• Using visual language to tackle complexity

    Gustav Tuck Lecture Theatre, University College London

    Using visual language to tackle complexity As business has become more complex over recent decades, it has also become hugely more visual. Graphic facilitation, rich pictures, data visualisation, not to mention a myriad of visual workshopping techniques, have become the norm for many organisations. Businesses are dynamic, non-linear, complex systems, so it makes sense that we are evolving new, non-verbal ways to make sense of them. Arguably, this development has not seen a parallel advance in theory and instruction, so many people’s experience of visual thinking amounts to “pretty pictures” in meetings, pictures that run the risk of compounding complexity rather than tackling it. In this session Steve will return to some fundamental principles of systems thinking, to build up a model of what it actually means to represent complexity in a meaningful way. The session will: • Demonstrate that all of us are visual thinkers, whether we like it or not • Provide a theoretical grounding that brings visual and systems thinking principles together • Show that you don’t need to be able to draw to make meaningful visual representations of complexity • Provide practical advice for non-artists to move their use of visual language beyond simple arrows and boxes Arrival and meetup with others from 6:30pm, presentation 7pm-8pm with group discussion, networking and light refreshments afterwards. About Steve Steve Whitla lives and works in Oxford, where he runs Visual Meaning Ltd, a niche consultancy that builds visual models of complex systems and trains/coaches consultants and business people in visual thinking. He is a fellow of the RSA, a member of the CMI, and regularly teaches visual thinking and system mapping in both academic and non-academic settings. He writes about meaning and visual language at meaning.guide, and tweets at @swhitla. http://meaning.guide/ This talk is being organised in conjunction with Science has no Borders https://www.meetup.com/Science-has-no-Borders/ and Turning to Complexity https://www.meetup.com/Turning-to-Complexity-Beta/

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  • Turing’s code-breaking & computation by natural systems

    Gustav Tuck Lecture Theatre, University College London

    Turing’s life and work was popularised in ‘The Imitation Game’ (2014), starring Benedict Cumberbatch. Alan Turing was a Cambridge mathematician who played a leading role in the effort to break the ‘Enigma’ cryptographic message system used by the German army during World War II. He is also known as the man whose mathematical theories gave birth to the concept of modern computation, due to his seminal paper of 1936 in which Turing established the science of computer theory (in parallel with Alonzo Church). Turing’s paper ushered in the era of digital computing with the idea of a ‘Universal Turing Machine’ that could compute any mathematical function. Less well known is Turing’s work in theoretical biology. He was very interested in how biological systems ‘compute’. Another seminal paper Turing paper is on the subject of how complex patterns in groups of cells could theoretically occur as part of the natural development of an organism based on simple rules about the diffusion of chemicals between the cells. Obvious examples are the stripes of a tiger or the spots of a leopard. ‘Turing Patterns’ are yet to be proven yet are still an area of active investigation today by some of the world’s leading researchers in theoretical biology. This talk will be about another aspect Turing’s work in the light of some of the papers just presented at the Theo Murphy International Scientific Meeting on Computation by Natural Systems, which was held on 21-22 March 2018. These very recent papers and experimental results will be discussed in relation to a theory of Turing which involves an algorithm he called ‘Banburismus’, used as part of the code-breaking effort at Bletchley Park. Turing’s Banburismus algorithm appears to relate organisational processes (in its original application this is the organisational flow of the code-breaking effort) to the assessment of risk. The Banburismus algorithm has already been the subject of papers in Neuroscience, notably Gold and Shadlen (2002). Since the computation of risk in terms of organisational flows may be important in biology the potential relationships to emergent biological organisation (such as Turing Patterns) are of interest, and will be discussed. Where: Gustav Tuck Lecture Theatre UCL. Enter UCL via Gower St main entrance. Walk diagonally right across the courtyard towards the right corner of the main quadrangle (follow the signs for Complexity Science). Enter the Wilkins Building at the South Cloisters (you'll see the building name) turn right and then left. Then, look for the staircase, head up to the second floor, where you will find the lecture theatre. See map below. Can't find the room or will be a bit delayed? Call or text[masked] Bio Adam Timlett has a research masters in philosophy from the University of East Anglia and is a History graduate of Trinity College, Oxford. In 2018 he published a chapter on complexity and common sense in the latest book in the Springer Nature Studies in Brain and Mind series. He currently works as an Insight Solutions Developer at the company PPL, and lives in London, United Kingdom. He has a keen interest in science, philosophy, technology, and innovation. He blogs on the subject of 'complexity' and also collaborates with the 'complexity' artist James Robert White. His current blog is found at: https://www.fractalagility.com/ His older blog is on his collaborator’s website: https://www.jamesrobertwhiteart.com

