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Past Presentations

2015/2016 Session

Joint BCS / Subsurface IT Conference

Speakers: Gavin Bain, John McLaren, Paul Cleverley, Steve Harrison, Duncan Irving, Alan Smith

In our continuing drive to find interesting and thought-provoking topics for our events, BCS Aberdeen has teamed up with the Digital Energy Journal to host a 3/4-day conference and discussion on Subsurface IT and competitive advantage.

The all-day event was hosted at the Treetops Hotel on Wednesday 4th May 2016.

It was a fantastic opportunity for IT professionals to have a direct discussion with Geologists and Subsurface disciplines on how IT can make a real contribution to success. Both groups came away having learned something from the opposite perspective and perhaps ideas for future collaboration.

For more details, please visit the event website.

Download the presentation slides from:

See the event video here.

Computation of emotions

Speaker: Peter Robinson

About the speaker

Peter Robinson is Professor of Computer Technology at the University of Cambridge Computer Laboratory

The importance of emotional expression as part of human communication has been understood since the seventeenth century, and has been explored scientifically since Charles Darwin and others in the nineteenth century. Recent advances in Psychology have greatly improved our understanding of the role of affect in communication, perception, decision-making, attention and memory. At the same time, advances in technology mean that it is becoming possible for machines to sense, analyse and express emotions. We can now consider how these advances relate to each other and how they can be brought together to influence future research in perception, attention, learning, memory, communication, decision-making and other applications.

This talk presented recent advances in theories of emotion and affect, their embodiment in computational systems, the implications for general communications, and broader applications. The combination of new results in psychology with new techniques of computation on new technologies will enable new applications in commerce, education, entertainment, security, therapy and everyday life. However, there are important issues of privacy and personal expression that must also be considered.

See the event video here.

Impact of ROBOTS - Where have all the good jobs gone?

Speakers: Dr Trevor Runcie and Prof Peter Gray

About the speakers

Dr Trevor Runcie has a BSc (Engineering), an MSc (Artificial Intelligence) and a PhD (Computing Science) from Aberdeen University. Trevor has over 30 years of commercial IT experience.

Prof. Peter Gray has taught and researched AI and Logic and Databases for many years at Aberdeen University. See http://www.abdn.ac.uk/ncs/people/profiles/pgray/

Trevor and Peter discussed the possibility that robots, including both hardware and software technologies, with access to huge data-stores, can now undercut humans at most of the jobs people rely on. They presented the recent book The Rise of the Robots by Martin Ford, and showed some video clips of him talking on YouTube, and of some of the technologies in action. We also looked at closely related work by Andrew McAfee (MIT), which led into a discussion of Where is this all going?, together with the audience.

See the event video here.

The Codebreakers - Enigma, Bletchley Park & the Battle of the Atlantic

Speaker: Dr Mark Baldwin

Enigma, Bletchley Park & The Battle Of The Atlantic - an illustrated presentation by Dr Mark Baldwin

One of the Second World War's most fascinating stories is that of the Enigma machine, a portable encryption device widely used by the Germans, whose ciphers they believed to be totally secure. Nevertheless, by mathematical analysis and modern technology, the Allies devised techniques for 'breaking' Enigma ciphers, and thus read several million German messages, providing a wealth of reliable Intelligence. The attack on Enigma, initiated by the Poles in the early 1930s, was later perfected by the British at Bletchley Park, today open to the public as a museum site.

The Intelligence gained was of immense value to the Allies in virtually every theatre of war, but nowhere more so than in the Battle of the Atlantic, that fierce conflict which lasted nearly six years and cost over 60,000 lives. Dr Baldwin uses the Battle of the Atlantic to exemplify the importance of code breaking in winning the war.

