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School talks and shows
We deliver a series of free talks and shows for schools in the UK on interdisciplinary computer science and electronic engineering. Our aim is to enthuse students about the subjects, challenging stereotypes and raising awareness about the major role they play in our lives.
The topics of the talks (described below) are based around research topics going beyond school syllabuses so give deeper insight into the subject. Many also are centred around the links between computing and other subjects, showing the interdisciplinary nature of modern science.
The talks and shows are suitable for students at all levels, with the presentations adaptable according to the age and interests of the group. We give the talks to a wide range of audiences, including whole year groups. We want to spread our enthusiasm for the subject to anyone who will listen! We also hope to give the audience an idea of why we personally got hooked.
If you would like one of our team to visit your school then email firstname.lastname@example.org
Women in Computing
Although people often think Computing is only for men, women have played a pivotal role in the subject and continue to do so. This talk covers past, present and future. We show that women like Ada Lovelace were among the pioneers who kick-started the computing revolution. Women are also leading players now in academia and industry, with modern technology such as search engines only possible because of the ideas of women. Finally we show that female students are amongst the most successful and so will be driving the revolutions to come. We hope to inspire girls to become those future pioneers, but whether it is the career for them or not believe all students should understand the role women have played.
The mind of the machine: Artificial intelligence?
We all know the movie plot, evil robots and computers taking over the world, but what is the reality? This talk looks at artificial intelligence research, the field of science that tries to build 'thinking machines'. How are they built? What can they do? And, as importantly, what can't they do? We will also ask some interesting questions about a particularly well-known 'thinking machine', you!
This talk is one of our most interactive, including building a brain to play snap from members of the audience. It is suitable for all ages. We range across subjects from biology and psychology to computer science and philosophy, showing how scientists and engineers work across subject boundaries.
The magic of Harry Potter!
Can we make Cloaking a reality? Harry Potter can make himself invisible just by pulling on a cloak. Science Fiction? Even in Harry's world it takes powerful magic. Could it ever be made a reality? This talk is about the work of the electronic engineers who are applying their physics and engineering skills to create new kinds of materials that make objects invisible. Invisibility may even be a possibility for humans too. With the help of electronic engineering, Harry Potter's style of magic may one day be science fact.
Searching to speak
Locked-in syndrome leaves a person totally paralysed other than being able to blink one eye, but otherwise being able to think, see and hear as normal. How can an understanding of some basic computer science help a person with locked-in syndrome communicate? How have engineers built devices that not only transform the lives of disabled people but have potential to give us super-human powers. What this talk is ultimately about is how computer science and electronic engineering are not just about understanding gadgets but about understanding people too.
The Magic of Computer Science
Our interactive 1-hour magic show is a real magic show where we not only teach the audience the tricks (after they have tried to work out how they work) but also use them to explain a range of computer science ideas. The show appeals to a wide audience, and highlights how maths and computer science make the 'magic' of modern technology work. This show is also available in a longer more challenging 2-hour format for suitable audiences.
The rise of digital music
Fascinated with music technology? We will show how the electronic engineering route to a music career gives you the knowledge and skills to build tomorrow's exciting new audio and multimedia tools for music, gaming, television and cinema. Electronic engineering fuses a passion for audio with technical skills to produce cutting edge music tools and audio effects. Based on the experiences of researchers from the internationally renowned Centre for Digital Music, the talk will show that there is more to music technology than just using equipment.
Should we trust computers?
Computers now control planes, trains, cars and medical equipment. Is it a good idea to trust computers with your life? This talk examines this issue, looking at accidents caused by computers and why it is unlikely that computers can ever be bug free. We will also show that the problem isn't just to do with computer software and that, even with a few bugs, software can still make the world safer.
Where does thinking happen?
If I have a thought, is it produced inside my brain? But if I'm talking to someone else, we can well have thoughts neither of us is capable of producing on our own. Modern philosophy, since Descartes, has imagined that thoughts are produced inside our heads: computer science has followed this and has made computers that are autonomous boxes. But times are changing: computer scientists are much more interested in devices that interact, and psychologists have found out how important interaction is to our thinking. And, in any case, philosophy before Descartes was much more interested in interaction.
Where's my ROBOT? Probability, algorithms and computer science
Reasoning with probabilities is central to many applications in Computer Science, for example allowing robots to cope with the uncertainty of the real world. We explain and demonstrate one example of a probabilistic algorithm - to solve the problem of localisation - using a Lego robot. We explain why similar techniques are important commercially.