AGM 2021 and “Computing in cold places: ice cubes, fjords and handwarmers”

Performing surveys with a novel deep-water sonar scanner in Greenland. Image copyright: Dr Mark Neal, 2021.

On Tuesday 26th October at 7pm, we hold our Annual General Meeting for 2021. As part of the meeting, we are pleased to welcome Dr Mark Neal to talk about “Computing in cold places: ice cubes, fjords and hand warmers.” Mark will take a look at using computing to perform surveys with a novel deep-water sonar scanner in Greenland. This will discuss the challenges in performing this work and the lessons learned. 

The meeting with start with a short Annual General Meeting for BCS Mid-Wales Branch, taking about 10 minutes. The talk begins straight after the AGM.

The event is on Zoom and it is free and open to everyone.

AGM Notice

The notice for the AGM is available.


To register for this free online event, please go to


Fieldwork in any environment carries challenges and surprises but working in the extreme cold multiplies the opportunities for mistakes and failures in a number of ways. 

A recent trip to Greenland to perform surveys with a novel deep-water sonar scanner exposed a number of interesting problems and modes of equipment failure. It also revealed that the majority of failures were due to “normal” human error which lead to failures, increased expense and reduced data quality on a number of occasions.

I will describe the conditions that we worked in on the floating ice, transport of equipment and people, the experience of working with complex IT systems and software in that environment and a few of the lessons that I learned. In particular the need for lightweight equipment, robust connectors, robust interfaces (hardware and software), reliable power sources and well established routines are considered.

Speaker Biography

Mark Neal left academia 4 years ago and now runs his small company that specialises in custom building hardware, firmware and software systems for research organisations in academia and industry. 

The company has customers working in a number of fields including precision agriculture, autonomous survey, wild animal tracking, environmental monitoring and agrochemical application.

BCS Policy & Campaign Priorities 2021-2025 – Welsh Briefing

John Higgins, the President of BCS, the Chartered Institute for IT, is hosting a session for IT professionals in Wales. This will look at the key themes that BCS is working on in the coming year, including Diversity and Inclusion, Professionalism, Digital Divide and IT and NetZero.

John will be joined by Tom Crick and Wendy Dearing for a Q&A section of this event.

All IT professionals are invited to attend this event.

Date and time

Tuesday, 27 July 2021, 18:30 – 19:30 BST


  • John Higgins CBE, FBCS, President BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT
  • Professor Tom Crick MBE
  • Professor Wendy Dearing FBCS


18:30 – Zoom session starts
18:35 – Introduction to Chair and Panelists
18.45 – Presentation on the four themes and campaign goals
19:00 – Panel discussion and audience Q&A
19:25 – Summary
19:30 – Close


The BCS President is working closely with the team at head office to streamline BCS activity under four themes & campaign goals agreed and signed off by the BCS Trustee Board and Council:

  • Our digital lives should be in the hands of competent, ethical and accountable professionals.
  • Greater diversity and inclusion in the IT profession benefits society.
  • The Digital Divide is a modern measure of inequality; it can be closed by access to skills as well as technology.
  • The world will achieve Net Zero more rapidly with support of digital and data technologies.

This webinar series is an opportunity to hear from the BCS President about the four themes, how they will be taken forward across the BCS and ask questions. 

Expert panels will be convened to provide context and identify how the key themes can intersect with the wider contexts across the UK and internationally.


Register for free tickets on the Eventbrite page:


Headline Speaker: John Higgins CBE FBCS 

President 2021-2022 

John was director general of TechUK’s predecessor Intellect and then DigitalEurope. He chairs the Global Digital Foundation, a think tank, and is a senior advisor to Burson, Cohn & Wolfe and the EU’s Intelligent Cities Challenge. He was appointed CBE in 2005 for services to the IT industry.

