**IMPORTANT - This is not our regular meetup but a ticketed event @ Watershed**
A tech conference for polyglots and the technically curious.
Bristech Conference is a one-day tech event featuring talks from across the technical spectrum including techniques, tooling, programming languages, cloud, frameworks, digital ethics, soft skills/psychology, emerging technologies and DevOps.
For more information and tickets, please go to https://2018.bris.tech
Note - the next meetup event will be in January 2019. Please don't join the wait list for this event - do buy a ticket if you want to come along!
// CRAIG MCDONNELL - MODERN MONITORING WITH PROMETHEUS AND GRAFANA
Having greater insight into how our systems are behaving benefits all stakeholders but is an often overlooked and under-resourced aspect of software development.
Luckily for us #observability is trending and there’s a new monitoring instrumentation library, time-series database, and graphing tool released every minute.
In this presentation, we’ll look at how free open source tools can be used at every step of the monitoring pipeline to reduce friction, increase adoption, and bring the hidden inner workings of your applications out of the shadows… Power-up your omniscience!
// ABOUT CRAIG
Craig graduated 1st class Hons Computer Science from Swansea University in 2008 and has spent the ten years since solving puzzles for fun and profit.
He has found his home at ForgeRock where he is component lead for auditing and monitoring.
// DAN COOK - EXPLOITING KNOWLEDGE WITH NATURAL LANGUAGE PROCESSING
The reality is structured databases within organisations only represent a tiny portion of the knowledge an organisation needs. They typically posses Confluence pages, Word docs, a mass of emails and the legal contracts that underpin their business. Combine this with the vast amount of unstructured text on the web and you have to ask the question if you’re making informed decisions. This talk shows a way of summarising the information out there to help you find what you need. There won’t be any academia it’s hard statements, just practical applied NLP for the everyday software developer.
// ABOUT DAN
Dan is an independent Big Data Technical Architect. He has led the development of a Hadoop-as-a-Service offering and built software streaming frameworks long before the rise of Apache Spark and Storm. He’s well versed in the knowledge domain building applications on RDF and SPARQL collapsing many systems of information into 360 views of a customer from both structured and unstructured data.
// CHRIS SMITH - WEB ASSEMBLY WITH RUST
Enter Web Assembly - a browser native runtime that is now available in all the major browsers.
There'll be a lot of live coding, so hopefully the demo gremlin won't strike :-)
// ABOUT CHRIS
Chris started his working life as an actuary, pricing life insurance and reinsurance in Zurich, Paris and London.
He decided on a career change about 10 years ago, and reached the dizzying heights of Senior Perl Developer before moving into .NET and then Scala. He currently writes Scala full time for Ovo Energy and writes, deploys and maintains AWS based systems. He believes in agile methodologies, continuous testing as part of the development process and everything as code (infrastructure, CI / CD pipelines, security, ..)
Chris is one of the co-founders and directors of Bristech. His main responsibility is the monthly meetup, but he also helps with the annual conference.
// LAURENCE KIRK - An Introduction to Ethereum and Smart Contract Development
Ethereum was introduced as blockchain platform allowing general purpose scripting using smart contracts. Ethereum nodes include a virtual machine to run smart contracts, the system state being maintained by a modified version of the Nakamoto Consensus.
This talk will introduce smart contracts and Solidity the most widely used language for writing smart contracts on Ethereum. I will show the possibilities and limitations of smart contract development on Ethereum.
// ABOUT LAURENCE
After a successful career writing low latency financial applications in the City of London, Laurence was captivated by the potential of Blockchain Technology, and in particular smart contracts.
Three years ago, Laurence moved to Oxford and set up Extropy.io, a consultancy working with start-ups in the UK and overseas, developing applications on the Ethereum platform. He brings with him a wealth of real world experience that he loves to share with those new to this area.
Laurence hold a Physics degree from Durham University, and currently taking his MSc in Software Engineering at Oxford University. In addition to giving talks, mentoring at hackathons, and running groups about Blockchain Technology, Laurence also organise Artificial Intelligence and Data Science groups in Oxford.
// TONY BUTTERFIELD - Resource Oriented Computing with NetKernel
We’ll take a deep dive into resource oriented computing (ROC) and see what happens when you take “everything is a resource” to the extreme. We’ll see how you can compose software with microservices at the small scale as well as the large.
First I’ll give you an introduction to the motivations and concepts behind ROC, and what that means in practice.
Then we’ll look at NetKernel's model for caching, looking at it’s 3 aspects: identity, scope, and validity. We’ll see how this leads to a general way to cache computation across programming languages.
Finally we’ll see what happens when scope exists in the middleware outside of the programming language. This leads to some interesting new design patterns and simplifies microservice interactions.
If you’re interested in microservices, or just love computer science, then this talk with give you food for thought.
