May 2014 Event – How to search for ETI

For our May event, William Edmondson will discuss how to go about searching for extra-terrestrial intelligence (SETI).

This event will take place on Tuesday 13th May 2014 from 18:00 to 20:00 in the main Trophy Suite at the Tally Ho! Sports and Conference Centre in Birmingham.

Tea, coffee and a buffet will be available. Both members and non-members are welcome.

Bookings for this event can be made on the BCS event booking system – available soon.

Closing date for bookings is Monday 12th May 2014 at 12:00 pm. No more bookings will be taken after this date.

For overseas delegates who wish to attend the event please note that BCS do not issue invitation letters.

About the Presenter

William Edmondson has been actively involved in the international SETI enterprise since 2003, when he first gave a talk at a small workshop in Paris. Indeed France has a good track record in both SETI work - he presented at another SETI conference in Paris in March this year – and related topics.  For example, the website inventory/encyclopaedia of exoplanets is managed by Jean Schneider working in Paris. He has also conducted a radio search for signals using the Arecibo radio-telescope and a specific targeting scheme he developed. A paper was published on this in 2003. Sadly nothing was detected.

Event Synopsis

William will review the development of some ideas (but not list projects/attempts) in SETI from early days through to new debates about targetting, messaging and observing. His own thinking has changed to focus on arguments in favour of simply looking at selected targets, with ever-more powerful optical telescopes. He will explain why.  As ever, in cutting edge science, the role of instrumentation (and recently that includes computation) is an important part of the story.  He will also provide his take on the “Where are they?” question, but without going into details such as the Drake equation (historically provocative but not now so relevant in his view).

For those wanting further information in this area a well-written history of the field is available – although it doesn’t cover the most recent work. If you want to buy a single book on the topic, William Edmondson recommends buying this one: Life on Other Worlds: The 20th Century Extraterrestrial Life Debate.  Steven J. Dick. Cambridge University Press.  2001. Materials can be found readily via the web – e.g. here, also here and here.

April 2014 Event – Virtual Worlds for Real Business

For our April event, David Burden will discuss the history of virtual worlds and immersive spaces; look at (and demo) some current examples of their use; and think about where this technology may be headed in the future.

This event will take place on Tuesday 8th April 2014 from 18:00 to 20:00 in the main Trophy Suite at the Tally Ho! Sports and Conference Centre in Birmingham.

Tea, coffee and a buffet will be available. Both members and non-members are welcome.

Bookings for this event can be made on the BCS event booking system.

Closing date for bookings is Monday 7th April 2014 at 12:00 pm. No more bookings will be taken after this date.

For overseas delegates who wish to attend the event please note that BCS do not issue invitation letters.

About the Presenter

David Burden is the Managing Director of Daden Limited

Event Synopsis

On-line digital virtual worlds have been around for almost 20 years. As with any new technology they have been through the “hype cycle” of innovation – most publicly in the press frenzy around Second Life. But did you know that Second Life and its immediate derivatives are still being used by scores of universities around the globe to teach students subjects ranging from medicine to accountancy, and even by the US Army. Allied to public virtual worlds game engines such as Unreal and Unity3D are being used by a similarly wide range of organisations to deliver cost effective, immersive education and training for students as varied as those of the Open University (doing virtual geology) to those of the Department of Homeland Security (managing virtual disasters). Outside of the training and simulation field these technologies are also increasingly being used to visualise and make sense of the complex and large volumes of data that all organisations need to understand. And new interface technologies such as Oculus Rift and Leap Motion are opening up further possibilities.

March 2014 Event – The Risks of Cloud Computing

Event Synopsis

For our March event, Katie Wood will discuss the risks inherent in cloud computing and cloud technologies. This event will take place on Tuesday 11th March 2014 from 18:00 to 20:00 in the main Trophy Suite at the Tally Ho! Sports and Conference Centre in Birmingham.

Tea, coffee and a buffet will be available. Both members and non-members are welcome.

Bookings for this event can be made on the BCS event booking system.

Closing date for bookings is Monday 10th March 2014 at 12:00 pm. No more bookings will be taken after this date.

For overseas delegates who wish to attend the event please note that BCS do not issue invitation letters.

About the Presenter

Katie Wood is a Senior Lecturer in Informatics at the University of Wolverhampton. She had previous worked as a Lecturer at the University of Malta and Edge Hill University. Katie’s specialist areas are around cloud computing and security. She is currently undertaking a PhD in understanding the role and challenges of misconfiguration in public clouds.

As well as publishing at conferences and international journals, Katie has been a co-organiser of several workshops within cloud and security at international conferences.

December 2013 – Hadrian, Home and Away or Roaming round the Empire

Event Synopsis

For our Christmas event on Tuesday December 17th 2013, Peter Crouch will be giving a talk on “Hadrian, Home and Away or Roaming round the Empire”.

