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BCCS student wins poster prize

Chris Musselle

Chris Musselle

9 October 2009

Chris Musselle, a postgraduate student in the Bristol Centre for Complexity Sciences (BCCS), has won the prestigious Best Student Poster prize at the 2009 European Conference on Complex Systems.

The poster, entitled ‘Malware defence using artificial immune systems’, suggests a new method of detecting malicious computer programs, such as viruses, that mirrors the workings of the human immune system.

Musselle, who works in the Department of Computer Science, explained: ‘The human immune system is an amazingly complex system, with the ability to protect our bodies from disease by detecting and eradicating a wide variety of invading pathogens. It also needs to distinguish these pathogens from the organism’s own healthy cells and tissues in order to function properly. The poster proposes a robust method of distinguishing between normal and abnormal use of computer systems that mirrors the processes observed in the human immune system.’

Musselle is among the first cohort of students to have begun their postgraduate studies under the auspices of BCCS when it was first set up in 2007. BCCS is a highly interdisciplinary centre for training and research funded by the UK Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council. A major collaboration across four faculties within the University, BCCS aims to nurture the next generation of scientists and engineers in the most challenging areas of the emerging sciences of complexity.

Commenting on the prize, Musselle said: ‘I’m thrilled to have won, and was gratified to receive such interest and support from colleagues at the meeting. I feel privileged to be involved with interdisciplinary research at BCCS, and to receive such a prize is a massive bonus.’

This is the second year in a row that BCCS students have run off with a big prize at a major international meeting. Last year a team from Bristol won a prestigious competition to genetically engineer a machine. The competition was held at MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology), one of the USA’s leading academic institutions. The full story is available on the website.

Professor John Hogan, BCCS Director, said: ‘Chris has done incredibly well to win such a prize at the first attempt against stiff competition from more established centres across the whole of Europe. BCCS students are now very much in the forefront of complexity sciences research worldwide.’

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