// About Tony
Tony started programming as a kid on 8-bit computers where he released his first commercial game at 15. He honed his skills poring over Z80 data sheets and hand crafting machine code. After learning to do it “properly” at university he entered the boring world of business computing. Never satisfied with the status quo though, he always looked to find better ways to do things by understanding the principles and origins of computing. He stumbled upon what has become resource oriented computing 16 years ago, and has been exploring that rabbit hole ever since. Tony is cofounder and CTO of NetKernel.
Other interests include trekking off the beaten track with his trusty stick carrying companion, and attempting to build the world's smartest smart home featuring over 140 sensors at last counting, including a geiger counter, traffic speed radar, and an aquarium with a lighting rig more complex than most pop concerts.
// ALEX OGILVIE - Automated dependency tracking using Network Theory
In engineering, designing complex systems is a huge task made up of large teams of design engineers managing hundreds of components, thousands of files and hundreds of thousands of dependencies. One of the main challenges within these projects is tracking the dependencies between files and monitoring the effect of change in the system. Design Structure Matrices (DSMs) have been used in systems engineering and project management to model the structure of complex systems as a dependency network; perform system analysis; and aid project planning and organisational design since the 1960s, but this is traditionally a laborious task resulting in outdated analysis. This talk will explain how a simplistic artificial intelligence has been developed to automate DSM creation, enabling real time dependency tracking and analysis to alleviate these issues within engineering and beyond.
// About Alex Ogilvie, Will Worrall, Charlie Bickerton
Alex, Will and Charlie are Engineering Mathematics graduates from the University of Bristol. Since graduating they have founded Miminal, a data science consultancy providing bespoke data science services to companies looking to leverage the power of data science, artificial intelligence and machine learning but lack the in-house capacity and/or expertise. The trio have recently been accepted into the Oracle Scaleup Ecosystem and included in Business Insider’s Southwest 42 Under 42, which profiles 42 young entrepreneurs and business leaders who should be on your radar.
// DR DAVID BERNHARD - ZERO KNOWLEDGE PROOFS (ZKP)
One of the worst ways to do authentication is for a client to send over its secret credential every time it logs in, which the server then compares to a copy of the credential that it stores in plain text. This talk will explain the cryptographer’s view of the best way to do authentication (PhD in cryptography NOT required), known as zero-knowledge proofs. Protocols of this kind underlie digital signatures such as DSA/ECDSA/EdDSA which are used among other things in FIDO authentication, which you can already use to log in to services such as github and gmail; and are required for compliance with the highest levels of NIST authentication standards.
// ABOUT DAVID
Dr. David Bernhard is a Teaching Fellow in the Department of Computer Science at the University of Bristol. David holds a PhD in cryptography and has worked as a software developer (Java EE applications) and as a consultant for electronic voting projects.
// NICK SOPER - OCCUPATIONAL BURNOUT
The tech industry is full of motivated, passionate people. We are proud of our work and we are prepared to go the extra mile to achieve our goals.
These are brilliant qualities, right? Any entrepreneur needs motivation and drive if they're going to make their business work... The model employee is dedicated and hard working...
But life as a driven, dedicated person can have a more insidious side. Working hard can eat away at other aspects of your life - your family and friends can be affected. It's very easy to fall into a vicious spiral and get BURNT.
I'll be talking about my experience of burning out and what I'm doing to address it.
This is an all too common problem in our industry, so hopefully my little talk will help start some conversations...
// ABOUT NICK
I've been a professional geek since 2005 when I graduated from Exeter University with a degree in Computer Science.
// SIMON MINTON - DevSecOps: threat modelling and continuous assurance
Basically I want to give some background info on threat modelling - where it's come from and why it's gaining traction, give an example to demonstrate why it's so useful. Then I will segue into talking about the need for to adopt continuous assurance into development practices.
Threat modelling provides a great starting point to collaborate with peers on the attack vectors of an application, continuous assurance means that each stakeholder (from dev to product owner, to DBA) can track / remediate potential issues within the build over time.
From conversations with a number of tech companies that we're talking to, it seems that they're starting to get pummelled by requests from their integration partners (particularly API integrations) or their customers for more assurance around their development process and software composition. They have to provide point-in-time auditing of their processes - even in some cases their CTO has to spend half a day with customer to provide an explanation of how their processes and software are secure.
They are looking for an automated approach to demonstrating the health of their systems, which can be either given as a report upon request, or as a 'feed' to customers/ partners.
// About Simon
15 years in Cyber Security spent trying to patch holes, detect breaches and educate key stakeholders have taught Simon one thing; it's much better to build software securely by design than to try to fix it once it's in production.
Simon is an evangelist for the 'DevSecOps' movement, where security becomes an intrinsic part of the software development process.
In this world, developers collaborate with their peers to build software that is secure by design, automation minimises mistakes and ensures compliance, and the business can actually quantify and manage risk.
