Previous Events

Let's Talk about Big Data

24/05/2018 - 18:45

Venue: Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE), Filton Road, Bristol BS34 8QZ map
plenty of parking available

Speakers: David Standingford & Dr Luke Kreczko

6.45pm Refreshments
7.15pm Main Talk

Please register for this event here

The experiments in the High Energy Particle Physics (HEP) community, with the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) experiments in particular, produce vast amounts of data every year. However, only a small fraction of this data, in the order of tens of petabytes, can be stored.

Luke Kreczko's presentation aims to summarise the flow of data from experiment to physicist as well as the supporting computing infrastructure. We will briefly discuss the Compact Muon Solenoid (CMS) experiment and its data reduction systems, the Worldwide LHC Computing Grid, and future challenges in this sector.

David Standingford will talk about big data in the world of simulation and modelling in engineering.

Big Data seems to be everywhere! The large number of freely available toolsets, hardware SDKs and open-source libraries implementing many of the standard AI / machine learning algorithms are a testimony to the prevalence of data, largely enabled by online services, web connectivity for B2B applications and of course our willingness to share huge amounts of personal data via social media. At CFMS and Zenotech, our interest is in the use of advanced IT technology to enable powerful new modelling and simulation capabilities for engineering, and here the processing of big data is relatively less advanced. In this talk, David will present some examples drawn from renewables and cloud-based engineering services, that demonstrate the power and potential of big data processing in non-standard applications, and, critically, where they are enablers for the next generation of IT tools for high value design and manufacturing.

Dr Luke KreczkoLuke Kreczko is a Research Associate in the particle physics group at the University of Bristol. Currently he spends his time on precision measurements and trigger studies at the Compact Muon Solenoid (CMS) experiment at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), simulation and software development at the Lux-Zeplin experiment, and maintenance of the Bristol Tier 2 computing site. As a passionate physicist and technologist he is part of an effort to modernise the way petabytes worth of physics data are analysed.

David StandingfordDavid Standingford is a technology leader and manager with experience in the UK, Australia and the USA. Prior to co-founding Zenotech Ltd, Standingford worked as a lecturer in mathematics and fluid dynamics at the University of Adelaide, as a postdoctoral researcher on the NASA Microgravity Programme at the University of Delaware, and most recently at BAE Systems Advanced Technology Centre as the Theme Technology Leader for Design and Materials Technology, responsible for Computational Engineering, IT Strategy, Materials Science and Stealth. Standingford is a Lead Technolgist at the Centre for Modelling and Simulation (CFMS) and is the Chairman of the ERCOFTAC Knowledge Network Committee (KNC).

AI & Machine Learning

18/04/2018 - 18:45
18/04/2018 - 21:00

Venue: Peel & Hepple Lecture Theatres, School of Geographical Sciences, University of Bristol, BS8 1SS map

Speakers: Thomas Bradley & Dr Joanna Bryson

6.45pm Refreshments
7.15pm Main Talk

Please register for this event here

The focus of this Talk will be on Artificial Intelligence This talk will be delivered by two representatives with varied experiences. Thomas Bradley Director of Developer Technology of Nvidia will discuss how AI hardware is evolving and Dr Joanna Bryson who will discuss the need for standards in the AI field.

Dr Joanna BrysonDr Joanna Bryson is a Reader (tenured Associate Professor) at the University of Bath, United Kingdom, and an affiliate of Princeton University’s Center for Information Technology Policy (CITP). Her academic interests include the structure and utility of intelligence, both natural and artificial. Venues for her research range from “reddit” to ”Science”. She is best known for her work on AI systems and AI ethics, both of which she began during her doctoral work in the 1990s, but she and her colleagues publish broadly – in biology, anthropology, sociology, philosophy, cognitive science, and politics. Current projects include “Public Goods and Artificial Intelligence” with Alin Coman of Princeton University’s Department of Psychology and Mark Riedl of Georgia Tech. The project is funded by Princeton University’s Center for Human Values and includes both basic research in human sociality and experiments in technological interventions. Other current research projects are centred around understanding the causality behind the correlation between wealth inequality and political polarization, generating transparency for AI systems, and conducting research on machine prejudice deriving from human semantics. Bryson holds degrees in psychology from the University of Chicago and the University of Edinburgh, and in artificial intelligence from the University of Edinburgh and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). At Bath, she founded the Intelligent Systems research group (one of four in the Department of Computer Science) and heads their Artificial Models of Natural Intelligence.

