reactors. High-energy impacts of solids can behave in a similar way to fluids due to the material exceeding its yield strength or due to the heating associated with the impact. Such impacts can occur, for example, from ballistic rounds or during the formation of planets. In all cases, mixing or stirring between the projectile and impacted materials have important consequences for the composition, temperature and structure of the post-impact materials.

    The student working on this project will conduct laboratory experiments investigating large liquid blobs impacting a pool of another miscible liquid. He/she will use a high-speed video camera to visualize the impact, and a range of techniques to characterize the amount of mixing as a function of the density difference between the released and impacted liquids. Experimental results will be compared with existing theories on turbulent mixing.

    Dr. Maylis Landeau (Marie Curie postdoctoral fellow at DAMTP) will supervise the project, which will involve interactions with other DAMTP researchers, including Prof. Stuart Dalziel and Dr. Jerome Neufeld. This project would suit a student with a solid quantitative background in engineering, mathematics or the physical sciences and an interest in developing their experimental expertise. The student will learn leading-edge experimental techniques, such as high-speed visualization and light-induced fluorescence, and will gain experience in the collection, management and analysis of systematic data. These skills are important in both academia and industry.

  • Duration: 8-10 weeks.
  • This project may be EPSRC funded therefore certain eligibility criteria must be met. Please check the details before you apply.
  • For further information or to apply, please contact the lead supervisor, Maylis Landeau


  • Insertion Date: 7 March 2017


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    Double plughole vortices

    Contact: Lead Supervisors: Dr. Megan Davies Wykes and Dr. Francis Woodhouse Department of Applied Mathematics and Theoretical Physics
    Project Taken  European Union citizens ONLY EPSRC criteria may apply CLICK HERE for criteria

    Project Description:

    Everyone is familiar with the plughole vortex formed by water draining out of a bath. Residual vorticity in the unsteady bathwater (which almost always trumps which hemisphere you're in!) sets up an intricate spinning, draining, air-entraining flow which persists until the bath is empty. But what happens if there are two plugholes in the bath? Do we get two vortices, or just the one - and if so, where?

    This project will experimentally investigate the basic phenomenology and internal flow structure of vortices created by draining through two holes. After gathering preliminary data to gauge the qualitative behaviours at different water levels and plughole separations, you will explore the transitions between these flow regimes via particle-image velocimetry (PIV) analysis. These results could be complemented by theoretical analysis of the main regimes observed, ultimately answering how and why vortices form in a double-plughole tank.

    Through this project, you will gain valuable experience in core techniques of laboratory fluid dynamics, such as experiment set-up and design, high-speed imaging, and PIV analysis, with the potential for exploring the theory of bifurcations and Ekman boundary layers. Furthermore, you will be encouraged to develop your project management skills by steering the project as it progresses based on your own ideas and observations.

    This project would suit a student in engineering, mathematics or the physical sciences. A background including some fluid mechanics and some experience with Matlab (or similar) are desirable.

  • Duration: 8-10 weeks.
  • This project may be EPSRC funded therefore certain eligibility criteria must be met. Please check the details before you apply.
  • For further information or to apply, please contact the lead supervisor, Dr. Megan Davies Wykes or Dr. Francis Woodhouse


  • Insertion Date: 7 March 2017


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    Removal of chemical contaminants from cracked surfaces (façades)

    Lead Supervisor: Dr. Merlin A. Etzold Department of Applied Mathematics and Theoretical Physics
    Project Taken  European Union citizens ONLY EPSRC criteria may apply CLICK HERE for criteria

    Project Description:

    The increasing risk of terrorist attacks involving chemical weapons or accidental spillage in urban areas potentially exposes buildings to highly toxic chemicals. Cracks and crevices in façades act as capillary traps for these substances and hinder their effective removal. Common strategies rely on surface washing to remove the contaminant by dissolution, or to destroy the contaminant by chemical reaction (oxidation, hydrolysis). These techniques may not be applicable or require aggressive chemicals themselves.

    Maybe we can harness the same capillary forces that drove the chemicals into the cracks to resolve the problem. Capillary forces depend on the interaction between the surface, the contaminant and the decontaminant, and can be tuned by adding surfactants to the decontaminant. If the right system can be selected, the capillary forces will then eject the contaminant from the crack.

    The student will identify a well-behaved chemical system and study the decontamination dynamics of a model crack with flowing and non-flowing decontaminant. He will employ image analysis techniques such as dye attenuation and PIV to record a quantitative picture of the underlying processes.

    We are looking for a student in (chemical) engineering, physics, applied mathematics, or chemistry with affinity to problem solving, fluid dynamics and/or surface chemistry. The student should be willing to cross the bridge between physics and chemistry, and in return will learn how to plan and carry out quantitative experiments and gain experience using quantitative image analysis methods. This project falls into the wide realm of industrial cleaning and has relevance far beyond its motivation.

  • Duration: 8-10 weeks.
  • This project may be EPSRC funded therefore certain eligibility criteria must be met. Please check the details before you apply.
  • For further information or to apply, please contact the lead supervisor, Dr. Merlin A. Etzold


  • Insertion Date: 7 March 2017


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    Modelling Carbon Nanotube Aerogelation #1

    Lead Supervisor: Adam Boies Department of Engineering
    Project Taken  European Union citizens ONLY EPSRC criteria may apply CLICK HERE for criteria

    Project Description:

    The formation of carbon nanotube (CNT) aerogel in a not clearly understood process. No detailed deterministic or stochastic models of CNT agglomeration have been developed and the agglomeration process is important in understanding their behavior, controlling their production and detecting their presence.

    Individual carbon nanotube (iCNT) interactions have been modelled with the assumption that iCNTs are rigid rods. Langevin equations have been developed and a stochastic process has been designed to calculate the average collision time. This involves placing a CNT in a geometry and allowing another CNT move according to the Langevin equations, until collision occurs. This simulation is repeated to give an average value. Smoluchowski radii and projected areas are calculated in a stochastic way as well.

    The modelling that will be used in this project is inspired by Brownian Dynamics simulations of polymers. Instead of rigid rods, flexible polymer molecules are modelled as a series of beads connected by either rods or springs. The drag on the chain is distributed at bead centres. Semiflexible polymers are modelled as continuous filaments. CNTs can be modelled in a similar way, i.e. by a series of beads connected by rods of a particular bending stiffness. A similar but different model is also proposed: modelling each molecule as a series of rigid rods, connected by pin joints with torsional springs.

    After the molecular model has been developed, a macroscopic analysis can be performed. Rheology will be investigated by examining the flow influencing the motion of molecules, possibly turbulence causing rotation, or electric and magnetic fields affecting the molecules and bundles.

    This will be compared with experimental results, which show CNTs bundling together and then bundles forming a web. That method can also been applied to other long conductive or non-conductive molecules.

    Useful information can be found on the Advanced Nanotube Application and Manufacturing Initiative site.

    • The applicable student should have a strong background in continuum scale phenomena, such as fluid dynamics, heat and mass transfer.
    • The student should be available for 8-10 weeks over the summer break with specific dates flexible.
    • There is a strong preference for students who seek to continue this project into the 4th year.
    • This project may be EPSRC funded therefore certain eligibility criteria must be met. Please check the details before you apply.
    • Please contact Adam Boies for further details or to apply.

    Insertion Date: 28 February 2017


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    Radiation-hard High-Voltage GaN transistors

    Lead Supervisor: Bart Hommels Dept. of Physics- HEP
    Project Taken

    Project Description:

    This project is aimed at testing of high-voltage GaN transistors.

    The project scope is to expand the types of test available, test a number of devices, and further study the device behaviour after irradiation.

    The prospective student will develop the test hardware for a fast-pulse test, and write LabView code to implement the test protocol using our measurement instruments including a semi-automatic probestation.

    You will use the existing tests to measure unirradiated transistors in quantity once they arrive from the vendor, perform the data analysis to extract the device parameters and provide results bookkeeping.

    Time allowing, the student can proceed with measuring previously irradiated devices before and after annealing steps, whereby the devices are heated to 60 deg C for 80 minutes. Multiple annealing iterations are foreseen to arrive at a prediction for the device behaviour over the experiment lifetime. This UROP project may be submitted as a Long Vacation Project in lieu of one Part II item of Further Work or one Part III Minor Topic. However, The Department of Physics does not allow long vacation work to be used as the basis of a Part III Project. [8] The Cavendish Lab has agreed to provide a Long Vacation Bursary to cover the costs of this project. This will offer up to 10 weeks' funds (2300 pounds) and up to 500 pounds to cover consumables directly connected to the student's research activities.

    • Co-supervisor:Dr. Philip Garsed Department of Physics - HEP
    • The prospective student is required to have experience with LabView, additional experience with MatLab would be beneficial.
    • The Cavendish Lab has agreed to provide a Long Vacation Bursary of £230 per week (up to 10 weeks) to cover the costs of this project.
    • Please apply to the Lead Supervisor Bart Hommels

    Insertion Date: 23 February 2017


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    Passage of bubbles thorugh fluid-fluid interfaces

    Lead Supervisor: Dr. Paul Jarvis Department of Applied Mathematics and Theoretical Physics
    Project Taken  European Union citizens ONLY EPSRC criteria may apply CLICK HERE for criteria

    Project Description:

    The buoyant rise of bubbles through horizontal fluid-fluid interfaces is an important problem in various industrial and natural processes. Of particular interest is how the passage of the bubbles can lead to mixing between the two fluids. This has implications for, among other things, the efficiency of extracting metals from ores, models of nuclear accident scenarios, and understanding how magmas of different compositions can mix prior to volcanic eruptions.

    This project will use laboratory experiments to study the rise of bubbles through fluid interfaces. By varying the bubble volume and the viscosity ratio between the fluids, the student will investigate the physical controls on the time required for the bubble to rise through the interface, and the volume of the lower fluid that is entrained into the upper layer. The obtained results will provide insight into the efficiency of rising bubbles as a mixing mechanism.

    This project would suit a student in engineering, mathematics or the physical sciences with an interest in fluid mechanics and a desire to undertake experimental research. This project provides an opportunity for a student to gain experience working in a laboratory environment and to develop skills including experimental techniques, quantitative data processing and analysis, and problem solving.

  • Duration: 8-10 weeks.
  • This project may be EPSRC funded therefore certain eligibility criteria must be met. Please check the details before you apply.
  • For further information or to apply, please contact the lead supervisor, Dr. Paul Jarvis


  • Insertion Date: 7 March 2017


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    Yielding and flow in clogged conduits

    Lead Supervisor: Dr. Duncan Hewitt Department of Applied Mathematics and Theoretical Physics
    Project Taken  European Union citizens ONLY EPSRC criteria may apply CLICK HERE for criteria

    Project Description:

    A great variety of industrial and geophysical problems involves flow of ‘viscoplastic’ non-Newtonian fluids. These materials exhibit solid-like plastic behaviour under low stress, but yield and flow like a viscous fluid if stressed sufficiently. Materials that exhibit this behaviour are commonplace in the home, industry, and the natural world, and range from toothpaste and mayonnaise to waxy crude oils and mud. Many industrial and environmental settings, from batch processing to the underground plumbing of mud volcanos, involve the mobilisation and transport of these materials down channels or through networks of fractures.

    This project is an experimental study of the flow of viscoplastic materials in the presence of junctions and barriers in channels. The project is predominantly experimental, although there will also be opportunities for some theoretical modelling. There are two particular focuses: to investigate the manner in which ‘clogged’ flow at a junction can mobilise under sufficient force, with the possibility of local channelization; and to study the positions of unyielded plugs in either converging or diverging channels, with the aim of understanding their effect on the flow. The study will involve a series of table-top experiments using an idealised viscoplastic fluid, together with measurement techniques including particle image velocimetry (PIV) for visualization of the flow. The project will be based in the GK Batchelor Laboratory in DAMTP.

    This project would be an excellent preparation for further study (e.g. Part III Mathematics, Physics, or postgraduate research). It would also develop the student’s skills in problem solving, physical intuition, and modelling, which are of valued widely in industry.

    Applicants should be familiar with Matlab and with some basic fluid mechanics.

  • Duration: 8-10 weeks.
  • This project may be EPSRC funded therefore certain eligibility criteria must be met. Please check the details before you apply.
  • For further information or to apply, please contact the lead supervisor, Dr. Duncan Hewitt


  • Insertion Date: 7 March 2017


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    Designing Efficient Multi-Stage Counter Rotating Turbines for Rocket Engines

    Lead Supervisor: Dr. Graham Pullan Department of Engineering
    Project Taken

    Project Description:

    The concept of a counter rotating turbine has existed for almost as long as the jet engine, however in practise they are very rarely used. The idea is that instead of alternating between stationary and rotating aerofoils the machine alternates between aerofoils rotating in opposite directions.

    There are many claims of much higher work output and improved efficiency compared to conventional turbines. This is often put down to the removal of the stationary vanes which are not generating any work output. Initial studies show that to achieve the increased work output previously claimed, results in very high relative blade speeds and hence high (>1) mach numbers when matched to a conventional gas turbine cycle. The high speed flow increases the loss and in reality the claims of improved efficiency are not realised.

    A recent proposal for an air breathing rocket engine by Reaction Engines LTD currently includes a multi-stage counter rotating turbine linked to a conventional compressor. The reason such a design is of interest is that the turbine is operating with Helium as the working fluid, for which the speed of sound is roughly 3 times higher than air. This enables a successful CRT to operate without the performance penalty associated with high Mach numbers. However the design of such a system has been attempted only a handful of times and there is clear room for improvement.

    An additional feature of multi-stage CRTs is that in an idealised infinite machine only one blade need be designed, it being employed for both rotors. This project aims to utilise this feature and the assumption of a true multi-stage machine, to simplify the problem and produce a high efficiency design for this relatively poorly understood type of machine. If a good design can be produced it is likely that generic design rules can be developed for this type of machine.

    Link to Reaction Engines LTD


    Insertion Date: 9 March 2017


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    Super Aggressive S-shaped Ducts for Rocket Engine Compressors

    Lead Supervisor: Prof. Rob Miller Department of Engineering
    Project Taken

    Project Description:

    Within a gas turbine there are often multiple shafts, which can have significantly different rotational speeds. To provide suitable blade speeds for the compressor, the radius of the annulus is sometimes changed between the two shafts. This change is performed in an interstage duct, the design of which represents an interesting engineering challenge.

    It is found in practise that shorter ducts incur higher aerodynamic losses due to the increased endwall diffusion. Thus there is a trade-off for the designer between duct length and weight and aerodynamic performance. In land based gas turbines for power, where weight is not an issue, the aerodynamic performance is favoured. In an aerospace engine the trade-off is much more competitive as both weight and performance are desirable.

    A recent proposal for an air breathing rocket engine by Reaction Engines LTD includes such a duct between the two compressor shafts. This engine, SABRE, is proposed for use on the SKYLON space plane. As such, minimising engine weight to allow for larger payloads is even more important than in jet engine applications.

    This project will study the more "aggressive" end of the S-shaped duct spectrum. It is hoped that a design philosophy for such aggressive ducts can be developed as well as an understanding of the trade-off between length and performance of these designs.

    The project is likely to include simple axi-symmetric computational fluid dynamics calculations to aid in the design, study and production of such ducts. With sufficient progress, designs of interest could be manufactured and tested aerodynamically in a low speed facility within the Whittle Laboratory.

    Link to Reaction Engines LTD


    Insertion Date: 9 March 2017


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    Cosmic Concrete

    Lead Supervisor: Bart Hommels Dept. of Physics- HEP
    Project Taken

    Project Description:

    Non-invasive inspection of buildings and infrastructure is a technologically challenging field where very few methods currently exist. This project aims to assess the feasibility and performance of using cosmic ray tomography for imaging the internals of reinforced concrete structures through running computer simulations.

