AGM 2020 and ‘IT and the fight against Covid-19’

The AGM is on Monday 19th October 2020. The formal notice was sent out to members at the start of October.

We are pleased to announce the speakers for the session that follows the AGM. The theme of the sessions is “IT and the fight against Covid-19.”

The AGM starts at 18:30. The talks will start at 19:00. All of the session will be on GoToWebinar.

We have four separate sessions and there will be time for Q & A at the end.

The speakers and talk titles are:

Rebecca Cook and Gareth John from NHS Wales Informatics Service – Title: COVID-19: The data behind the Welsh pandemic response

Chris Williams from Public Health Wales – Title: Handling Covid-19 data

Nick Dimonaco from Aberystwyth University – Title: CoronaHack: Computing vs Coronavirus

Addy Pope – ESRI UK – Title: GIS and Covid – data, information, knowledge and resilience

To register to join this online event, please go to the Eventbrite link and sign-up.  

The event is free and open to everyone.  We are looking forward to what promises to be an interesting session.

We have a two talk descriptions available at this time.

Addy Pope: GIS and Covid – data, information, knowledge and resilience

2020 has not been a normal year. Things that seemed certain became uncertain. Things we took for granted were suddenly inaccessible. The science of where and spatial data has never been so important.  In this talk we will show you how GIS has been central in the fight to understand and mitigate the impacts of COVID.  From public health dashboards to cutting edge research, ESRI has been supporting its customers provide information and answers through rigorous analysis of data.

Nick Dimonaco: CoronaHack: Computing vs Coronavirus

CoronaHack, an event where over 1,000 Health experts, Data scientists, economists, clinicians and researchers from all over the world came together to find new ways to combat SARS-CoV-2 on many different fronts. As part of a team which focused on the genomics of the virus, identifying mutational changes which may have enabled the virus to jump host-species to human, I will discuss how new technologies both helped and hindered our progress during and after the 5 day event.

LoRaWAN, what is it, and who’s using it in Wales

For our first event after the summer, we are pleased to welcome Peter Williams from Welsh Government. He will be talking about “LoRaWAN, what is it, and who’s using it in Wales”. This is on Monday 28th September at 6.15pm.

The session will look at LoRaWAN and the role it can play in the Internet of Things (IoT). As a technology for connecting lots of devices to the IoT, LoRaWAN offers the ability to get useful and more timely data. It has applications in areas from farming to industrial manufacture and transport. 

To sign up to receive the webinar link, go to the event page on Eventbrite.

The event is free and open to everyone.

Biography: Peter Williams

Peter has spent over 20 years working on key Digital delivery and awareness raising projects in Wales, often playing a hands on role in explaining the benefits to organisations, businesses and stakeholders.

In 2013, Peter moved to the Digital Infrastructure Department within the Welsh Government, supporting and leading Digital Infrastructure Developments in the Local Growth and Enterprise Zones, these include the Superfast Cymru Programme, Mobile Infrastructure Project, village and town WiFi Projects, and more recently has led or initiated LoRaWAN pilots and trials.

A fluent Welsh speaker originally from North Wales, and a former farm worker during his teenage years, Peter is convinced some of the best ideas for LoRaWAN will come from farmers, referencing Frank Rennie’s book – 101 uses for Baler Twine.

Programming Contest

We are pleased to announce the first online BCS Mid-Wales Programming Contest. This is open to BCS Mid-Wales members, university students, and other interested parties.

When: This will be held 11am – 3 pm, Saturday June 13th 2020 

Where: Entirely online

What: This is a timed event where participants solve puzzle like problems through coding. We will have a set of problems so that teams can solve several in the time allowed, and will enable submissions in a large number of different programming languages.

There will be small prizes in all categories (student, student team, non-student and non-student team). Teams can be up to 3 people.

For more information and sign-up details, see:

It’s a change initiative, Jim, but not as we know it!

Picture of Brendan D'Cruz
Brendan D’Cruz

We are pleased to welcome Dr Brendan D’Cruz to talk at the next BCS Mid-Wales session. This will be an online session, at 6:30pm on Tuesday 26th May 2020.

The event is free and open to everyone.