Thomas BradleyThomas Bradley holds a first-class MEng from the University of Bristol, UK, and l'École Nationale Supérieure de Télécommunications in Brest, France. Starting as a digital hardware designer he worked as a processor architect for video encoding processors at STMicroelectronics before moving to ClearSpeed Technology plc to lead their architecture development for general purpose parallel processors. Since then he has specialised in High Performance Computing at ClearSpeed and at NVIDIA, where he is Director of Developer Technology, leading the GPU computing group in artificial intelligence, data analytics, and scientific computing in EMEA, Russia and India.

Blockchain – Whats it all about & Practical Action

07/03/2018 - 18:45
07/03/2018 - 21:00

Venue: Peel & Hepple Lecture Theatres, School of Geographical Sciences, University of Bristol, BS8 1SS map

Speakers: Tim Kindberg & Somil Goyal

6.45pm Refreshments
7.15pm Main Talk

Please register for this event here

The focus of this Talk will be on Blockchain This talk will be delivered by two representatives with varied experiences. Dr Tim Kindberg is founder of digital technology company matter II media. Somil Goyal is an experienced financial services executive and COO of Adjoint, a distributed ledger and smart contract company selected as 2018 100 Most Influential Fintechs.

Tim will debate digital currency such as Bitcoin and other blockchain-based systems such as Ethereum and will explain why he is sceptical about the technologies that underlie them and look at what needs to be done. Whilst Somil will discuss distributed ledger technology how it extends the traditional database model, using smart contracts within finance as his example.

Tim KindbergTim Kindberg Founder, matter II media

Lately, as a former scholar of distributed systems, including consensus protocols, I’ve become fascinated by the debate surrounding digital currency Bitcoin and other blockchain-based systems such as Ethereum. In this talk I will explain why I'm sceptical about the technologies that underlie them, summarise the case against the hype, and look at what needs to be done

Dr. Tim Kindberg is a computer scientist and founder of digital technology company matter II media whose products include social video platforms Vorb and Nth Screen. He is based in Bristol's Pervasive Media Studio. He is co-author of the textbook Distributed Systems - Concepts and Design and has been visiting professor at the University of Bath and ITU Copenhagen. He has many years of experience of industrial R&D in distributed, mobile and pervasive computing, and was a senior researcher at HP Labs in Palo Alto and Bristol for ten years.

Somil GoyalSomil Goyal is an experienced financial services executive. He is COO of Adjoint, a distributed ledger and smart contract company selected as 2018 100 Most Influential Fintechs. He has worked for Deutsche Bank across asset classes and geographies, as well as in consulting at EY and Deloitte.

VR & The Evolution of Military Gaming

22/11/2017 - 19:00
22/11/2017 - 21:00

Venue: Bristol & Bath Science Park map

Speakers: Tom Ball & John Curry

7.00pm Refreshments
7.30pm Main Talk

Please register for this event here

The evolution and future of military gaming. John will provide a history of military simulation, an introduction to games based technology and Tom will discuss using Mixed reality technology in the live environment and what is either available now or shortly will be.

There will be a demonstration of the latest Close Air technology available.