    Well-developed and advanced software toolkits such as GEANT4 and muon track reconstruction algorithms as developed for particle physics will be used to implement the simulation. Software descriptions of the Silicon microstrip detectors as developed for the ATLAS experiment at the LHC at CERN will be used for track measurement and reconstruction.

    Initially, the focus is on developing a flux-based algorithm, to be refined using full muon track reconstruction. Once the performance of this method is assessed, detector optimisations and further improvements can be made by including more advanced reconstruction algorithms and a-priori simulated data.

    This UROP project may be submitted as a Long Vacation Project in lieu of one Part II item of Further Work or one Part III Minor Topic. However, The Department of Physics does not allow long vacation work to be used as the basis of a Part III Project.

    • Co-supervisor:Dr. Frederic Brochu Department of Physics
    • As this project is entirely software based, strong computing skills (C++, python) are highly recommended.
    • The project duration is 8-10 weeks.
    • This project is funded by STFC through Cambridge Enterprise. This will offer up to 10 weeks' funds (2300 pounds) and up to 500 pounds to cover consumables directly connected to the student's research activities.
    • Please apply to the Lead Supervisor Bart Hommels

    Insertion Date: 2 March 2017


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    Driver interaction with semi-autonomous cars (in collaboration with Toyota Motors Europe)

    Lead Supervisor: Dr David Cole Department of Engineering
    Project Taken

    Project Description:

    Cars are nowadays equipped with an increasing number of automatic functions. One such function is speed control (often known as cruise control). A natural development of this trend is the fully autonomous car. There are significant potential benefits of automating cars, in terms of safety, congestion, and energy consumption. If such automatic functions are to be accepted it is important that the occupants feel safe and comfortable. However, not enough is currently known about how the car should be controlled to achieve this. In this project the subjective comfort and safety of the occupant during transient longitudinal acceleration arising from automatic speed control of a car will be investigated. The work will involve analysis of experimental data and development of simulation models (matlab) to understand how the occupant controls the motion of their head and how they perceive the motion of the car. The results of the work should benefit not only the development of conventional cars with cruise control, but also future autonomous cars.

    The industrial collaborator is Toyota Motors Europe and there may be opportunities during the summer to visit their Technical Centre in Brussels for experimental work. This is a great opportunity to gain experience in the fast-changing automotive industry, which is currently addressing major technical challenges related to autonomous control, connectivity, and sustainability.

  • Students should currently be studying Engineering Part IIA and be comfortable with using MATLAB/simulink.
  • The proposed length of this project is 10 weeks.
  • The student selected for this UROP will be encouraged to continue the work as a 4th year project.
  • Please contact Dr David Cole for further details or to apply.

  • Insertion Date: 21 February 2017


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    Impact mechanics of racket sports balls

    Lead Supervisor: Dr Graham McShane Department of Engineering
    Project Taken  European Union citizens ONLY EPSRC criteria may apply CLICK HERE for criteria

    Project Description:

    For many racket sports, the optimum construction of balls to deliver the best player experience remains more of an art than a science. The construction can often be complex, featuring multiple layers of materials that combine to influence the impact response of the ball. However, a lack of detailed study hinders innovation in design and manufacturing techniques, for both the balls and the playing surfaces with which they interact. This is a particular issue for small-scale, niche sports, where standardisation in ball supply and manufacture is currently absent. This project will aim to ‘reverse engineer’ the balls used in a number of racket sports, to better understand the constituent materials, the construction, and their influence on the impact response with different playing surfaces. The following specific tasks will be addressed:

    After ‘dissecting’ a range of balls, aim to identify and characterise the individual materials used in their construction. What are their elastic and viscoelastic properties? Are these properties sensitive to temperature and loading rate? How do they combine to affect the mass, moment of inertia and mechanical properties of the ball?

    Develop a testing technique for the systematic and repeatable study of the impact between a particular ball and either a playing surface or racket strings. What is the key data to acquire during the tests (e.g. speed of impact, coefficient of restitution, spin), and what is the most efficient and reliable testing technique to gather it?

    After gathering data on both construction and impact response for a range of balls and impact surfaces, aim to draw some conclusions about the relationship between the materials employed in the ball, the construction technique and the player experience. What ideas emerge for new construction techniques or playing surfaces?

    • It would be suitable for a student interested in mechanics and materials. Keen players of related sports (e.g. squash, tennis, real tennis, fives, rackets) would have an advantage.
    • The proposed length of this project is 8 weeks.
    • It has scope to be continued as a 4th year project.
    • This project may be EPSRC funded therefore certain eligibility criteria must be met. Please check the details before you apply.
    • Please contact Dr Graham McShane for further details or to apply.

    Insertion Date: 23 February 2017


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    Fitting force fields from fundamental forces

    Lead Supervisor: Prof. Gabor Csányi Department of Engineering
    Project Taken  European Union citizens ONLY EPSRC criteria may apply CLICK HERE for criteria

    Project Description:

    The project is part of our investigation into the process of creating fast models for describing the behaviour of atoms (both in molecules and in solid state materials) solely from accurate (but slow) quantum mechanical calculations. We use the Gaussian process machine learning framework, with a domain-specific kernel that is tailored using chemical insight.

    The UROP project will look at how to describe conformational change and chemical bond-breaking and bond-forming and compare the efficacy of training using energy, force, and vibrational data.

    • Chemistry knowledge and familiarity with atomistic simulation would be advantageous.
    • The proposed length of this project is 10 weeks.
    • This project may be EPSRC funded therefore certain eligibility criteria must be met. Please check the details before you apply.
    • Please apply to Contact/Lead Supervisor Prof. Gabor Csányi

    Insertion Date: 7 February 2017


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    Engineering a synthetic light controlled gene expression system for plants

    Lead Supervisor: Alexander M. Jones Research Group Leader, The Sainsbury Laboratory
    Project Taken

    Project Description:

    Imagine that you could control gene expression in plants with light. Optogenetic actuators, unlike chemically-directed gene expression systems, have the potential to serve as minimally invasive tools for controlling gene expression in vivo with exquisite spatiotemporal resolution. This project aims at engineering a robust optogenetic actuator system for plants, which is both orthogonal to endogenous light signalling pathways and is operational in normal plant growth conditions (i.e. dark/light cycling). To this end, we propose repurposing a cyanobacterial photoswitchable two-component system for use in plants.

    You will assist an experienced postdoc in determining the suitability of a cyanobacterial photoswitchable two-component system for use in plants (by heterologous expression in E. coli) and reengineer the system to introduce, alter or enhance desired properties. The student will get hands-on experience with cutting edge cloning techniques and learn to perform photoswitching assays in E.coli. The student will also study relevant crystal structures and sequence alignments to design modifications to the system and then reengineer the system using site-directed mutagenesis.

    Criteria: We are looking for a student with a keen interest in synthetic biology with the drive to engage with the project and the problem solving skills that will be needed to carry it out. Preference will be given to students with prior lab experience, especially those with experience in molecular cloning techniques.

    • Co-supervisor: Bo Larsen, Research associate at SLCU
    • The project can lead to a 4th year project
    • Charitable foundation funding is available from a Gatsby Trust Fellowship
    • Please apply to Contact/Lead Supervisor Alexander M. Jones

    Insertion Date: 2 February 2017


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    Adding Software Prefetching to Application Binaries

    Lead Supervisor: Timothy Jones Computer Laboratory
    Project Taken  European Union citizens ONLY EPSRC criteria may apply CLICK HERE for criteria

    Project Description:

    The aim of this project is to increase the performance of applications by bringing data into the processor's on-chip caches before it is needed. This is achieved through the addition of software prefetch instructions into the program. Although this could be performed in the compiler, allowing these to be added to application binaries means that legacy programs and those without source code can also benefit.

    The computer architecture research group already has tools to support binary modification. The basic idea would be to implement a pass within our static binary analysis tool that can recognise suitable loads and then pass hints to a dynamic binary translator so that it can insert prefetches in the correct place at runtime.

    We have a paper describing a similar technique within the compiler:Software Prefetching for Indirect Memory Accesses


  • Knowledge of compilers would be extremely useful and computer architecture knowledge is not essential, but may help.
  • The proposed length of this project is 8 weeks.
  • This UROP could lead into a final year project on similar topics (e.g. vectorisation of binaries).
  • This project may be EPSRC funded therefore certain eligibility criteria must be met. Please check the details before you apply.
  • Please apply to the Lead Supervisor Timothy Jones


  • Insertion Date: 21 February 2017


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    Optimising ply orientation in structural laminated bamboo

    Lead Supervisor: Darshil Shah Department of Architecture
    Project Taken

    Project Description:

    Engineered natural materials are being increasingly explored for structural uses in the construction sector. Laminated bamboo is one of these products comprised of strips of the bamboo culm wall that are laminated (glued, stacked and pressed) together. These products can be fabricated in a variety of thicknesses and sizes.

    Unidirectional laminated bamboo has exceptional stiffness and strength properties in the fibre direction. However, transverse properties can be an order of magnitude lower. To achieve a compromise in properties in the longitudinal and transverse directions, cross-ply lamination is used, where adjacent plies run perpendicular to each other. However, is this the optimal ply arrangement?

    Bamboo

    This project involves a combined experimental and theoretical investigation to inform the improved design of laminated bamboo products. The following tasks will be addressed:

  • Test the mechanical properties of single-ply laminated bamboo at various off-axis loading angles. How do the experimental results compare with predictions based on laminate theory?
  • Based on the observations, select various ply designs that are expected to, both yield improvements and reduction in overall properties.
  • Fabricate these multi-layered, multi-directional, laminated bamboo products.
  • Test the mechanical properties of these laminated bamboo materials at various loading angles. How do the experimental results compare with predictions based on laminate theory?
  • After the analysis, aim to draw some conclusions about what ply designs offer maximum improvement in properties, and how does this compare with current materials.
  • Put together a short technical note for publication in a peer-reviewed journal.


    • Suitable for a student interested in materials (natural and polymer composite materials) and structural engineering. General workshop skills, experience of mechanical testing, and some analytical modelling skills are recommended.
    • Co-supervisor: Dr. Michael Ramage
    • The proposed length of this project is 6 weeks.
    • The project has scope to be continued as a 4th year project.
    • The funding is from the Centre for Natural Material Innovation, with no restrictions.
    • Please contact Darshil Shah for further details or to apply.

    Insertion Date: 20 March 2017


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    Measurement of scattering of cosmic ray muons in high-Z materials

    Lead Supervisor: Dr Stephen Wotton Department of Physics
    Project Taken

    Project Description:

    This project aims to measure the performance of an apparatus designed for cosmic ray muon tomography applied to the scanning of cargo in a closed container.

    The project will involve data-taking with an existing apparatus using different sample materials followed by the analysis and interpretation of the recorded data. The apparatus is based on technologies developed for the CERN ATLAS and LHCb detectors.

    • A student with strong practical and computing skills would be ideal for this project.
    • There are no particular timing constraints and the duration of the project would be 8-10 weeks during the 2017 long vacation by mutual arrangement.
    • The Cavendish Lab has agreed to provide a Long Vacation Bursary of £230 per week (up to 10 weeks) to cover the costs of this project.
    • Please apply to the Lead Supervisor Dr Stephen Wotton

    Insertion Date: 13 February 2017


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    Dimension Reduction in Turbomachinery

    Lead Supervisors: Dr. Pranay Seshadri and Dr. Geoffrey Parks Department of Engineering
    Project Taken Project Description:

    Data driven dimension reduction techniques are a powerful aid in visualizing and exploiting high-dimensional design spaces. Essentially these techniques map a high dimensional space onto some low dimensional manifold. This low dimensional space can then be used for subsequent optimization and uncertainty quantification studies. But how exactly do we reduce say a 200 dimensional design space to a 2 dimensional one (that we can print on a sheet of paper)?

    In this project we will explore a few dimension reduction techniques—sufficient dimension reduction, active subspaces and ridge functions—for a turbomachinery design problem related to turbine flow capacity. From our low dimensional representation we will then aim to extract pedigree rules for flow capacity—a key parameter that drives engine specific field consumption.


  • Prospective students may come from any Engineering, but they must have strong mathematical and analytical skills; they should also have some experience with python, MATLAB and computational fluid dynamics.
  • Background material will be provided, but the student may be required to do some self-guided study of the maths involved. This project will involve close collaboration with Rolls-Royce plc.
  • Project timeline: Starting July 3rd 2017 and running for 10 weeks.
  • It is expected that this UROP will continue into a 4th year project.
  • Co-supervisor Dr. Shahrokh Shahpar, Rolls-Royce plc.
  • Please contact Dr. Pranay Seshadri for further details or to apply.

  • Insertion Date: 20 April 2017


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    Understanding and Predicting Limits to Drop-on-Demand Inkjet Printing

    Lead Supervisor: Dr. Steve Hoath (FInstP) Institute for Manufacturing, Department of Engineering
    Project Taken

    Project Description:

    The formation and use of very small droplets of liquids supports many technologies from medical devices such as inhalers to fuel injection systems in cars, as well, of course, as inkjet printing. But inkjet is not just about putting ink onto paper. Its techniques make possible completely new areas of application. Any liquid with the right properties can, in principle, be deposited by this method, making it a versatile and scalable digital manufacturing process capable of printing sensors, microfluidic elements, electronic devices, and being used as an additive process for 3-D printing. As a non-contact printing method, it can be used to print onto delicate or rough surfaces, such as decoration on ceramic tiles or conducting tracks on fragile silicon solar cells. Liquid Assets

    How can inkjet printing be made more effective and provide sufficient throughput for modern manufacturing? What actually limits drop-on-demand inkjet printing? Can we understand and make predictions of these limits. This UROP project will map and discover the frontiers of the technology, also using and analysing experimental data (from our UROP projects on meniscus motion, air drag and drop charging) to help the research group quantify the limits caused by the actual jetting of the ink drops.

    Link to relevant supporting information: Inkjet Research Centre

  • Co-supervisor:Dr Cristina Rodriguez Rivero
  • You are likely to be either 2nd or 3rd year,Engineering or Physics students who have handled experimental and analytical projects, but applications are not restricted to these disciplines.
  • Dates and times: between 6 and 8 working weeks. The earliest start date will be June 19th and the latest end date September 1st 2017.
  • All Inkjet Research Centre UROP work is conducted in the IfM on the West Campus.
  • Our UROPs may offer an opportunity to continue into a 4th year project (as was done previously in Physics).
  • Students working within the inkjet research centre group have also published research papers, presented talks and posters (Physics, Engineering, Chem Eng) and have also presented at industry meetings (Engineering, Chem Eng).
  • The co-located Fluids In Advanced Manufacturing group (Dr Ronan Daly) also offers a UROP this year, so that our UROP students can benefit from their peer group too.
  • Interested students should submit their current CV, including contact details of their academic DoS for reference purposed to Dr. Steve Hoath (FInstP) by 25th April 2017
  • Suitable candidates may be invited to discuss this UROP at any time up 25th April to this date before Easter Term.
  • You will need to prepare for interview by background reading on industrial drop-on-demand inkjet printing, and preferably have good digital image processing and curve fitting skills to offer immediately.

  • Insertion date: 30 March 2017


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    Characterisation of Spatial Light Modulators for AR/VR Applications

    Lead Supervisor: Professor Daping Chu Centre for Photonic Devices and Sensors, Department of Engineering
    Project Taken  European Union citizens ONLY EPSRC criteria may apply CLICK HERE for criteria Project Description:

    Liquid crystal on silicon (LCOS) spatial light modulators (SLMs) have been used in a wide range of applications, from rear projectors to holographic 3D displays. They are now one of the main optical engines used for AR/VR applications.

