Computing Science and Mathematics

A Random Walk through Mathematics and Computing Science

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A series of public lectures organised by Computing Science and Mathematics, University of Stirling - (Autumn/Spring 2023/24)

Thursday evenings at 7pm, for approximately an hour.
Venue: Lecture Theatre B4
Cottrell Building, University of Stirling
All welcome. No need to book.

The following lectures are scheduled for the 2023/24 academic year.

12th October 2023

    The Unreasonable Effectiveness of Mathematics in the Natural Sciences
    Dr Anthony O'Hare

    In 1960 the physicist Eugene Wigner published a paper "The Unreasonable Effectiveness of Mathematics in the Natural Sciences" where he pointed out that the mathematical structure of our physics theories often point the way to advances in the field and to new discoveries. In this lecture we will look at some of the advances we have made in physics over the past 150 years or so and how the mathematics led to new predictions and discoveries.

    We will find out about black holes, radio waves, and what can happen if we stray from this well trodden path and stop trusting the mathematics. We will end with a look to the future and what physics/mathematics may be telling us about the universe we live in.

9th November 2023

    The Innovation Power of Mathematics: The What, Where and Why of Exponential Analysis
    Dr Wen-shin Lee

7th December 2023

    The Mathematics of Christmas
    Prof Rachel Norman

    Have you ever considered the best way to pull crackers, or who you should buy presents for? Have you ever wondered how many presents you would receive if your true love bought you all of the items in the carol ‘The Twelve Days of Christmas’? I will seek to answer these questions and more as I consider the mathematics of Christmas - and there may even be chocolates.

14th March 2024 in Lecture Theatre B4

    Promoting and sustaining accountability in artificial intelligence applications
    Dr Leonardo Bezerra

    Technology has been the catalyst for major revolutions societies have gone through, and each new revolution brings social challenges that governments must address. In turn, regulation acts as a form of feedback that directs how the breakthrough technology of the time will have to be adapted. Currently, the most pressing technology revolution is being powered by social media, big data, and artificial intelligence (AI). Though this revolution has been taking place for over a decade now, recent years have seen an astounding increase in the pace with which these applications are being developed and deployed. Not surprisingly, regulatory agencies around the world have been unable to cope with this speed and have just recently started to move from a data-centred to an AI-centred concern. More importantly, governments are still beginning to mature their understanding of AI applications in general, let alone discuss AI ethics and how to promote and sustain accountability in AI applications. In turn, companies that use AI in their applications have also begun to display some public level of awareness, even if often vague and not substantiated by concrete actions. In this talk, we will briefly overview efforts and challenges regarding AI accountability and how major AI players are addressing it. The goal of the talk is to stir future project collaborations from a multidisciplinary perspective.

18th April 2024 in Lecture Theatre B4

    Artificial Intelligence: artifice or intelligence, master or slave, useful tool or danger?
    Prof Leslie Smith

    Artificial Intelligence (AI) is a term that has been bandied about since the Dartmouth Summer Research Project on Artificial Intelligence in 1956. It has been used to describe many aspects of advanced computing, from noughts and crosses playing to chess and go, from search techniques to theorem proving, from logic-based systems to trainable neural networks, from natural language processing to computer vision. In the last 67 years, huge strides have been made in electronics, leading to enormous increases increase in power of computers, computer communications, and the generation of huge datasets that can be used to train systems. Now we can create systems that can interpret questions and provide meaningful answers. Simultaneously, great strides have been made in understanding the low-level operation of animal brains, but not yet in understanding how this underlies human intelligence. Will the two come together?

16th May 2024 in Lecture Theatre B3

    Where am I? Where are you?: looking at representation in AI-generated images?
    Prof Carron Shankland and Lucy Anscombe

    AI is everywhere, including in this series of lectures! In this talk we will look at the use of AI to generate images. It’s possible now to make completely novel and very convincing photographic images from a text prompt. This means that the images we see on websites and illustrating magazine and newspaper articles could be entirely made by computer. This may be useful when we want ‘a photograph of a dog astronaut ‘ but what about images with people? Do the images represent the whole population? Should we care?

Our past public lectures can be found through the following links.

2019 lectures
2018 lectures
2017 lectures
2016 lectures
2015 lectures
2014 lectures
2013 lectures
2012 lectures

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