Tom BallTom Ball Technical Director, Close Air Solutions

Close Air Solutions is a company that delivers Military Joint Fires Capabilities, and is outcome not product focused. It specializes in combining Military Expertise and Technical Expertise in integrating the best of breed software, hardware, and instructional techniques to meet customer capability requirements. Tom Co-founded the company in 2012 after a 14 year career in the Royal Air Force as a Operational Tornado Strike Attack Pilot and Joint Fires Instructor. In the latter part of his RAF service, he specialized in using off the shelf simulation products, and bespoke instructional techniques to solve training problems he encountered during his instructional duties. He was recognised in the Queen’s Birthday Honours for delivering better trained personnel at a lower cost due to savings in flight hours. Tom co-founded Close Air Solutions in order to continue the innovation in simulation; creating an international training offering in the complex and politically sensitive area of Joint Fires. The aim is to reduce unnecessary loss of life on the battlefield by providing more competent personnel to commanders.

Close Air Solutions is a leading innovator in the military training space, having won two Centre for Defence Enterprise Challenges in the area of Defence Operational Synthetic Training with a Mixed Reality Concept training system called Hyper Real Immersion (HRI). The vision is to provide users with a convincing view of a correlated synthetic world without disrupting their view of the real world. With this system it is possible to go outside into the natural environment, observe all of the real environment uninterrupted, but on top of this to experience a synthetic environment rich with photorealistic real-time controlled moveable objects (People, Buildings, Vehicles) that appear to obey the laws of the natural world. This will provide a more immersive, and relevant experience to the end-user than is possible using traditional training in a simulator.

John CurryJohn Curry Senior Lecturer, Bath Spa University.

John Curry is a senior lecturer in games development at Bath Spa University. He has an international reputation in conflict simulations/ serious games and authored/ co-authored/ edited more than 80 books in the field. He spends his professional life playing games and developing new ways of gaming cyber attack. He has played games on a wide range of topics from pandemics to international crises. He is also currently with a London based company, Anquan, on running cyber exercises for senior managers of key companies in the City of London. A summary of his job could be, “playing strange games, with strange people in strange places”.

The Changing face of Computing Infrastructure

27/09/2017 - 19:00
27/09/2017 - 21:00

Venue: Unit DX, St Philips Central, Albert Road, Bristol, BS2 0XJ map

Speakers: Tony Ford, Edgar Whitley, and Simon Ponsford

7.00pm Refreshments
7.30pm Main Talk

Please register for this event here

This talk is about Super Computing, and we have three representatives with varied experiences. Tony Ford (Cray), Professor Edgar Whitley (London School Economics (LSE)) and Simon Ponsford (CTO at YellowDog).

The talks will be based around Technology Infrastructure with Tony providing an insight into the scalability metrics that are important for supercomputer systems today and increasingly so for upcoming systems. Edgar will draw on his research to explore why companies might want to move to a cloud model of computing and highlight some of the challenges of manging the organisational transformation such a shift would involve and finally Simon will examine “How to render the latest blockbuster in an afternoon”.

Tony FordTony Ford, Director of Engineering, Advanced Technology R&D, Cray Inc.

Cray Inc. is an American supercomputer manufacturer headquartered in Seattle, Washington. It also manufactures systems for data storage and analytics. Many Cray supercomputer systems are listed in the top 10 of TOP500 list, which ranks the most powerful supercomputers in the world. Tony has over 30 years in High-Performance Computing, delivering leading technology to some of the world's most demanding customers. In addition to operational & engineering leadership, experience includes scalable system architecture, engineering design and development, covering many aspects of high performance computing and infrastructure technology.

Professor Edgar WhitleyProfessor Edgar Whitley

Edgar is an Associate Professor (Reader) in Information Systems in the Department of Management at the London School of Economics and Political Science.

Edgar has a BSc (Econ) and PhD in Information Systems, both from the LSE. He is the co-editor of Information Technology and People and Senior Editor for the Journal of Information Technology. Edgar was the research coordinator of the influential LSE Identity Project on the UK's proposals to introduce biometric identity cards; proposals that were scrapped following the 2010 General Election. Cloud computing is another of Edgar’s research interests, with recent publications including the book “Moving to the cloud corporation” (Palgrave 2014) with Leslie Willcocks and Will Venters, A Critical Review of Cloud Computing: Researching Desires and Realities” (JIT 2012) with Will Venters and “Cloud Sourcing and Innovation: Slow Train Coming? A Composite Research Study” which won the Strategic Outsourcing Journal Best Paper award in 2014.

