Archive for February, 2014

Copenhagen cast

February 26, 2014 1 comment




Photos of the cast of Copenhagen.   From top to bottom:  Ria Abbott (Margrethe Bohr), Thomas Marsh (Werner Heisenberg) and Fred Fullerton (Niels Bohr).




Categories: Uncategorized

King’s College hosts Semantic Web Event

February 26, 2014 Leave a comment

This is a guest post by Dr Jarred McGinnis, Visiting Research Fellow in the Agents and Intelligent Systems Group of the Department of Informatics at KCL.

It could be my nationality.  I’m American and we’re a chatty lot.  Or, my career. I started out as an academic, a logician and theoretician. Then I moved toward more applied and managerial roles in industry. I’ve spoken to a lot of people with differing perspectives. I’ve come to appreciate the need for dialogue and understanding.

Besides my role as a Visiting Research Fellow here at King’s, lately I’ve been working with Ontotext who provides semantic repositories and semantic NLP solutions. They’re interesting to work with because they are building technologies, often seen as academic and esoteric, to be used in an enterprise setting within governments, organisations and businesses. Often, I am sitting between the technologists and the business owners translating the needs and desires of one party in the terms of the other as they try to decide whether semantics is something their organisation needs.

It was in the spirit of fostering that cross-discipline communication that I put together the Semantic Web Meet Up hosted in King’s incredible Anatomy Lecture Theatre. The title of the discussion was ‘What Linked Data Does, What Linked Data Need’. I wanted students, academics, technologists and business people to be in the same room talking about the same thing. The plan was to gather a number of professionals currently using semantics and discuss what further work is needed to bring this emerging technology to the mainstream. It would have been hard to have a better panel to cover the spectrum of linked data users. We had:

– Fabio Colasanti, Data and Information Architect at EuroMoney, a publisher of highly valuable economics and financial information.
– Tom Heath, Head of Research at ODI, a nonprofit (and technology neutral) organisation encouraging the opening of data, Linked or otherwise.
– Sofia Angeletou, Senior Data Architect at BBC, the publically funded broadcaster we know and love that has spearheaded the use of Linked Data.
– Pravin Paratey, CTO at Affectv a company that uses NLP and data-driven means to provided targeted and relevant ads to internet users.

We had an incredible turnout and the audience was fantastic. They were full of insightful questions and the discussion continued at the pub afterwards.  I suspect this will be the first of many of these events here at King’s.


February 25, 2014 1 comment


‘I’m your enemy; I’m also your friend. I’m a danger to mankind; I’m also your guest. I’m a particle; I’m also a wave.’

In the first production from the School of Natural and Mathematical Sciences at King’s College London, memory, guilt and nuclear physics are thrown together in an explosive play about the uncertain nature of the universe – and of our own minds.

1924:   Two physicists, Niels Bohr and his soon-to-be protégé Wernher Heisenberg, come together at a conference. They go on to lay the groundwork for a second Enlightenment, the foundation of modern physics.

1941:  With Copenhagen under German occupation, Heisenberg – now chief scientist on the Nazi atomic research programme – visits his old friend Bohr, and Bohr’s wife Margrethe.  What was said remains unknown, but the conversation ended the closest friendship in physics and nobody, not even those who were present, has ever been able to answer the question: Why did Heisenberg come to Copenhagen?

In an afterlife where the three characters can move freely through their pasts, Michael Frayn’s play delves into that question, and in doing so explores collaboration and complicity, self-knowledge and self-deception, and how we distort our own motives and memories.

Who is to blame for the atomic bomb – for bringing a beleaguered world to the precipice of annihilation?

What is right in times of war, when your life, the lives of your loved ones, hang in the balance?

How can ever know with certainty why we do what we do?

In a compelling and intense production, the play will be performed on Friday 14 March, Saturday 15 March, and Sunday 16 March, each evening at 19.30pm.   The performance venue will be the Old Anatomy Museum, King’s Building, on the Strand Campus of King’s College London.   A map and details of how to reach King’s are here.

For entry to the building, you will need to purchase tickets in advance.   Tickets can be purchased from Eventbrite, here.  Prices are:

  • General Admission: £8
  • Concessions: £5

The Facebook event page is here.  Photos of the cast are here.

