A Project in the Life of a Visual Journalism Trainee

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A few months ago, I completed my first big project for the Visual Journalism team at BBC News. I worked alongside another developer to create the ‘Which World Leader are You?’ piece.

I was brought into the project as it looked like one which I could learn a lot from it, buddy up with an experienced developer and, given the scale of the project, it would probably benefit from an extra set of hands.

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Computing revolution

Dr Martin De Saulles, Principal Lecturer on our computing courses, has published a book on a rapidly developing area of the computing and communications sectors which “has the potential to change how we live and work”.

The Internet of Things and Business (IoT), published by Routledge, “represents the next evolution of the computing revolution and will see the embedding of information and communication technologies within machines at home and in the workplace and across a broad range of industrial processes. The effect will be a radical restructuring of industries and business models driven by massive flows of data providing new insights into how the man-made and natural worlds work.”

Dr De Saulles explores the business models emerging from the IoT and considers the challenges as well as the opportunities they pose to businesses around the world.
He said: “Via real examples and a range of international case studies, the reader will develop an understanding of how this technology revolution will impact on the business world as well as on broader society.”

Find out more about Dr De Saulles book here.

 

Partnering with an alumnus to develop a novel legal software system

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In November The University of Brighton has won £144,794 funding to work with Brighton-based firm, Family Law Partners. The project will utilise the university’s knowledge engineering and artificial intelligence expertise to develop a triage style system to underpin a novel model of family law provision.

Alan Larkin

Alan Larkin, Director of Family Law Partners

Family Law Partners specialise exclusively in family law and their Director, Alan Larkin is an alumnus of the university. Alan said:

“We are delighted to be working with the University of Brighton on this project. We see technology as having a pivotal role in the future delivery of family law services, and it is with great excitement that we have teamed up with knowledge engineering specialists from the university to innovate our service. On a personal level, it is also particularly satisfying to be strengthening our existing relationship with our local university and the institution where I undertook my legal training.”

The funding has been awarded through a two-year Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) supported by the Government’s innovation agency, Innovate UK.

The project will be led by Dr John Kingston and supported by Professor Miltos Petridis, both from the university’s School of Computing, Engineering and Mathematics.

Family Law Partners has already been shortlisted for a national award in the ‘Innovation in IT’ category for development of its first commercial software offer, Siaro, and by collaborating with university experts to use technology to streamline elements of the divorce process, they will be further innovating their service to be at the very forefront Family Law provision.

Winner of Best Poster award at AI 2016 conference

The annual BCS conference on Artificial Intelligence (AI-2016), held from 13-15 December in Cambridge, had a significant presence from CEM with two accepted papers; one poster; and Professor Miltos Petridis as one of the Chairs of the conference. The presentations covered the topics of artificial intelligence and legal liability; comparing different learning methods for predicting user behaviour; and using data mining to enhance online advertising.

Congratulations to the presenters of the accepted papers and poster: Nikolay Burlutskiy, Maria Diapouli, John Kingston and Miltos Petridis. Congratulations also to co-authors Nour Ali, Alexei Chernov, Roger Evans, Andrew Fish and Stelios Kapetanakis. Special congratulations are due to Maria Diapouli and Miltos Petridis for winning the prize for the best poster presentation, chosen by conference delegates.

Maria Diapouli

Maria Diapouli with her poster

AI Poster winners: Maria Diapouli and Miltos Petridis

AI Poster winners: Maria Diapouli and Miltos Petridis

Studying and socialising in our nationally recognised building

estates_cockcroft_aw_048The recent, multi-million pound project transforming the Cockcroft building into a state-of-the-art research, teaching and information building has been recognised in the prestigious Green Gown Awards for 2016.

Our university and the architects we worked with Fraser Brown MacKenna were named Finalist in the Built Environment category for what was one of the largest retrofits of an occupied academic building in the UK.

The transformation was described by judges as “an innovative approach integrating architectural, building services and structure design” which unlocked the environmental potential of the 10,500m2 building using the latest technology.

Innovations include an aquifer thermal energy store, potentially reducing energy demand, CO2 emissions and fuel savings. The system stores and recovers thermal energy beneath the ground and provides heating and cooling.

A spokesperson for the awards told the university: “On behalf of the Green Gown Awards Team we wanted to congratulate you on your achievement. Being a Green Gown Awards Finalist is something to be extremely proud of.”

Earlier this year the Cockcroft project won in the Higher Education category of the Architects’ Journal Retrofit Awards 2016. Judges called it a bold project and a model for future similar projects. Continue reading

Rethinking Software Systems Security

haris-mouratidisInaugural lecture from Professor Haris Mouratidis.

Software systems are an important and critical component of modern human society, used in almost every sector from transport, power and telecoms to health-care, military and education. Different stakeholders use software systems to different ends. Major corporations use them to perform critical processes and store confidential corporate data; governments need them to support citizen services, run military operations and exchange highly confidential data; and individuals use them to perform every day activities from personal banking to storing private information.

As a result, today’s economy and society are vitally dependent on software systems operating, not just according to their specifications, but also with a certain degree of trust and security. The increasing adoption and integration of software systems within an environment of rapid technological advancements has demanded systems that go beyond mono-dimensional technical solutions simultaneously raising a set of tightly intertwined challenges.

Rethinking Software Systems Security
Haris Mouratidis
Professor of Software Systems Engineering

Thursday 24 November 2016 at 6.15 pm.
Huxley Lecture Theatre
Huxley Building
Moulsecoomb

Free event. All are welcome. If you would like to attend please register online no later than 48 hours prior to the event.

