Throughout Spring, UCL Engineering Faculty is holding a series of stimulating and thought-provoking lectures on several STEM-related topics. This year we will be running sessions on; Sustainability in Motorsport, Blockchain, Gendered Prototypes and Statistical Methods for Recommendation Systems.
All lectures are free to attend and open to anyone wanting to discover more about these fascinating subjects.
The Spring into STEM lectures are designed to prompt us all to think creatively about how we can apply innovative STEM solutions and novel approaches to the complexities of the world around us.
You say "decentralized", I say how? Decentralization and the Future of the Web
Wednesday 04 May at 13:30-14:30 BST
We are promised a decentralized future online, particularly thanks to the diffusion of blockchain technology (e.g., via cryptocurrencies, NFTs, and DAOs).
But what is decentralization exactly, and how can we tell how decentralized a given digital platform is? Is Instagram more decentralized than TikTok, or Bitcoin more than Ethereum?
This interactive session will provide an overview of these issues and offer some counter-intuitive answers.
Applying Statistics to Improve Online Recommendations
Monday 16 May at 12:00-13:00 BST
Recommendation systems for contexts such as online news or online retailing are prevalent in our daily life. There are several challenges in such recommendation systems:
i) how to make initial recommendations to users with little or no response history,
ii) how to learn user preferences for items, and
iii) how to scale the recommendation system across many users and items, with many potential demographics and attributes respectively.
We design a statistical method that can efficiently handle these issues simultaneously. Our online experiments in an online retail setting demonstrate the advantage of this method in comparison to existing methods.
Defining Who We Are: How the Psychology of Identity Shapes Diversity in Organisations
Tuesday 17 May at 13:00-13:45 BST
Many organisations are now striving to increase diversity in their ranks, but progress is slow. This is caused, in part, by a hesitance among majority group members (e.g., some men in engineering) to embrace diversity efforts and a scepticism of members of underrepresented groups (e.g., women).
Recent research reveals how the psychology of identity helps us understand where this resistance comes from and uncovers new strategies to reduce it.
Integrating sustainability into core business strategy
Thursday 26 May at 13:00-14:00 BST
Despite the many environmental, social and economic challenges facing the world today, many businesses are still not engaging with sustainability at the level, and urgency, that is needed to address the grand challenges of the day. In this lecture, Professor Paolo Taticchi will discuss three key issues that are contributing to the lack of engagement on the part of many businesses today: a common definition of sustainability is lacking; a failure to recognise sustainability as a competitive driver; and a need for leaders to better understand the tools needed to drive change.
Paolo also offers insights on why businesses should integrate sustainability into their core business strategy. Making the business case for business leaders, Paolo explains the benefits companies stand to gain with a sustainability-focused strategy, competitive advantage and financial performance being two key benefits. Additionally, Paolo emphasises the urgency and the need for companies to engage with sustainability today and offers key insights for business leaders to consider for the way forward as they strive to lead their organisations through, and towards, sustainable transformation.
Learn more about the Spring into STEM series and re-watch sessions from last year from across the faculty.