Simon PonsfordSimon Ponsford, CTO YellowDog Ltd.

Simon is widely recognised as a leading expert in datacentre automation, green IT, backup and disaster recovery, Simon has held senior positions in some of the World's leading datacentre providers, software companies and disaster recovery service providers. He speaks regularly on datacentre technologies, data security and energy efficient computing at industry conferences and leading academic institutions. Simon has been involved in several start-ups across Europe and North America including Cranberry in the UK where he was CEO and CIO at Flexion Systems in California. Simon is passionate about delivering ‘green’ technology and is best known for designing the world’s lowest powered Windows PC in 2008. He is also responsible for KumoWatt, the leading training programme for IT professionals interested in reducing the carbon impact of what they do. In addition to his extensive technical knowledge, Simon is experienced in managing technology businesses and running software development teams.

Balancing Freedom and Progress: IoT & the Supply Chain

21/06/2017 - 19:00
21/06/2017 - 21:00

Venue: Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE), Filton Road, Bristol BS34 8QZ map
plenty of parking available

Speakers: Prof. Glenn Parry, Dr Carl Shaw, and Georgina Graham

7.00pm Welcome
7.30pm Main Talks
8.30pm Refreshments

Please register for this event here

This fourth talk in the 2017 series will continue the theme about “of now” technology subject matters and have an underlying theme to examine the security and privacy issues of modern technology.

The talk will examine how new technology is pushing the boundaries of value, how security is often forgotten within the IoT arena and the challenges that arise by the regulatory framework for data protection and privacy when applied to the Iota ecosystem.

This talk will be delivered by three representatives with varied experiences.

Prof. Glenn ParryProfessor Glenn Parry

Glenn Parry is Professor of Strategy and Operations Management at Bristol Business School, University of the West of England. He is primarily interested in what 'Good' means for an organisation, exploring value as a measurement of 'goodness'. He uses business models as a framework to understand value co-creation between provider and client in context. He is currently working on personal data business models, perceived vulnerability and data, ‘blockchain for good’, and business models in the charities sector.

Dr Carl ShawDr Carl Shaw

Carl Shaw has over 20 years of developing and securing embedded systems an is one of the founders of Cerberus Security Laboratories Ltd, a UK company that specialises in embedded systems and IoT technical security consultancy, development and testing. Prior to this, he: was one of the founders of the software company MathEmbedded Ltd., where he built a reputation for delivering software security consultancy; worked for the silicon manufacturer STMicroelectronics as technical leader of their global Linux OS team, where he led security projects for pay TV System-on-Chips; was a senior scientist at the MoD; and earned a Ph.D in Astrophysics. His current work involves the end-to-end security design, architecture and assessment of complex IoT and “smart” devices. Current interests include hybrid hardware/software methods for securing CPUs and software countermeasures for side channel attacks. He is a regular speaker at conferences, the most recent being Embedded World 2017 in Germany.

Georgina GrahamGeorgina Graham

Georgina is a Senior Associate in Osborne Clarke's Commercial team, specialising in technology and data protection and privacy.  She advises on a range of data privacy issues, including in the context of Internet of Things, mobile payments, big data analytics and data monetisation / exploitation.
Georgina is currently working with a number of clients to prepare for the impact of the EU's General Data Protection Regulation, helping them to develop their privacy compliance programmes and navigate through the minefield of European data protection laws. 
Her work also includes advising clients on: global data transfer issues, data sharing arrangements, and direct marketing.  Georgina works with businesses to provide solutions for the tensions that can exist between the desire to recognise the value in data with (sometimes) complex legal and regulatory challenges.

