New Speakers Announced for the Digital Trust and Security Seminar Series

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We are delighted to announce the next round of speakers for the upcoming Digital Trust & Security Seminar Series. Over the next few months, we’ll host three events with the following speakers:

  • Dr Bran Knowles, Senior Lecturer in Data Science, Lancaster University
  • Ajitha Rajan, School of Informatics, University of Edinburgh
  • Neil Jones, Head of Cybersecurity and Innovation, Greater Manchester Police

These events are designed to highlight key insights into developments, challenges and identify areas for growth within Digital Trust & Security. For more information on the Digital Trust & Security Theme, please click here.

Seminars are open to all and free to attend. They generally last an hour and include Q&A sections. See below for more details about each event with details on how to book your place.

Places are reserved on a first come, first serve basis. We advise you book your place asap to avoid disappointment.


Dr Bran Knowles, Senior Lecturer in Data Science, Lancaster University

Date and Time: Wed, 28 April 2021 | 13:45 – 15:00

Event Title: Promoting public trust in AI

Event Overview: In this talk Dr Bran Knowles will discuss that existing models of trust in AI do not scale to the context of pervasive AI, and will argue instead that the public is trusting/distrusting in AI-as-an-institution – i.e. in a system which either demonstrably constrains AI in ways that prevent harm to the public, or a system which fails to do so.

This talk offers a theoretical scaffolding for understanding the importance of regulation, and AI documentation that enables this regulation, as the only path to promoting public trust in AI. It also attempts to unravel the faulty and dangerous narrative that trust in AI is important only for instrumental reasons, when in fact trust and distrust are key signals as to whether AI lives up to our moral standards and contributes to a society we want to live in.


Prof. Ajitha Rajan, School of Informatics, University of Edinburgh

Date and Time: Wed, 12 May 2021 | 12:45 – 14:00

Event Title: Challenges in Automated Software Testing: GPUs and Smart Contracts

Event Overview: In the first part of the session, Ajitha will present testing challenges for Graphics Processing Units (GPUs).

GPUs are massively parallel processors offering performance acceleration and energy efficiency unmatched by current processors (CPUs) in computers. These advantages along with recent advances in the programmability of GPUs have made them attractive for general-purpose computations. Despite the advances in programmability, GPU kernels are hard to code and analyse due to the high complexity of memory sharing patterns, striding patterns for memory accesses, implicit synchronisation, and combinatorial explosion of thread interleavings. Ajitha's team propose a testing technique for OpenCL kernels that combines mutation-based fuzzing and selective SMT solving with the goal of being fast, effective and scalable.

In the second part of the session, Ajitha will present automated test input generation techniques for smart contracts in the Ethereum blockchain. A blockchain is a distributed ledger that stores a growing list of unmodifiable records called blocks. Executing, verifying and enforcing credible transactions on blockchains is done using smart contracts. Ajitha will introduce a variety of test input generation techniques - fuzzing-based and genetic algorithms and present their effectiveness in revealing vulnerabilities in smart contracts.


Neil Jones, Head of Cybersecurity and Innovation, Greater Manchester Police

Date and Time: Wed, 26 May 2021 | 12:45 – 14:00

Speaker Details: Detective Superintendent Neil Jones brings over 15 years of Policing experience to the Cyber Resilience Centre. As a Senior Investigating Officer (SIO) and Nationally Accredited Kidnap & Extortion Manager, he has first-hand experience of supporting business victims of Cybercrime. As the Senior Responsible Officer (SRO) for Cybercrime for the North West, Neil maintains close links with Greater Manchester Police (GMP), the North West Regional Organised Crime Unit (NWROCU) and local forces to provide accessible, consistent government-backed advice, training and support to organisations of all sizes.


Digital Trust & Security Theme

As we become increasingly dependent on digital technology it is critical to understand whether we can we trust the security and resilience of the systems we use and the people we interact with. Find out more about Digital Futures’ Digital Trust and Security theme here:


Places are reserved on a first come, first serve basis. Book your place today to avoid disappointment.

For information regarding future seminars, please register for updates here: 

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