Computer Laboratory

Computer Laboratory Outreach and Public Engagement Activities


The Computer Laboratory is engaged in a wide range of outreach activities with schools, colleges and communities. Our staff participate in public engagement activities to inspire, inform and foster debate.

Some of the many outreach and public engagement activities

Sam Aaron has run a wide range of Sonic Pi workshops. These have incuded workshops for A-Level students and teachers as part of the Sutton Trust, workshops at St John's School Cambridge and The Spinney Primary School, Think Computer Science at Duxford, the Centre for Computing History and Picademy. Sam has also given a number of Sonic Pi talks including SuperMondays in Newcastle, Bellerbys College as well as a talk to visitors from Kazakhstan. Sam has given interviews about Sonic Pi to both BBC radio and TV. He has also given a large number of live coding performances both in the UK and overseas

  • In February 2015 Sam was at Media City in Manchester to give a BBC Learning 'Imaginarium' session. The session introduced his Sonic Pi work to core members of the BBC Learning team. He also gave a talks at FutureEverything, an award-winning innovation lab for digital culture, at Change the world: Exploring the potential of Computing for everyone, to an audience of both Primary and Secondary School teachers. Sam was at Raspberry Pi's third birthday party with his band 'Poly Core', where he gave a live code performance.
  • In March 2015 Sam was at Cottenham Village College where he gave a school assembly about creative live coding with Sonic Pi. He visited five local schools to talk about creative coding with Sonic Pi and delivered a BBC live lesson which was streamed to an estimated 66,000 school pupils nation wide.
  • In April 2015, Sam was invited to the Arts Council HQ to demonstrate Sonic Pi at their National Music Team Meeting. He also gave a talk about Sonic Pi at the Creative Data Club in Somerset House, London to both artists and technologists. Sonic Pi also appeared as part of the BBC Radio 4 documentary 'Future Speak' and was used by school children from Benton Park Primary to create the music to one of the BBC Ten Pieces. In addition, Sam helped run 'Picademy', the free Raspberry Pi for teachers. He also gave his first solo live coding performance with Sonic Pi at NODE15 (an arts festival in Frankfurt) as part of the concert 'Repetitive Beats & Repetitive Conditionals. At NODE15 he also delivered a Sonic Pi Workshop.
  • In May 2015, Sam gave a full assembly to Years 4, 5 and 6 of Histon and Impington Junior Schoo where he talked about programming and demoed Sonic Pi to an excited and engaged audience. Sam was also invited to the Arts Council HQ to explore ways in which they could help fund arts-led engagement activities with Sonic Pi. He delivered two Sonic Pi workshops for the BBC Radio 1 Academy (part of the Roadshow) and performed live coding in their Algorave Session. Sam visited the Benton Park Primary School to spend a day with their Sonic Pi orchestra. He spoke and performed at the Sage Gateshead for the Thinking Digital Conference and ran a Sonic Pi workshop at the Lavant House School in Chichester. At the end of May, Sam helped run Picademy North, Raspberry Pi's free teach training course for primary and secondary teachers to help them deliver the new Computing curriculum. This was the first Picademy in the North of England and was hosted at the National STEM Centre in York.
  • In June 2015, Sam helped the Raspberry Pi Foundation run another Picademy teacher training CPD for teachers in the South West of England. He also gave Sonic Pi workshops at the Glasgow Science Centre as part of the BBC Music at the Quay Festival. Sam delivered a series of arts-led Sonic Pi workshops to the finalists of the Sonic Pi competition at: Clifton College Preparatory School, Bristol; Soham Village College, Ely; Kilkhampton Primary School, Cornwall; and Caroline Haslett Primary School, Milton Keynes. He also had a Skype session about Sonic Pi with a class from Gateway Middle School in New York, USA prior to an Algorave style performance. Sam finished the month by headlining the xCoAx Algorave at the Glasgow Art School where he performed live coding with Sonic Pi.
  • In July 2015, Sam - as STEMNET Ambassador - opened the STEM Fair in Duxford. He talked about Creative Coding with Sonic Pi to an audience of 200 children. He also gave another arts-led Sonic Pi workshop with Juneau Projects at St Mary Magdalen's Catholic Primar in Preston, followed by a talk at TEDx Newcastle on 'Programming as Performance'. In addition, Sam was heavily involved with the BBC's Make It Digital. His involvment included BBC TV and radio interviews, Sonic Pi masterclasses and a feature on the 'Naked Scientists' radio show. Sam performed with Sonic Pi at an Algorave in Leeds for the International Conference for Live Coding.
  • In August 2015, Sam worked with BBC Radio 1 DJ MistaJam for the Ten Pieces project to compose a piece of music with Sonic Pi inspired by Bizet's Carmen. He also delivered a lecture on creative coding to the Computer Laboratory's Cambridge Coding Summer School for Girls, and delivered both a Sonic Pi workshop and a lecture on creative coding to the Sutton Trust Summer School.

