Book review: Algorithms to live by

March 16, 2021 / 1 comment

I recently finished Algorithms to Live by (the computer science of human decisions), by Brian Christian and Tom Griffiths. The book provides a fairly detailed popular science account of some major findings from computer science, relating computational algorithms to the way humans solve problems. As an example – how do we fit things in our…

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Book review: x+y

February 7, 2021 / 0 comments

Since Christmas I’ve read two books by Eugenia Cheng and have hugely enjoyed them both. Cheng is a mathematician, author, concert pianist and writer (and, it would appear, all-round awesome human). The first book was called “How to Bake Pi“, and combined a general introduction to category theory with a bunch of cookery tips and…

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Minecraft Taskmaster volume II

January 24, 2021 / 0 comments

My last blog post was about a few CS-Women socials we’d held in Minecraft. These were pretty good fun, and after 3 events organised by the women students we decided to go large and organise one for the wider student body. Our first was held just before xmas: we had 8 teams of 3-4 +…

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Lockdown social: Minecraft taskmaster

November 5, 2020 / 1 comment

Usually we organise a couple of socials each term for the women students in our department. These involve meeting up for a coffee or some drinks, and provide an informal way to support women students as it can be a little odd being in a minority. As Wales went into a “firebreak” lockdown, a friend…

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A computer called LEO

June 25, 2020 / 2 comments

I’ve just finished the book “A Computer Called LEO“, by Georgina Ferry, and it was a great read. I can thoroughly recommend it. It’s not new either so if you like secondhand books you can probably pick a copy up cheap. It’s a book about the early days of business computing, but don’t let that…

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Behind the scenes at Lovelace 2020

April 20, 2020 / 1 comment

The BCSWomen Lovelace Colloquium was supposed to be in Stirling this year. As ever, we’d put a lot into it (visits, campus tours, looking around poster spaces and theatres, booking rooms, choosing lunches, block booking hotels, etc. etc.) but as the event grew nearer and the pandemic grew stronger we had to decide: cancel, or…

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Creating BlackBoard quiz questions automatically

April 1, 2020 / 2 comments

At my work we use the VLE BlackBoard for supporting our teaching. Some of the things it does are pretty good, but hidden away: this blog is about one of those dusty BlackBoard corners. In the first year module I’m teaching on there are a lot of students and so managing practical sessions and sign-off…

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Ada Lovelace Day 2019 – a Scottish trip

October 9, 2019 / 0 comments

For Ada Lovelace Day (8th Oct this year) I was invited to talk at Glasgow University, and so I arranged myself a little Scottish tour taking in a visit to an auntie in Dundee, a day in Stirling catching up with Carron and delivering my Ada Lovelace talk there too. It was a busy couple…

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Honey

August 6, 2019 / 0 comments

Everyone I speak to who has hayfever confirms that 2019 has been a challenging year of sneezing, running eyes, and itchy faces. This means that there’s a lot of pollen about. In over 10 years of beekeeping, Rog has only once collected enough honey to warrant borrowing the extractor from the beekeepers association. Usually, we…

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Robotic egg race

May 23, 2019 / 0 comments

In Aberystwyth Robotics Club we have a series of special events – pumpkin hack in late October, Christmas Card Circuits in December, Beach lab (robots on the prom) in June/July … These are outreach events designed to get people who don’t come to the regular weekly after-school clubs to have a go at building stuff….

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