To register for the event, go to Eventbrite. Details of the event link will be emailed to those who register.


This session will look at the various ‘P’s that embody the world of change initiatives. We’ll look at definitions, perspectives and how different people might identify with the various roles and activities involved.

Organisations undergoing a business/digital transformation can face a myriad of certifications, governance structures, bodies of knowledge and competency frameworks that underpin transformation. We also need to remember that it is people who ultimately deliver change initiatives. 

There is often a great difference between the given job titles for people undertaking these various roles and activities. Inevitably, this does have an influence over how much organisations expect to pay them. It can seem quite daunting and unfamiliar. For some transforming organisations, this may feel as if they are exploring vast expanses of the great unknown.

Using characters and contexts from ‘Star Trek’, this session will attempt to guide participants on a journey through the nebulous terminology.

Speaker Biography

Dr. Brendan D’Cruz is a Chartered Project Professional who until recently was working as a Programme Manager on business transformation programmes at a large social housing association based in Newport, South Wales. He has also been a Project Management/Education Consultant working with the Association for Project Management (APM), including as Chief Examiner/Chair of the Examination Technical Assurance Group for the Project Professional Qualification (PPQ) and was previously the Lead Verifier and an Assessor for the Registered Project Professional (RPP) designation.

Brendan’s early career was as a senior academic manager at a number of UK universities, contributing to the development/delivery of postgraduate academic courses in project and programme management. He was formerly on the BCS Project Management Specialist Group (PROMS-G) committee as Event Development Manager and Regional Coordinator for Wales. He was also the Founding Chair of the BCS Northampton Branch. He has contributed articles and perspectives to Project Manager Today, APM Project Magazine and the BCS Project Eye blog.

Copy of the slides from the presentation

Recreating the Polish Bomba, Predecessor to the Turing-Welchman Bombe

We are pleased to welcome Jerry McCarthy to talk about ‘Recreating the Polish Bomba’.

The talk will be on Monday 24th February 2020, in the Physical Sciences building at Aberystwyth University (see map). Room to be confirmed.

The talk will start at 6.15pm. There will be drinks and light refreshments outside in the foyer of the Physical Sciences building from 5.30pm.

This event is free and open to everyone.


To book your free ticket, please go to Eventbrite.


In the mid-to-late 1930s, Polish mathematicians created a number of methodologies to decrypt messages sent using the 3-rotor Enigma.

Diagram of the Polish Bomba.
Image used under Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International (CC BY-SA 4.0) license. Source: Commons Wikipedia.

This talk will:

  • Explain the considerable variety of known Enigma machines. Enigma is not just A Machine; it’s an entire family!
  • Provide an introduction to cryptography starting at the Caesar Cipher and ending on focussing on the operation of one particular common Enigma machine variant.
  • Discuss some of the Polish methodologies for cracking that machine, and finally focus on the Bomba created by three Polish mathematicians in the late 1930s, which was a device which took advantage of the message protocols used at that time, and for which the speaker has developed a working model using a mixture of ancient and modern techniques. A basic prototype will be described, and the subsequent working model will be demonstrated and explained in some detail. Some extensions to its original functionality will also be discussed.

Speaker Biography

Jerry’s day job used to be to write software, in areas such as retail systems, cryptography and internationalisation, for a global computing company. Since his retirement, he now volunteers at The National Museum of Computing (TNMOC), which is situated within the Bletchley Park Campus. There, he talks to visitors about, inter alia, Tunny, Colossus, and the Museum’s slide rule collection. He also volunteers at the Instytut Józefa Piłsudskiego, where he gives the occasional talk on matters cryptological, such as Enigma and early Polish systems for breaking it.

Jerry is not rich enough to be a full-time cryptocollector, but is interested in crypto simulation techniques which allow virtual acquisition of crypto hardware without needing to find the space to store it. Jerry’s house is definitely not big enough for a Colossus!

Building the Ethical Hacking Capability

We are pleased to welcome Mark Jones from the DVLA to talk about work on building a Ethical Hacking Team. This will be on Monday 25th November 2019, starting at 6pm. It will be held in the room MP-0.11 in the Physical Sciences building (see map for location). There will be light refreshments available from 5.30pm in the foyer of the Physical Sciences building.

