Techy Talks and other events coming up in April & May 2023

Events for teachers, schoolkids, families, general public

This is an occasional post highlighting some talks and events that touch on computer science or computing-adjacent tech and which are not aimed solely at an academic audience. This isn’t a complete list (an impossible task!) but is drawn from a range of venues and organisations, some already computer-focused, some that have a wider focus but who sometimes host computing events. If you have a suitable event, that the public / schools can get tickets for, please let me (Jo) know, thanks.


Webinar: How computers have changed science and predictions on how that will continue

19 April 2023 (Wed) – 7.30-9pm, £0, BCS [Online]
In the middle of the last century, the first computers were designed and built. At that time. researchers thought that the only contribution computers and their related technologies could have to research was through the development of mathematical models that could be turned into computer simulations. Simulation and the computational method became known as the third and newest pillar of science, complementing and adding to the other modes. which are experimentation and/or observation and theory. Traditionally it takes advantage of advanced computing, including HPC (High-Performance Computing) and visualization however this now includes but is not limited to cloud, data/video streaming and computer interactivity. 

Webinar: What your washing machine says about you: Investigating unusual devices

20 April 2023 (Thu) – 5-6pm, £0, BCS [Online]
With the rise in IoT devices, it is no surprise that such devices are cropping up during criminal, civil, corporate, and intelligence investigations. The media focus users on the security and type of data being transmitted/received by the device. However, the data the device stores are often less secure and provide a wealth of information about your activity.

In Digital Investigation, typically, we focus on what the device can tell us about the user and system behaviour. In this presentation, Prof Sarah Morriss will be discussing the research from her past cases, including investigating a Smart Washing Machine. She will discuss how these cases led to her designing and applying research techniques to extract information from the device to help with the active investigations.

Washing machine with door open and towel resting on it


Photograph of eye overlaid with digital design of 1s and 0s

Computer vision: learning to see the world

3 May 2023 (Wed) – 6.30-7.30pm, £0, Royal Society [In-person (London) and online]
Bakerian Prize Lecture 2023: Computer vision is a field where the goal is to enable machines to understand and use the visual content of images and videos in a similar manner to humans. In this talk Professor Andrew Zisserman will describe how machines are able to learn to recognise objects and actions from a temporal sequence of video frames, together with the audio and speech that accompanies them – an approach that is inspired by how infants may ‘learn to see’. He will show applications of computer vision to image search, to recognising sign language (BSL), and to generating video descriptions for the visually impaired.

Cybersecurity for Humans

9 May 2023 (Tue) – 6pm, £0, Gresham College [In-person (London) and online]Faceless hackers in hoodies, intergalactic warriors, and technology out of human control: are these representations of cyber threats accurate? And what might be their impact on levels of personal safety and security for organisations?This talk, from Prof Victoria Baines, presents ideas for how we might empower people to protect themselves and help address human issues in the IT sector by thinking differently about how we portray security threats and operations.

Image of computer coding text with central portion highlighted and blurred text surrounding, in purple and blue

Co-Design Beyond Words: Exploring Digital and Tangible Technology Design in Neurodiverse Classrooms

11 May 2023 (Thu) – 12-1pm, £0, Centre for Digital Research, Edinburgh [online]
“In this talk, Cara will describe her work in autism-specific primary school contexts, where she collaboratively explored how to better support the integration of non-verbal and minimally-verbal design contributions into the design process. She will describe the tangible technologies and methodological innovations developed through this work and will also discuss current projects and speculate on new directions for the field of Child-Computer Interaction.”

Tackling Bias In Tech

11 May 2023 (Thu) – 7-8.30pm, £16/10, Royal Institution [In-person only (London)]
Could technology be reinforcing prejudice and discrimination? Join Meredith Broussard to learn how to hold tech accountable.
This is a smaller event in the Conversation room. This event will not be livestreamed.

The Story of AI (So Far) – with Professor Murray Shanahan

11 May 2023 (Thu) 7-8.30pm, £0, Imperial College [In-person only (London)]
In this talk Professor Shanahan will tell the extraordinary story of artificial intelligence: the origins of the field, its ups and downs, and how we arrived at the technology we have today with all its potential. Along the way you will learn how neural networks work, get a feel for the many ways they can be applied, and see some pictorial examples of the remarkable things today’s AI can do.

Pint of Science

24 May 2023 (Wed) – 7-9pm, £5, Alan Turing Institute [In-person only (London)]
AI for the planet, love online and the Big Fat Quiz of AI

Location: The Gallery at Tileyard, 5 Tileyard Road, King’s Cross, London, N7 9AH

Geometric pattern found in Cordoba, Andalusia

Muslim Tech Festival

27 May 2023 (Sat) – all day, £16/10, Royal Institution [In-person only (London)]
Explore careers and opportunities in tech through a diverse group of leading Muslim researchers, engineers, start-up founders, and AI specialists as they present their cutting-edge research, experiences, and challenges in the industry. Open to anyone interested in science, technology, and innovation; the festival promises to inspire the next generation and promote new discussions in the technology field.

Coming up in the Summer holidays

Paul Curzon at the Royal Institution, entertaining some children with the magic of computer science
Paul Curzon running a workshop at the Royal Institution. Photo credit: Ed Moore

The Royal Institution host an extensive series of workshops in different STEM subjects for different age groups and Paul Curzon will be running a few of them. Currently listed and bookable workshops are –

Holiday workshops: Artificial intelligence, but where is the intelligence?

We all know the movie plots where evil robots and computers take over the world, but what is the reality? This workshop explores artificial intelligence, the field of science that tries to build ‘thinking machines’.

How are they built? Are they really intelligent? And what is intelligence anyway? We will also ask some interesting questions about a well-known ‘thinking machine’, you! Along the way we will play some games including building a working brain out of rope, tubes, and you, and playing snap with it.

Monday 14 August 2023, £35/28
11-1.15pm for 7-8 year olds
2.15-4.30pm for 9-11 year olds

Holiday workshops: The magic of computer science

In this workshop, Paul Curzon will demonstrate real magic tricks, showing the group how they are done so they can do the tricks themselves.

When you learn to be a magician, it turns out you are also learning the skills needed to be a great computer scientist: computational thinking.

Students will then use the magic to learn the linked basics of computer science. They’ll see what computational thinking is all about and how both magicians and computer scientists rely on it.

Friday 18 August 2023, £35/28
1-1.15pm, for 7-8 year olds
2.15-4.30pm for 9-11 year olds

Places which have computing-themed talks and events

This blog is funded through EPSRC grant EP/W033615/1.