After the presentation, the audience was invited to take part in a hands-on practical demonstration of one of the few surviving Enigma machines. Only about 300 are known to survive worldwide; of these, only about a dozen are in public collections in Britain. As these machines are so rare, Dr Baldwin provided a unusual opportunity for the audience not just to view, but also to operate, an original U-Boat Enigma machine – the actual machine which appears in the recent film, ‘The Imitation Game’.

Having delivered over 500 presentations, Dr Baldwin is one of Britain's most experienced speakers on the Enigma machine and the work of the WW2 code breakers. He has travelled widely throughout Britain addressing a variety of audiences - professional, educational, commercial and the general public - and has also been invited to speak in Germany, Belgium and Poland.

See the event video here.

BCS Aberdeen Branch AGM followed by a talk on Promoting Digital Careers Together

Speaker: Claire Gillespie, ICT and Digital Technologies Sector Skills Manager at Skills Development Scotland.

Claire has worked for Skills Development Scotland for over 12 years, and for the last two years has led on the development and implementation of the Skills Investment Plan (SIP) for the ICT and Digital Technologies sector. One of the key themes of the SIP is how to support employers skills needs by encouraging more young people into digital careers.

Claire provided information on the actions being taking forward from this SIP, and in particular introduce Digital World which is the multi channel marketing campaign developed to promote the sector as a career of choice. She discussed how we can all work together to promote digital careers to young people and their career influencers. She is passionate about digital technology and how we can encourage more young people to engage with the good quality careers it offers, as well as helping them to develop the entrepreneurial skills and flair which will drive innovation and start-ups. As a recent law graduate she has also developed an interest in cyber law and cyber security, and the wide range of cross discipline career opportunities this presents.

See the event video here.

2014/2015 Session

Towards Networked and Automated Machine Learning

Speaker: Dr. Ir. Joaquin Vanschoren - Assistant professor at the Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e)

Joaquin discussed about OpenML and automated machine learning. Many aspects of data-driven science can be sped up tremendously by automating them. OpenML is an online machine learning platform where scientists can automatically log, share and find data sets, code, and experiments, organize them online, and collaborate with researchers all over the world. It helps to automate many tedious aspects of research, is readily integrated into several machine learning tools, and offers easy-to-use APIs. It also enables large-scale and real-time collaboration, allowing researchers to build directly on each other’s latest results, and keep track of the wider impact of their work. Ultimately, this provides a wealth of information to assist people while analyzing data, or automate the process altogether.

Download the presentation slides from here.

See the event video here.

Joint event with the Aberdeen Developers.Net User Group: Cross platform mobile development with the power of Xamarin

Speaker: Christos Matskas

Christos showed how to get off the ground with mobile application development using the power of Xamarin and explained how to build powerful, full-featured, native applications that can run across all platforms.

You can find more information by checking Christos' Blog Post (including slides) here.

See the event video here.

Unconscious Bias in the Workplace

Speaker: Sharon Moore - lead of BCSWomen in Scotland and IBM's CTO for Digital Engagement

Based on her experience as both a leader and practitioner in the IT industry, Sharon discussed the business case for diversity and the impact of unconscious bias on career opportunities for diverse groups. She started by asking "where have all the women gone?" and discussed what we can do as individuals to encourage more women to sign up to careers in technology and to ensure that they find fulfilling and successful work lives when they do.

As IBM's CTO for Digital Engagement in the UK and Ireland, it’s Sharon's job to enable organisations to benefit from a world centred on the consumer, the employee and the citizen. Sharon helps organisations empower, understand and trust their people to increase productivity and profitability; she gives them the ability to understand their marketplace, the needs and behaviours of their customers, and to tailor their offerings appropriately and individually to increase revenue and brand loyalty.

Sharon is helping IBM to lead the way into a transformed, digital world; she sits on the Steering Committee for Digital Leaders Scotland, and recently spoke on "How Social is Changing the Future" at TEDxUniversityofStrathclyde.

Sharon also passionately believes in changing the world for working women. She has sat on the BCSWomen Committee since 2012 and leads BCSWomen activities in Scotland.