This event is open to everyone. It is free to attend.


The Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) is an executive agency, sponsored by the Department for Transport. We hold and maintain over 48 million driver records, over 40 million vehicle records and collect around £6 billion a year in vehicle excise duty (VED).

In September 2015, DVLA’s IT outsourcing contract finished and the services were brought in-house.

This presentation briefly describes the DVLA transformation and focusses on the creation of an in-house Ethical Hacking Team, the issues we faced during its implementation and the cultural changes required for its success.


Mark Jones has worked for the DVLA since 1989, moving into the IT area in 1998. Since then he has taken on positions as the Head of Software Engineering and Head of Business IT and most recently, formed the DVLA Ethical Hacking Team in 2017. He also created and runs the DVLA STEM Programme promoting IT Learning across Schools and Colleges in Wales to children and young adults aged between 7 and 19. 

Virtual and Augmented Reality at Dŵr Cymru Welsh Water

BCS Mid-Wales is pleased to invite Gary Smith and Cerys Middle to talk about the work on Virtual and Augmented Reality at Dŵr Cymru Welsh Water. The event starts at 6pm in MP-0.15 in the Physical Sciences building, Aberystwyth University (AccessAble information for MP-0.15 is available). There will be light refreshments in the foyer outside the lecture room from 5.30pm.

The event is free and open to all. 


Dŵr Cymru Welsh Water have a mature VR and AR programme aimed at enhancing the delivery of information to operational staff and helping reduce risk in the complex decision making process. The teams use a wide range of handheld and wearable technology and won Innovation Awards in 2017 and 2018 and were shortlisted in 2019.

Gary Smith will review how mixed reality has helped reduce risk and drive improvements but also as a Chartered Safety Engineer will explore how risks from the software and hardware have been assessed, controlled and implemented ensuring the long-term safety and ergonomic comfort of users during whole shift applications.

DCWW is also using new technology including 360 mapping and workflow and remote assistance tools and Cerys Middle will explore how the adoption of Matrix 360 is used to support operational incidents to enable incident controllers and operators to have visibility of critical points of interest (POI) which are required for operation of the assets and how workflows are used in practice to ensure complex tasks are completed in a controlled repeatable manner.


Gary Smith

Gary Steven Smith CFIOSH FRSH ILTM

Head of Integrated Management Systems and Asset Information at Dŵr Cymru Welsh Water 

Gary heads a function comprising seven work streams at Dŵr Cymru, delivering operational services with a strong focus on asset data management and data exploitation and the application of new and emerging technologies in an industrial context including augmented and virtual reality.

Gary has worked in a wide range of industrial, offshore and service delivery environments and his expertise in Occupational Health and Safety and Risk Management has resulted in him being employed as an expert evidence in the prosecution and defence of businesses and individuals.

Gary presently leads the Dŵr Cymru Welsh Water team delivering big data outputs to field based operators using ruggedised and wearable technology utilising both AR, VR and the IoT– “the right information, presented in the right way, in the timely manner at the operator’s point of use with a view to reducing risk and driving efficiency”Gary has presented a multiple international conferences over the last 20 years and lives and works in Mid Wales.

Cerys Middle

Cerys Middle

Cerys is the Works Operating Manual Team Manager at Dŵr Cymru Welsh Water and has worked in the water industry for the past 19 years and has a comprehensive theoretical and practical knowledge the water industry spanning site operations focusing on leakage and collecting data for large commercial customers and analysing complex data for leakage delivery for DCWW.

Cerys presently leads a team of technicians, who maintain and create technical Operating Manuals and Instructions including Portable and Waste Water Treatment Works, Service Reservoirs, Water Pumping Stations, Primary and Secondary Trunk Mains systems, Urban Waste Water Treatment Works and Operator Self-Monitoring sites.

Cerys is currently managing a project to drive innovative technologies into the business with the use of QR coding, NFC tagging, Augmented Reality and virtual reality on handheld or wearable devices.

AGM 2019 and Talks on AI

Our next meeting will be on Monday 28th October 2019. The meeting will begin with our Annual General Meeting for 2019 and continues with a set of talks on the theme of Artificial Intelligence (AI). Our speakers are lecturers and students in the Computer Science Department at Aberystwyth University. 