Ross Anderson's research is regularly featured in both the print and broadcast media. This includes coverage of the report for the Nuffield Bioethics Council. In September 2015, Ross gave the keynote at Sweden's annual conference for public sector IT.

Alastair Beresford and Diana Vasile spoke to an audience of over 100 women at Robinson College's Women in Science Festival.

Alan Blackwell worked with Cambridge Junction to run the Summer School for 10-14 year olds, with each being given the opportunity to work towards a Bronze Arts Award qualification. Alan has also coached a group of students at Chesterton Community College for a live coding performance at Chesterton's Got Talent. He has helped Cambridge Citizen's Advice bureau to review their web kiosk service for rural Cambridgeshire and has incubated a new Cambridge experimental arts agency, Collusion, which aims to unite Cambridge's art and technology sectors. Alan and Sam Aaron have performed as 'The Humming Wires' at the Birmingham Algorave. Alan has also recently given a talk in a Royal Academy schools public programme spring symposium.

Alex Bradbury demonstrated Raspberry Pi related projects on the Worshipful Company of Information Technologists' stand at the Livery Showcase, organised by the Livery Schools Link, on March 4th 2015. The Livery Schools Link aims to demonstrate a range of potential career opportunities to Year 9 schoolchildren.

Alex Chadwick has visited his old secondary school in Lincoln to speak at an access to Oxbridge conference.

Amir Chaudhry's work has been reported on in the print media, most recently the Cambridge Evening News and The Guardian.

Oliver Chick gave a talk on Captain Buzz - the all-smartphone drone - to a wide audience at Gonville & Caius College.

Max Conway has taken two assemblies at the King's Hedges Educational Foundation.

Jon Crowcroft is the local host for Raspberry Pi's 3rd birthday party at the end of February 2015. He is also Chair for a discussion event ('Can our online lives be private') at the Royal Society in February 2015.

Data from the Device Analyzer project (work done by Alastair Beresford, Andrew Rice, Daniel Thomas and Daniel Wagner) has been used for the new Information Age exhibition at London's Science Museum. A plaque on the wall acknowledges the project.

Anuj Dawar writes a blog for CUP Education Digital.

Ramsey Faragher has made numerous appearances on BBC Radio. He is a science advisor for two production companies that work with the BBC and Channel 4 and has organised conferences and public seminars for the Royal Institute of Navigation.

Mark Granroth-Wilding spoke at KVIT, an annual Cognitive Science symposium in Sweden.

David Hartley gave a presentation at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, California about the BCS Computer Conservation Society and The National Museum of Computing at Bletchley Park.

Jonathan Hayman gave a talk on Computer Science at Emmanuel College's residential programme for year 11 students from Sheffield.

Tony Hoare has given lessons on Quicksort at Secondary Schools, most recently at Finham Park in Coventry. Tony has recently given two lectures to the general public in Cambridge.

Isak Herman was interviewed by BBC Look East about Mephistophone, a project exploring the interactions between people and visualized sound.

Sean Holden gave a talk at the Pint of Science Festival. He also appeared on BBC Radio 4's 'Front Row'.

Andy Hopper has given around 60 public lectures worldwide on innovation and the role of computing in sustainability.

Mateja Jamnik was featured in CAM magazine. She has also run a programming club for local children aged 7-11. Mateja was interviewed with the Naked Scientists for Radio 5 Live's programme on 'The Science of Sex and Love', broadcast (appropriately) on February 14 2015. She was also interviewed by on the topic of automated medical diagnosis systems. In September 2015, Mateja gave a tech talk and sat on a panel discussing 'Could machines do politics better than humans?' organised by TechCentral at the Labour Party Conference in Brighton.

Mateja Jamnik, Markus Kuhn and Piete Brooks provided 14 refurbished second-hand PCs from the department to Milton Road Primary School in April 2015, to help set up a new computer room for delivering the year-6 curriculum in Computer Science.

Markus Kuhn regularly interacts with the media on computer-science and computer-security topics. His articles at were read by over 100,000 people. The Dutch government has appointed Markus to the expert group that advises the Ministry of the Interior and Kingdom Relations on electronic voting and counting in the polling station. He was interviewed by the BBC for an article on safety hazards posed by integer overflows.

Jack Lang has given several lectures about Raspberry Pi, most recently in Munich and Cyprus.

Pietro Lio will be speaking at the University of Cambridge's Alumni Festival on Saturday 26 September 2015.

Recent research by Neal Lathia and Cecilia Mascolo (in collaboration with the Department of Public Health & Primary Care) has been featured in the Medical Research Council's Network Magazine and podcast.

Cecilia Mascolo has run a code club at Morley Memorial Primary School. Ceclia team's work is regularly featured in the print media In May 2015 Cecilia will be giving a talk about Computer Science to potential applications at Jesus College, Cambridge.