Download the presentation poster from here and the slides from here.

See the event video here.

What is Big Data?

Speaker: Keith Gordon, B.A., M.Sc., CITP

Nowadays, it is very difficult to miss hearing of something called ‘Big Data’, or its cousin ‘Big Data technologies’. What they are really talking about are two separate things:

  • The technologies to store the data, such as the NoSQL databases.
  • The technologies to analyse and make sense of the data.

So, what is Big Data really about? During the presentation, Keith attempted to cut through the hype and analyse the benefits to business, and see how far they are being delivered and what are the key technologies. He talked about:

  • An attempt to come up with a coherent definition of Big Data.
  • A description in general terms of the types of storage technologies, including NoSQL databases.
  • A description of some of the approaches that can be used to analyse Big Data to produce business benefit.

Download the presentation slides from here.

See the event video here.

Teaching 150K+ students at a time: The PowerSearchingWithGoogle.com story

Speaker: Daniel Russell - Senior Research Scientist: Google (Palo Alto, California)

MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) have become incredibly popular in just the past 12 months. Many MOOCs have had more that 100K students register for their courses. Is this the future of online education? Or is it yet-another passing fancy in the educational technology parade? In the past 12 months Google have run three MOOCs with more than 280K registrants. During the presentation, Daniel talked about what MOOCs are, how they're actually run, the social community of learners that are essential for making MOOCs succeed, and what seems to work (and not work) in MOOCs. Along the way, he discussed a bit about how people seem to actually learn how to search... and do sensemaking as a task. He also showed evidence that behaviors learned in the MOOC persist after the end of class.

Download the presentation slides from here.

See the event video here.

Digital Security and Forensics

Speaker: Jamie Graves - CEO & Co-Founder of ZoneFox

One of the most difficult challenges an organisation faces is the theft of critical data by an employee. One of the most extreme examples being the very public and diplomatic fallout from the theft of government documents by the system administrator Mark Snowden.

The impact on business of losing critical information is equally significant. The critical assets that a business must protect have a direct monetary value associated with them as they will provide future revenue stream for an organisation. The loss of these assets impacts an organisation from lost sales, decreased competitive advantage, and in some cases, bankruptcy.

This presentation provided an insight into the lessons our customers, security teams, and law enforcement agencies, have learned about the best techniques to employ to help detect, and more importantly prevent, this type of data breach.

See the event video here.

Scottish Cloud Computing Network - Inaugural event

Speaker: Ian Massingham - AWS Technical Evangelist

This event has been set up at the request of a number of users / potential users of cloud services.

The purpose of this User Group is to provide a non-vendor user group for organisations either currently or intending to utilise cloud-based services.

The group has been formed as an initiative between ScotlandIS, the local British Computer Society (BCS) branch, and the Universities of Robert Gordon and St Andrews.

ScotlandIS is the national trade body representing the IT industry. BCS - Chartered Institute for IT are the professional body for this sector across the UK. Robert Gordon University and St Andrews University has undertaken a project over the last 3 years assisting software organisations move their high-value software products to a cloud-based offering (http://www.servicestothecloud.com/). This project is coming to an end. One element of this project is the formation of a long-term interest group.

This meeting will discuss the formation of a group and the appetite for maintaining such a group. If you wish to be added to the Scottish Cloud Computing Network mailing list please e-mail the project manager Gordon Baxter (Gordon.Baxter@st-andrews.ac.uk)

A number of the project partners were interested in finding out further details about the AWS Cloud Offering so we have invited Ian Massingham, AWS Technical Evangelist to present and take questions from users on this subject.

BCS Aberdeen Branch AGM followed by a talk on Imaging Technology for assessing body size and shape in the Offshore Industry

Speaker: Dr Arthur Stewart

Dr Arthur Stewart is currently researching the effective design and implementation of a project which evaluates the size of offshore workers and their space requirements, using the latest portable 3D scanning technology. The research is co-sponsored by Oil & Gas UK and will inform aspects of offshore ergonomics in a range of applications ranging from emergency helicopter evacuation and survival suit design to space availability in corridors and confined space work environments.