    The fundamental mechanism of phase modulation of the nematic liquid crystals (LCs) to light is electrically controlled dielectric anisotropy due to the molecular rotation. Because of the rod-like shape of the LC molecules, the degree of such a phase modulation depends on the polarisation direction of the incident light. Furthermore, the molecular rotation itself is not in a fixed plane, resulting the rotation of the polarisation plane of the modulated light, which is undesirable for many applications.

    This project will investigate the ways to characterise phase-only LCOS SLMs and understand in-depth how they work. Both experimental and simulation work will be involved.

    Key tasks, milestones and deliverables:

  • Investigate ways to characterise LCOS SLMs; T+3 weeks
  • Set up characterisation facility and program measurement software;T+6 weeks
  • Measure and analyse data; T+10 weeks

  • The project needs a competent candidate who has some knowledge and/or experience with optics and electronics with good programming skills. Previous programming experience with MATLAB and/or LabView is a plus.
  • This project may be EPSRC funded therefore certain eligibility criteria must be met. Please check the details before you apply.
  • It is possible to take the project further into a 4th Year Project.
  • The project is to start in July or August for a period of 10 weeks.
  • Please contact Professor Daping Chu for further details or to apply.

  • Insertion Date: 12 April 2017


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    What can machine learning tell us about Southern Ocean heat content?

    Lead Supervisor: Dan Jones British Antarctic Survey
    Project Taken  NERC Funded NERC criteria apply

    Project Description:

    Since the 1970s, the ocean has absorbed more than 90% of the total extra thermal energy added to the climate system via anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions. The Southern Ocean has been an especially important region of heat uptake and storage, having absorbed more than 75% of the excess heat. In this project, we will apply a well-tested machine learning method (i.e. unsupervised classification using a Gaussian Mixture Model, or GMM) to autonomous float data to better understand the three-dimensional structure of Southern Ocean heat content.

    The student will work as part of the BAS Polar Oceans team. They will be encouraged to attend science seminars and group/project meetings. The student will have opportunities to interact with scientists involved in oceanographic field work, high-level numerical analysis, and ocean/climate modelling. They will work as part of the ORCHESTRA project, a 5-year, cross-centre NERC project focused on Southern Ocean heat storage and transports. BAS will provide a computer, desk space, and a software license if needed. The student will also have access to the BAS high-performance computing platform (scihub).

    The student will perform a literature review to put the project into a broader scientific context. They will also meet with other scientists, including some heavily involved with fieldwork. The student will be encouraged to interact with the rapidly expanding community of machine learning experts at both BAS and the University of Cambridge.

    The student will gain competence with an important machine learning technique, as well as familiarity with handling, visualising, and analysing large oceanographic datasets. They will also learn more about oceanography as an active area of scientific research.

  • Co-supervisor: Andrew Meijers and Emily Shuckburgh
  • Essential skills: able to use Matlab and/or Python. Excellent mathematics skills. Some familiarity with machine learning methods is desirable but is not essential.
  • Stipend: £250 per week
  • Proposed Dates (Flexible): Late June 2017 - Early September 2017 (Can be adjusted)
  • This UROP can be continued into a fourth-year project if desired.
  • This project is funded as a NERC DTP Research Experience Placement. Eligibility criteria will apply:
    • Be studying for an undergraduate degree in a quantitative discipline outside of NERC’s scientific remit (e.g. mathematics, statistics, computing, engineering, physics).
    • Be applying for a placement in a different department to their undergraduate degree.
    • Be undertaking their first undergraduate degree studies (or integrated Masters).
    • Be expected to obtain a first or upper second class UK honours degree.
    • Be eligible for subsequent NERC PhD funding (i.e. UK, EU, or right to remain in the UK).
    • If selected for the position, you will be asked to provide academic transcripts.
  • Please contact Dan Jones to register your interest or to apply.

  • Insertion date: 30 March 2017


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    Sheep pain level estimation from facial expressions

    Lead Supervisor: Dr Marwa Mahmoud Computer Laboratory
    Project Taken

    Project Description:

    This project builds on previous work done in the group on estimating sheep pain level by analysing sheep facial cues such as ears and eyes. Using computer vision and machine learning algorithms, the project will expand the prediction system to include profile faces as well as frontal.

    You will work under the supervision of researchers in the group as a full member of the research group.

  • Skills: Programming in C++
  • The work could lead to final-year projects and even to subsequent research.
  • Please apply to Dr Marwa Mahmoud orProfessor Peter Robinson


  • Insertion Date: 24 March 2017


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    Natural navigation routing

    Lead Supervisor: Dr Marwa Mahmoud Computer Laboratory
    Project Taken

    Project Description:

    The Graphics and Interaction Group in the Computer Laboratory is working with a major motor manufacturer on vision-based research for the automotive domain. See http://www.cl.cam.ac.uk/research/rainbow/research/endeavour.html. One strand of this work involves natural navigation

    current navigational systems rarely consider generic road landmarks in their navigation instructions, which can lead to mistakes, frustration, and distraction. In our group we are developing road landmark detection systems to make navigation more user-friendly. The aim of this project is to integrate road landmarks with a routing navigation system to demonstrate natural navigation. You will work under the supervision of researchers in the group as a full member of the research group.

  • Skills: Programming in Java, C++ or Python.
  • The work could lead to final-year projects and even to subsequent research.
  • Please apply to Dr Marwa Mahmoud,Dr Quentin Stafford-Fraser or Professor Peter Robinson


  • Insertion Date: 24 March 2017


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    Behaviour models of vehicles

    Lead Supervisor: Dr Marwa Mahmoud Computer Laboratory
    Project Taken

    Project Description:

    The Graphics and Interaction Group in the Computer Laboratory is working with a major motor manufacturer on vision-based research for the automotive domain. See http://www.cl.cam.ac.uk/research/rainbow/research/endeavour.html. One strand of this work involves modelling the behaviour of other vehicles

    This project is about understanding the elements needed to characterise behaviour of adjacent vehicles in order to develop a theory of the mind for other road users derived from behaviours or expressions observed by the vehicle. This includes coding and analysis of data to identify important traits. Machine learning algorithms will then be used for automatic inference of the characteristics of other vehicles.

  • Skills: Programming in Java or C++
  • Please apply to Dr Marwa Mahmoud,Dr Bihao Wang or Professor Peter Robinson


  • Insertion Date: 24 March 2017


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    El Niño Southern Oscillation: teleconnections under a changing climate

    Lead Supervisor: Michael Herzog Department of Geography
    Project Taken

     NERC Funded NERC criteria apply

    Project Description:

    El Niño is the warm phase of the oceanic component of the dominant mode of interannual tropical climate variability called El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) occurring every 3–5 years. This phenomenon has attracted continuous scientific and public interest for decades because it has significant global climatic teleconnections and is the most dominant feature of tropical climate variability on sub-decadal timescales.

    In contrast to previous attempts to classify El Niño into discrete types of events, our analysis supports the notion of an El Niño continuum with Central and Eastern Pacific El Niño events as end members (Lai et al., 2015). Teleconnections, i.e. the influence of El Niño on weather and climate outside of the tropical Pacific, strongly depend on the type of event, in particular the location of the maximum warming within the tropical Pacific. In addition, the background state of the atmosphere ocean system determines the types and strength of teleconnections. This background state is currently undergoing significant changes due to the increase greenhouse gases with warming sea surface temperatures and decreasing Arctic sea ice extent.

    Due to the large number of variables involved and the small number of events per decade, observations are insufficient to study El Niño teleconnections in detail. Free running climate models on the other hand have often significant biases in the representation of El Niño. This project will overcome these issues by performing atmosphere only simulations with the ECHAM climate model of the Max Planck Institute for Meteorology in Hamburg, Germany with prescribed sea surface temperatures of idealized El Nin~o events which will be superimposed on different climatological background states.

    As part of this project you will construct time series of sea surface temperatures and sea ice extent representing different climatologies and El Niño events. You will perform simulations with the ECHAM climate model, analyse the output and write a report about the results.

    Students must meet all of the following criteria. The student must:

  • Be eligible for subsequent NERC PhD funding (UK, EU or right to remain in the UK)
  • Be studying for a degree in a quantitative discipline outside of NERC’s scientific remit (e.g. mathematics, statistics, computing, engineering, physics)
  • Be applying for a placement in a different department to their undergraduate degree
  • Be undertaking their first degree studies (or integrated Masters)
  • Be expected to obtain a first or upper second class UK honours degree or equivalent

  • This project is best suited for students from the Department of Physics with an interest in numerical modelling.
  • This Research Experience Placement (REP) is funded by the Natural Environment Research Council, and as such, the successful applicant will receive a stipend of £200 per week for up to 10 weeks.
  • The expected duration of the project will be between 8-10 weeks.
  • The project can lead to a 4th year project.
  • Please contact Michael Herzog to register interest or to apply.

  • Insertion date: 28 March 2017


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    High resolution simulations of convective clouds

    Lead Supervisor: Michael Herzog Department of Geography
    Project Taken

     NERC Funded NERC criteria apply

    Project Description:

    Convective clouds are an important driver of atmospheric circulation. However, they are too small to be explicitly resolved in climate models. A number of parmeterisations have been developed to describe the effect of convection. These parameterisations differ greatly in their treatment of entrainment, the mixing of environmental air into the convective cloud.

    The aim of this project is to quantity entrainment though high resolution simulation where the process of entrainment is explicitly resolved. The project will continue previous work on idealized convective clouds with an existing high-resolution atmospheric model. A particular focus will be the initialisation of turbulent motion and its importance for entrainment under different atmospheric conditions. Results will be used to improve the predictions from a one-dimensional entraining parcel model that is already used as part of a convection parameterisation here in Cambridge.

    The project will contribute to a NERC funded project that is embedded in a joint NERC and Met Office programme to improve the representation of convection in climate and numerical weather prediction models.

    Using Large Eddy Simulations to parameterise the Convective Cloud Field (LES4CCFM)

  • This project is best suited for students from the Department of Physics with an interest in numerical modelling.
  • The expected duration of the project will be between 8-10 weeks.
  • The project can lead to a 4th year project.
  • The project is subject to the availability of funding. Funding is potentially available through Cambridge Earth System Science NERC DTP therefore certain eligibility criteria must be met.(Students must come from a different department.)
  • Please contact Michael Herzog to register interest or to apply.

  • Insertion date: 28 March 2017


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    FRP sandwich panel connections suitable for Free-Form buildings

    Lead Supervisor: Dr. Mauro Overend Department of Engineering
     European Union citizens ONLY EPSRC criteria may apply CLICK HERE for criteria Project Taken

    Project Description:

    After an extensive growth in the aerospace, automotive and marine industry, fibre reinforced polymer (FRP) materials are now expanding into the construction industry. One of their main applications is as sandwich panels, where top and bottom FRP laminas are separated by a foam or honeycomb core. The resulting structural components benefits of an improved stiffness, strength and low thermal conductivity.

    Among the several different combinations of materials and processes feasible for FRP sandwich panels there are some which have the ability to provide a lightweight, energy efficient, corrosion and fire resistant solution for building envelopes. In addition, thanks to the capability to be formed in any shape they can be suitable for the growing demand for single curved and double curvature façades. The all-in-one solution has the potential to replace the more common but inefficient multi-layer system where each function is taken separately using different materials.

    The size of these façade panels is limited by maximum size of panel that can be safely transported, lifted and installed on site. Therefore the whole façade could be made of several lightweight and transportable panels connected on site through load bearing connections.

    Mechanical connections for FRP laminate are currently object of considerable research. Within the construction industry field, most of the attention has focused on mechanical fasteners for pultruded FRP members. Indeed some of the solutions provided are not suitable for sandwich panels, as for example the preloaded bolt where the pretension would crush the weak sandwich core.

    Furthermore external panel façade panels will require connections that are not only structurally efficient, but are visually unobtrusive.

    Bolted, bonded or hybrid connections represent possible systems to be investigated. The Glass and Façade Technology Research Group has already several years of experience on bolted and adhesive connection as-well-as resin injected bolted and combined bolted-bonded connections applied to other facade materials. Some of this knowledge and technology could be transferred to produce similar load bearing connections in FRP sandwich panels.
    Outcomes & Impact: This project addresses the lack of research n connections for FRP-sandwich panels by developing and investigating the capabilities of load bearing connections for FRP sandwich panel systems suitable for free-form building envelope applications.

    Work Involved: This project is part of an ongoing wider research project which involves already a small research team which will assist the candidate during this experience. The student will focus on the investigation of bonding between structural elements, in particular on the adhesive selection to connect FRP to other building materials. The project includes a series of destructive tests on prototype connections and analysis of the results which are used to validate the solutions obtained from numerical models.

    The output of this project will be used as starting point of a 4th year project which will aim to further develop, model and validate different type of connections.

    Pre-requisites for the UROP student:

  • A background in structural, mechanical or materials engineering.
  • Have a strong theoretical understanding of fundamental mechanics of materials.
  • Communicate effectively with other senior and junior researchers, technician and material suppliers.
  • Have experience of managing own workload.
    • Co-supervisor: Dr. Marco Dona
    • The project will run between June and July
    • This project will also offer the opportunity to be expanded into a 4th year project.
    • This project may be EPSRC funded therefore certain eligibility criteria must be met. Please check the details before you apply.
    • Please contact Dr. Mauro Overend for further details or to apply.

    Insertion Date: 16 March 2017

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    dbslice – Interactive, hierarchical, database-driven plotting

    Lead Supervisor: Dr. Graham Pullan Department of Engineering
    Project Taken

    Project Description:

    Visualisation tools for looking at simulation data are well established and produce informative, and often beautiful, results. As computer hardware evolves, these simulations become ever larger and more detailed, and visualisation tools have, in general, managed to keep pace. However, the improvements in compute performance have also been harnessed, by engineers and scientists, to run many standard-fidelity computations instead of one huge high-fidelity case. When processing a large group of computations, a new type of interactive, database-driven, tool is needed.

    dbslice is a new web-based system for the visualisation of large ensembles of data. A visualisation client (JavaScript) runs in the browser while a server (Python) interacts with a database and retrieves the requested data. The structure of the data allows rapid filtering and hierarchical (points, lines, 2D and 3D surfaces) visualisation.

    dbslice is currently being prepared for open source release. In conjunction with this, new functionality (for example: image data - using leaflet.js, virtual reality capability three.js and webvr ) will be added. New demos will be added to the dbslice web site that connect dbslice to existing open data api's.

    • This project would suit a programming enthusiast who would like to help push this exciting new open source project.
    • Extension to an Engineering final year project is also possible.
    • Please contact Dr. Graham Pullan for further details or to apply.

    Insertion Date: 15 March 2017


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    Detection of bridge deformation using laser scanning

    Lead Supervisor: Dr. Matthew DeJong Department of Engineering
    Project Taken

    Project Description:

    The overall aim of the project is to develop new assessment methods and improve asset management of masonry arch bridges through the use of laser scan data. The specific objectives are to improve algorithms to quantify historic deformations using laser scan data, to increase the automation of these algorithms, and to apply these algorithms to case studies. This project builds on previous work by three 4th year project students and by the CSIC. Some algorithms have already been developed and tested for various masonry viaducts. This UROP project aims to extend the capabilities of these algorithms to make them generally applicable to different masonry bridges. It also aims to make the algorithm practically applicable for standard bridge assessments.

    The project will involve: processing of scan data using existing software, programming in Matlab, and fieldwork to collect new laser scan data.

