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Computer science is fun at the Manchester Science Festival

Queen Mary's Professor Peter McOwan is taking part in the UK's first Robot Festival "Walking with Robots", at this year's Manchester Science Festival.

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He will be demonstrating the sweet computer and Sodarace  (see below) at the Robo-mania exhibition at Museum of Science and Industry, and you can follow their exploits on Twitter (see links on the right).

Festival director Laura Drane said: “Walking with Robots is an interactive and fun showcase for robotics in the UK. Some of the best minds in the field are coming to Manchester to demonstrate how robots could one day impact on every aspect of our lives, from helping with the housework to fighting fires or just making a great toy.”

Professor McOwan and colleague Dr Paul Curzon, from Queen Mary's School of Electronic Engineering and Computer Science are also taking part in several other events and activities at the Festival, as part of their CS4FN (Computer Science 4 Fun) initiative, including the following:

Brain in a bag: Can you teach a bunch of clothesline and loo roll to play snap? Make a working model of your brain out of household items!

The sweet computer: You don't need circuit boards or lines of code to build a computer – just need some sweets! An opportunity to build a computer and give it some tasty artificial intelligence, to find out how real computers can learn.

Robo-mania: Find out how robots help with search and rescue situations and fire fighting, and mind out for the robot swarm! Queen Mary's Sodarace allows visitors to design robots that race over virtual terrains, or let artificial evolution do it for you using machine intelligence. Will Artificial Intelligence beat or complement human ingenuity?

The Magic of Computer Science: Magic is about entertainment. It is also about psychology, mathematics and computer science. Great magicians must know more than just the secret behind a trick, they need a flair for cognitive psychology too: a natural understanding of people. They manipulate where you look and what you see, what you forget and what you remember...they even make you remember things that didn't happen.

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