Riaz Moola runs a trust that conducts free Computer Science and IT training in South Africa. It administers the largest unique IT and Comp Sci only course in the country. 2500 full time university students in SA, primarily those from disadvantaged backgrounds and without their own internet (or with poor access to computers), have taken beginner courses in Java, Python and C++. The project is funded by the Python Software Foundation.

Robert Mullins published an article on the Raspberry Pi at The Conversation, a news organization where scientists write for the general public. It was read by over 15000 people.

Tassos Noulas was an expert witness at the fifth meeting of the Social Media for Business Consortium.

Annalisa Occhipinti is a PhD tutor for the Brilliant Club, a not-for-profit organisation that exists to widen access to top universities for outstanding pupils from non-selective state schools. She has taught 15-year-old students about the application of Mathematics and Computer Science in cancer research. She wrote her own handbook for the course called "Can a Mathematician help a Doctor?". Annalisa has also given a taster lecture about Maths and Biology to 13-year-old students. In addition, she is writing resources for the Cambridge Mathematics Education Project". Annalisa is a tutor for the Cambridge Coding Academy and is teaching at the Cambridge Literati Summer School 2015. From October 2015 Annalisa will run a code club at Arbury Primary School in Cambridge.

Helen Oliver is a Trustee of the Space Science & Engineering Foundation which organizes the UK Space Settlement Design Competition, a design challenge open to secondary and sixth form students in Years 10-13. A separate series of Micro-Competitions replicate the experience for younger students in years 7-9. Teams are given a request for proposals, set anywhere from 20 to 70 years into the future, to design a space settlement on, or in orbit around, a given planet or moon in the Solar System. Competition is intense in this very realistic industry simulation as each team strives to be the one that will win the contract (and go on to the international finals at NASA).

Helen Oliver has been a Judge and Technical Expert at the National Finals, held at Imperial College London, since 2011, and has also judged the international finals at NASA Johnson and NASA Kennedy. Alumni of the competition have gone on to pursue degrees in STEM and many cite the competition as a major influence in their lives, even describing it as one of the best things they have ever done.

Andrew Rice hosted the British Olympiad in Informatics final 2014 at the Computer Laboratory.

Andrew and Amir Chaudhry organised and hosted an 'appathon' as part of Silicon Valley Comes to the UK.

Laura Rimell is helping her local primary school, the Bellbird Primary School, with advice on the computing curriculum. She has already given a lesson to pupils and plans to give more in 2015.

Peter Robinson has run a number of schools workshops at Gonville & Caius College. He also participates in College Open Days. Peter's YouTube video, The Emotional Computer has resulted in regular TV and radio appearances and his work has been reported on in the print media.

Bogdan Roman spoke at the Oxbridge Conferences in Birmingham and Swansea. He also hosted a group of school students from Kew House School. The visit which took place at Homerton College included a talk and project demonstrations.

Peter Sewell gave an invited talk titled 'Why are computers so @#!*, and what can we do about it?'at the 31st Chaos Communication Congress (31C3), to an audience of around 2000 people, on December 30 2014.

Laurent Simon was interviewed by The Naked Scientists.

Jat Singh has written an article for The Guardian.

Frank Stajano gave an interactive encryption masterclass to an audience of activists and social scientists at the Amnesty/CGHR Encryption and Human Rights workshop. He has also been invited by the Italian Embassy in London to give presentations on his research: in November 2015 he will be speaking at The Rotary Club The City & Shoreditch and The Italian Institute of Culture.

Simone Teufel spoke at the Oxbridge Conference in Surrey.

Daniel R Thomas supervised a work experience student from Comberton College to work on Physics simulations using Anvil. Daniel also gave a lecture at the Joan Clarke summer school.

Sophie van der Zee has been interviewed by the King's Parade magazine about her motion-based lie detection research, and by the BBC in response to a story on the rise in indentity thefts. She also spoke at the HowTheLightGetsIn 2015 Philosophy and Music Festival at Hay. Sophie was interviewewd on BBC TV's Crimewatch Roadhow and by Dutch national news. The TV interview featured a demonstration of the Lab's automated lie detection research.

Sophie van der Zee and Mateja Jamnik have organised a series of two-minute madness presentations at the Museum of Computing History. Presentations were given by: Annalisa Occhipinti, Heidi Howard, Sophie van der Zee, Ekaterina Kochmar, Tamara Polajnar, Mateja Jamnik and Noa Zilberman.

Amy Weatherup will be at the Cambridge Science Festival running an event called What would you use THAT for?

Every year Ian Wassell goes to St Peter's Collegiate School in Wolverhampton to help the students with their electronics projects which are part of the Electronics AS and A levels.

Volunteers from Women@CL ran a Sonic Pi/Raspberry Pi workshop at St John's College. It was attended by 55 Year 10 girls.

Contact details

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