FinTech: Balancing Freedom and Progress

07/06/2017 - 19:00
07/06/2017 - 21:00

HPC Talk Speakers

Venue: Burges Salmon Bristol office
One Glass Wharf, Bristol BS2 0ZX

Speakers: Adrian Shedden, Dave Tonge, and Charles Radclyffe

7.00pm Welcome
7.30pm Main Talks
8.30pm Refreshments

Please register for this event here

This third talk in the 2017 series will continue the theme about “of now” technology subject matters and have an underlying theme to examine the increasing careful balance required between “freedom and efficiency” that modern technology provides to us. This talk will be delivered by three representatives with varied experiences.

Adrian SheddenAdrian Shedden - Senior Associate, Burges Salmon

Adrian leads Burges Salmon’s cross-departmental fintech and regulated lending practices and is a senior associate in the firm's funds and financial regulation team. Adrian has experience advising financial institutions, high net worth individuals, start-ups and major private and public companies in relation to regulation in the following main areas:

  • fund and asset management
  • retail finance, mortgage and consumer credit
  • payment services and electronic money
  • virtual currencies and decentralised ledger technology
    regulatory disputes.

Adrian is heavily engaged with the fintech sector. He is a mentor on the Barclays Techstars Accelerator and together with the Burges Salmon fintech practice has been assisting the FCA with its regtech call for input and engaging with R3 CEV and stakeholders on smart contract templates.
Adrian qualified as a solicitor in England and Wales in 2009 and is an alumnus of the University of Bristol and University of West England.

Dave TongeDave Tonge - CTO at Moneyhub Enterprise

Dave is a member of the Open ID Foundation working on open standards for financial APIs and is the technical representative for the Financial Data and Technology Association(FDATA). He also represents FDATA within the Financial Conduct Authority's (FCA) PSD2 Stakeholder Group as well as working with the Open Banking Implementation Entity to define the standard for UK Banking APIs. At Moneyhub Enterprise, Dave leads the team of Software Engineers, QA Engineers, UX Architects and Systems Administrators to deliver the best personal finance management solutions on mobile devices and across the web, for businesses to share with their customers.

Charles RadclyffeCharles Radclyffe - FinTech practitioner

Charles is a serial entrepreneur who has built and sold three FinTech and AdTech companies, and passionately supports and mentors young entrepreneurs and start-up teams.

In addition to providing advisory services to companies on their Data Analytics strategy, he is an experienced public speaker on topics relating to Smart Devices, Data Science, and Artificial Intelligence.

Charles holds an MA in Law from Cambridge, and his hobbies include golf, motorsport, science fiction and early modern history. Charles currently serves as the Head of Technology for the Innovation Function at Deutsche Bank in London, dbLabs.

AI & Robotic Ethics

03/05/2017 - 19:00
03/05/2017 - 21:00

Bristol Robotics Laboratory

Venue: Engine Shed

Speaker: Alan Winfield & Chris Holder

7.00pm Welcome
7.30pm Main Talk
8.30pm Refreshments

Please register for this event here

This second talk in the 2017 series will look at AI and Robotic Ethics. The talk will examine the how intelligent robotics has the potential for huge benefit, but is not without ethical or societal risk and where we stand legally on such matters and what this could mean for potential applications and the impact on people.

Alan WinfieldAlan Winfield is Professor of Robot Ethics at the University of the West of England (UWE), Bristol, UK, and Visiting Professor at the University of York. He received his PhD in Digital Communications from the University of Hull in 1984, then co-founded and led APD Communications Ltd until taking-up appointment at UWE, Bristol in 1991. Winfield co-founded the Bristol Robotics Laboratory and his research is focussed on understanding the nature and limits of robot intelligence.

Alan is an advocate for robot ethics; he is a member of the British Standards Institute working group that drafted BS 8611: Guide to the Ethical Design of Robots and Robotic Systems, and currently co-chairs the General Principles committee of the IEEE global initiative on the Ethics of Autonomous Systems. Alan has published over 200 works, including ‘Robotics: A Very Short Introduction’ (Oxford University Press, 2012), and lectures widely on robotics (including robot ethics) presenting to both academic and public audiences.