    • Experience and interest in Matlab would be very useful, but is not mandatory.
    • Co-supervisor: Sinan Acikgoz
    • This project will also offer the opportunity to be expanded into a 4th year project.
    • Please contact Dr. Matthew DeJong for further details or to apply.

    Insertion Date: 20 March 2017


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    Diffractive Contrast in Helium Atom Microscopy

    Lead Supervisor: Andrew Jardine Department of Physics
    Project Taken

    Project Description:

    Scanning Helium Microscopy (SHeM) is an exciting new form of microscopy that has been developed in Cambridge. It involves scanning a helium atom microprobe over a sample surface, and collecting atoms scattered in a particular direction, which form the contrast within the image. Helium microscopy has many advantages as it is completely inert and is exclusively surface sensitive – ideal for delicate materials such as organic electronics or polymers.

    The aim of this computational project is to model the contrast arising in a SHeM instrument. It will involve assembling a simple numerical model for atom scattering from periodic materials, applying the model to various SHeM geometries, and thus simulating helium atom images. The model will guide imaging using the Cambridge helium microscope, and development of the next generation of SHeM instrument. It will therefore suit someone with an interest in both computation and experimental physics or nano-metrology.

    This UROP project may be submitted as a Long Vacation Project in lieu of one Part II item of Further Work or one Part III Minor Topic. However, The Department of Physics does not allow long vacation work to be used as the basis of a Part III Project.

    • Co-supervisor: David Ward, Department of Physics
    • The Cavendish Lab has agreed to provide a Long Vacation Bursary of £230 per week (up to 10 weeks) to cover the costs of this project.
    • Please apply to Contact/Lead Supervisor Andrew Jardine

    Insertion Date: 3 February 2017


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    Design of a Compact, Low-cost Nanoparticle Air Pollution Sensor

    Lead Supervisor: Prof. Simone Hochgreb Department of Engineering
    Project Taken

    Project Description:

    Emissions from combustion processes include airborne particulate matter which contributes directly to negative environmental and health effects. Evidence of the effects of airborne nanoparticles (airborne particles with 100 nm aerodynamic diameter) on human health remains limited due to the small number of measurement networks that monitor local particle information, largely due to the cost of existing measurement methods.

    We have demonstrated a proof-of-concept device for using ultraviolet (UV) photoionization and detection electronics to yield direct, real-time measurements of bulk surface area of soot nanoparticles (a potentially health-relevant metric). By varying the strength of an electric field from Fig. 1, the device yields a measure of mean particle diameter and concentration. We are pursuing two streams of commercialization: the first sensor is a low-cost version which measures only the ionization current, ie, of Fig. 1 – which is to be developed by the student; the second sensor takes advantage of both signal measurements to yield more detailed information on particle diameter and concentration.

    Figure 1 – Airborne nanoparticles in continuous flow are ionized by ultraviolet light. The resulting charges are captured in an electric field to yield information on particle size, concentration, and surface area.

    The UROP objectives are to conduct experimental, design, and testing work to develop a sensor with reasonably accurate particle surface area measurements. The design calls for reducing the cost to less than £100 in raw materials, operate on battery, and reduce the total physical footprint to smaller than a coffee cup, thereby making it suitable for widespread distribution in air quality measurement networks. The student will have the opportunity to join in the design, optimization and testing phase of an industry-led project with Alphasense Ltd with real-world applications.

    • The student should ideally have experience with mechanical design, fluid dynamics, heat and mass transfer processes and experimental instrumentation, and will work under direct supervision of a graduate student, Robert Nishida

    • Co-supervisor: Dr. Adam Boies
    • Please contact Prof. Simone Hochgreb for further details or to apply.

    Insertion Date: 14 March 2017


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    Global Seismology

    Lead Supervisor: Sanne Cottaar Department of Earth Sciences
    Project Taken

    Project Description:

    The research will consist of studying the mantle transition zone and the mid-mantle discontinuities using P-to-s converted phases to map deep lateral variations in temperature and composition. The work includes data processing, analysis, synthetic computations, and mineral physical computations.

  • The positions are suitable for an advanced undergraduate with a background in Earth Sciences and with knowledge of Python.
  • The positions will start in June or July and initially last for three months, although there will be the possibility to extend.
  • Please contact Sanne Cottaar for further details or to apply.

  • Insertion Date: 19 April 2017


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    Aerodynamic Drag Forces in Inkjet Printing

    Lead Supervisor: Dr M. Cristina Rodriguez-Rivero IfM, Department of Engineering
    Project Taken

    Project Description:

    Industrial inkjet printing is increasingly being used to replace more conventional processes for graphics and text applications, labelling and large-format displays. It can also be used to deposit and pattern functional materials for electronic devices and sensors. The process typically deposits drops of liquid from 10 to 100 µm in diameter, which are ejected from an array of nozzles in a print-head at 5-10 m/s and at frequencies of up to 100 kHz.

    This project will be a continuation of recent studies at the IfM aiming at laser visualisation and interpretation of the aerodynamics and droplet motion around print-heads in order to understand the causes of droplet misplacement in industrial environments. We want to extend this analysis to the detailed study of the effect of drag forces on an array of droplets.

    Among the aerodynamic forces affecting the flight of ink droplets, drag forces are predominant. In inkjet printing drag becomes a very complex phenomenon since the different droplet firing combinations, the environmental conditions and the liquid nature of the inks affect and change dramatically the drag on the system, implying changes in the dynamics of droplet formation, flight, speed and deviation, as well as the interactions between the droplets.

    A better understanding of these phenomena could lead to useful improvement in inkjet and spray processes leading to customised and cheaper manufacturing processes, better 3D printing, enhanced combustion processes, and much more.

    Contributing to that understanding is therefore particularly challenging! Thus, different techniques dealing with fluid dynamics, motion stages, lasers, high speed visualisation, image analysis and computing simulations will be explored.

    • The UROP student work will be 100% based at the Inkjet Research Centre.
    • Part IBor IIA Engineers or Physicists, with interests in fluid dynamics and preferably with some experience of experiments with fluid droplets, motion stages, lasers, visualisation, image analysis and interpretation.
    • The projects can take place any time during the Long Summer Vacation Period, but not during term time.
    • The project is planned to be developed during a period of 8 to 10 weeks, preferably in the period from mid-June to the end of August. Interviews will take place in IfM after mid-May.
    • This project could POSSIBLY (depending on supervisor availability) continue into a 4th year project. The study could be extended in the future to other length scales and confined systems to work on droplet, bubble or jet manipulation.

    For information on the Inkjet Research Centre

    For information on Dr M. Cristina Rodriguez-Rivero

    For information on Dr Steve Hoath

  • Co-supervisor: Dr Steve Hoath
  • Please contact Dr M. Cristina Rodriguez-Rivero for further details or to apply.

  • Insertion Date: 10 April 2017


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    Driver drowsiness detection

    Lead Supervisor: Dr Quentin Stafford-Fraser Computer Laboratory
    Project Taken

    Project Description:

    The Graphics and Interaction Group in the Computer Laboratory is working with a major motor manufacturer on vision-based research for the automotive domain. See Enhancing Driver Experiences through Vision Research . One strand of this work involves detecting driver drowsiness.

    Early prediction of the driver's drowsiness state helps prevent accidents. This project is about using computer vision to detect signs of driver's drowsiness, such as yawning and face touches. The aim is to explore features that can be used in a multi-modal system to predict driver's drowsiness level.

    You will work under the supervision of researchers in the group as a full member of the research group.

  • Skills: Programming in C++ and Matlab
  • The work could lead to final-year projects and even to subsequent research.
  • Please apply to Dr Quentin Stafford-Fraser or Professor Peter Robinson


  • Insertion Date: 24 March 2017


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    Natural Language Processing and Machine Learning for Topics in Automated Language Teaching and Assessment

    Lead Supervisor: Dr Paula Buttery Computer Laboratory
    Project Taken

    Project Description:

    We’re looking to select a small group of UROP students who will work together on several projects which are centred around the automated teaching and assessment of English. Topics include: an analysis of problems specific to a learner’s first language; the building of a dialogue system to facilitate language learning; contributing to ‘Virtual Cambridge’ a virtual reality world aimed at language learners based around Cambridge sites .

  • Co-Supervisor: Dr Andrew Caines Linguistics
  • Skills: the projects are suitable for students studying Computer Science, Engineering or Linguistics. An interest in languages and machine learning is essential.
  • Timings: 10 weeks, starting 3rd July (negotiable)
  • Funded by Cambridge English Language Assessment (CELA)
  • Please submit a CV to Dr Paula Buttery and Dr Andrew Caines to apply.


  • Insertion Date: 5 May 2017


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    Using Holocene sea level records to investigate Earth’s viscosity structure

    Lead Supervisor: Dr Jacqueline Austermann Department of Earth Sciences
    Project Taken

     NERC Funded NERC criteria apply

    Project Description:

    The Holocene (11.4 ka to present) marks the final strides of Earth’s climate system out of the last ice age and includes the relatively stable current interglacial. Sea level was approximately 60m lower than today at the beginning of the Holocene and rose initially by 15m per 1000 years before it stabilized close to present levels around 7 thousand years ago. This sea level change has been reconstructed form sea level indicators such as salt marches, fossil corals, mangrove peats, microbial mats or beach rocks that provide information on the past elevation of sea level and can be dated with radiocarbon.

    Local sea level does not only change because of ice melt but also due to glacial isostatic adjustment (GIA), which is the adjustment of Earth’s solid surface, gravitational field and rotation axis to mass changes in the ice and oceans. One prominent example of GIA is the rebound of formerly glaciated areas such as Canada that today experiences land uplift of several centimeters per year. While the GIA signal is biggest in previously glaciated areas it remains a significant contribution to sea level change in the far field. Rates and magnitudes of GIA deformation depend on the viscoelastic structure of Earth’s interior as well as changes in ice and ocean load.

    This project aims to combine global high-resolution Holocene sea level records with a GIA model and adjoint based inversion scheme to explore trade-offs and constraints of Earth’s viscosity structure. The proposed inversion framework allows exploring the sensitivity of the sea level records to 3D variations in the viscosity and ice input. The Holocene has the most abundant and highly resolved relative sea level records in comparison to any past warm period and is therefore not only an invaluable archive or Earth’s natural climate variability but also provides unprecedented spatial coverage for GIA based viscosity inversions.

    The project student will be introduced to paleoclimate records, geodynamic processes and inverse methods. He / she will make use of an existing GIA code together with available Holocene sea level data that have recently been published to produce sensitivity kernels, explore resolvability and work towards inverting for mantle viscosity structure. If time permits there exists the possibility for the student to further take this project in either (1) a more theoretical direction by additionally deriving and exploring kernels for lithospheric thickness or (2) a more paleoclimatological direction by investigating the implications of this work on inferences of ice volume and global mean sea level changes during the Holocene era.


    Links to relevant supporting information:

  • N.S. Khan, E. Ashe, T.A. Shaw, M. Vacchi, J. Walker, W.R. Peltier, R.E. Kopp, B.P. Horton, 2015. Holocene Relative Sea-Level Changes from Near-, Intermediate-, and Far-Field Locations. Current Climate Change Reports 1, 247–262.
  • D. Al-Attar, J. Tromp, 2014. Sensitivity kernels for viscoelastic loading based on adjoint methods. Gophysical Journal International 196, 34–77.


  • Students must meet all of the following criteria. The student must:
  • Be eligible for subsequent NERC PhD funding (UK, EU or right to remain in the UK)
  • Be studying for a degree in a quantitative discipline outside of NERC’s scientific remit (e.g. mathematics, statistics, computing, engineering, physics)
  • Be applying for a placement in a different department to their undergraduate degree
  • Be undertaking their first degree studies (or integrated Masters)
  • Be expected to obtain a first or upper second class UK honours degree or equivalent

  • This Research Experience Placement (REP) is funded by the Natural Environment Research Council, and as such, the successful applicant will receive a stipend of £200 per week for up to 10 weeks.
  • Co-supervisor: Dr David Al-Attar, Department of Earth Sciences
  • Please contact Dr Jacqueline Austermann for further details or to apply.

  • Insertion Date: 26 April 2017


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    Design and implementation of a new pallet transfer solution for a Lego Mindstorms model of a production line

    Lead Supervisor: Prof. John Clarkson Department of Engineering
    Project Taken

    Engineering Areas:

  • Design
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Instrumentation and Control
  • Information and Computer Engineering


  • The Engineering Design Centre (EDC) has over the past few years, developed a Lego Mindstorms model of a production line called “Legoline”. It is used as a resource for teaching Integrated Systems Design at the postgraduate level in the EDC. It is a system comprising 11 Mindstorms controllers, 29 motors and 39 light, touch and colour sensors controlled through MATLAB. The current system uses rubber bands as conveyor belts for pallet transfer. These bands degrade frequently and are very time-consuming to replace.

    Over the coming summer it is desired to develop a new transfer system that will not use rubber bands and also re-write the control programme (a separate UROP project). This UROP will focus on the mechanical design challenge but students will need to work closely with other students on the software side of the system. A new concept for pallet transfer has already been proposed and will require testing, validation and rollout. A new splitter unit which sorts pallets by their colour needs to be designed for the new transfer solution as part of this project.

    For this project, the student will be expected to:

  • Develop a good understanding of Legoline and its control system
  • Follow a rigorous design process in the analysis of the problem and the synthesis of a solutions.
  • Work together with other students focusing on other parts of the system in achieving a reliable, resilient and robust system as a whole.
  • Run the system several times and carefully identifying causes of various system failures and developing appropriate solutions to them.


    • An ideal candidate therefore would have significant experience in building complex structures with Lego Mindstorms, an interest in design with good attention to details. You must also be able to work well independently as well as in a group.
    • This project will start in July and will last for eight weeks. It can potentially lead to a final year undergraduate project.
    • Co-supervisor: Dr. Alexander Komashie
    • Please contact Dr. Alexander Komashie for further details or to apply.

    Insertion Date: 23 March 2017


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    Adaptations of Lorenz curve methods to forest ecology and remote sensing

    Lead Supervisor: Professor David A. Coomes Department of Plant Sciences
    Project Taken

     NERC Funded NERC criteria apply

    Project Description:

    Signatories to the Paris agreement, negotiated at the 2015’s United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP21), committed to Reducing Emission from Deforestation and forest Degradation (REDD), which is estimated to currently be about 12.5 Mill. ha. per year of net forest loss. For this reason, Earth Observation (EO) technologies are becoming key to REDD, since they enable in practice to monitor forest degradation throughout large inaccessible areas in a consistent manner. EO consists of remote sensors, like spectral cameras and laser scanners on-board planes or satellites, which supply valuable information about forest gain and loss. The information acquired is however mainly reflected from the topmost part of the forest canopy, making it difficult to detect illegal logging underneath the dominant crowns. Effective mathematical methods for describing tree competition and ecological dominance are therefore key to improving our understanding of the signal received by remote sensors. For this reason, this research is devoted to adapting methods for analysing relative dominance, namely the Lorenz curve, to EO applications for forest science. The Lorenz curve is a method developed in economics over a century ago, and widely employed for analysing inequality of the wealth distribution in societies. This research is adapting the method to in ecology, showing relations of inequality among sizes of trees in forest, which are key to understanding tree competition and the relative dominance of some individual trees above others. We also aim at developing applications in EO, exploring the relationships between forest structure and dominance detected from remote sensors. Or objective is to study how indicators derived from the Lorenz curve can be employed to study the signal acquired by remote sensors and deduce structural properties of the targeted forest, which can ultimately be applied to combat illegal logging.