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  • Representation of the people in science: Women in civic and citizen science

    • What we'll do You’re invited to a free event at UCL on 19th March as part of the UCL Exhibition “Disruptors & Innovators: Journeys in gender equality at UCL”, we will host a panel of talks on how to open up science and engineering to new audiences, especially the representation of women in science. When: Monday 19th March 2018, 18:00-19:30 Where: G07 Exhibition Room, Pearson Building, UCL, Gower St, London, WC1E 6BT Cost: Free Register and get your tickets at the eventbrite page: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/representation-of-the-people-in-science-women-in-civic-and-citizen-science-tickets-42905633906 Evening format: 5:30-6pm: Tour of exhibition 6-6:45pm: Presentations by speakers: a series of 10 minute talks from women working locally in academia, art, science, activism and more. 6:45-7pm: Q&A and discussions with the audience 7-7:30pm: Reception and additional tour of exhibition Event Details: This event is part of the UCL Exhibition “Disruptors and Innovators: Journeys in gender equality at UCL”. You can arrive for the 5:30 tour of the exhibition or at 6 for the series of short talks. Speakers: * Introduction by Dr Cindy Regalado from UCL Extreme Citizen Science * Chair: Dr Charlene Jennett, researcher at UCL Interaction Centre will share her research into this fast-growing phenomenon; * Some recent history of civic science and radical science movement by Dr Alice Bell * Citizens' use of science to face HS2 by Jo Hurford, local artist and community leader * Transcribe Bentham by Dr Louise Seaward. Transcribe Bentham is a flagship humanities project at UCL where a significant number of the most active volunteers are women. * Engineering Exchange by Professor Sarah Bell, director of Engineering Exchange, will present how to open up engineering practices to communities around UCL, and how women’s roles and feminist concepts have enabled this. HOW TO FIND US Directions to the "Disruptors and Innovators" Exhibition: Enter the UCL large gates on Gower St, in front of the large stone staircase. There is a door on the left of the staircase which will take you directly into the Octagon (Wilkins Building), where the exhibition “Disruptors and Innovators” is being held. We'll be there to meet you from 5:30 to 6pm. A map pointing you to the Wilkins Building is here. Directions to our panel of speakers: Enter the large gates on Gower St, in front of the large stone staircase. The first big building on your left is the Pearson Building. Enter the first door on the left after the big gates. You will come to the Geography reception, but we'll have the doors open and signs up. Go into the corridor directly ahead; G07 Exhibition Room will be the first big room on your right. We'll be starting our event here from 6pm, and those who wish can wander back to the exhibition with us at 7pm. Follow the signage to both the "Disruptors and Innovators" exhibition and G07! • What to bring • Important to know

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  • A Plastic Voyage: Film screening & all-female panel discussion

    • What we'll do In 2017 an all-woman crew sailed around the whole of the British Isles, sampling the waters for plastics and toxics to highlight the issue of plastic pollution and our part in it. At this event we will be screening the eXXpedition Sky Ocean Rescue documentary (45 mins), followed by a Q&A panel discussion between eXXpedition crew members and an artist working with marine debris. The panel will discuss approaches to tackling the damage caused to the world’s oceans by plastics and associated chemicals, and talk about their experiences of being a women in STEM. When: Thu, March 8, 2018, 6:00 PM – 8:00 PM Where: Lecture Theatre 2, Cruciform Building, Gower Street, University College London Cost: Free Register and get your tickets at the eventbrite page: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/a-plastic-voyage-film-screening-and-all-female-panel-discussion-tickets-43286248334 To find out more about eXXpedition please go to their website: http://exxpedition.com/ This film screening is part of the UCL Conservation Group’s #UCLPlasticFree campaign • What to bring • Important to know Register and get your tickets at the eventbrite page: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/a-plastic-voyage-film-screening-and-all-female-panel-discussion-tickets-43286248334