Chris HolderChris Holder has worked in the IT sector since qualification in 1991 and was one of the first wave of specialist IT outsourcing lawyers in the UK, having worked for both IBM UK and Shaw Pittman in this role from the mid1990s/early 2000s.

He has advised suppliers and customers alike in relation to large scale, national and international IT infrastructure outsourcing transactions around the World and has been involved in some of the largest and most complex deals completed in the UK. This includes many examples of data centre, application development and maintenance, telecoms networks and desktop service deals, either together or as separate ‘tower’ transactions.

Aside from IT Outsourcing, Chris has represented clients involved in a range of BPO transactions, including F&A, HR and logistics and is also involved in systems integration and multi sourcing agreements, hardware purchase agreements, website development and hosting, e-commerce and general commercial contacting in the IT business arena.

Chris is a Partner at Bristows since 2014 and leads the firm’s new Robotics and AI practice and has been involved in many EU and UK based initiatives to begin the development of law and practice in this area.

He has spoken widely on all of the above topics and is a current member of the Technology Committee of the IBA.

Branch AGM 2016 & 2017

03/05/2017 - 18:30
03/05/2017 - 19:00

We have had some challenges in organising an AGM last year, and so we propose to hold a catch up AGM for 2016 and the AGM for 2017 before the May talk.

Please come along and give support to your committee.

We are always looking for help and if you wish to become more involved in the running of the branch we would welcome your help.

Machine Learning & AI

01/03/2017 - 19:00
01/03/2017 - 21:00

Venue: Engine Shed

Speaker: Nigel Toon & Jim Smith

7.00pm Refreshments
7.30pm Main Talk

This event is now fully booked.

This talk on Machine Learning & AI (Artificial Intelligence) and will examine how the capability of the underlying technology is rapidly increasing and what this could mean for potential applications and the impact on people.

Nigel ToonNigel Toon is co-founder and Chairman & CEO of Graphcore Ltd. Graphcore is a new silicon and systems company based in Bristol, UK and Palo Alto, USA that has developed the Intelligent Processing Unit to accelerate machine learning and AI applications.

Nigel was CEO of two VC-backed silicon companies before founding Graphcore; Picochip, which was sold to Mindspeed in 2012 and most recently, XMOS, in which Graphcore was incubated for two years before being established as a separate entity in 2016. Before that he was co-founder of Icera, a 3G/4G cellular modem chip company, where he led Sales and Marketing and was on the Board of Directors. Icera was sold to NVIDIA in 2011 for $435M. Prior to Icera, he was Vice President and General Manger at Altera Corporation where he spent 13 years and was responsible for establishing and building the European business unit that grew to over $400m annual revenues. He is the author of 3 patents, is chairman of the Board of Directors at XMOS Ltd and a non-executive director at Imagination Technologies PLC.

Jim SmithProfessor Jim Smith is Professor of Interactive Artificial Intelligence at the University of the West of England (UWE). After taking an Electrical Sciences from Cambridge University, he worked in various industrial sectors before returning to academia at UWE, where he took his PhD and now leads the Artificial Intelligence Research Group. He has published extensively on many aspects of theoretical and applied Artificial Intelligence, works which have been cited over 8000 times and have won awards such as the 2001 ACM-SIGEVO prize for papers which are ‘deemed to be seminal’. He has led a number of successful projects concerning the hybridisation of metaheuristic approaches with machine learning, and mathematical approaches funded by the EC, EPSRC, governmental agencies from the UK, US and Brazil, and commercial partners.

Recently his research has increasingly focussed on collaborative human-machine problem-solving, and how machines can deal with the fact that people are not oracles”, but rather are fallible, prone to fatigue and distraction, and are themselves adaptive - often changing their judgements or opinions as their experience changes.