    The focus of this research will be on developing mathematical links between theoretical diameter distributions usually employed in forest science and Lorenz curves. The outcome will therefore be parameterized Lorenz curves that can be directly modified according to parameters that are well known in forest science, allowing to study directly how changes in forest structure imply changes in tree dominance and competitive conditions. Inversing those same models may allow applications in remote sensing, presumably allowing to use Lorenz curve characteristics to infer conditions in forest structure and tree competition. Research will start with the development of two- and three-parameter Weibull distributions, which are widely used in forest science because is regarded as a good model for tree populations in most conditions. The Pareto distribution will also be considered, since it reflects the assumptions of a well-known theory of metabolic scaling in tree populations. The research will continue by using finite linear mixtures, which can allow to study forest structures with increasing complexity. Field data will be fitted with these theoretical distributions, and the likelihood of parameterized Lorenz curves to properly describe forest structure will be studied. Remote sensing data obtained at the position of those same forest plots will be analysed by means of Lorenz ordering as well, studying the possibilities of such analysis to improve our knowledge on the actual structural properties of the targeted forest.

  • We seek for a candidate studying a degree in mathematics and interested in developing a career in applications to environmental conservation and remote sensing.

    Students must meet all of the following criteria. The student must:
  • Be eligible for subsequent NERC PhD funding (UK, EU or right to remain in the UK)
  • Be studying for a degree in a quantitative discipline outside of NERC’s scientific remit (e.g. mathematics, statistics, computing, engineering, physics)
  • Be applying for a placement in a different department to their undergraduate degree
  • Be undertaking their first degree studies (or integrated Masters)
  • Be expected to obtain a first or upper second class UK honours degree or equivalent

  • This Research Experience Placement (REP) is funded by the Natural Environment Research Council, and as such, the successful applicant will receive a stipend of £200 per week for up to 10 weeks.
  • Co-supervisor: Dr Ruben Valbuena (DSc, PhD), Department of Plant Sciences
  • Please contact Professor David A. Coomes for further details or to apply.

  • Insertion Date: 2 May 2017


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    Aerodynamics of Mission-Research-Aircraft B

    Lead Supervisor: Dr Will Graham Department of Engineering
    Project Taken

    Project Description:

    This UROP is part of a parent project, supported by Boeing. The overall aim is to develop a conceptual design for a VTOL Hybrid-Electric UAV, optimised for operation in the Arctic. Initial work on the concept has been carried out by 4th-year project students in the 2016-17 academic year. There are currently two candidate designs for the tail unit, which has to combine conventional aerodynamic components with a lift fan. The aerodynamic properties of these designs are uncertain, and the task of the UROP-holder will be to investigate them experimentally. This will involve model design, wind-tunnel testing, and data analysis.

  • Ideally, applicants should be completing Part IIA and taken module 3A1. However, other candidates will also be considered.
  • Co-supervisor Dr Jerome Jarrett
  • Please contact Dr Will Graham for further details or to apply.

  • Insertion Date: 18 April 2017


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    aspiRATE – Development of a Novel Approach for Diagnosing Swallowing Problems (Dysphagia)

    Lead Supervisor: Ian Hosking IfM, Department of Engineering
    Project Taken

    Project Description:

    The University has a joint project with Devices for Dignity and Addenbrookes Hospital to develop a novel approach for assessing silent aspiration. This is a problem where food goes down a person’s windpipe (“food or drink goes down the wrong way”) and is not stopped by a cough reflex. Food that gets into the lungs can then cause pneumonia. Being able to diagnose silent aspiration and optimise how a patient can eat is critical in the care of the patient.

    The current gold standard is video fluoroscopy (real-time X-ray) which is expensive, restricted to a dedicated room and causes X-ray exposure. The aim is to develop a portable acoustic based device that listens for aspiration via microphones attached to the neck. The basic technique is known to work but the aim of the project is to improve this using multiple microphones and more sophisticated signal processing. This has the potential to revolutionise diagnostic options both in terms of cost and flexibility.

    The project is to develop and toolkit of signal processing analysis techniques in MATLAB. These will be a range of known techniques optimised for the specific requirements of monitoring silent aspiration. This will include taking inputs from multiple microphones. These tools will be made available via a simple user interface that will allow researchers to compare the techniques on different recordings of swallowing.

  • The person should be experienced in using MATLAB have an understanding of signal processing approaches and ideally and interest in acoustics.
  • The project will be expected to take place in June and July 2017
  • Please contact Ian Hosking for further details or to apply.

  • Insertion Date: 10 April 2017


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    Laser Direct Write Photolithography

    Lead Supervisor: James Locke and Henrik Jönsson Sainsbury Laboratory
    Project Taken

    Project withdrawn

    Microfluidics has helped to gain new insights into biology by providing a tool to mimic and manipulate micro environments. Traditionally microfluidic master fabrication is done by photolithography. In conventional photolithography prototyping is very slow and inflexible due to the dependency on photomasks. A way to overcome these limitations is by laser direct writing where are laser is exposing the photoresist directly. We recently installed a photolithography facility in our institute including a laser direct write system. In this project you will use this system to fabricate microfluidic masters which will be applied to a wide range of biological systems.

    You will learn:

  • Basic photolithography techniques
  • Use of the laser direct write system
  • Microfluidic master design
  • Criteria: We are looking for a student with a keen interest in synthetic biology with the drive to engage with the project and the problem solving skills that will be needed to carry it out.
  • Preference will be given to students with prior lab experience, especially those with experience in molecular cloning techniques.


  • Co-supervisor: Christian Schwall and Jose Teles
  • Please apply to the contact Christian Schwall

  • Insertion Date: 10 April 2017


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    Integration of robotics and printing to digitally pattern 3D geometries

    Lead Supervisor: Dr. Ronan Daly Institute for Manufacturing,Department of Engineering
    Project Taken

    Project Description:

    The goal of this UROP is to extend the current digital non-contact process of inkjet printing to allow 2D or 3D printing to the surfaces of large complex geometries. Inkjet printing has advanced dramatically since the concepts were developed in the 1970s and early 1980s. Print heads are manufactured with 100s or 1000s of nozzles, each able to fire on demand at frequencies on the order of 10 kHz to an underlying surface. The major source of income for print head manufacturers is still their application to printing images. The technique can be applied to allow for one-off custom orders or high throughput manufacturing. More recently, research has focused on how to extend the use of inkjet as a manufacturing tool to make printed conductive tracks, electronic devices, sensors and also 3D objects. Two key constraints facing this manufacturing technology are (i) the limited palette of materials that can be deposited and (ii) the challenge of printing to anything other than flat surfaces that fit within the industrial printing system. Both challenges are being studied within the Inkjet Research Centre and the Fluids in Advanced Manufacturing group, who will fund this project within the Department of Engineering

    This UROP role will focus on breaking away from the standard approach to printing to flat surfaces and integrating a print system into an industrial robotic arm. The researcher will need to link the control of the robotic arm with the required information flow that allows for precise printing to the surface of a 3D component. Once this system has been constructed, the UROP will carry out the first research steps, including high-speed imaging of printing under a broad range of conditions and identification of the effect of distance from the surface. A proof of concept experiment is planned to print conductive tracks to a large 3D surface. This UROP placements give an excellent opportunity to contribute to an exciting research project and extend the use of printing in large scale manufacturing.

  • Co-supervisor:Dr Cristina Rodriguez Rivero
  • The UROP placement is initially planned to take place from 26th June 2017 for 8 weeks but there is some flexibility depending on the candidate’s plans for the summer.
  • Please contact Dr Ronan Daly to register your interest or to apply.

  • Insertion date: 27 March 2017


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    RNA modifications and plant development

    Lead Supervisor: Prof. Yrjö (Ykä) Helariutta Sainsbury Laboratory
    Project Taken

    Project Description:

    Helariutta's team focuses on plant vascular development using the Arabidopsis root as a model: the UROP student will be integrated into an ongoing research project, which is based at the Sainsbury Laboratory.

    In this project, we characterize a novel Arabidopsis mutant impaired in a certain RNA methylation, which results in altered vascular patterning and a distinct shoot developmental phenotype. In particular, we study how the specific RNA methylation affects translational control of hormone responses and development in the Arabidopsis root and shoot. During the UROP project, the student is expected to become familiar with various genetics, molecular and histological techniques in the laboratory. Details of the project will be designed based on the status of research, which we are happy to discuss.

  • This project may lead to a final year undergraduate project.
  • Previous work in a molecular biology laboratory and keen interest to plant biology will be considered beneficial.
  • Funding is available from a charitable foundation (Gatsby).


  • Co-supervisor: Dr. Eva Hellmann and Dr. Raili Ruonala
  • Please apply to the contact Prof. Yrjö (Ykä) Helariutta

  • Insertion Date: 23 May 2017


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    RasPi-Net: Building Stream Data Processing Platform over RasPiNET

    Lead Supervisor: Eiko Yoneki Computer Laboratory
    Project Taken

     European Union citizens ONLY EPSRC criteria may apply CLICK HERE for criteria

    Project Description:

    Keywords: Raspberry Pi, Delay Tolerant Networks, Satellite Communication, Stream Processing

    We have built a decentralised Raspberry Pi network (RasPiNET [1]), which can be deployed in wild and remote regions as a standalone network. The gateway Raspberry Pi nodes are integrated with satellite communication devices, where the light version of Delay Tolerant Network (DTN) bundle protocol is embedded. RasPiNET could consist of 10-100 nodes. As an example, a remote sensing application could be written either in RasPi or Smart phones that can connect to RasPi. Collected data could be processed within RasPiNET to reduce data size that streams over the satellite communication to the base location. The crowd sourcing application can run on top of RasPiNET, too. The goal of this project is building a stream processing platform in both directions: from data collection from RasPiNET nodes to the data processing nodes possibly via a satellite gateway and from bulk of data delivery to the satellite gateway node to disseminate necessary information to RasPiNET nodes. A good filtering function and RasPiNET in-network data aggregation could be developed.

    References:

    [1] E. Yoneki: RasPiNET: Decentralised Communication and Sensing Platform with Satellite Connectivity. ACM CHANTS, 2014.

    [2] Delay Tolerant Network Bundle Protocol

    [3] RockBlock Technology


  • The expected duration of the project will be between 8-10 weeks.
  • This project may be EPSRC funded therefore certain eligibility criteria must be met. Please check the details before you apply.
  • Please apply to the Lead Supervisor Eiko Yoneki


  • Insertion Date: 21 February 2017


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    Dynamic Task Scheduling on ARM CPU/GPU Environment using ML Machine Learning Technique for Parallel Processing

    Lead Supervisor: Eiko Yoneki Computer Laboratory
    Project Taken

     European Union citizens ONLY EPSRC criteria may apply CLICK HERE for criteria

    Project withdrawn

    Keywords: GPU Clusters, Heterogeneous many/multi-core, Parallel Computing, OpenCL, Task Scheduling

    In this project, various aspects of parallel processing will be explored using a new generation of CPU/GPU integrated board, where more than one GPU clusters are placed on a chip. We use ARM based Mali-T628 MP6, in Exynos 5422 [1], which has two clusters of four (MP4) and two cores (MP2). Using OpenCL, tasks can be dispatched to GPU and CPU code in parallel. This new GPUs makes it possible to cluster the GPU nodes for different scale of parallel processing. GPUs offer a much higher hardware thread count and have access to higher memory bandwidth. We use a simulator on top of the hardware to experiment various task scheduling strategies explored by the machine learning methodologies for prediction of workload, vector instructions, and mixture of model parallelism and data parallelism.

    Application running on top could be image analysis or irregular graph processing. Graph processing can take advantage of processor heterogeneity to adapt to structural data patterns. The overall aim of graph processing can be seen as scheduling irregular tasks to optimise data-parallel heterogeneous graph processing, by analysing the graph at runtime and dispatching graph elements to appropriate computation units. Efficient scheduling underlies the vision of a heterogeneous runtime platform for graph computation, where a data-centric scheduler is used to achieve optimal workload.

    [1]ARM’s Mali Midgard Architecture Explored

  • The expected duration of the project will be between 8-10 weeks.
  • This project may be EPSRC funded therefore certain eligibility criteria must be met. Please check the details before you apply.
  • Please apply to the Lead Supervisor Eiko Yoneki


  • Insertion Date: 21 February 2017


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    Deep reinforcement learning with TensorForce

    Lead Supervisor: Eiko Yoneki Computer Laboratory
    Project Taken

     European Union citizens ONLY EPSRC criteria may apply CLICK HERE for criteria

    Project withdrawn

    Keywords: Reinforcement Learning, Agent Systems, Machine Learning

    TensorForce is an open source library built for running deep reinforcement learning [1,2,3] from our group in Computer Laboratory aimed at both researchers and practitioners. The main difference to existing libraries (such as rllab is a strict separation of environments, agents and update logic that facilitates usage in non-simulation environments.

    Further, research code often relies on fixed network architectures that have been used to tackle particular benchmarks. TensorForce is built with the idea that everything should be optionally configurable and in particular uses value function template configurations to be able to quickly experiment with new models.

    TensorForce is in early alpha and various extensions are possible. A potential internship project: Develop a generic multi-threaded API to parallelise arbitrary combinations of agents, implement new optimisers (e.g. natural gradient API), implement and benchmark new algorithms in DeepMind Lab/OpenAI Universe (e.g. PGQ, Q-Prop), or build a prototype for a transfer-learning API (Progressive Neural Networks, PathNet).

    References:

    [1] Deep Reinforcement Learning

    [2] Deep Reinforcement Learning: An Overview

    [3] Deep Reinforcement Learning, Spring 2017



  • The expected duration of the project will be between 8-10 weeks.
  • This project may be EPSRC funded therefore certain eligibility criteria must be met. Please check the details before you apply.
  • Please apply to the Lead Supervisor Eiko Yoneki


  • Insertion Date: 30 March 2017


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    Dynamic migration of Web services (Web server, Email service) using Unikernel Mirage

    Lead Supervisor: Eiko Yoneki Computer Laboratory
    Project Taken

     European Union citizens ONLY EPSRC criteria may apply CLICK HERE for criteria

    Project withdrawn

    Keywords: Mirage, Web service migration, Web server, Email service, virtualisation, Android

    In this project, we explore migration of Mirage for moving web services (e.g. web data and emails) using Raspberry Pi and/or Cubieboard (http://cubieboard.org). You would start setting up a simple web server and email service using Mirage, followed by designing the migration process, where simple TCP/IP or data mule function in Delay Tolerant Networks can be used. Using Android for migration part could be added, too.

    MirageOS and Web server prototype

    For Raspberry Pi, Mirage v3 supports KVM through a target called solo5 and run Mirage applications can be recompiled for solo5 and run it as a VM on a Raspberry Pi.

    Mirage v3 beta and KVM on Raspberry Pi

    Also, you would explore other devices, such as Cubieboards, to support virtualisation.


  • The expected duration of the project will be between 8-10 weeks.
  • This project may be EPSRC funded therefore certain eligibility criteria must be met. Please check the details before you apply.
  • Please apply to the Lead Supervisor Eiko Yoneki


  • Insertion Date: 21 February 2017


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    Raspberry-BSP: Cheap and Safe Bulk Synchronous Processing on Wimpy Nodes

    Lead Supervisor: Eiko Yoneki Computer Laboratory
    Project Taken

     European Union citizens ONLY EPSRC criteria may apply CLICK HERE for criteria

    Project withdrawn

    This project is inspired by FAWN [1] and aims to replicate the benefit of an array of low power processors backed by persistent storage to graph mining. The aim is to build a software stack for Raspberry-PI that allows a set of such devices, each equipped with either an SD card or a USB flash drive to act as a node for Bulk Synchronous Processing of graphs (see Pregel [2] for an example of bulk synchronous processing). All the necessary data structures will reside on Flash with the small 256MB RAM on the Raspberry-PI acting as a scratchpad. The aim will be to show that when processing time, energy consumption and cost are taken together this solution is competitive to running BSP on a cluster of PCs.

