School of Informatics

Science Festival 2016

Informatics staff and students are involved in a number of events, 26 March–10 April.

Edinburgh International Science Festival was the world’s first - and is still one of Europe’s largest - public celebrations of science and technology.

This year, events run by or featuring familiar faces from the School of Informatics include Robot Lab, Technologies of the Future - Today, Game On!, The Rights of The Machine, Unbottling the AI Demon, Edinburgh Living Lab's Bikes vs Cars Future Vehicle Showcase and not least, the Tam Dalyell Prize Lecture.

In addition, postgraduate student James Garforth has been science advisor for Uncanny Valley, an interactive show for 8-12 year olds.

Robot Lab

Date/time: Saturday 26-Wednesday 30 March, 10am-4.30pm

Suitability: All ages

Place: Learning Centre Level 2, National Museum of Scotland 

Cost: free

Event: Drop-in activity for all ages featuring robots from Edinburgh Centre for Robotics. Students Alejandro Bordallo and James Garforth* will be among the students staffing the stand.

Web link

Junkyard Clusters

Date/time: Saturday 26-Wednesday 30 March, 12 noon and 2pm (60 mins)

Suitability: Ages 8+

Place: Learning Centre Level 4 Seminar Room, National Museum of Scotland

Cost: free

Event: Working with staff from Edinburgh Parallel Computing Centre (EPCC), students Justs Zariņš and Larisa Stoltzfus, from our Centre for Doctoral Training in Pervasive Parallelism, will help teams of children to build a desktop computer, run tests and make it work as part of a cluster.

Web link

Uncanny Valley

Date/time: Tuesday 29-Thursday 31 March, various times

Suitability: Ages 7+

Place: Dissection Room, Summerhall

Cost: £10 standard, £8 concessions

Event: Interactive show which tells the story of Ada and her best friend, a robot called OKAY (Outstandingly Knowledgeable Android Youth), who is under threat of being terminated...

Web link/book tickets

Technologies of the Future, Today

Date/time: Wednesday 30 March, 8-9.30pm

Suitability: 14+

Place: Main Hall, Summerhall

Cost: £8.50 standard price / £6.50 concessions / £4.25 #SciPals students

Event: Edinburgh Centre of Robotics students and alumni Wolfgang Merkt, James Garforth, Iris Kyranou, Carson Vogt and Sandy Enoch discuss some of the robots they have created and what artificial intelligence might do in the future.

Web link

Poster for the programming workshop called Game On

Game On!

Date/time: Thursday 31 March-Monday 4 April, 12noon-1pm and 3-4pm.

Suitability: For ages 8+ but perfect for ages 10-14.

Place: Learning Centre Level 4, Studio 1, National Museum of Scotland

Cost: Free (ticket required from the venue on the day, subject to availability). Each ticket also admits one adult if desired.

Event: This workshop by Dr Areti Manataki offers a hands-on and playful taster session in computer programming. Participants learn the basics of coding in Scratch, a visual programming language, and design and build their own computer game.

Web link

The Rights of The Machine

Date/time: Monday 4 April, 8-9.30pm,

Suitability: Ages 14+

Place: Red Lecture Theatre, Summerhall

Cost: £8.50 standard price / £6.50 concessions / £4.25 #SciPals students

Event: Do intelligent robotic systems deserve civil rights? Or even human rights? Hear what promises to be a very stimulating panel discussion featuring Professor Alan Bundy and Dr Patricia Vargas.

Web link / buy tickets

Unbottling the AI Demon

Date/time: Thursday 7 April, 5.30-7pm

Suitability: Ages 14+

Place: Auditorium, National Museum of Scotland 

Cost: £8.50 standard price / £6.50 concessions / £4.25 #SciPals students

Event: Professor Sethu Vijayakumar, Professor of Robotics and Director of the Edinburgh Centre for Robotics, will join a distinguished panel to talk about the risks that could arise from the development of human-level artificial intelligence (AI).

Web link/book tickets

Bikes vs Cars Future Vehicle Showcase

Date/time: Saturday 9 April, 11am- 5pm

Suitability: 14+

Place: Edinburgh Centre for Carbon Innovation

Cost: Free (drop in)

Event: The School of Informatics is a partner in Edinburgh Living Lab, which will conduct an eBike test ride experiment as part of the Bike v Cars Future Vehicle Showcase at the Edinburgh Centre for Carbon Innovation. Participants will have the chance to test ride a selection of electric bikes from Electron Wheels and collect data about their experience. The data will contribute to ongoing work on the future of sustainable transport in Edinburgh.

Web link

Tam Dalyell Prize Lecture

Date/time: Sunday 10 April, 6-7.30pm

Suitability: Ages 14+

Place: Playfair Library, University of Edinburgh

Cost: Free (ticket required)

Event: Professor Vijayakumar looks at how humans and robots will work together in the future. Talk with live demonstrations and discussion.

Web link/book tickets

Useful links

Edinburgh International Science Festival

#SciPals half-price ticket scheme for students