During the talk, Dr Arthur Stewart has presented various methods of how assessing the body size and shape is currently done in the Offshore Industry.

Download the event poster here.

2013/2014 Session

BCS Site Visit: University of Aberdeen Data Centre

Speaker: Mike Whyment

The event involved a conducted tour of the new Server Farm at Aberdeen University. The Server Farm also serves RGU and 2 Colleges and is on a very large scale, with hundreds of servers.

The technology is increasingly in use for handling Cloud Computing and Big Data through high bandwith network connections.

The tour was followed by a talk from Mr. Mike Whyment.

Download the event poster here.

You’ve landed your dream job – now what?

Speaker: Bill Whibley (Aventa Systems)

You’ve landed your dream job – now what?

This talk was aimed at recent graduates and new entrants into the IT market. The objective was to provide some useful hints and tips on how to ensure that your career gets off to a great start and that you take it in the direction that you want it to go. Office etiquette, internal politics and general competition are a reality and therefore you need to be prepared if you are to succeed.

Bill Whibley, Founder and Managing Director of Aventa Systems, has drawn upon his own 25 years of experience working in the IT sector both as an employee and an employer to help prepare recent graduates for the working environment.

See the event video here.

ELITE in Scotland - ScotlandIS Technology Industry Survey 2013 - what's in it for me?

Speakers: Polly Purvis (ScotlandIS), Mike Hughes (Red25)

ScotlandIS undertakes an annual survey of the industry examining industry dynamics, business confidence, growth markets, and employment and skills factors. The event covered the survey for 2013 and we had the pleasure of finding out more on the development and analysis behind the survey and a personal perspective from an Industry leader.

Polly Purvis, Executive Director of ScotlandIS gave us an insight into the generation of this valuable document and why it is something we should all act upon. Polly highlighted issues that continue to exist within the industry and new and emerging trends which may be beneficial to consider. Mike Hughes, CEO Red25 is a successful industry leader with over 25 years-experience in running multi-national IT software and services businesses. Mike picked out a few of the key findings raised and gave a personal perspective on their value or challenges.

Download the presentation slides from here.

See the event video here.

Moving to the Cloud - Opportunities and Risks

Speaker: Prof. Ian Somerville (St. Andrews)

Cloud computing provides a scalable rental model for computing and storage resources accessable using Internet technologies. It is widely seen as the next stage in the evolution of computing support and offers the opportunity for (some) companies to make substantial savings on their hardware costs. In this talk, Prof. Ian Somerville discussed some of the benefits and risks of moving both software development and application software to the cloud, including issues of security, compliance and support. He also touched on how cost savings on the cloud can be estimated and when it may be appropriate to move computing infrastructure to the cloud.

See the event video here.

PSLT: Portable Sign Language Translator: from wishful thinking to commercial product.

Speakers: Ernesto Compatangelo and Ryan Russell - University of Aberdeen spinoff company, Technabling

The PSLT has been developed for use by deaf people as a system that runs on a variety of platforms (Win, Unix, Android). The presentation included demoing the PSLT live, talking about the BIS/SBRI/TSB competition that led to the PSLT, the technical challenges behind its development, feedback from the deaf community, issues with the dissemination and cultural uptake; and the envisaged impact of software-centric assistive technologies based on image analysis in the near future.

Download the presentation slides fromhere.

Older Sessions

Spacecraft Networks - March 2013

This talk covered two areas of research carried out at the Space Technology Centre, University of Dundee: spacecraft on-board data-networks and vision-based navigation of planetary landers.