There are some inspirational people in the DevSecOps world, and Simon spends a fair bit of time travelling the globe to go meet them. He regularly organises cyber meetups and events, and generally tries to spread the word.
Simon studied Economics in the UK and Amsterdam, got the travelling bug, founded a few startups in some great cities across the world, and now resides back in the UK.
He is co-founder of RUGGD, a DevSecOps software platform which helps developers design and build secure software.
// JAN GRANT & MATTHEW GILLIARD - Serverless functions with Fn
We’ll talk about the open-source Fn project and some of the challenges involved in turning that into a multi-tenant service. In particular, we’ll examine multi-tenant workload isolation; looking at how we can share as much of the data-plane as possible, whilst keeping customers’ workloads from interfering with each other.
// About Jan
I work as part of the team building the Fn project (https://github.com/fnproject/fn) into a service. Prior to joining Oracle I worked (- with Matt!) on OpenStack; I seem to have had one foot in each of the “dev” and “ops" camps for most of my career.
// About Matt
// Daniel Drozdzweksi - Bigish™ Data
Big Data has been selling consulting gigs, conferences and books for years now. You don’t even know you have a Big Data problem, but let the consultants in, and they will lift the floorboards of your organisation, and will surely uncover rising damp from where your data lake ought to be or where the firehose ought to terminate.
In this talk we will examine some perils of Big Data, provide a few sensible alternative approaches and show how to embark on the journey towards Big Data analytics in a rational way and removing some of the hype.
// About Daniel
Daniel started his passion for computation in the early 90’s with the purchase of an 8-bit computing machine. After technical high-school and engineering degree in Poland, Daniel finished a pure CS degree in the UK. Career spanning nearly dozen of years has been one of moves through startups and big enterprises in diverse areas like rules engines, automated specs driven IT systems, mobile chat platform, online gaming and Big Data engineering. Currently Daniel is happily consulting with Scott Logic.
// Jim Morrison - With great power... Our responsibility to the future.
As technology engineers we have a significant role to play in directing society away from the dystopian future that AI and robotics could bring. Understanding that responsibility is important right now - because the impact of the decisions we make each day is amplified year on year.
// About Jim
Jim is owner of Deep Blue Sky, a digital transformation agency in Bath and director of the Bath Digital Festival, a week long celebration of local tech each October. A developer at heart his exposure to education, health and penal services in the UK has given him a distinct perspective on our role in delivering a more inclusive, robust society in the future.
// Katy Anton - How to implement Digital Identity the right way
When talking about digital identity, we refer to a unique representation of a user who engages in an online transaction. This needs to take into account both digital authentication and session management. Digital authentication is the process of verifying that an individual or entity is who they claim to be. Session management is a process by which a server maintains the state of the user's authentication so that the user may continue to use the system without re-authenticating.
To securely implement digital identity in applications is hard. To prove that someone is who they claim to be, remotely, via digital services, and that this identity is preserved throughout the entire transaction, is full of opportunities for attackers to successfully impersonate someone's digital identity.
This presentation will discuss the different types of applications and the appropriate levels of digital identity suitable for each of them. For each level, we will explore how to securely implement digital identity in software applications.
// About Katy
Katy Anton is a security professional with a background in software development.
In her previous roles she led software development teams and implemented security best practices in the software development life cycle. As part of her work she got involved in the OWASP Top Ten Proactive Controls project where she joined as project leader.
In her current role as Principal Application Security Consultant at Veracode, Katy works with security teams and software developers around the world and helps them secure their software.
// David McGoran - New design tools for a new robotic industry
Robotics is hard: Managing the integration of kinetic and sensing technology with complex behaviour and intelligent systems is challenging enough in itself. Attempting to also ground the work in clear design thinking and holding it accountable to an artistic vision is extremely ambitious.
Through spectacular failures, surprising successes and heard learnt lessons the Squids have had to go back to first principles and take a serious look at the tools and processes we were using.
// About David
David McGoran is creative and managing director of Rusty Squid, a Bristol based studio pioneering the application of robotic technology with in the creative industries. With his roots in the performing, and visual arts as well as in robotic engineering and design he has been leading a small team for the past 5 years to lay the foundations for a potentially new creative industry.
David is a graduate of the National Theatre School of Canada and has a Bsc in Robotics from the University of the West of England, trained classically in dance and has studied movement analysis, and puppetry. He trained as a robotic engineer with the specific goal of bringing contemporary control and sensor technology along with artificial intelligence systems back to the creative industries.
Drawing on aspects of kinaesthetic empathy, emergent behaviour and somatic experience Rusty Squid explores robotics ability to trigger almost involuntary emotional reflexes from the general public. The studio interrogates the ongoing co-evolution between technology, humanity and nature, and invites the public to a profoundly new cultural experience. Rusty Squid is dedicated to developing an integrated working practice for its team of artists, designers and engineers.