For almost 21 years, from AD 117 to 138, Publius Aelius Hadrianus ruled one of the mightiest empires the world has ever seen and in his lifetime he visited almost all of its provinces. The boundaries of Hadrian’s empire stretched from the Scottish Lowlands in the north to the Sahara Desert in the south, from the Atlantic Ocean in the west to the River Euphrates in the east.

This talk will outline Hadrian’s life from his birth in Rome on 24 February AD 76 through to his death in Baiae on the Bay of Naples on 10 July AD 138 illustrated by photographs of places and structures associated with him, mostly taken by Peter on his travels in the provinces of Britannia, Africa, Asia, Hispania and Italia.

Tea, coffee and a buffet will be available. Both members and non-members are welcome.

Bookings for this event can be made on the BCS event booking system.

Closing date for bookings is Tuesday 17th December 2013 at 09.00 am. No more bookings will be taken after this date.

For overseas delegates who wish to attend the event please note that BCS do not issue invitation letters.

About the Presenter

After studying chemistry at Southampton and Reading universities Peter was successively an industrial chemist, a computer software developer and a junior civil servant.  He officially retired in 2005.  He is currently a part-time consultant for the Nickel Institute.

In his spare time he is Chairman and Web Editor of the BCS Fortran Specialist Group and a member of the BCS Birmingham and Wolverhampton Branch Commitees.  He is also Web Editor for the Council for British Archaeology West Midlands group.

In the last decade his interest in history and archaeology has taken him to visit Roman and prehistoric sites across the UK, the remains of Roman and Greek cities in Asia Minor, Tunisia and Italy including Carthage, Rome, Istanbul and Troy as well as Visigothic churches in northern Spain.

November 2013 – An introduction to Critical Chain Project Management

Event Synopsis

For the second event of this session, Gary Palmer will introduce the topic of Critical Chain Project Management. This topic would be of great interest for anyone involved in running projects, programmes or portfolios, or interested in increasing the throughput of their organisation.

Critical Chain Project Management (CCPM) is fast emerging as a major improvement in project management, dramatically improving project speed and predictability. Although currently relatively little known in the UK, it has become well-established and highly successful in America, India and Japan; to the extent that it is now used by many leading organisations including the US Military and Nasa, and has become the standard project management methodology required to be used for all government projects in Japan, approximately 20,000 projects per annum.

CCPM is now an accepted methodology by many standards organisations, including the PMI; CCPM was referenced in the PMI BoK 4th edition, and details of the method have been expanded upon in the current 5th edition.

 

Tea, coffee and a buffet will be available. Both members and non-members are welcome.

Bookings for this event can be made on the BCS event booking system.

Closing date for bookings is Tuesday 19th November 2013 at 09.00 am. No more bookings will be taken after this date.

For overseas delegates who wish to attend the event please note that BCS do not issue invitation letters.

About the Presenter & CCPM

Gary Palmer is a project manager with Critical Point Consulting.

A Synopsis of Critical Chain Project Management (CCPM)

CCPM delivers increased project, programme and portfolio performance by improvements in planning, scheduling, execution and monitoring. This is achieved by replacing specific time-wasting and inefficient processes and practices, endemic in ‘traditional’ project management methods, with effective, efficient (and entirely logical) changed elements. Each changed elements confers a ‘local’ improvement but the power and effectiveness of CCPM really comes from the collective effect of all of the changes – each changed part enables other parts to operate more effectively and provides a greatly increased overall efficiency and powers momentum in projects, programmes and portfolios.

At the planning level CCPM identifies the key constraints and capacities of the project (including optionally at programme and portfolio levels) and ensures that these will not be overloaded, and ensures that dilution of effort by multi-tasking is kept to a minimum. At the scheduling level CCPM ensures that an optimum schedule is constructed, without excessive safety ‘padding’, whilst ensuring that the completion date is securely protected from uncertainties. During execution, CCPM methods ensure that tasks are progressed as fast as possible, ‘early finishes’ of critical tasks can be utilised to reduce the overall project execution time, and that the schedule is protected from frequent or major changes. Finally, monitoring of individual projects, as well as programmes and an entire portfolio, is made far easier by use of easily-assimilated, singular, objective, predictive, visual reports that identify trends and give early indication of projects that may be starting to head in the wrong direction.

CCPM has some very powerful statistics; An increase in speed of project completion of 20% – 50%. Productivity improvement of 30% – 60%. Throughput increase of 50% – 100%. But perhaps the most significant statistic is that greater than 90% of CCPM projects finish on, or before, their scheduled completion date. For portfolio planning this level of predictability is of immense benefit.