Speaker: Professor Tom Crick MBE

My academic interests sit at the research/policy interface: education and skills, science and innovation policy, digital transformation, public service innovation and skills/infrastructure for the digital economy. Also, identifying data-driven and computationally-intensive problems across a range of domains: data science, big social data, cyber security, intelligent systems, smart cities, software sustainability and computational reproducibility.

Speaker: Professor Wendy Dearing FBCS

Wendy Dearing Dean of the Institute Management and Health University of Wales Trinity St David . Is now Dean of the Institute of Management and Health University of Wales Trinity St David until recently was Head of Workforce and Organisational Development with a nursing background. She holds an MSc in Change & Innovation and recently has been awarded an Honorary Professorship from the University of Wales Trinity St David. The professorship in Applied Practice has been awarded in recognition of Wendy’s expertise and knowledge in championing professionalism in technology and information. She is a Fellow of the BCS and Leading Practitioner of Fed-IP.

The event is free. Our events are for adults aged 16 years and over.

Developments in Robotics and Vision at Aberystwyth

We are pleased to co-host an event with the Department of Computer at Aberystwyth University on Monday 21st June at 6.30pm.

This session will see a series of short talks giving an overview of the latest research and development in robotics and computer vision at Aberystwyth. This covers research topics ranging from home, land, sea, air and space robotics. The talks will be followed by a panel with the opportunity to ask questions to the researchers involved.

We will be joined by the following researchers: Dr Fred Labrosse, Dr Helen Miles, Dr Colin Sauze, Dr Patricia Shaw and Dr Myra Wilson.

The session is on Zoom. It is free and open to everyone.

To register for the event, please go to the Eventbrite page and book your free space.

The waiting room on Zoom will start at 6.15 and the talks will start at 6.30pm.

The talk is hosted with the Department of Computer Science as part of its week of events for UK Robotics Week 2021.

Speaker biographies

Speaker: Dr Fred Labrosse: Fred is a senior lecturer in Computer Science, his research concerns Robotics and Computer Vision, and in particular the interface between the two fields, working on the use of visual sensors and visual navigation methods. He is also interested in the practical applications of robotics, collaborating with many customers who need sensors in remote and dangerous places.

Speaker: Dr Helen Miles: Helen is a lecturer in Computer Science and a researches graphics and visualisation, and she has recently been applying this to work on the ESA/Roscosmos ExoMars mission to help scientists and engineers plan for how to use the PanCam remote sensing instrument on the rover.

Speaker: Dr Colin Sauze: Colin is a research software engineer working on the Supercomputing Wales project, where he helps to solve “big data” and machine learning problems. He previously worked on autonomous boats for oceanographic sensing and surveying glaciers.

Speaker: Dr Patricia Shaw: Patricia is a lecturer in Computer Science and researches how to develop robots that can learn in the same way children do. She is also interested in how robots can work alongside people both as companions and assisting independent living for those with severe disabilities.

Speaker: Dr Myra Wilson: Myra is a lecturer in Computer Science. Her research interests include evolutionary robotics, ad-hoc networks, and biologically inspired robotics. She has worked on projects investigating how control systems can be evolved to improve UAV placement for ground based communications over large areas.

Do no harm?

We are pleased to welcome Lucy Hunt to lead an interactive session exploring potential whistleblowing situations in recent media stories & presents findings from her latest research.

This is on Tuesday 20th April, starting at 6.30pm. This free event is online and open to everyone.


On discovering that your team or organisation is creating harmful software what would you do?

The ACM Code of Ethics states that “a computing professional has the obligation to report any signs of systems risks that may result in harm” and that “if leaders do not act […] it may be necessary to blow the whistle”.

This interactive session will explore potential whistleblowing situations in recent media stories and present the findings from my latest research.

To sign-up, visit the Eventbrite page:

The session is on Zoom. The link will be shared to registered attendees closer to the time of the event.


Lucy is a PhD student at Lancaster University, researching whistleblowing in software engineering.

She worked as a software engineer, IT consultant and business analyst for over 20 years before completing a cyber-security masters and starting her PhD in 2018.