Strongly influenced by his background in dance, movement analysis, and puppetry, David goes back to first principles of how movement is generated by designing new actuators, mechanisms and algorithms to sculpts the physical and emotional space between body and machine.
• What we'll do
// Iain Wallace - How to Capture the World, or Making Computers See in 3D
Our world isn't flat. Capturing our environment in 3D is vital to allow automated processing to extract information, reason about and record it. This could be to visualise an impossible viewpoint, to allow a robot to navigate or to capture a richer image of a time and place. I'll talk about some different methods for 3D reconstruction by way of a few demos, and show you how with a little know how and some software you can produce a 3D model yourself from a handful of photos.
// About Iain
Dr Iain Wallace is the CTO of Bristol-based Rovco, an ROV services and subsea technology company. He makes robot submarines smarter, and has been working in AI and autonomy for nearly 15 years. Previously he worked in the space industry, doing R&D to make smarter Mars rovers and satellites, and he's worked on everything from indoor navigation on mobile phones to robots that show emotion. His PhD's from Edinburgh University on Multi-Agent Systems and you can find out more about his work on www.iainwallace.co.uk and at www.rovco.com
// James Darley - Shaping the Cloud with Terraform
With the advent of Infrastructure as a Service and widespread adoption by industry, it's never been easier to provision cloud based infrastructure and services to support your business. However managing this provisioning still remains a challenge. This is where Infrastructure as Code can help.
This talk is a brief introduction Terraform - a tool which allows you to manage the provisioning and lifecycle of your infrastructure by defining it declaratively in code.
Expect a quick overview of Hashicorp Configuration Language, a live demonstration (potentially with audience participation!) alongside some pointers on how to use it to manage multiple environment configurations.
// About James
James is currently a software engineer with Ovo Energy, having worked previously at Nokia, Microsoft and MixRadio. An avid fan of computers from the moment he unwrapped the family Amiga 500 one fateful Christmas morning, he taught himself programming from the back pages of Amiga Format and hasn't looked back.
With a career spanning nearly a decade he's touched upon a whole bunch of three letter acronyms, buzzwords and programming paradigms and he's realised that he's not even begun to scratch the surface.
• What to bring
• Important to know
/ Nello Cristianini - The Relation between Media and Artificial Intelligence
The combination of machine learning with big data has enabled us to create a new generation of Artificial Intelligence and now we interact with its applications every day. The strategic position occupied by AI agents within our global information infrastructure means that they are in the position to observe a large portion of our activities, learning from them, but also creates new types of risk, including the possibility of surveillance and manipulation of user behaviour.
Based on the details of how AI has emerged from the combination of machine learning and this unified data infrastructure, we can understand recent reports that have raised concerns, from fake news to psychometric election targeting, from criminal justice applications to dynamic pricing in insurance based on social media content. We discuss both sides of this relation: analysing the contents of media with AI tools, as well as studying how the contents of media can affect modern AI, and vice versa.
/ About Nello
Nello Cristianini is Professor of Artificial Intelligence (AI) at the University of Bristol. His current research covers the large-scale analysis of media content (news and social media), using various AI methods, the design of new AI methods, their application to digital humanities and computational social science, and the social impact of Big Data and AI technologies. Cristianini is the co-author of two widely known books in machine learning, An Introduction to Support Vector Machines and Kernel Methods for Pattern Analysis, as well as a book in bioinformatics, Introduction to Computational Genomics. He is also a recipient of the Royal Society Wolfson Research Merit Award and a current holder of a European Research Council Advanced Grant. In 2014, Thomson-Reuters included him in a list of the most influential computer scientists of the decade. Before joining the University of Bristol, he has been a professor of statistics at the University of California, Davis. Currently he is working on social and ethical implications of AI.
/ Simon Crossley - Developing Appropriate Respect for Personal Data
Do you store or process users' personal data? Do you take sufficient care of their data to deserve their trust? This session will summarise the regulatory and ethical obligations of those who handle personal data. We'll explore architecture and design considerations to meet those obligations, and the cultural changes and operational processes to maintain them as systems evolve.
Data privacy howlers! There are plenty of recent examples of privacy breaches that we can all learn from. Securing personal data. Techniques to protect and encrypt data. Designing for privacy. Know your data, and be accountable to users. UX design. Capturing consent and progressive disclosure.
Development Processes. Designing and maintaining systems. Compliance. Impact of GDPR. Finding a pragmatic route to compliance for data controllers and data processors. Emerging Standards. Extensions to OAuth2. The Nordic model of user-centric data. Interoperability and Portability.
/ About Simon
My current role is Director of Engineering at MyLife Digital in Bath. We’re creating a secure platform for the storage and management of personal data; putting individuals in control of how their data is used and helping organisations develop trusted systems to handle it.