Feb 11 @ 7:30 pm – 9:00 pm
Building an Autonomy Systems for Urban Mobility @ Oxford e-Research Centre | Oxford | United Kingdom
Prof. Paul Newman The primary road network in the UK is already working close to its limits of capacity. Projected increases in population and other socio-economic factors suggest that demand for mobility will increase by[...]

[Event Summary] Protect Your Light Bulb Moment

[Event Summary] Transparency Through Raw Material Traceability

[Event Summary] A Curator’s Guided Tour of the Museum of the History of Science

Dr Elizabeth Bruton gave us a brilliant guided tour, she made the exhibits come alive for us, drawing on her deep curator’s knowledge of the objects and a fund of anecdotes to make the personalities behind the exhibits truly human for us.

The Marconi story is a fascinating one in itself and we were taken from the early designs through to later iterations and the uses to which they were put. In a wireless receiver made by Marconi around 1896, first used to demonstrate utility, components were hidden in a black box so it would not be realised that others’ inventions and apparatus were being used. It is said that Marconi was an innovator rather than an inventor but perhaps better described as a great engineer and entrepreneur.  He was a man of extraordinary organising abilities and charm, bringing people together from the worlds of science, academia, business, government and the armed forces. This cross disciplinary collaboration publicised the usefulness of his wireless communications causing it to be quickly taken up in WW1. He also had the cheek of the devil and could be quite ruthless. He reneged on an understanding of future business collaboration with his champion, William Preece, engineer-in-chief of the General Post Office, who didn’t talk to him for three years after.

The ‘Dear Harry . . .’ story is a touching biography of a brilliant young scientist who would surely have won the Nobel Prize, for his work on the Periodic Table, had he survived WW1. This is also the story of the Gallipoli disaster. Arrogant leaders who thought one ‘Tommie’ was better than four Turks and who took little account of the waterless and daunting terrain. Harry had been encouraged by Ernest Rutherford, his former supervisor at the University of Manchester, not to volunteer but Elizabeth says that would have been un-thinkable, given his background. Elizabeth felt she got to know Harry really well during her research and putting on the exhibition. One of our group was a twelve year old boy who has yet to the meet the Periodic Table at school, but he has seen Henry (Harry) Moseley’s own graph produced from his research on X-ray spectra of the elements and the actual equipment on which the results were produced, what a privilege.  The wobbly entry in Harry’s mother’s diary stating that ‘Harry died’ must move anyone. The exhibition was due to end in October but because it has been so popular it is now on until the end of January.

How could we leave without paying homage to the Babbage difference engine? Ada Lovelace has her cabinet of exhibits too. Elizabeth brought our attention to three small objects, that we could well have overlooked, an early small calculator showing its evolution. This was in the process of design by Austrian engineer Curt Herzstark in the 1930s. Herzstark’s father was Jewish and so he was taken into custody in 1943, eventually finding himself at the Buchenwald concentration camp. When the Nazis found out about his considerable skills they made him work for them. He did not finish his work before the end of the war and was liberated before the Russians before travelling to Liechtenstein and persuading the Prince of Liechtenstein to get a consortium together to fund the manufacture. This little calculator was widely taken up and could compute to 16 decimal points, so very sophisticated for its time, and remained one of the most popular calculators until the development of electronic calculators in the 1970s.

We all love stories and Elizabeth told three very good ones, thank you Dr Bruton.

Annual Student Prizes 2015

BCS Oxfordshire Branch supports annual student prizes to the three Oxfordshire universities of Brookes, Cranfield and Oxford universities. Our Branch is pleased to announce the winners for 2015.

The Awards are as follows:

The best final Year Project in a computing subject (£75 each and a certificate)

  • Oliver Parker,  Oxford Brookes University, Course Title: BSc Computer Games and Animation
  •  Lewis Antony Privett, Oxford Brookes University, Course Title:  BSc Network Computing

Both were awarded the BCS Prize for the Best Final Year Project

The best results by a First Year student in a computing subject (Student membership plus certificate)

  • Sarah Phillips, Oxford Brookes University, Course Title:  BSc Computer Science

Awarded the BCS Prize for the Best Results by a First Year Student

The best performance in Preliminary Examinations (1st year)