  • Approximately Right is better than Precisely Wrong – why “new” AI isn’t working – Neil MacParthalain
  • Adapting to evolving environments – Tom Fearn
  • Whose Bias? – Key Paul-Fitton
  • AI Ethics: do they matter? – Roger Boyle

There are refreshments in foyer of the Physical Sciences building from 5:45pm. The AGM starts at 6:15pm and is followed immediately by our speakers. 

The event is free and open to everyone. 

To help with our planning, please reserve your free place by booking a ticket from Eventbrite.

The Agenda is shown in the attached image.

Enriching Pathway Models Using Text Mining

We are pleased to welcome Sophia Ananiadou, a Professor in Computer Science at the University of Manchester, to talk about “Enriching Pathway Models Using Text Mining”. The meeting will talk will start at 6pm on Thursday 9th May in MP-0.11 in the Physical Sciences building. Details are below. 

This is a free event, open to everyone.

There will be light refreshments available from 5.30pm in the foyer of the Physical Sciences building.

To book your free place, please register at Eventbrite:

Pathway models are valuable resources that help us to understand the various mechanisms underpinning complex biological processes. Their curation is typically carried out through manual inspection of the scientific literature, a knowledge-intensive and laborious task. Text mining methods are used to automate model reconstruction by increasing the speed and reliability of discovery and extracting evidence from the literature. 

Complex information from the literature is automatically extracted and then mapped to reactions in existing pathway models.  Information from the literature (events) can act as corroborative evidence of the validity of these reactions in a model or help to extend it. In addition, by contextualising the textual evidence (extracting uncertainty and negation), we can provide additional confidence measures for linking and ranking information from the literature for model curation and ultimately experimental design. In addition, visual analytics methods can act as the nexus between text mining methods and modellers by providing an interactive way to explore and analyse the statements linked with pathways.

Sophia Ananiadou is Professor in Computer Science, School of Computer Science, The University of Manchester, Director of the National Centre for Text Mining and a Turing Fellow.  

Since 2005, she has successfully directed NaCTeM to be a fully sustainable centre, carrying out novel, world-leading research on text mining, which informs the provision of services, tools, resources and infrastructure to a variety of users from translational medicine, biology, biodiversity, humanities, health and social sciences.

Research led by Prof. Ananiadou has advanced the state of the art in text mining and contributed in novel ways to: automatic extraction of terminology and term variation; development of robust taggers for biomedical text; automatic extraction of events and their interpretation using machine learning methods; development of large scale terminological resources for biomedicine and biodiversity; linking textual evidence with metabolic and signalling pathways; association mining and hypothesis generation; supporting the development of systematic reviews using novel topic modeling and clustering methods and the development of interoperable text mining infrastructure to facilitate all the above applications (Argo).  

Her team achieved top performance in several NLP and text mining challenges, e.g. BioCreaTive, BioNLP, n2c2, etc. Her h-index is 51, with more than 10,000 citations.

Behind the scenes with some Cash Machines

Our next meeting is on Monday 11th February. We are pleased to welcome Dr Nick Pringle to talk about “Behind the scenes with some Cash Machines.” The talk starts at 6.00pm in MP-0.11 in the Physical Sciences building at Aberystwyth University (Map).

Did you recently see that the FBI unusually issued a global warning about an orchestrated attack on the ATM network? With nearly 60,000 ATMs in the UK alone, what are the challenges of balancing the desire for availability and convenience and the overall need for physical and cyber security?

We are pleased to welcome Dr Nick Pringle to consider issues as diverse as: what defines a secure supply chain? How does ISO27001 apply? Does a commercial operating system like Windows 10 have role in a secure environment like an ATM ?
What sorts of job roles are required to meet the service and security challenges?  What’s the future for cash in a “cashless society”? 

Dr Pringle received his PhD in digital forensics from the University of South Wales and works in the area of computer security.

The talk will start at 6pm and there will be drinks and light refreshments in the foyer of the building from 5.30pm.
The talk is free and open to everyone.

Reserve your free ticket

To help with our planning, reserve your free place