FS Fives: Friday, August 19

Welcome to the latest FS Fives – FutureScot’s lunchtime round-up of Scottish digital news.

First up, Dermot Turing, nephew of war hero Alan Turing, the pioneering mathematician, codebreaker, computer scientist and biologist, has been speaking at the Turing Festival in Edinburgh. He focussed on his uncle’s post-war work in building the world’s first computing machines, the first software “and the perennial question about whether you can say that computers actually ‘think’”. In a post for FutureScot, Dermot also outlines the work of the Turing Trust, including the SolarBerry project which is bringing IT labs to schools in Africa.

Addressing skills gap in construction sector

Next, Construction Scotland Innovation Centre’s (CSIC) postgraduate programme is to support 30 Scottish and EU students in the forthcoming academic year, double the number previously. The students will study courses across 13 Scottish universities in a diverse range of subject areas including civil engineering, product design, data science, gaming science, international human resources and building performance environmental design. It is hoped that these graduates will help address the skills shortages in many areas of the Scottish construction industry.

Broadband testing in the Western Isles

BT is testing new technology in the Western Isles designed to increase the speed of fibre broadband over long distances. About 20 households in North Tolsta on Lewis are the first in Scotland to use the Long reach VDSL technology. The community was chosen due to its remoteness and because its fibre cabinet, a box of telecoms equipment, supports a cluster of long phone lines. Significantly long phone lines can reduce broadband speeds, BT said. The company’s network business, Openreach, is running the trial.

MoD to fast-track best tech ideas

The Ministry of Defence has unveiled plans for an £800m programme to take advantage of advances in science and technology. A new Innovation and Research Insights Unit will invite individuals and companies to present their ideas in front of a ‘dragon’s den style panel’, which will see the fund dispersed over the next ten years. The MoD is already working on “disruptive capability projects”, such as an unmanned aerial system, with flapping wings, inspired by physiology of the dragonfly. Currently in development with Animal Dynamics, the micro-drone has the potential to improve intelligence-gathering in complex urban environments. According to the MoD, the new approach will see the best ideas fast-tracked, with the ministry taking more risks on cutting-edge technology.

And finally…how Tesla’s cars have driven at 140mph on autopilot.

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