School of Computer Science - University of Birmingham

Commercial Computing

Andrew Howes & Michael Mistry
Commercial Computing Coordinators - Email HowesA at Birmingham

June 2013




This web page is for modules 25647 and 25648 only.

In this module guest speakers present seminars on topics relevant to the work in which Computer Science / Software Engineering (CS/SE) graduates are often involved on entering Industry or Commerce. The selected speakers have extensive experience in industrial/commercial application of CS/SE, employing or working with graduates in CS/SE or related areas, or legal or managerial aspects of work that requires such graduates. Guest lectures are interleaved with academic lectures presented by members of the School of Computer Science. Academic lectures will reflect on relevant commercial challenges, including Human-Computer Interaction, Social Networks, and Security. The exact balance between academic and commercial lectures will vary.

In recent years we have hosted speakers from major corporations, startups, and IT consultancies including Zuhlke Engineering Ltd, Object Modelling Group, The Cambridge Strategy (Asset Management) Ltd., Imagination Technologies, Blitz Games Studios, Daden Ltd, Website Engineering, Xibis, UBS, Bloomberg and Google.

The overall aim is to help students understand the issues relating to complex systems used in industry, the public sector, and other areas. Such systems will be larger than anything a student will typically have used/developed. These systems require complex analysis, detailed specification, and intensive monitoring. They can cost millions, and save millions. Such systems also have complex institutional and social ramifications, and there may be difficult legal and ethical issues to be resolved. Professionalism requires that Software Engineers know about all these facets of complex systems.

The module is 100% continuously assessed and consists of 11 weeks of two lectures per week.

Example lectures from previous years

Below you will find links to three of the very best lectures given in recent years. There have been many more great lectures but these three illustrate the four key elements of a Commercial Computing lecture: (a) the speaker introduces him or herself and the business environment in which they operate, (b) the speaker presents a problem that requires a computer science or socio-technical solution, (c) they describe possible solutions or a solution on which the speaker has worked, and (d) they evaluate by providing evidence concerning the strengths and weaknesses of the(se) solution. If you choose to take the module then you will hear, first hand, about how computer science helps solve real-world problems.

Ian Batten, former Head of Information Assurance, Fujitsu Telecoms Europe Ltd. Who Watches the Watchmen (lecture presented in 2012)
Andrew Watson, Technical Director, Object Modelling Group. Modelling for Maintainability (lecture presented in 2011)
Simon Perry, Client Relationship Director, Xibis. Web security (lecture presented in 2012)

Unfortunately, we cannot guarantee that these particular lectures will be part of the course in the current academic year.

Dates and deadlines

Provisional Date (TO BE CONFIRMED) Event
1200 Noon, October 18th 2013 Essay 1 (10% of the module mark)
1200 Noon, November 1st 2013 Essay 2 (10% of the module mark)
9th December 2013 Title for essay 3 announced.
1200 Noon, 13th January 2014 Essay 3 (80% of the module mark)

Lecture Programme

Time & Date Location Speaker Topic
To Be Confirmed (TBC) TBC Andrew Howes & Michael Mistry Overview of the Commercial Computing module
TBC TBC Andrew Howes Writing an essay: Live demonstration