  • Alexandru Okros, Worcester College, University of Oxford, Course Title: Master of Computer Science (MCompSci)

Awarded the BCS Prize for Best Performance in Preliminary Examinations (1st year)

The ICM Prize for Best Performance

  • Claire Bevan, Cranfield University, Course Title: ICM MSc

Awarded the BCS Prize (ICM Course)

 

Presentation of awards at Oxford Brookes University

CCT Graduation Awards

From left to right. Mrs Privett, mother of student Lewis Privett, Lewis Privett, award winner, Sheila Lloyd Lyons, vice chair BCS Oxfordshire Branch. Behind Sheila is Dr Faye Mitchell, Programme lead for Postgraduate Computing and Communication Technologies. Next to Faye is Dr Mark Green Senior lecturer in computing. Returning to the front row we have Oliver Parker, award winner, Mrs Parker, mother of Oliver. Next to Mrs Parker is Dr Nigel Crook, Head of Department of Computing and communication Technologies, and Mr Parker, father of Oliver Parker. In the rear is a family friend of the Parkers.

 

IMG_1756_small

Lewis Privett accepting the award from Sheila Lloyd Lyons in the presence of Dr Nigel Crook

IMG_1753_small

Oliver Parker accepting the award from Sheila Lloyd Lyons in the presence of Dr Nigel Crook

 

[Event Summary] Pervasive Computing

Pervasive_Computing_Presentation

Chris Yapp is a freelance Consultant specialising in innovation and future thinking. He presented a very interesting talk on Pervasive Computing, which sparked significant discussion, which unfortunately had to be curtailed when we had to vacate the lecture hall.

Chris presented the two paradoxes at the heart of the Internet of Things:

  • it is here now, but it is also 10 year away
  • it is inevitable, but we don’t know what it is!

These issues were put into context by looking at some previous paradigm shifts in technology, and its implications for society. The challenges we face will be both technical and social/commercial, it it is the latter which might delay implementation. To address these issues a multi – and inter-disciplinary – approach will be needed.

He left the audience with an important question:

  • How can we accelerate developments that generate real social and economic benefits of innovation, while guarding against downsides that risk a backlash?

 

[Event Summary] Systems Implementation

Systems_Implementation_Presentation

Cranfield University: MSc Forensic Computing Open Day

Forensic_Open_Day

Cranfield University invites you to the MSc Forensic Computing open day on the 29th June.

The MSc is solely focused on Forensic Computing enabling a student to take 11 modules: 8 Forensic Computing specific modules and 3 Forensic Science modules.  The full time MSc is delivered alongside our short course and part time programs enabling you to study alongside practitioners. Finally this MSc is taught on a Defence Academy site meaning you will have the unique opportunity to study on a military site alongside a wide range of other forensic science courses.

Please note this event is actually at the Shrivenham campus (based at the Defence Academy which is a military site) and that pre-registration is essential otherwise  you won’t get past the guards!!

Registration link: http://www.cranfield.ac.uk/about/events/listings/events-2015/forensic-computing-open-day-2015.html

 Event Poster

[Event Summary] Federated Cloud

Federated Cloud Computing

The presentation has been made available for download.

Talent Pool #2

Talent Pool

Talent Pool #2 is a free event to connect skilled professionals who want a work/life balance with Oxfordshire businesses that promote flexible working.

  • Network with 20 major local employers in the marketplace and learn about the type of opportunities they have on offer.
  • Attend compact workshops run by specialists to build interview confidence, map career changes and learn how make flexible working work for you.
  • Match with a mentor who can support you through the career changes you want to make.
  • Hear from Oxfam’s Deputy Chief Executive Penny Lawrence and recruitment leader Sara Hill, the CEO of Capability Jane

When?  Friday 6 March 2015, 9.30 – 11.15am
Where? Oxfam, John Smith Drive, Oxford, OX4 2JY
How do I register? Visit www.oxfam.org.uk/talentpool (Places are limited)

Talent Pool first ran in 2014, when it was heavily over-subscribed. Participant Katharine Barber said: “Talent Pool was a great way to take my first step back to work, and be reassured that flexible options are out there, plus I made some useful connections.”