    [1] D. Andersen, J. Franklin, A. Phanishayee, L. Tan and V. Vasudevan: FAWN: A Fast Array of Wimpy Nodes, SOSP, 2009.

    [2] G. Malewicz, M. Austern, A. Bik, J. Dehnert, I. Horn, N. Leiser, and G. Czajkowski: Pregel: A System for Large-Scale Graph Processing, SIGMOD, 2010.


  • The expected duration of the project will be between 8-10 weeks.
  • This project may be EPSRC funded therefore certain eligibility criteria must be met. Please check the details before you apply.
  • Please apply to the Lead Supervisor Eiko Yoneki


  • Insertion Date: 21 February 2017


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    The transmission, reflection and dissipation of acoustic waves through turbo machinery

    Lead Supervisor: Prof. Simone Hochgreb Department of Engineering
    Project Taken

     European Union citizens ONLY EPSRC criteria may apply CLICK HERE for criteria

    Project Description:

    The transmission, reflection and dissipation of acoustic waves through turbo machinery has an important role in thermo-acoustic instabilities and noise. We have been researching the propagation of low frequency acoustic waves through nozzles, and would like to expand the database to account for a variety of systems of interest.

    The work will be both experimental and model based, using an existing rig adapted for the purpose, and will use pressure transducers, and loudspeakers and heating elements as excitation sources. Further expansion of the measurements using particle image velocimetry is also possible.

    We expect publishable output from the work, following on to a number of recent output.

    You will be working with a team of three graduate students in developing the project and models.


    Insertion Date: 15 May 2017


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    Robot Picking Challenge

    Lead Supervisor: Fumiya Iida Department of Engineering
    Project Taken

    Project Description: Still accepting applications (as at 10 May 2017)

    Picking and placing of a large variety of objects in Amazon warehouses or farming sites, for example, are still significant challenges for robots. This project aims to develop an integrated robotic manipulator to demonstrate and benchmark the degrees of flexibility in the picking challenge. The student is expected to integrate mechanical, electrical and software components for a robotic platform Baxter, and conduct experiments.

    Biologically Inspired Robotics Laboratory

    Details on the Amazon Picking Challenge 2016


  • The student working on this project needs to be able to program python and learn how to use Robotics OS for controlling Baxter Robot Platform.
  • Co-supervisor Sadanand Gulwadi, ARM
  • If interested, please contact Fumiya Iida as early as possible.

  • Insertion Date: 19 April 2017


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    A Lego Demonstrator for the Base-Isolation of Buildings against Train-Induced Vibration

    Lead Supervisor: Dr James Talbot Department of Engineering
    Project Taken

    Project Description: Still accepting applications (as at 10 May 2017)

    As pressure grows to make effective use of existing urban sites, increasing numbers of buildings are being constructed close to railways, where high levels of ground-borne noise and vibration can cause significant disturbance. Base isolation helps to mitigate the problem by founding a building on vibration isolation bearings. Despite the extensive use of base isolation, there is a significant lack of design guidance, reflecting a fundamental lack of understanding of various aspects of the system dynamics. The technique remains the subject of active research.

    This UROP forms part of the Outreach activity associated with current research in CUED (https://motivproject.co.uk). The objective is to build a working Lego model of an existing base-isolated hospital in London, to illustrate the problem of train-induced vibration in buildings. The model will be built at Lego City scale and make use of a Lego City electric train set as the vibration source. MEMS accelerometers will be incorporated at salient locations in the model to measure vibration levels and demonstrate the principle of base isolation.

    Applications are welcome from enthusiastic Lego builders from all years but third-year students with a genuine interest in structural dynamics (e.g. module 3C6) are particularly encouraged.

  • Open to all year groups.
  • Project start and end dates are negotiable but a 10-week standard UROP is envisaged.
  • The project may offer the opportunity to continue into a 4th year project.
  • Please contact Dr James Talbot to register your interest or to apply.

  • Insertion Date: 24 March 2017


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    Boundary Layer Ingesting Propulsion for Hybrid Airships

    Lead Supervisor: Dr Sam Grimshaw Department of Engineering
    Project Taken

     European Union citizens ONLY EPSRC criteria may apply CLICK HERE for criteria

    Project Description:

    Hybrid airships combine characteristics of lighter-than-air and heavier-than-air aircraft. Lift is achieved through both the buoyancy of a helium filled envelope and the aerodynamic shape of this envelope. Propulsion is provided by two or more propellers or fans and these can also provide vectored thrust for manoeuvering.

    When a propulsor is in freestream airflow, excess kinetic energy in the jet is wasted. However, a Boundary Layer Ingesting (BLI) propulsor is immersed in the slower-moving boundary-layer flow of the aircraft body or wing. The jet from the propulsor 'fills in' in the kinetic energy missing in the boundary layer, and hence excess kinetic energy is reduced, making the aircraft more efficient. A BLI configuration for a hybrid airship offers the potential to improve efficiency and hence reduce emissions, increase range and decrease operating costs.

    An experimental facility has been developed at the Whittle Laboratory which includes a wind tunnel, model airship mounted on a load cell and electric powered propulsors. The configuration of the airship and its propulsors can be modified and the airship performance measured through how much power the propulsors need to balance the airship drag. The flow field around the airship can also be measured using wake traverses and flow visualisation methods.

    This year's project will investigate how factors such as the location and design of the propulsors, and the angle of attack of the airship, influence the effect of BLI. The project will also explore modifications to the experimental set up, analytical analysis and/or Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) modelling.

    The project will be supported by an aerodynamicist from Hybrid Air Vehicles (a company building a 92m long hybrid airship in the UK) and there will be an opportunity to present project findings to their engineers. An interest in aerospace, turbomachinery and experimental aerodynamics is essential.



  • Academic supervisor: Dr Chez Hall
  • Requirements: Aerodynamics modules 3A1 and 3A3.
  • It is expected that the UROP should lead into a 4th year project.
  • This project may be EPSRC funded therefore certain eligibility criteria must be met. Please check the details before you apply.
  • Please contact Dr Sam Grimshaw for further details or to apply.

  • Insertion Date: 4 May 2017


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    Mechanical Design of a derailleur gear experimental rig

    Lead Supervisor: Prof. Tony Purnell Department of Engineering
    Project Taken

    Project Description:

    A 4th year project is to be run looking at gears on bicycles. A UROP position maybe offered to a student with strong CAD skills to design a test rig for derailleur gear changing to be investigated.



  • Academic supervisor: Prof. Simon Guest
  • An interest in CAD and practical ‘get it built’ skills are required as one needs to select parts and work with the department machine shop.
  • Some pertinent experience will be required and an interest in 3D printing would do no harm.
  • A 10 week UROP project may be offered, although a shorter period of 6 to 8 week projects would also be considered.
  • Funded by the English Institute of Sport.
  • Please contact Prof. Tony Purnell for further details or to apply.

  • Insertion Date: 2 May 2017


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    Development of a remote-controlled boat for surveying the underwater elevations

    Lead Supervisor: Dongfang Liang Department of Engineering
    Project Taken

     European Union citizens ONLY EPSRC criteria may apply CLICK HERE for criteria

    Project Description:

    Although great progress has been made in unmanned aerial vehicles (drones), the technology concerning the underwater or water-surface vehicles have been lacking. This project aims to develop a remote-controlled boat prototype, mounted with GPS and sonar equipment, etc., to survey the underwater elevations. Such a device will be useful in the future for measuring the georeferenced river cross-sectional shapes for flood risk analysis. We will test different commercially-available sonar transducers and GPS sensors to evaluate their precision, suitable water depths and response time. The performance of the finally-integrated prototype will be tested in a laboratory flume.

    The project receives funding from the Centre for Smart Infrastructure and Construction and will work closely with the Cambridge Underwater Autonomous Underwater Vehicle society. Information is also available about a commercial remote controlled boat.

  • Good practical skills in mechanics and electronics are essential.
  • The project will take place in the summer vacation for 10 weeks. Detailed schedule can be negotiated.
  • This UROP may offer an opportunity to continue into a 4th year project.
  • This project may be EPSRC funded therefore certain eligibility criteria must be met. Please check the details before you apply.
  • Please contact Dongfang Liang to register your interest or to apply.

  • Insertion Date: 30 March 2017


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    Development of a Smart Badge using a BBC micro:bit

    Lead Supervisor: Ian Hosking Department of Engineering
    Project Taken

    Project Description:

    Background: The University has a programme called Designing Our Tomorrow (DOT) that develops resources for teaching STEM subjects.

    As part of this we are developing resources to teach “Internet of Things” in conjunction with ARM using the BBC micro:bit. This is a low power & cost embedded device that is suitable for use in the classroom but can also be used to develop full products.

    THE PROJECT

    This assignment is to create a smart badge with the following functionality:

  • Wireless voting system that works by pressing a button on the micro:bit that is received by another micro:bit set-up as a hub. Votes are then aggregated and displayed on webpage or similar.
  • Step counter so that badge wearers steps are counted and transmitted to the hub.
  • Alert system where the hub broadcasts to micro:bits to trigger a piezo speaker on the device.
  • Basic location system using and array of hubs in different locations to get an approximate location. If possible location accuracy could be improved through triangulation. The device supports Bluetooth and a proprietary broadcast radio.


  • The micro:bit comes with a range of development environments but the preferred option is to use JavaScript and C/C++ for lower level operations within the PXT editor. Basic familiarity with wireless would be useful.
  • The project will take place in June and July 2017
  • The project is funded by a charitable donation. No restrictions apply.
  • Please contact Ian Hosking for further details or to apply.

  • Insertion Date: 23 March 2017


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    Building a dialogue data collection website for Amazon MTutk

    Lead Supervisor: Dr Milica Gasic Department of Engineering
    Project Taken

    Project Description:

    Machine learning and reinforcement learning have made a huge impact on dialogue systems. Assuming the availability of a data-set, machine learning can facilitate building limited-domain goal-directed dialogue systems such as restaurant information, flight booking etc. In order to move to more complex domain, such as a health domain, we need a way of collecting data. This project will focus on building necessary tools for data collection in mental health domain relaying on already existing set of tools for simpler domains (Wen et al., 2016).

    The main objectives of this projects are:
  • Designing the user flow and layout of the website following the existing website (Wen et al., 2016).
  • Connecting the client to the system side data reservoir.
  • Running a draft run data collection and iterate the design.

  • SKILLS
  • Javascript and HTML programming.
  • CSS and website design.
  • Communication between client and server.

  • REFERENCES: WEN, T.-H., VANDYKE, D., MRKSIC , N., GASIC, M., M. ROJAS-BARAHONA, L., SU, P.-H., ULTES,S., AND YOUNG, S. 2016. A network-based end-to-end trainable task-oriented dialogue system.

    • This project will run for 4 weeks from 5th June and will offer the opportunity to be expanded into a 4th year project.
    • Co-supervisor: Dr Stefan Ultes
    • Please contact Dr Milica Gasic for further details or to apply.

    Insertion Date: 21 March 2017


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    Developing Video Game to Teach Electricity

    Lead Supervisor: Diarmid Campbell Department of Engineering
    Project Taken

    Project Description:

    This is part of a 4-year project to design and build video games that teach teenagers engineering skills.

    The project is led by Diarmid Campbell, a games-industry veteran with over 15 years in the videos games industry, and is supervised by Professor Richard Prager who spent 6 years as head of undergraduate teaching in engineering.

    Over the last 18 months the project has been focusing on a game that teaches electricity and the core systems and game mechanics are fairly mature but there is still lots to do before the game is released – around January 2018.

    This is a video of a talk I gave at UCL about the project

    This is a video of me messing around with the wiring in the game

    There are a number of areas that the UROP project may focus depending on the priorities of the project when we get to the summer. Examples include:

    1. Getting the web-browser version of the game functioning and optimized
    2. Creating a touch-screen interface for tablets
    3. Working on new puzzles

    The successful applicants will be creative with a love of games and strong technical and artistic skills. Because the game is now quite mature, I need people who can hit the ground running, therefor I am insisting on candidates having experience making their own video games.

    Requirements:

    • Experience making your own video-games
    • Excellent OO Programming (ideally C++ or C#)
    • A passion for games
    • Good maths (comfortable up to A-level)
    • Good communication skills
    • Good eye for art/aesthetics
    • It would be desirable for you to have experience is using Unity3D.



  • Co-supervisor: Prof. Richard Prager
  • Please contact Diarmid Campbell for further details or to apply.

  • Insertion Date: 10 April 2017


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    Distributed Software Defined Radio for RFID

    Lead Supervisor: Dr. Michael Crisp Department of Engineering
    Project Taken

     European Union citizens ONLY EPSRC criteria may apply CLICK HERE for criteria

    Project Description:

    Research on passive UHF RFID within the department has gained a great deal of interest in recent years with the commercial success of PervasID which was spun out in 2011. The developed technology allows wide areas to be covered with a very high probably of passive tag detection across a wide area. Current approaches rely on analogue electronics to co-ordinate cooperation between multiple antennas. Next generation systems will require a higher level of complexity and performance to allow both identification and sensing. To meet this challenge, a software defined radio approach is proposed.

    The student on this project will experiment with low cost commodity hardware (e.g Raspberry PI and LIME SDR) to implement an RFID reader and determine the limits of its performance. Once the basic operation has been demonstrated, work will focus on enabling collaboration between separate SDR units to maximise RF power harvesting at the tags. Other work may address the readout of passive sensor enabled tags using the SDR.

    The project will build upon existing GNU radio RFID codebase so a solid programming background in C and or C++ will be required. A knowledge of RF systems, communications and possibly FPGAs and practical electronics will all be useful but not essential.

    • It has scope to be continued as a 4th year project.
    • This project may be EPSRC funded therefore certain eligibility criteria must be met. Please check the details before you apply.
    • Please contact Dr. Michael Crisp for further details or to apply.

    Insertion Date: 8 March 2017


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    Developing a graphical interface module for the next version of the CUED data logger package

    Lead Supervisor: Dr Tore Butlin Department of Engineering
    Project Taken

     European Union citizens ONLY EPSRC criteria may apply CLICK HERE for criteria

    Project Description:

    As the department moves towards a Python-based open-source philosophy for computing, a new version will be developed of the existing data logger that is currently used for many undergraduate vibration labs and research projects.

    This particular project will involve developing and testing one part of the package, a modern graphical user interface that allows easy data acquisition across a range of hardware, with ability to log and post-process data.

    It will involve developing a modern and easy-to-use Python interface, coding a general interface to several kinds of acquisition hardware (e.g. sound cards, National Instruments DAQs), good coding practice and efficient algorithm implementation.

    • The project is being co-supervised by Prof Jim Woodhouse
    • Requires coding experience (preferably familiarity with Python), an enthusiasm for hardware interaction and user interface development, and an interest in structural vibration.
    • The project is intended to be a scoping exercise that forms part of a new collaborative open-source data-logger with applicability beyond internal department use.
    • This project may be EPSRC funded therefore certain eligibility criteria must be met. Please check the details before you apply.
    • Please contact Dr Tore Butlin for further details or to apply.

    Insertion Date: 6 March 2017


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    Developing a modal analysis module for the next version of the CUED data logger package

    Lead Supervisor: Dr Tore Butlin Department of Engineering
    Project Taken

     European Union citizens ONLY EPSRC criteria may apply CLICK HERE for criteria

    Project Description:

    As the department moves towards a Python-based open-source philosophy for computing, a new version will be developed of the existing data logger that is currently used for many undergraduate vibration labs and research projects.

