Past Meetings - Descriptions and Summaries


2016 - 2017

Previous year
2015 - 2016

Thursday 21 September 2017

7.00pm at the Boxmoor Trust, London Rd, Hemel Hempstead HP1 2RE

AGM and Visit: Chalk Streams, The Hertfordshire Heritage

Stephen Wilson, Vice Chair of Dacorum Environmental Forum

There are only around 200 chalk streams in the world, 85% of which are found in England. Most are located in the south and east of England. The rarity of chalk streams puts them in the same league as other rare world ecosystems and endangered species meaning that conservation and management is imperative. However, our chalk streams are under great threat from the over-abstraction of water as well as pollution from drains and agriculture. The impact of climate change on these precious resources will also be considered.

Wednesday 14 June 2017

7.00pm at Frithsden, Hemel Hempstead HP1 3DD

Visit to Frithsden Vineyard

A tour of the vineyard with supper and wine tasting: Frithsden Vineyard is a boutique growing, pressing and bottling English vineyard set in the foothills of the Chilterns with in excess of 6000 vines with unusual, specially developed varieties designed to grow in our cooler climate. Free to members and 22 for non-members.

Thursday 18 May 2017

7.30pm at the offices of Sopra Steria, Three Cherry Trees Lane, Hemel Hempstead, HP2 7AH

Staged Code Generation: The Philosophers Stone

Dr. Malcolm Sherrington, Partner, Amis Consulting LLP

Until recently, programming languages divided into two camps: interpreted and compiled. While the former have found favour due to their convenience, they are regarded by many as being too slow and for serious work and frequently must be combined with one (or more) compiled languages to achieve acceptable performance. In the last five years a new breed of languages has emerged which utilises Just-in-Time (JIT) compilation techniques to combine the best features of both. These include Google-V8, Lua, Rust and MIT's Julia; which is rapidly gaining popularity in serious scientific and statistical computing.

Dr. Sherrington will discuss why Julia is so fast. He will show that just merely JIT-tering code is insufficient to realise performance and will pose the question as to whether Julia's speed can be retrofitted to existing languages such as Python and R.

Tuesday 18 April 2017

7.30pm at the offices of Sopra Steria, Three Cherry Trees Lane, Hemel Hempstead, HP2 7AH

Safeguarding your files: backup of your personal files; the how, where and the risk

Geraint Williams, Head of Technical Services, IT Governance Ltd.

As our lives have become inexorably more digitalised and as the threats of the on-line world increase, there is a growing need to make sure that we are all properly backing up our files. But how many of us are?

Proper backups require the solutions to provide 'confidentiality', 'integrity' and 'availability' if they are to protect our identity and memories. This talk covers what these mean and looks at how we have a whole range of backup options available to us from storing them on the device, on removable media, local NAS solutions and the cloud. Geraint discusses the solutions available, the advantages and disadvantages and explains the risk to our identity and memories.

The slides from Geraint's challenging talk may be found here. Anyone bemused by the initialisms can find explanations by searching for them on Google.

Thursday 9 March 2017

7:30pm. at the Lindop Building, University of Hertfordshire, College Lane, Hatfield, AL10 9AB

Data logger kit Talk and Build

Stephan Barnard, Product development specialist, Noble Touch

Attendees will be given a data logger kit to build and keep. The kit contains a very capable micro-controller, prototyping breadboard, battery, LEDs, and other electronic components. The accompanying talk will explain the electronic circuit as well as the low power consumption techniques used to allow the kit to log data for a long time on a small battery. The talk will also describe how to program the supplied micro-controller.

Another tour de force from Stephan. The slides and resources relating to the kit, can be found on

Thursday 9 February 2017

7:30pm. at the Lindop Building, University of Hertfordshire, College Lane, Hatfield, AL10 9AB

Cyber Security time to start again?

Dr Stilianos Vidalis, Cyber Security Centre, University of Hertfordshire.

This presentation will look at a number of the elements that come together to make up the cyber security environment and review the current state of cyber security and the threats that there are to it. Dr Vidalis will look at a number of the predictions for the future and propose some potential steps that can be taken to improve the situation and to reduce the level of risk as we move forward.

Thursday 8 December 2016

7:30pm. at Fujitsu, Cavendish Road, Stevenage, SG1 2DY

We Can Teach it to you Wholesale ~ MOOCs: Massive Open Online Courses

Nick Parlow, Fujitsu Distinguished Engineer, Fujitsu

It is possible to learn anything online, from programming to dental photography to a foreign language to dog emotions. Some courses are provided by the best universities in the world, others decidedly not. This will be a presentation on the range of online learning tools available both for Continuing Professional Development and personal interest, including Massive Online Open Courses. Nick will describe the experiences using these tools in a large multinational company, both positive and negative before discussing how Fujitsu intends to improve on their implementation. Finally, there will be some tips on how to get the most out of them for individuals.

Thursday 17 November 2016

7:30pm. at the Lindop Building, University of Hertfordshire, College Lane, Hatfield, AL10 9AB

Preserving patient confidentiality: the technical, cultural and political issues

Ian Herbert, Independent Consultant in Health Informatics

Health informatics is a relatively new, but rapidly growing profession and one which is now an attractive career choice for many IT professionals. It can be defined as using the knowledge, skills and tools which enable information to be collected, managed, used and shared safely to support the delivery of healthcare and promote health. Preserving confidentiality whilst actively sharing records to ensure continuity of care can be a difficult balancing act which clinicians, particularly GPs, face every day - usually doing it to the patient's satisfaction. Add in secondary uses such as the need for financial accounting and research and the water gets muddier. Ian will examine the issues being identified and will reveal where mistakes and breaches have occurred - highlighting best practice - and lead a discussion on the way forward.

Thursday 13 October 2016

7:30pm. at the Lindop Building, University of Hertfordshire, College Lane, Hatfield, AL10 9AB

Ada Lovelace Commemorative Lecture: The brave new world of technology enhanced learning: will we still need the teachers?

Amanda Jefferies, Professor of Technology Enhanced Learning, University of Hertfordshire

Ada Lovelace, the daughter of Lord Byron and collaborator of Charles Babbage, was a computing pioneer and is considered by many to be the first programmer. To celebrate her life and achievements, BCS Hertfordshire Branch is holding its third Ada Lovelace Commemorative Lecture. The evening will start with a description of the life and achievements of Ada Lovelace.

This was followed by a lecture given by Professor Amanda Jefferies.

Online learning materials so that students can learn anytime and anywhere, are already available in many schools, colleges and universities. So will there be any need to attend a university campus in the future? What will a future where technology leads learning, look like and how is the way that people learn, affected by the widespread use of technology?

In this lecture Amanda will discuss how technology use has grown, how it can support and enhance learning as well as the impact of technical advances, teaching design and delivery. Amanda will consider what the raised public awareness of online learning can offer in terms of satisfying a global desire for education at all levels and how research into student experiences, provides answers to some of the questions raised.

The slides of Professor Jefferies' interesting talk may be found here. The research investigating how university students would like their course material presented to them, was surely a revolutionary idea!