Copenhagen is a play by Michael Frayn.  The production is performed by Ria Abbott, Fred Fullerton, and Thomas Marsh.  This production is led by Alister MacQuarrie (Director), Aja Garrod (Producer), and William Nash (Managing Producer).    Financial support has been gratefully received from the King’s College London Alumni & Supporter Relations Office, through the Student Opportunity Fund, funded by the generosity of Alumni donations.   Financial and administrative support from the School of Natural and Mathematical Sciences, the Department of Informatics and the Department of Physics are also gratefully acknowledged.    Administrative and technical support has also been given by King’s Cultural Institute.  The crew and cast also acknowledge the assistance of Samuel French Ltd, in obtaining performance rights for the play.

Categories: Events

Teach me X: iOS Development

February 10, 2014 Leave a comment

The KCL Tech Society is running another in its very popular series of student-led learning sessions tonight, Teach Me X.   This session will be led by James Bellamy and is on mobile app development using iOS.   The session is at 6-7 pm tonight, Monday 19 February, in room K3.11 at the Strand campus of KCL.   Details from the Facebook page.

The Department of Informatics at King’s College London is proud to support this event through the provision of free pizza – since whoever heard of anyone coding without access to pizza!

Atomic Nordic Noir

February 4, 2014 Leave a comment


Intense rehearsals are underway for performances of Michael Frayn’s celebrated play, Copenhagen, by students at King’s College London.   The play concerns a famous meeting between atomic physicists Werner Heisenberg and Niels Bohr in Copenhagen during World War II, and deals with topics such as quantum physics, the nature of memory, and the responsibility of nuclear scientists for the atom bomb.   This production is an initiative of three King’s students, William Nash (Producer), Alister MacQuarrie (Director) and Aja Garrod-Prance (Producer).  They held open auditions last November for the parts and after auditions and call-backs selected three students for the play:  Ria Abbott, Fred Fullerton and Thomas Marsh.  Rehearsals began when term resumed last month.

The performances of the play will be on the evenings of Friday 14, Saturday 15, and Sunday 16 March 2014, in the Old Anatomy Museum of King’s Building at King’s College London, on Strand.   A panel discussion about the historic and scientific issues raised by the play will be held around the same time as these performances, with speakers from the Physics Department and the Department of War Studies.     Members of the public are very welcome to attend the performances and the panel discussion.

This production is proudly supported by the School of Natural and Mathematical Sciences, and the Departments of Physics and Informatics at King’s College London.

In the meantime, if you would like to see some very professional theatre from the talented people at King’s, hot-foot it to the Greenwood Theatre on Guys’ Campus of King’s this week, where William Nash is directing a production of Romeo and Juliet.   (Wednesday 5, Thursday 6, and Friday 7 February 2014, at 7.45 pm).   People who have managed to sneak past the tight security into rehearsals tell me that the production is funny, exciting, and very definitely noir.

Tweets and Retweets

February 3, 2014 Leave a comment


Last week, William Webberley of Cardiff University, gave a fascinating talk to the Agents and Intelligent Systems Group of the Department of Informatics at King’s on his research looking at retweets on Twitter.   The audience comprised members of our Agents and Intelligent Systems Group and our Centre for Telecommunications Research.

Will  gave an overview of his PhD research from his initial work on retweet behaviours and propagation characteristics through to studies of the properties exhibited by Twitter’s social graph and the effects that the interconnection of users have on message dissemination.  He also outlined methods for identifying interesting content on Twitter and demonstrating its relative strengths and weaknesses, as validated by crowd-sourced assessments using Mechanical Turk.     Part of his work involved the development of a multi-agent computational model, to simulate retweeting behaviours.  The slides for his talk can be found here.

For me, a key question is this:   Interesting tweets typically get retweeted, but are all retweeted tweets interesting?   They may well be interesting to the connected group of people who retweet them, but are they interesting in general?  Indeed, is anything “interesting in general”?  And if the writers, readers, and retweeters of tweets are predominantly software agents, what does that say about interestingness?   Do androids dream of electric sheep?

HackKings: London Hackathon

February 1, 2014 Leave a comment


The King’s College London Tech Society is a new student-led society for people interested in technology.   They are organizing the first 24-hour Hackathon at a London university, for Saturday-Sunday 22-23 February 2014, and this will be the largest student-run hackathon in Britain.    Already major sponsors such as Facebook and CodeAcademy are offering prizes for participants.

To prepare participants, the Tech Society is also running Teach-Me-X sessions, Monday evening lectures on relevant skills.  The first session was last Monday 27 January on Ruby-on-Rails, led by Tech Society co-founder, Niklas Begley.   As good programmers know, the quality of the code depends crucially on the quantity of pizza available.   So the Department of Informatics at KCL was delighted to support this initiative by providing pizza for the session!

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