Enter the maze

Computers set to make cracking Christmas telly

a computer mouse with a Santa hat on top

No matter what electronic delights you’re hoping to find under the tree this Christmas, we can guarantee you at least one fascinating bit of computery goodness. Well five in fact. This year the Royal Institution Christmas Lectures are all about computer science, and you can catch them for five nights in a row over the Christmas holidays on Channel Five.

How can we build a machine the size of a postage stamp with a billion tiny components? Will computers continue to improve at a breathtaking pace? Why do we need even faster machines anyway? You’ll find out what’s inside the box and discover the secrets of the web. Plus you’ll see how, although machines can learn for themselves, they’re still not as intelligent as a three-year-old toddler.

This Christmas, skip the naff repeats. Join Microsoft Research’s Chris Bishop on a hi-tech trek as he explores the science behind the digital revolution in search of the ultimate computer. Check the holiday TV listings for times.