SpaceWire is a network technology developed at the University of Dundee for the European Space Agency (ESA) with inputs from international spacecraft engineers. SpaceWire is now being used on or designed into over 100 spacecraft including important scientific and exploration missions. SpaceWire will be introduced, a typical on-board network architecture described, and then several missions using SpaceWire highlighted.

To land a spacecraft on a planet or asteroid surface, a long way from Earth is a challenging problem. The guidance system has to be fully autonomous because of the long communication delay with Earth, and has to be able to guide the spacecraft to a safe landing close to a predetermined landing site, avoiding any boulders or other obstacles in the vicinity. Vision-based navigation techniques are being developed by the Space Technology Centre along with planetary surface simulation tools to help test the vision-based navigation techniques.

Download the presentation here.

EU Cookie Law & Identity Theft - February 2013

A lunchtime seminar is in two parts. David Reid covered the EU Cookie Law - What is it? What does it say? What does it mean for you? Then Matthew Pemble discussed the issues surrounding Identity Theft and the confusing range of crimes and impacts that are grouped under this often misleading banner.

View the presentation here

ITIL and Change Management - February 2013

What is the Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL) and Change Management and how can it help deliver value to the business? Chris Siwek provided an overview demonstrating why industries are choosing to adopt this Service Management best practise to manage risk effectively.

Download the audio of the presentation here
Download the audio of the Q & A session here

E-Learning: Preparing for Learning in Online Environments - October 2012

The speakers spoke from their own experiences of providing online learning and training opportunities to provide an insight into what it takes to prepare for learning in an online environment. They explored online learning from a learner’s perspective and from a tutor/trainer perspective.

View the presentation here
Download the audio of the introduction here
Download the audio of the first presentation here
Download the audio of the second presentation here
Download the audio of the Q & A session here

Disaster Recovery - April 2012

Andrew Stuart of Paradeon Technologies gave us an overview of Backup and Disaster Recovery options. Andrew shows the alternative to traditional tape backup that addresses many of the issues of existing backup solutions.

View the presentation here
Download the audio of the presentation here
Download the audio of the Q & A session here

Is Democracy Possible? (A Computer Science Perspective) - March 2012

Nir Oren, lecturer in Computing Science at the University of Aberdeen.

View the presentation here
Download the audio of the presentation here
Download the audio of the Q & A session here

Legal Implications of Offshore Data Storage - March 2012

David Reid of Shepherd and Wedderburn's Media and Technology team gave us an overview of:

  • Where can personal data be stored?
  • Offshore processing and hosting and storing information.
  • The rights of the individual.
  • Responsibilities of Organisations.
  • What happens if the database is hacked?
  • Jurisdiction of the UK Information Commissioner.
  • What sanctions are available?

View the presentation here

Opportunities for Digital Oilfield - October 2011

Lewis Yim gives us an insight into how IT enables the Oil and Gas Service industry. From well exploration right through to production, the dependency on IT is now heavier than ever before. The term “Digital Oilfield” can be portrayed in very different ways however the concept is the same. Lewis will discuss the challenges currently being faced by the highly complex and ever evolving Oil and Gas Industry and how IT enables higher performance and efficiencies in Oil and Gas as well as opening new frontiers that were unimaginable before.

View the presentation here

A Quantum of Computing - September 2011

Dave McMahon provides his own look into the far future with a brief resume of the world of Quantum Computing. Sounds too Sci-Fi? Too Fantastic? Maybe, but people are today seriously researching Quantum Computing and Quantum Computing Devices. Some companies claim to have already created them, others refute the claims, and the reasons why there is some controversy will be covered in this session. It'll be fun, mind-blowing and you get a glimpse of what could be in store for us in the coming years and why the future of Search may be in harnessing the power of the sub-atomic and why SSL's future prospects may not be so rosy ...

The Quantum Computing talk is now available online and can be accessed here "http://vimeo.com/31326680.

Other video presentations

Other video presentations are accessible from http://vimeo.com/rgucomputing/videos