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  • DITbiology workshop #3: Microbial Analyses of Environmental Samples

    Rachel Aronoff from AGiR! Action for Genomic integrity through Research (http://www.genomicintegrity.org/) and the open public lab Hackuarium (http://www.hackuarium.ch/) is coming to London from Geneva this month to facilitate two workshops: Open-sourcing DNA Damage Detection and Microbial Analyses of Environmental Samples for Citizen Science. We will begin with a discussion on citizen-led and DIT (Do-It-Together) research looking at on-going challenges and ways that enable true citizen science (rather than merely crowd-sourcing of data collection and analysis). THE WORKSHOPS Microbial Analyses of Environmental Samples Fri. 26th Jan: data collection; Sat 27th: interpretation of results For this workshop we will swab suspecting and unsuspecting places (on Fri 26th evening). We will then culture our samples, letting them incubate overnight to see the results the next day (Sat 27th afternoon). Learning about quantitative biological methods, via cell staining and microbial cultures, can allow us to better understand the statistical challenges for interpretation of results and even how choices we make about environmental risks might influence our health. Bring a friend, and Do It Together! Open-sourcing DNA Damage Detection Fri. 26th Jan Bring along your toothbrush to sample your cheeks and you will be paired up with another participant to do micronucleus testing, by which you can assess, in your own cheek cells, baseline levels of DNA damage. What: DIY biology workshops on Open-sourcing DNA Damage Detection and Microbial Analyses of Environmental Samples When: Saturday 27th 13:30 we have our microbial analysis workshop Where: **Saturday 28th (after our bacterial cultures have incubated overnight) @ Pearson Building Room G23 - enter UCL via main entrance on Gower Street, facing the portico from the entrance turn to the left (walk past a little white truck) and (follow the signage) along the building to the corner where you will see tall black doors go through the ones on the left and go in past a glass door. Walk down the corridor to the right all the way to the end past two sets of doors. The room is on the right.

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  • DITbiology workshop #2: Open-sourcing DNA Damage Detection

    Gustav Tuck Lecture Theatre, University College London

    Rachel Aronoff from AGiR! Action for Genomic integrity through Research (http://www.genomicintegrity.org/) and the open public lab Hackuarium (http://www.hackuarium.ch/) is coming to London from Geneva this month to facilitate two workshops: Open-sourcing DNA Damage Detection and Microbial Analyses of Environmental Samples for Citizen Science. We will begin with a discussion on citizen-led and DIT (Do-It-Together) research looking at on-going challenges and ways that enable true citizen science (rather than merely crowd-sourcing of data collection and analysis). THE WORKSHOPS Open-sourcing DNA Damage Detection Fri. 26th Jan 18:30-21:30 Bring along your toothbrush to smaple your cheeks and you will be paired up with another participant to do micronucleus testing, by which you can assess, in your own cheek cells, baseline levels of DNA damage. Microbial Analyses of Environmental Samples Fri. 26th Jan: data collection; Sat 27th: interpretation of results For this workshop we will swab suspecting and unsuspecting places. We will then culture our samples, letting them incubate overnight to see the results the next day. Learning about quantitative biological methods, via cell staining and microbial cultures, can allow us to better understand the statistical challenges for interpretation of results and even how choices we make about environmental risks might influence our health. Bring a friend, and Do It Together! What: DIY biology workshops on Open-sourcing DNA Damage Detection and Microbial Analyses of Environmental Samples When: Friday 26th 18:30 - we start with data collection for microbial analysis workshop to let samples incubate overnight AND we do our full workshop on DNA damage detection; Saturday 27th 13:30 - microbial analysis workshop How much: Free! But please bring your own toothbrush (for cheek sampling)! Where: Gustav Tuck Lecture theatre, Gowert St, University College London, WC1E 6BT. Enter University College London via main entrance on Gower Street. Walk into the courtyard toward the portico and turn right toward the corner through wooden doors, turn right & follow the signs up the stairs to the top floor (or take the lift).