Although relatively little known in the UK and Europe, CCPM is not ‘new’ and is not a ‘fresh out of the box’ or recent innovation. CCPM has been under constant use and refinement since its inception in 1997.However the underlying foundations of the methodology have not changed and the ever-increasing number of implementations have proved the correctness of the methods many times over. CCPM is based on the long-standing principles known as the ‘Theory of Constraints’ (TOC) which have been used extensively to improve efficiencies in manufacturing industries since the 1980’s.

 

 

The National Engineering Competition for Girls 2013

We would like to make you aware of:

The National Engineering Competition for Girls, which launched Monday 23rd September 2013.

The competition, supported by Rolls-Royce and EADS, is a great opportunity for girls to be inspired by engineering and win some fantastic prizes! It asks girls aged 11-14 and 15-18 from across the UK to submit their ideas for ‘How can engineers solve the challenges of the 21st century?’ and offers £2000 worth of prizes, which will be awarded at the Big Bang Fair in March 2014. The closing date for entries is 21st December 2013. Further information went live on the Talent 2030 website on Monday 23rd September: www.talent2030.org/girlsengineering

October 2013 AGM & Event – The Risks of Cloud Computing

AGM

The Birmingham Branch AGM will take place on Tuesday 15th October 2013. It will be the first event of the evening and those wishing to attend should note it is 18:00 for 18:30 start. Following on from the AGM we will have Katie Wood as our guest speaker. The AGM and presentation will take place in the main Trophy Suite at the Tally Ho! Sports and Conference Centre in Birmingham.

Event Synopsis

For the first event of our new session, Katie Wood will discuss the risks inherent in cloud computing and cloud technologies.

Tea, coffee and a buffet will be available. Both members and non-members are welcome.

Bookings for this event can be made on the BCS event booking system.

Closing date for bookings is Sunday 13th October 2013 at 11:59pm. No more bookings will be taken after this date.

For overseas delegates who wish to attend the event please note that BCS do not issue invitation letters.

About the Presenter

Katie Wood is a Senior Lecturer in Informatics at the University of Wolverhampton. She had previous worked as a Lecturer at the University of Malta and Edge Hill University. Katie’s specialist areas are around cloud computing and security. She is currently undertaking a PhD in understanding the role and challenges of misconfiguration in public clouds.

As well as publishing at conferences and international journals, Katie has been a co-organiser of several workshops within cloud and security at international conferences.

As those of you that attended will be aware, sadly Katie was not free to talk on that evening. The branch extends its warm gratitude to Rhys Sharp for presenting his experience in cloud computing in the public sector.

July 2013 Event – Relativistic Computing – Our Thanks

BCS Birmingham Branch would like to thank Dave McMahon for another well attended mind stretching presentation. After an introduction to the basic principles of relativity discussion moved to how black holes could be utilised to solve computing problems which require an enormous amount of processing. However, the person receiving the result would need to be in a special type of black hole during the computation and there would be the issue of the person being able to communicate the findings to colleagues who may not be alive due to the effects of time dilation (assuming the person receiving the result could get out of the black hole in the first place!).

July 2013 Event – Relativistic Computing

Synopsis

For our last event before the Summer break we have been fortunate to be able to reschedule David McMahon’s presentation on Relativistic Computing. In October of last year David gave us an insight into the strange world of Quantum Computing. At this event David will give us a glimpse of the even stranger world of Relativistic Computing.

David will first present a Relativity 101 and then go on to explain how some computer scientists have proposed making use of General Relativity and it’s bizarre effects to boost the computing speed of computers. No previous knowledge of relativity is expected or required – just a very open mind!

This event will take place on Tuesday 16th July 2013 from 18:00 to 20:00 in the main Trophy Suite at the Tally Ho! Sports and Conference Centre in Birmingham.

Tea, coffee and a buffet will be available. Both members and non-members are welcome.

Bookings for this event can be made on the BCS event booking system.

About the Presenter

David McMahon is a SharePoint MVP and is a Software Systems Architect for Ridgian, a Microsoft Gold Partner. Over his 15 years in the industry following a career in the RAF David has worked with and gained extensive experience of SQL Server, XML/XSLT and ASP.NET Web Application Development. He has worked at Ridgian for the past 8 years delivering solutions to the public and private sector.

June 2013 Event – Raspberry Pi – Review

Image of the Raspberry PiBCS Birmingham Branch would like to thank Mike Cook for leading the sessions on the introduction to the Raspberry Pi.

View of session at the Raspberry Pi eventThe event was a great success. The sessions were filled by enthusiastic delegates who were eager to have a go at building the ‘Pi‑Face Steady Hands’ project. Mike Cook provided guidance and instruction which had people of all programming skill levels and backgrounds grabbing a slice of the action!
Image of hands on work at the Raspberry Pi event