    This particular project will involve developing and testing one part of the package, a modal analysis toolkit bringing together the existing set of tools within a coherent structure and modern interface. It will combine system identification methods for structural vibration, signal processing techniques, good coding practice and efficient algorithm implementation. The project is intended to be a scoping exercise that forms part of a new collaborative open-source data-logger with applicability beyond internal department use.

    • The project is being co-supervised by Prof Jim Woodhouse
    • Requires coding experience (preferably familiarity with Python), an enthusiasm for signal processing and related topics, and an interest in structural vibration.
    • This project is in collaboration with a parallel project developing a graphical user interface for the new data logger.
    • This project may be EPSRC funded therefore certain eligibility criteria must be met. Please check the details before you apply.
    • Please contact Dr Tore Butlin for further details or to apply.

    Insertion Date: 6 March 2017


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    Microfluidic Gas-Phase Particle Generation

    Lead Supervisor: Adam Boies Department of Engineering
    Project Taken

     European Union citizens ONLY EPSRC criteria may apply CLICK HERE for criteria

    Project Description:

    The production of monodisperse nanoparticles (nanoparticles of the same size) is extremely challenging. While gas-phase processes for nanoparticle production are the dominant means of nanomaterial production due to their inherent scalability and low cost, they produce the most polydisperse size distributions of known techniques.

    This project seeks to produce monodisperse particles from a hybrid synthesis process. To achieve the uniform nanoparticles a new method is proposed that has never been explored for production of aerosolized particles. This work seeks to build a micron-droplet generator from commercially-available microfluidic device that is directly fed into a nebulizer and calcination system, resulting in particle diameters with an anticipated standard deviation of less than 1% COV (coefficient of variation).

    As shown in Figure 1, a microfluidic nebulizer will be constructed by connecting a microfluidic droplet generator to an existing nebulizer which operates based on the Venturi effect. The microfluidic generator operates by injecting a non-miscible fluid into a background solvent, e.g. oil in water. The resulting emulsion can be controlled to produce reproducible micron-sized droplets that contain solutes of interest for nanoparticle production (metals, organics, etc.). The droplets will then be drawn into a Venturi nozzle nebulizer where the low pressure resulting from constriction of the gas flow (Bernoulli effect) serves to induce the droplet into the gas stream. The droplets would then undergo drying and calcination within a tube furnace which reduces the micron-sized particles to nanometre-sized particles in accordance with the concentration of the solute.

    If successful this method would enable a novel technique for monodisperse particle production of high throughput aerosols that would find applications within a wide range of processes from nanomaterial, biological, and pharmaceutical particle synthesis.

     Figure 1: Schematic of microfluidic particle nebulizer.

    Figure 1: Schematic of microfluidic particle nebulizer.

    Useful information can be found on the Advanced Nanotube Application and Manufacturing Initiative site.

    • The applicable student should have a strong background in continuum scale phenomena, such as fluid dynamics, heat and mass transfer.
    • The student should be available for 8-10 weeks over the summer break with specific dates flexible.
    • There is a strong preference for students who seek to continue this project into the 4th year.
    • This project may be EPSRC funded therefore certain eligibility criteria must be met. Please check the details before you apply.
    • Please contact Adam Boies for further details or to apply.

    Insertion Date: 28 February 2017


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    Development of an App for Arts in Criminal Justice Research

    Lead Supervisor: Prof. Loraine Gelsthorpe and Dr. Caroline Lanskey Institute of Criminology
    Project Taken

    Project Description: Still accepting applications (as at 10 May 2017)

    The Institute of Criminology (http://www.crim.cam.ac.uk/) is looking for an enthusiastic person to design and develop an app for Android or iOS during Summer 2017.

    The app builds on research into the use of arts programmes to aid offender rehabilitation after a period in prison. The app will be used to record participants’ perceptions before, during and after participation in a range of arts programmes. App features will include support for questionnaires, prompt the user to record their emotions and feelings in a journal, and helping the user with their personal development plan. Data collected by the app needs to be uploaded securely to a remote server to support analysis by researchers. Some data may also be shared with other users of the app via remote server.

    The code written as part of this internship will be open source and released under the Apache Licence, Version 2.0.

  • There may be the scope for app-related research in the future.
  • The successful applicant will have some experience at writing Android or iOS apps.
  • The stipend of £250 GBP per week cover a 10-week internship is funded by the Centre for Community, Gender and Social Justice.
  • Please contact Dr. Caroline Lanskey to register interest or to apply.

  • Insertion date: 28 March 2017


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    Bioprinter at a Nano-Scale

    Lead Supervisor: Dr Yan Yan Shery Huang Department of Engineering
    Project Taken

     European Union citizens ONLY EPSRC criteria may apply CLICK HERE for criteria

    Project Description:

    Regenerative medicine and certain lab-grown medical implants are yet to be fully realised. This is partly because there is a barrier in technology in the creation of complex scaffold structures to support and guide tissue formation. Addressing this challenge requires an innovation that combines the creation of small scale structures at the right configuration, with a variety of different biomaterials. This project will take one step closer in realising the above goal, by designing a 3D bioprinter with nano-scale resolution. The student will be involved in constructing the Bioprinter based on an existing printing platform, and also in programming the control interface.

  • Project will be run between 8 to 10 weeks.
  • This could lead to a 4th year project.
  • This project may be EPSRC funded therefore certain eligibility criteria must be met. Please check the details before you apply.
  • Please contact Dr Yan Yan Shery Huang to register your interest or to apply.

  • Insertion Date: 23 March 2017


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    Measurements, Performance and Analysis of Long Range (LoRa) Low-Power Wide-Area Networks (LPWAN) for Large-scale Internet of Things (IoT) and Infrastructure Sensing Applications

    Contact: Dr. David Rodenas-Herráiz Department of Engineering
    Project Taken

    Project Description:

    LPWAN technologies have recently gained unprecedented momentum and commercial interest towards the realisation of large-scale IoT applications including smart city, intelligent transportation, and infrastructure sensing applications. LoRa is one of the most promising LPWAN technologies, it enables low-rate efficient wireless communication over very long distances (up to several kms) with low-power consumption (of the order of uW-mW) and low-cost design (< £30 radio + MCU). Lora transceivers provide for this reason a range of communication options (carrier frequency, spreading factor, transmission bandwidth, and coding rates) not available in traditional transceivers.

    This project aims to investigate how different Lora transceiver settings affect LoRa communications in different scenarios: over-the-air outdoor/indoor (most IoT applications), in-ground (geotechnical sensing) and in-water (scour sensing). The student will carry out experimental work comprising the collection and analysis of radio statistics (such as received signal strength, signal-to-noise ratio and packet reception ratio), as well as sensor measurements, and will investigate the trade-off between coverage and communication robustness. Results will shed new light into the performance of LoRa networks for enabling novel IoT applications. More specifically, This project will provide insights into how an emerging wireless technology for wide-area large-scale applications can be used for a range of different infrastructure smart sensing applications.

    The student will be provided with the necessary hardware and software tools as well as with the necessary guidelines to successfully carry out the proposed experimental work.

    Based on a 10-week project, the project plan is divided into five well-defined phases:

    1. Background (1 week). This includes the following tasks: (1.1) Scope out project (detailed project plan, objectives, tasks, project guidelines and deliverables); (1.2) Background reading; and (1.3) Feedback on background reading
    2. System Testing Phase (1 week). This includes the following tasks: (2.1) Preliminary testing of LoRa hardware at the laboratory; and (2.2) Feedback on preliminary testing at the laboratory
    3. Experimental Phase (5 weeks). This includes the following tasks: (3.1) Data collection in: main CUED site (indoor tests); Grantchester, Cambridgeshire, UK (outdoor, long-range, wide-area tests); Cambridge city centre (outdoor, city environment, long-range, wide-area tests); In-ground tests, initially at main CUED site (laboratory) In-water tests, initially in Cam River; and (3.2) Feddback on data collection
    4. Data analysis and interpretation (1.5 weeks). This includes the following tasks: (4.1). Quantitative data analysis and data interpretation; and (4.2) Feedback on data analysis and data interpretation
    5. Delivery (1.5 weeks). This includes the following tasks: (5.1) Write up final report, including research done, obtained results and conclusions; (5.2) Identify further research needed; and (5.3) Presentation


    Supporting information:

    Cambridge Centre for Smart Infrastructure and Construction (CSIC)

    David Rodenas-Herráiz, Kenichi Soga, Paul R.A. Fidler, and Nicholas de Battista. 2016. Wireless Sensor Networks for Civil Infrastructure Monitoring - A Best Practice Guide. ICE Publishing.

    Bengi Aygün and Vehbi Cagri Gungor. 2011. Wireless sensor networks for structure health monitoring: recent advances and future research directions. Sens. Rev. 31, 3 (2011), pp. 261–276.

    L. Vangelista, A. Zanella, and M. Zorzi. 2015. Long-Range IoT Technologies: The Dawn of LoRaTM. In Future Access Enablers for Ubiquitous and Intelligent Infrastructures. Lecture Notes of the Institute for Computer Sciences, Social Informatics and Telecommunications Engineering, 159. Springer, Cham.

    M. Centenaro, L. Vangelista, A. Zanella, and M. Zorzi. 2016. Long-range communications in unlicensed bands: the rising stars in the IoT and smart city scenarios. IEEE Wirel. Commun. 23, 5, pp. 60–67.

    Aloÿs Augustin, Jiazi Yi, Thomas Clausen, and William Mark Townsley. 2016. A Study of LoRa: Long Range & Low Power Networks for the Internet of Things. Sensors 16, 9 (2016), 1466.

    Martin Bor, John Vidler, and Utz Roedig. 2016. LoRa for the Internet of Things. In Proceedings of the 2016 International Conference on Embedded Wireless Systems and Networks. EWSN ’16. Graz, Austria: Junction Publishing, pp. 361–366.

    • This UROP project is intended for any student with an interest in computer science, civil engineering and telecommunications engineering. Knowledge of Matlab/Octave, Python, R, or any other suitable programming language for data analysis is required.
    • Co-supervisor: Dr. Xiaomin Xu and Paul Fidler
    • This project will also offer the opportunity to be expanded into a 4th year project.
    • Please contact Dr. David Rodenas-Herráiz for further details or to apply.

    Insertion Date: 20 March 2017


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    New techniques for the processing of European Space Agency 'Sentinel' imagery

    Lead Supervisor: Dr Iris Möller Department of Geography
    Project Taken

     NERC Funded NERC criteria apply

    Project Description:

    The development of satellite sensor technology over the past decades, and particularly the launch of the Copernicus Sentinel ‘suite’ of European satellites over the past few years, has offered new opportunities for the study of shallow, vegetated coastal foreshores that are otherwise difficult to access for direct measurement due to regular tidal flooding. Such environments (saltmarshes/mangroves) are important wave energy buffers, carbon sinks, and habitats with rich and diverse wildlife, supporting fisheries and the focus of efforts in international biodiversity conservation. Their role in all these respects has become more and more important as scenarios of sea level rise, altered storm frequency, and increasing human pressures on coastal land resources have further focussed government attention.

    While a range of field and laboratory studies have demonstrated the degree to which coastal vegetation buffers tidal and wave-induced water flows and offers a stable intertidal substrate/landform, the measurements of intertidal surface properties that allow assessment of their coastal protection function are still time-consuming and field-based. The EU FP7 ‘FAST’ project (‘Foreshore Assessment using Space Technology’ – see http://www.fast-space-project.eu/) has been addressing this lack of spatially integrated measurements of intertidal zones. As part of FAST, we have been collating Sentinel and RapidEye satellite imagery and are extracting information about intertidal (tidal mudflat and salt marsh) surfaces that relates to their stability and wave dissipation properties. Amongst other bio-physical characteristics, satellite-derived spectral reflectance data can be used to classify surfaces by vegetation cover type, biomass, and substrate properties and these have been related to field survey measurements at 8 project sites across Europe: two each in the Danube Delta in Romania, the Bay of Cadiz in Spain, and the Scheldt Estuary in The Netherlands, and one each in Lincolnshire and Essex coast on the UK coast.

    After familiarising themselves with the FAST project overall and all the data that has been collected throughout the project since its start in 2014, the student working on this project will focus on a more detailed in-depth analysis of a sub-set of the multispectral Sentinel 2 imagery as well as RapidEye imagery for the two UK field sites. The student will then apply a series of novel image processing methods, such as the ‘Tasseled Cap’ method for the extraction of indices of ‘wetness’, ‘greenness’ and ‘brightness’. The aim of this in-depth image processing/analysis will be to develop a more detailed and refined algorithm linking multi-spectral indices to surface properties that have not so far been included in the FAST processing, such as vegetation structure and physical sedimentary properties as well as small-scale bedforms on the tidal flat.

    General supervision and guidance of the project will be provided by Dr Iris Möller (supervisor) and Prof Tom Spencer (co-supervisor) at the Cambridge Coastal Research Unit of the Department of Geography. Guidance on image processing and GIS software will be provided by the FAST project partner, Dr Geoff Smith, a remote sensing expert.


    Links to relevant supporting information:

  • For further information regarding the FAST project
  • For further information regarding the Copernicus Sentinel Program

  • Some prior knowledge of vegetated coastal environments would be helpful, but is not essential.
  • Prior knowledge of GIS and/or image processing techniques would be equally advantageous, but time will be available for students to follow online tutorials on the use of relevant software.
  • Training on the specific processing methods required for this project will be provided (see above).

    Students must meet all of the following criteria. The student must:
  • Be eligible for subsequent NERC PhD funding (UK, EU or right to remain in the UK)
  • Be studying for a degree in a quantitative discipline outside of NERC’s scientific remit (e.g. mathematics, statistics, computing, engineering, physics)
  • Be applying for a placement in a different department to their undergraduate degree
  • Be undertaking their first degree studies (or integrated Masters)
  • Be expected to obtain a first or upper second class UK honours degree or equivalent

  • This Research Experience Placement (REP) is funded by the Natural Environment Research Council, and as such, the successful applicant will receive a stipend of £200 per week for up to 10 weeks.
  • Co-supervisor: Prof Tom Spencer, Department of Geography and Dr GEoff Smith,SpectoNatura Ltd. (Remote Sensing Consultancy based at Histon and working with Dr Möller and Prof Spencer on the EU FP7 FAST project – see below)
  • Please contact Dr Iris Möller for further details or to apply.

  • Insertion Date: 28 April 2017


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    What can nitrate concentrations from an Antarctic ice core tell us about solar activity over the past 1000-years?

    Lead Supervisor: Dr Holly Winton British Antarctic Survey
    Project Taken

     NERC Funded NERC criteria apply

    Project Description:

    The ozone layer shields all land-based life forms from harmful ultraviolet radiation. Although it is well known that the recent destruction of the ozone layer was caused by man-made halocarbons, natural impacts on the ozone layer are less understood. Monitoring of the ozone layer began in the early 20th century, however before that, little information exists on the natural variability of the ozone layer. As part of the NERC funded “isotopic constraints on past ozone layer in polar ice” (ISOL-ICE) project, a new ice core proxy based on the stable isotopes of nitrate (Frey et al., 2009) is being applied to a new 120 m ice core recovered from Dronning Maud Land, Antarctica to develop a millennial-timescale reconstruction of past ultraviolet radiation and the ozone layer. The analytical technique to analyse nitrate isotopes in low concentration snow and ice samples requires that the nitrate concentration is known in pre-concentrated samples.

    Complimentary to the main focus of ISOL-ICE, we propose that a research student could take advantage of this nitrate concentration record to better understand how solar variability governs the thickness of the ozone layer. Nitrate concentrations in Antarctic ice cores have recently been shown to trace long-term solar activity (Traversi et al., 2012). The objective of this summer project is to pre-concentrate nitrate in the ice core in order to investigate nitrate spike frequencies and variability over the past 1000-years compared to solar activity.