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  • How can we make AI drive prosperity

    Watson LT (G02)

    Future Advocacy is a social enterprise working on the greatest challenges humanity faces in the 21st Century. Their work focuses on stretching the decision-making horizons of government, business, and citizens to allow global problems to be solved. One of their main topics of focus is the impacts of Artificial Intelligence on the economy, and on normal people's lives. Their most recent report looks at the impact of AI in UK constituencies, giving an estimate of the percentage of jobs at risk of automation in each area by 2030. This talk will examine the impacts of AI on people's prospects, the challenges and opportunities it will bring, and examine how we can make AI a driver of prosperity and ensure it has a positive impact. Future Advocacy was founded by Olly Buston who was a key architect of the Make Poverty History Campaign. Olly was Europe Director of ‘ONE’ for 7 years and has also worked as Director of the Walk Free anti-slavery movement, and as Senior Advocacy Officer for Oxfam International in Washington, DC. REGISTRATION REQUIRED (RSVP here does not guarantee admittance to event) - Please visit and register at the eventbrite page (https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/soundbite-olly-buston-futureadvocacy-how-can-we-make-ai-drive-prosperity-tickets-41074182987). DATE AND TIME Thu 25 January 2018, 13:00 – 14:00 GMT LOCATION Watson Lecture Theatre, Medawar Building (G02), Gower Street, University College London, WC1E 6BT [View Map (https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/soundbite-olly-buston-futureadvocacy-how-can-we-make-ai-drive-prosperity-tickets-41074182987#map-target)] This event is organised by the by UCL Institute for Global Prosperity (https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/soundbite-olly-buston-futureadvocacy-how-can-we-make-ai-drive-prosperity-tickets-41074182987#listing-organizer).

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  • Exploring links between Agile ideas and complexity science

    Gustav Tuck Lecture Theatre, University College London

    Adam Timlett will give a presentation with discussion about Agile and complexity Agile is a popular and proven approach to increasing the odds that complex software projects will succeed. In this talk I will set out to explain how Agility needs to be re-cast as an idea on the new frontier of a productive science of complex systems in areas as diverse as economics, biology and cognitive science. The approach to software development known as 'Agile' is an excellent yet overlooked subject for a rapidly evolving complexity science. It currently lacks a theoretical underpinning, something I will try to redress in the talk, but I will clearly show how Agile already addresses many of the key ideas that concern complexity theorists and that it can make a valuable contribution to the study and design of complex systems in both nature and society. Fractal Agility I believe when done properly, Agile software, systems and methods allow a non-reductive approach to organisational and design problems; Agile involves flexible and emergent working processes and encourages self-organisation rather than rigidly pre-specified methods and organisation. Crucially, (and the main focus of the talk) is my proposal that Agility involves the ability to react to events that occur 'late' in the evolution of a system. In this sense, I will be outlining the idea that Fractal Agility can be analysed as a desirable property of many complex systems in biology, economics and the brain, because it lowers the organisation required to successfully create complex things. I will argue that in nature, Fractal Agility may increase the odds of complex products occurring by lowering the organisation (and therefore resources) required to make something, even if that thing is very complex. Where: Gustav Tuck Lecture Thearter UCL. Enter UCL via Gower St main entrance. Walk diagonally right across the courtyard towards the right corner of the main quadrangle (follow the signs for Complexity Science). Enter the Wilkins Building at the South Cloisters (you'll see see the building name) turn right and then left. Then, look for the staircase, head up to the second floor, where you will find the lecture theatre. See map below. Can't find the room or will be a bit delayed? Call or text[masked] Bio Adam Timlett has a research masters in philosophy from the University of East Anglia, and a paper on complexity and commonsense forthcoming in an an academic book about the mind. He currently works as an Insight Solutions Developer at the company PPL, and lives in London, United Kingdom. He has a keen interest in science, philosophy, technology, and innovation. He blogs on the subject of 'complexity' and also collaborates with the 'complexity' artist James Robert White. His current blog is found at http://www.jamesrobertwhiteart.com

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