British Science Festival heads for Brighton

british-science-festival-logoOne of Europe’s leading and longest established science festivals is coming to Brighton next year. And we will be co-hosting it!

The University of Brighton will co-host the 2017 British Science Festival with the University of Sussex from 5-8 September.

The festival, organised by the British Science Association, will have a programme of over 100 events featuring cutting-edge science from world-leading academics covering everything from technology and engineering to social sciences.

Welcoming the announcement, Vice-Chancellor Professor Debra Humphris said: “I am delighted that the University of Brighton will be co-hosting the British Science Festival next year. We were keen to grasp this wonderful opportunity to showcase our world-leading research alongside cutting-edge science from around the globe in an accessible and engaging way.

“The city of Brighton & Hove is world-renowned for its Arts Festival. By hosting the British Science Festival, we can throw open the doors of our facilities to the wider community, including our new state-of-the-art Advanced Engineering Building that is currently under construction.”

We’ll keep you posted as more details are confirmed, and hope to see you all there!

University building scoops top award

The project to refurbish the University of Brighton’s iconic Cockcroft Building has won in the Higher Education category of the prestigious Architects’ Journal Retrofit Awards 2016.

The Cockcroft Building on the University’s Moulsecoomb campus has been a familiar landmark on Brighton’s Lewes Road since the 1960’s.

The awards jury said: “This is a bold project, particularly from a sustainability point of view – and a model for future similar projects. It focuses well on how people use the building. The exterior has been elegantly improved and the interior creatively revamped.”


Welcoming the award, Vice-Chancellor, Professor Debra Humphris said: “This is really excellent news and I congratulate the team involved in this major project. The refurbishment of the Cockcroft Building is an important part of our ongoing investment programme which aims to ensure that our students have access to world-class facilities.”

The multi-million pound refurbishment programme, which took three years to complete, was carried out whilst the building was still being used by staff and students and included:
• Development of state-of-the-art new learning laboratories and office spaces to house schools within the university’s College of Life, Health and Physical Sciences
• Installation of new windows to improve insulation throughout the building
• Exposing the ceiling space to highlight the architectural features of the building’s interior
• Opening up corridors in the building to improve lighting, people movement and provide social and informal learning spaces for students and staff to use.
• Reducing noise levels by putting in place sound buffering and dampening features
• Installing a new roof surface to improve insulation and energy efficiency.

First week on BBC Placement

A week or so ago, I started my placement year. I got a great position as a Trainee Web Developer on the BBC News Website, based in Broadcasting House, London.

I’m shattered to be honest. But already I’m having a great time, learning loads and actually feeling like part of the team.

I’ve ended up in the Visual Journalism Team (Yay!) which mostly creates bespoke interactive content for news articles. Things such as the Olympic Face Wall and Will a robot take your job?. This is probably the team I was hoping to get the most (well, tied with Politics) and I genuinely think it’ll teach me the most too, in regards to front-end web development.

I’m not sure how much detail I can give about what I’ve been working on but I’ve already got the basics of my first project done (and that was only my second day!). It’s a little something for the US election, I’ll share it and describe it properly when it’s published.

Since then, I’ve been mostly finding and solving problems with another project which is due to be released into the big wide world next week. Again, I’ll try and share it and give a little more details when it’s ready.

I’ve spent a lot of the time getting used to using the Mac Terminal and Git, as well as the way the team approaches and builds content. It’s very different to anything I’ve worked with before, mostly due to it being such a big organisation who put an emphasis on automating as much of the development process as possible – so we can spend more time creating and developing awesome content.

The team are lovely and haven’t hesitated to include me and make me feel welcome. They’re happy to answer any of my questions (no matter how silly) and we all go to lunch together everyday. This in itself has been why I’ve settled so quickly and enjoyed my first week so much.

Weirdly, although this has been a major week for me, there doesn’t seem to be much for me to say… I’ll try and blog regularly with any exciting updates!

ElectroMagnetic Fields (EMF) our third and final day

After a suprisingly good sleep I got up and again left the others to get themselves together whilst I started the day

VR workshop – I was super excited to get involved in this workshop. Armed with my laptop, Google Cardboard and smartphone I managed to create a very basic world in virtual reality just using HTML and Aframe.JS. This was so satisfying and defintely something I want to continue playing with! Massive thanks to Michael Straeubig for the workshop!
Realtime Web – I’m going to be honest, this workshop went a little over my head (and from the chatter I wasn’t the only one). It didn’t seem to lend itself to a workshop so well as only a few people could code at once but they did create some pretty cool stuff which affected each of our computer screens at once – such as changing the colour of a browser when a button was pressed to a colour we’d individually selected earlier.
A talk on how data is used in and from schools – This one was kind of scary in some ways. Schools are now being told to provide the government with country of birth details from students – this can’t be good. In light of the uncertainty from Brexit it might scare parents off sending their children to school in case it leads to deportation or something. Also the government have a database of details of every under 35 year old in the UK – acadmeic things from when we were at school and such like. All this can be passed on to compaines too…. Concerning eh? Find out more
Meditation for Hackers – I ended the festival with 2 hours of being taught meditation techniques. Nice. My favourite was to focus on all the sounds around you, try to focus on one particular one, then try to focus on two, then three. It’s hard and it doesn’t matter if you stop at 1 or 2 sounds, but it definitely shuts my brain up!

Unfortunately EMF Camp is only bi-annual. The next one isn’t until 2018 – booo! But for now we can satisfy that itch by watching the talks from this year here. And you can also find what I got up to on days one and two of this years event.