For more information contact Sally Otter at talentpool@oxfam.org.uk / 01865 47 3212
Oxfam works with others to overcome poverty and suffering

Oxfam GB is a member of Oxfam International and a company limited by guarantee registered in England No. 612172.
Registered office: Oxfam House, John Smith Drive, Cowley, Oxford, OX4 2JY.
A registered charity in England and Wales (no 202918) and Scotland (SC 039042)

[BCS Data Centre SG Committee] DataCenterDynamics at CeBIT

CeBit Datacentre

CeBIT have joined forces with DatacenterDynamics to create the world’s largest data centre event.  The BCS Data Centre Special Groups has negotiated a 15% discount, for all BCS members, on published admission prices by quoting code DCSG1 when registering.

The event will take place under the huge roof of CeBIT‘s Hall 12, Hannover Exhibition Ground, Hannover, Germany on 16-20 March 2015.

The exhibition will bring together data center end-users, operators, service providers, advisors and vendors with the world’s largest gathering of over 150 data center technology and services vendors.

There will also be an ambitious conference programme that will explore the most pressing strategy and technology challenges facing the global data center industry.

The programme will help an international audience understand how to boost both efficiency and performance of the IT infrastructure on which their organisations rely.

Full details can be found by following this dedicated link

For anyone whose email filter blocks hyperlinks, it is at:

http://www.dcdconverged.com/conferences/dcd-at-cebit?utm_source=DCSG&utm_medium=email%20link&utm_campaign=DCSG

Remember to quote code DCSG1 for 15% discount to this ambitious world-class event.

[Event Summary] AGM and The Changing Face of Payments

AGM_2014

We started the evening with the formalities of the Annual General Meeting agenda items. Details of which will be provided on this website.

tim_presentation_2014

After completing the activities of the AGM we were presented with a thought provoking view on the way payments are changing. Tim’s presentation generated considerable discussion and we ultimately ran out of time before we ran out of questions.

ChangingFaceofPayments2014

Tim has kindly provided a copy of his presentation which can be downloaded below.

.

BCS Oxfordshire Branch – AGM Report 2013/2014

Venue: e-Research Centre, Oxford University, Keble Road
Date: 13 November 2014
Time: 19:47

Apologies for Absence

Belated apologies were received from:

  • Chris Dawe
  • Kwasi Owusu-Asomaning

Minutes of Last Year’s AGM

The notes of last years meeting had been published on the Branch web site. No comments had been received, and there were no comments at the AGM. The minutes were therefore accepted as a true record of the event.

The were no matters arising.

Chairman’s Report

Tim Lambertstock, Branch Chairman, welcomed everyone to the meeting, and noted that the report had been circulated to the membership, and was also available on the Branch website.

We had had a good programme last year, with good attendances, and some good feedback from attendees. Tim summarised some of the highlights from the Programme, and noted that the Agile Workshop had had to be cancelled due to serious illness of the presenter. We hope to do something similar in the future.

We are looking forward to an equally enjoyable and exciting programme in the coming year. However, if anyone has suggestions or ideas, we are always looking for input, so they were asked to contact anyone on the committee.

The programme for the coming year is available on the Branch Web site.

Tim thanked the committee for their hard work and support during the year.

Treasurer’s Report

The Treasurer (Tony Cox) presented the accounts.

Tony noted that the under-spend in FY 2012-13 resulted in a reduction in the FY 2013-14 branch allocation, which demanded a significant effort in the submission of special funding requests to maintain our customary level of programme activity. A successful budget submission for the coming year had restored the Branch funding for FY 2014-15. More details are available in the Treasurer’s report.

The Treasurer’s report was accepted unanimously.

Following a question from the audience, Tony described how the Student Prizes were organised. Sheila Lloyd Lions (Committee), who liaises with the universities, said that the prizes were appreciated by the student recipients, and the Universities were keen to be involved. The student recipients are chosen by the Universities, and the Oxfordshire Branch has three universities (the University of Oxford, Oxford Brookes University, and Cranfield University) in its catchment area.

A follow on question was raised in relation to the Open University. Tony said that the Open University was not within the Oxfordshire remit, although obviously OU students could well be represented within the Oxfordshire membership.

A further question was asked about Branch funding, and whether its was based on nominal Branch headcount. Tony explained that the Branch allocations was loosely based on the Branch budget submission. There is no per capita allocation; with Branch funding was more linked to previous activity.

