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Professor of Telecommunications prepares for TEDxLondon talk!

November 29, 2013 Leave a comment

Mischa Dohler, who was appointed as Professor in Wireless Communications in the Department of Informatics in 2013, is already making a splash in London, with a forthcoming speaking appearance at  TEDxLondon’s CITY 2.0 event on 6 December 2013. Having come from the Centre Tecnològic de Telecomunicacions de Catalunya (CTTC) in Barcelona, a technology centre in telecommunications where he was Director of Research, and on the Board of Directors of Worldsensing, which he cofounded, he is well qualified to discuss some of the most important issues of urban data (big data, open data and privacy), urban manufacturing, and the urban citizen. In his talk “Smart Cities – The Untold Story”, Mischa  will challenge some common views around the recent hype of smart cities, and outline some viable steps to address the challenges and misconceptions to facilitate the emergence of truly smart cities.

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In preparation for the talk, Mischa has been doing some background research, as I discovered while running down the road to grab a sandwich for lunch. Here he is, acting as a “chugger” on the Strand, trying to grab passers by for interviews. Armed with a camera in the background to record and film interviews, when I found him Mischa was beginning to understand the challenges faced by the charity muggers one normally encounters on this stretch of the pavement. He had only had one successful interview in about 4oo people. But it’s still only lunchtime!

TED is a nonprofit organization devoted to Ideas Worth Spreading. Started as a four-day conference in California 25 years ago, TED has since grown to support those world-changing ideas with multiple initiatives. The annual TED Conference invites the world’s leading thinkers and doers to speak for 18 minutes. Their talks are then made available, free, at TED.com. TEDx is a program of local, self organised events that bring people together. TEDxLondon is the leading UK arm of TEDx, having hosted high profile events in partnership with the Skoll Foundation, The Gates Foundation and The Science Museum. Tickets to attend the event are available on the event website.

King’s in Telegraph’s “Top 10 universities for computer science and information systems”

October 15, 2012 Leave a comment

The Department of Informatics at King’s College London has been ranked 8th in the Telegraph’s ranking of the top universities at which to study computer science in the UK. On 11 October 2012, it published it’s top 10 list, based on the QS World University Rankings 2012 by Subject.

I don’t generally believe the various published rankings, which all use different metrics, but what’s particularly interesting about this one is that it explicitly includes a measure of employer reputation, so that we can be confident in how our graduates are perceived. It’s a fantastic achievement!

The QS World University Subject Rankings are based on academic reputation, employer reputation and citations.

Informatics Revolution!

September 21, 2012 Leave a comment
Informatics Revolution at King's

Informatics Revolution at King’s

It’s the start of a new academic year, and we in the Department of Informatics at King’s College London are welcoming back our returning students as well as new cohorts of undergraduate, MSc and PhD students. As part of our induction process, we have student “buddies”, volunteers who show the new students around and introduce them to the Department and the College. This year, our buddies are easily identified, wearing the T-shirts that mark them out, emblazoned with the words “Informatics Revolution”.

So what is this Informatics Revolution? In one sense, it’s self-evident that informatics, which is concerned with the representation, storage, processing, and communication of information, has fundamentally changed the nature of our lives. Not just once, but time and time again, and it will continue to do so. As I write this blog entry, I think little of the wireless access to the Internet that my laptop permits, nor of the social media I’m using through this blog and the Facebook and other posts it will generate. Rather than my laptop, I might use my mobile phone (sadly not a phone with 4G – another revolution – or voice activated control) or tablet computer, and perhaps in two years time there will be another alternative.  Today we delegate control to programs on these devices, and tomorrow we may do the same with robotic devices. All of these aspects are part of what makes up the Department of Informatics at King’s, from foundations underpinning such developments to the practical aspects of developing and deploying them. Revolutions again and again.

At King’s we’re working on robotic surgeons, on cybersecurity, on sequencing genomes, and on autonomous systems. Each one a revolution.

But Informatics Revolution is more than that. Here at King’s it’s an idea that provides a vision for what we can achieve, for both staff and students.  This is the point in time at which the Department of Informatics has taken its final form, with the integration of our Centre for Robotics Research, joining our groups on Planning, Agents, & Intelligent Systems, on Algorithms & Bioinformatics, and on Software Modelling & Applied Logic, bringing a breadth and depth of research that is not common. The revolution begins here in providing the full range of what informatics covers within a single department.

Perhaps more importantly, we are a department that provides research and education that we believe is excellent and getting even better; the recent QS World University Rankings placed King’s 7th on the list of UK institutions for Computer Science! We are a department that is committed, through the energy and efforts of our staff, academic, administrative and technical, to sustaining and improving our provision. We are a department that seeks to engage our students, and to work with them (and to have them work with us) on driving forward to ensure our environment and our culture are vibrant and stimulating. Informatics Revolution is an idea that underpins a vision of shared contribution and achievement for both staff and students in a revision of traditional models of staff teaching students and students receiving that teaching. Together we will make it happen.

Viva la revolucion!

Dov Gabbay: You’re a legend!

June 25, 2012 4 comments

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Being Head of Department sometimes has its drawbacks, but kicking off the Distinguished Lecture Series of the Department of Informatics at King’s College London on 21 June 2012, and introducing our first speaker has to be one of the highlights so far. Emeritus Professor Dov Gabbay has had a remarkable career in Computer Science, and is rightly regarded as one of the outstanding minds in the area of logic. Dov retired in 2011, but I’m delighted that he remains with us at King’s as Emeritus Professor. Indeed, there’s no sign of him slowing down – he remains as active as he ever was.

As I said when I introduced his lecture, one of my prized possessions is one of Dov’s many volumes on logic in his series of handbooks. I acquired it as a PhD student way back, and have ensured that it stays on my shelf, despite being forced to downsize my book collection on several occasions. So it was an honour and a privilege to invite Dov to deliver his lecture.

Of course, the lecture was outstanding, both instructive and entertaining, and set a very high bar for those who will follow in the series of Informatics Distinguished Lectures (look out for future lectures!). We’ve recorded it on video, and I’ll post a link here (as well as several other places) once it’s available.

As Carlito’s nephew(?) in the film, Carlito’s Way, says to Carlito (played by Al Pacino), “You a ****ing legend, man!” I can think of no one to whom such a statement applies more than Dov.

24 October 2012: VIDEO LINK ADDED

Software attacks on mobile devices

In light of recent concerns about the security of Google’s Android mobile phone platform, Richard Overill of the Department of Informatics at King’s, and an expert on cyber security, speaks to Bloomberg Business Week.

The proliferation of mobile app stores at platforms from companies including Google, Apple Inc., Microsoft Corp., Research in Motion Ltd. and Nokia has made the functions and devices harder to secure, said Richard Overill, a senior lecturer in computer science at King’s College, London

“It is a new frontier,” said Overill, who has been researching the industry since 1992. “It’s been an area that the criminal fraternity hasn’t gone into before because they are doing quite nicely thank you in the computer space.”

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InKings: An Informatics Blog

This blog provides an informal forum for discussion and debate surrounding issues related to Informatics at King’s College London. The postings on this site reflect individual views and do not necessarily represent the position of King’s College London.

Informatics at King’s covers Computer Science, Robotics, Telecommunications and Bioinformatics!

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