    The student will work in a purpose built ice core freezer and a class-100 clean-room laboratory at the British Antarctic Survey.


    Links to relevant supporting information:

  • Isotopic Constraints on Past Ozone Layer in Polar Ice
  • Frey, M., J. Savarino, S. Morin, J. Erbland, and J. M. F. Martins., 2009. Photolysis imprint in the nitrate stable isotope signal in snow and atmosphere of East Antarctica and implications for reactive nitrogen cycling. Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics, 9, no. 22: 8681-8696.
  • Traversi, R., I. G. Usoskin, S. K. Solanki, S. Becagli, M. Frezzotti, M. Severi, B. Stenni, and R. Udisti., 2012. Nitrate in polar ice: a new tracer of solar variability. Solar Physics, 280, no. 1: 237-254



    Students must meet all of the following criteria. The student must:
  • Be eligible for subsequent NERC PhD funding (UK, EU or right to remain in the UK)
  • Be studying for a degree in a quantitative discipline outside of NERC’s scientific remit (e.g. mathematics, statistics, computing, engineering, physics)
  • Be applying for a placement in a different department to their undergraduate degree
  • Be undertaking their first degree studies (or integrated Masters)
  • Be expected to obtain a first or upper second class UK honours degree or equivalent

  • It would be an advantage for the student to have experience with Matlab or another scientific programming environment.
  • The duration of the project will take 10 weeks.
  • This Research Experience Placement (REP) is funded by the Natural Environment Research Council, and as such, the successful applicant will receive a stipend of £200 per week for up to 10 weeks.
  • Co-supervisor: Dr Markus Frey and Dr Rebecca Tuckwell British Antarctic Survey, Cambridge.
  • Please contact Dr Holly Winton for further details or to apply.

  • Insertion Date: 26 April 2017


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    Online Education: a website to help school pupils prepare for university engineering interviews and entrance

    Lead Supervisor: Prof. Richard Prager Department of Engineering
    Project Taken

    Project Description: Opportunity still accepting applications (as at 2 May 2017)

    i-want-to-study-engineering.org provides over 200 interview-style questions and nearly 300 questions adapted from A-level papers with tutorial guidance videos. The goal of the site is to help school pupils prepare for the engineering admissions process at competitive universities. Some schools have better resources and experience to support university admission candidates than others. i-want-to-study-engineering.org provides the best advice, support and tuition and is available free to everyone. We wish now to extend this resource to help students prepare for GCSE exams in mathematics, and ultimately physics. The goal of these UROP projects are thus to prepare interactive educational material to help students learn to solve GCSE maths questions.

    These new GCSE resources will be specially designed to enable people to revise, practice maths and test themselves using their mobile device alone. The material will be structured so that they don’t have to write anything down. This should make it a lot easier for students to practice mathematical exercises every day and hence develop skills and confidence.

    Criteria:

  • Good communication skills: ability to speak English and explain ideas clearly are essential and are more important than any technically related skills.
  • Good maths (comfortable up to A-level).
  • An interest in using the web for education.
  • More than one UROP position is available. Programming skills will be an advantage in some of these positions, but they are less important than an ability to communicate and an interest in education.



  • Co-supervisor: Dr Russell Hunter
  • The length of the UROPs can be flexible can does not have to be in a single continuous block.
  • TThis project may be EPSRC funded but funding is also available for candidates that do not meet the EPSRC criteria.
  • Please contact Prof. Richard Prager for further details or to apply.

  • Insertion Date: 10 April 2017


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    Machine Learning for Network Traffic Classification

    Lead Supervisor: Dr Andrew W. Moore Computer Laboratory
    Project Taken

    Project Description: Still accepting applications (as at 6 June 2017)

    In an original piece of research in 2005, by Denis Zuev (Part III) and Andrew W. Moore of the Computer Laboratory, we showed how Bayes methods of machine-learning were, when combined with high-quality ground-truth data, able to provide a useful Internet application-identification. In the intervening years there has been a revolution in Internet applications, in machine-learning methodologies, and in applications toward which such information may be put.

    This proposal would be to consider evaluations of both the original data sets and new data-sets using a number of modern methodologies for training and testing Internet traffic. This would permit us to evaluate such methods in new environments, e.g., the data-center, and to consider the actual value of new methodologies when compared with long-standing mechanisms for constructing Bayesian priors.

    Practically this work will start by tagging and preprocessing new datasets and making a baseline comparison with the datasets of the 2005/6/7 work. This will enable a direct comparison of the value of previous algorithms on new datasets and in particular to explore the opportunity for continuous refinement of the prior. Potentially this will also include an exploration of applying recent ML algorithms to both new and old datasets.


    Specific details for your project, as applicable, for example:

  • Background in machine learning - an advantage
  • Background in computer networks - an advantage
  • Background in statistics - an advantage

  • Background material

    [1] Internet Traffic Classification Using Bayesian Analysis Techniques Moore AW, Zuev D, ACM SIGMETRICS 2005

    [2]Bayesian Neural Networks for Internet Traffic Classification Auld T, Moore AW, Gull SF, IEEE Trans on NN

    [3]Probabilistic Graphical Models for Semi-Supervised Traffic Classification Rotsos C, VanGael J, Moore AW, Ghahramani z


  • Co-supervisor: Dr Noa Zilberman Computer Laboratory
  • Please apply to the Lead Supervisor Dr Andrew W. Moore


  • Insertion Date: 21 February 2017


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    Testing of Advanced Components for Radio over Fibre Distributed Antenna Systems

    Lead Supervisor: Prof. Richard Penty Department of Engineering
    Project Taken

    Project Description:

    Zinwave Ltd is a supplier of radio over fibre distributed antenna system equipment which is used to provide in building wireless coverage for cellular, public safety radio and mobile data applications. Its unique selling point is that it is multi-service and broadband, meaning that the same equipment and fibre infrastructure can be used for almost any commercial wireless service in the world.

    However, emerging wireless standards such as 4G and 5G are using MIMO techniques to enhance wireless capacity. The deployment of MIMO standard optical architectures does not scale well in terms of cost and so the company is keen to develop new approaches using integrated components using both space (parallel fibres) and wavelength multiplexing in order to reduce overall system cost.

    The project will source and test appropriate integrated components, both in terms of the individual component linearity but also the effect of thermal and electrical crosstalk between the integrated components on the chip. Systems trials using the components will be carried out to demonstrate the additional functionality and flexibility that is enabled.

  • Applicants should have an interest in electronics and preferably photonics (it would be desirable to have taken 3B6, but it’s not essential).
  • Students would work in the Electrical Division Building labs of the Centre for Photonic Systems but would have regular contact with Zinwave, who are based in Harston, a few miles south of Cambridge.


  • Co-supervisor: Prof. Ian White
  • Please contact Prof. Richard Penty for further details or to apply.

  • Insertion Date: 25 May 2017


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    Automotive driving simulation for autonomous vehicle takeovers

    Lead Supervisor: Mike Bradley Department of Engineering
    Project Taken

    Project Description:

    The Engineering Design Centre is collaborating with the University of Southampton on an EPSRC/Jaguar Land Rover funded project looking at human machine interface (HMI) issues during autonomous driving, and particularly at the transitions between automated driving and manual driving.

    The student would assist in the setup and running of a driving simulator to test various HMI prototype solutions. The student would gain end-to-end experience of how to run a participant based simulator experiment, and if time permits, would be able to contribute to the data analysis.



  • The successful candidate will demonstrate good organisational skills, people skills as well as sufficient technical skills to operate the simulator as an experimenter, however technical skills sufficient to be able to adjust parameters in the simulator software and scenarios are desirable.
  • People-oriented, personable candidates will be given preference to those with purely technical skills, as this role requires significant participant interaction during the data collection phase.
  • This UROP opportunity may lead to an avenue of exploration suitable for a 4th year project.
  • Please contact Mike Bradley for further details or to apply.

  • Insertion Date: 5 May 2017


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    On-line teaching for computer graphics

    Lead Supervisor: Dr. Rafal Mantiuk Computer Laboratory
    Project Taken

    Project Description: Still accepting applications (as at 8 June 2017)

    A new “Further graphics” course is being prepared that will follow “Introduction to graphics” of the Computer Science Tripos at Cambridge. The course will be taught through a mixture of lectures and practical work. The practical work will involve writing short programs in Java and potentially in C/C++ and using OpenGL and OpenCL. The students exercises will be delivered using Moodle, and automatically tested using VPL Moodle module.

    This project involves developing the environment and exercises under the supervision of the staff who will lecture the course. You will work as a full member of their research group.

  • Skills: Programming in Java & C/C++, experience with OpenGL, willingness to learn OpenCL.
  • Please apply to the Lead Supervisor Dr. Rafal Mantiuk


  • Insertion Date: 10 April 2017


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    Boundary Layer Trip Experiments

    Lead Supervisor: Prof. Tony Purnell Department of Engineering
    Project Taken

    Project Description: Still accepting applications (as at 22 June 2017)

    Low speed aerodynamics characteristics are often highly dependent on boundary layer characteristics. In certain Reynolds Number regimes a ‘trip’ that advances the onset of a turbulent boundary layer can be helpful in reducing drag. Work has been carried out in Cambridge to attempt to characterise the most efficient type of trip for a given situation. This project continues with this study.



  • Academic supervisor: Dr Graham Pullan
  • An interest in fluids and heat transfer is required along with practical skills.
  • The role involves performing multiple experiments in a small wind tunnel (at the Whittle Lab).
  • A careful and meticulous approach is required by a conscientious student.
  • A 10 week UROP project based in Cambridge will be offered, although two 6 to 8 week projects would also be considered.
  • Funded by the English Institute of Sport.
  • Please contact Prof. Tony Purnell for further details or to apply.

  • Insertion Date: 2 May 2017


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    Image Processing Key Parameters

    Lead Supervisor: Prof. Tony Purnell Department of Engineering
    Project Taken

    Project Description:

    CUED has worked with British Cycling for a number of years to pull out key parameters from images for example cross-sectional area. A post doc is working on various projects and the UROP position is to assist here.



  • Academic supervisor: Dr Joan Lasenby
  • A strong interest in programming is essential along with an excellent ability in mathematical modelling.
  • Programming will be either in MATLAB, Python, or C++.
  • Projects can be designed to suit a very able first or second year; or a third year with an interest in machine learning and/or signal processing.
  • A variety of UROP projects based in Cambridge are possible depending on the strength of the applicant(s).
  • Funded by the English Institute of Sport.
  • Please contact Prof. Tony Purnell for further details or to apply.

  • Insertion Date: 2 May 2017


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    From theory to practise: Applying the Energy Cost Metric to Building Projects in Cambridge

    Lead Supervisor: Jonathan Cullen Department of Engineering
    Project Taken

    Project Description:

    This project seeks to apply the Energy Cost Metric (ECM) as developed by the Energy Group at the Department of Engineering, to building projects across the university campus managed by the University Estates team. The UROP student role is to liaise with the Estates Management team on past and ongoing projects to source readily available data to perform ECM calculations and critically evaluate its potential impact on decision making processes for building projects. Findings will inform suitable intervention points for the ECM in future building projects to maximise sustainability. This project will highlight potential gaps in the current data availability to perform ECM calculations from the project and product side, and seek suitable mitigation strategies. Insights will inform the design of a software solution to automate ECM calculations.

    The candidate will work closely with the supervisors and be based at the department of engineering throughout the placement with frequent trips and meetings with Estates Management team around Cambridge. The candidate will be expected to collect, manage, and process data sets (data analysis); write concise reports summarising immediate outcomes (reporting skills); liaise with professionals (communication skills); map workflows and information flows (project management); manage their time and meeting schedules (professional skills); write a final report (academic writing); and subject to their ability and time inform or develop basic software prototypes (programming skills).

  • Co-supervisor: Maixmilian Bock
  • You are expected to have a background in engineering or related subject, proficient in a data analytics tool of your choosing (Excel, Python, Matlab, …), and comfortable working in a professional environment.
  • Project start date is July 3rd (with some flexibility) and expected to run for 8 to 10 weeks, subject to candidates availability. Interviews open from now until 23 June 2017.
  • Please contact Jonathan Cullen by 23 June for further details or to apply.

  • Insertion Date: 7 June 2017


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    Microsimulation of autonomous vehicles in cities

    Lead Supervisor: Prof. John Miles Department of Engineering
    Project Taken

    Project Description:

    This project forms part of a major microsimulation modelling exercise in which the traffic flows within an entire city will be modelled using agent-based simulation techniques. These methods are extremely powerful, enabling every vehicle on the road to be modelled individually, and this allows traffic movement calculations to be conducted with a very high level of detail included in the models. This, in turn, requires a very high level of definition to be provided for the road layouts, intersection details, and traffic control measures (e.g. traffic lights) as they occur at all places in the city-wide model.

    The UROP candidate will assist the University of Cambridge microsimulation team to build the initial road layout model for the city in which the flow of traffic is being simulated. The purpose of the research is to explore he effects which increasing numbers of autonomous vehicles might have on traffic flows, urban congestion, emissions and pollution, and fuel consumption. The industry-leading VISSIM software package will be used for this purpose, and the candidate will be expected to become familiar with using this software very quickly. Help and guidance from the established members of the modelling team will be available throughout the period of the UROP but, once proficient in the use of the software, the candidate will be expected to operate with minimal supervision. The objective will be to build a comprehensive model of the city’s road layouts projected on a satellite image of the city to give a realistic backdrop for the animations of traffic flow when they are presented to the project clients.

    • The successful candidate will have an interest in cars and transport systems, and will be aware of, and interested in, the concepts of numerical simulation and agent-based modelling. A willingness to learn new skills and persevere when difficulties arise would be a definite advantage!
    • The project will run for 8-10 weeks over the summer period, starting at the earliest convenient start-date for the successful candidate.
    • Please contact Prof. John Miles for further details or to apply.

    Insertion Date: 26 June 2017


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    Boundary Layer Flow Visualisation using phased based thermography

    Lead Supervisor: Prof. Tony Purnell Department of Engineering
    Project Taken

    Project Description:

    Low speed aerodynamics characteristics are often highly dependent on boundary layer characteristics. It is helpful to see areas of laminar, or turbulent boundary layers as well as areas where the flow is fully separated. This can be done by wool tufts or by listening to the sound of the flow, but a far more useful method makes use of infrared images detecting differences in heat transfer characteristics. The project builds on previous 4th year projects but will be targeted at attempting to build a system in the Markham Wind Tunnel for the possible delight of future undergraduates engaged in Part II lab work on boundary layers.



  • Academic supervisor: Dr Nick Atkins
  • An interest in fluids and heat transfer is required along with practical skills, the objective will be to build something that works!
  • This will lead to a 4th year project.
  • Funded by the English Institute of Sport.
  • Please contact Prof. Tony Purnell for further details or to apply.

  • Insertion Date: 2 May 2017


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    BELOW THIS LINE IS NOT VISIBLE ON THE WEB SITE So copy and paste the text and hyperlinks between the lines and use as template DELETE WORDS BETWEEN asterisks.** __________________________________________________________________________ PROJECT TAKEN IMAGES Project Taken

    ++++++++++ DUMMY PROJECT DESCRIPTION +++++++++++++

    NAME OF THE PROJECT

    Contact:Lead Supervisor: Dr.Zuess Secret Lab
    Project Available

    Project Description:

    Setting the world to rights.


    Please apply to Contact/Lead Supervisor.

    This project will be co-supervised by Professor Bob Dillon Cavendish Lab

    Working 10 weeks over the summer

    Insertion Date: 1 February 2016


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