Election of Committee

The existing committee, with the exception of Athar Majed had volunteered to continue. The continuing committee is:

  • Brian Day (Secretary)
  •  Brian Read
  • Chris Dawe
  • Geoff Stone
  • Kwasi Owusu-Asomaning
  • Gerry Rohling (WebMaster)
  • Sheila Lloyd Lyons
  • Simon Marsh
  • Sverker Griph
  • Tim Lambertstock (Chair)
  • Tony Cox (Treasurer)
  • John Estdale

There being no other nominations, or objections the committee was constituted as above.

The Chairman and Treasurer were confirmed in their roles; allocation of other Committee responsibilities will be ratified later.

AOB

There being no further business, the AGM was closed at 20:01.

After this, Tim Lambertstock, gave an interesting session titled “The Changing Face of Payments”, which generated good interaction from the audience.

Brian Day, BSc PhD CEng CSci MBCS CITP
Branch Secretary

Oxford Brookes Student Prizes 2014

Student Competion 2014 1

From left to right.  Dr Tom Shannon, keynote speaker at the graduation ceremony, and our speaker on 12 February 2015, Paul Oliver, Sheila Lloyd Lyons vice chair BCS Oxfordshire Branch, Dr Nigel Crook, Head of the Department of Computing and Communication Technologies

 The best final Year Project in a computing subject (£150 prize plus certificate)

Student Name PAUL OLIVER

Course Title:  BSc Mobile Computing

Prize Title:  BCS Prize for the Best Final Year Project

University Name:  Oxford Brookes University (Department of Computing and Communication Technologies)

Paul`s project title is “’A is for Android’, an interactive learning application for early learning ”.

Paul won the prize for the best first year student in 2012

 

The best results by a First Year student in a computing subject

(Student membership plus certificate)

Student Name: AARON DANIEL STILLWELL

Course Title:  BSc Computer Science

Prize Title:  BCS Prize for the Best Results by a First Year Student

University Name:  Oxford Brookes University ((Department of Computing and Communication Technologies)

 

Student_Competion_2014_2

From left to right.  Dr Tom Shannon, keynote speaker at the graduation ceremony, and our speaker on 12 February 2015, Mrs Oliver and children, Paul Oliver, Sheila Lloyd Lyons vice chair BCS Oxfordshire Branch, Dr Nigel Crook, Head of the Department of Computing and Communication Technologies, Peter Marshall, Programme lead for Undergraduate programmes in Computing and Communication Technologies, David Lightfoot, Senior Lecturer in Computing. 

[Event Summary] Artie the Robothespian

More information to follow but there is information about the related courses being awarded initial accreditation by British Computer Society (BCS) at http://cct.brookes.ac.uk/news/items/161014-cct-courses-bcs-accreditation.html. There is a short description of our BCS visit as well.

[Event Summary] Social Media: The good, the bad, and the ugly

Josh Cowls Social Media

Josh Cowls, a researcher from the Oxford Internet Institute looked at the pros and cons of social media, and some of the challenges associated with the technology, from a non-technical perspective.

If you believe the hype, it has brought down dictators, rescued thousands in natural disasters, and even solved crimes. However although there have been revolutionary impacts in many, there is reason for caution.

The internet is an information AND communications technology, and social media platforms are just the latest technology to exploit this infrastructure.  The technology is neutral, and does not discriminate. However it provides a good way of collecting and diffusing information; for example aiding in emergency situations. Used in this way it can be extremely positive.

However where information is more mediated, human frailties can be amplified in an anti-social way, and inequalities can replicate. The examples of Internet trolls, and teh “dark net” are examples where the more negative sides of human nature can amplified by the capabilities of social media.

It is also possible to use social media to measure public opinion, particularly as the cost of data acquisition does not scale as the number of participants. However there are still issues to resolve, such as representativeness, reliability of results, and replicability. For example the density of tweets during Hurricane Sandy did not represent the areas hardest hit.

Therefore like all new technologies we must use it well, and as a force for good, while recognising there is also converse opportunities.

In summary:

1. For the collection and diffusion of information, social media can be a revolutionary social good

2. However when information is more mediated

1. we can be very anti-social

2. offline hierarchies and inequalities replicate

3. behaviour is harder to measure

3. data remains hugely powerful, for those who have it