Think Computer Science 2015

Think Computer Science 2015


Welcome to Think Computer Science 2015

Thank you to everyone who attended the 2015 event – you can see photos in our gallery, and event videos on our youtube page.

Think Computer Science was an annual student event hosted by Microsoft Research Cambridge, an educational, inspirational day that showcased the field of computer science. Through a programme of exciting talks, demonstrations and workshops, we hoped to inspire students to consider the fantastic opportunities available to them in becoming part of the next generation of computer scientists.



How do I register to attend the event?

Registration is by invitation only.

Who is eligible to attend the event?

The event is open to students in key stage 4, but you are welcome to bring younger students (no younger than 11 years) who you feel could comfortably consume content aimed at an older age range. Registration is by invitation only.

Where is the event held?

TCS is held at the Imperial War Museum Duxford, Cambridgeshire CB22 4QR, just off junction 10 on the M11.

How much does it cost to attend?

The event is free for registered attendees.

Will there be a place to store my bag/coat on event day?

There will be no facilities for storing bags or coats. We advise that Microsoft Research Cambridge and the Imperial War Museum Duxford cannot accept responsibility for any lost or stolen personal possessions and ask that no valuables are left unattended at any time.

What are the parking arrangements at the venue?

There is plenty of parking for cars and coaches at the venue. Signs will direct you to the appropriate parking area.

What should I wear to the event?

Casual clothing is fine, however, students should wear what their school requires them to. The venue can get cold in winter months as it’s such a large space to heat. We advise that you bring a coat.

Do I need to bring food and drink or is that provided?

Free lunch and refreshments will be provided throughout the day.

Can you send me a risk assessment form?

We cannot provide you with a risk assessment, however, information to assist you with completing your own risk assessment can be found here.


Steve_HodgesEngineering the Future

Steve Hodges
Research Manager/Principal Researcher, Microsoft Research

Steve Hodges leads the Sensors and Devices group at Microsoft Research Cambridge, where his research has three goals; to create compelling interactive experiences for users based on new and emerging technologies, to introduce new devices and types of interaction into the market and ultimately to change people’s perceptions of technology and how it can be used.

Since receiving a BBC Micro as a child, Steve has been hooked on how computer science can shape our future. He has recently played an integral part in the development of the new BBC Micro:bit, which will be the focus of his opening talk at the 12th annual Think Computer Science event.


Philip_Bielby_JagexComputer Games: The Evolution of Fun

Philip Bielby
Technical Director, RuneScape

Gaming has come a long way over the past couple of decades. The increasing bandwidth and availability of the internet have changed how we deliver games to players, and devices such as mobile phones and tablets have changed the very nature of the games that people spend their time playing. How are new technologies going to change the way we play games in the future? Philip Bielby, Technical Director on RuneScape at Jagex will discuss where gaming has come from, as well as looking forward to some of the exciting new possibilities that are emerging for computer gaming.


mark_callejaHacker is Not a Dirty Word

Mark Calleja
Co-founder of HackLab

HackLab is a Cambridge ‘tech-ed’ startup, created to deliver exciting and engaging holiday camps, workshops and in-school events teaching students how to harness the power of technology by understanding how it works from the inside; enabling them to create, rather than merely consume the technology around us. During his talk, Mark will explain why hacking is a good thing, and why we should all be encouraged to embrace our inner hacker – by taking charge of the different technologies we use every day to create solutions and overcome obstacles.


Congratulations to Fakenham Academy and The King’s Academy who both made it into our Xbox Competition final at the 2015 event


forzaThis year’s Think Computer Science will once again feature our Xbox competition…but this year’s comes with a twist.

We’ll be putting Forza Motorsport 6, the hottest racing game for Microsoft’s Xbox One, through its paces during the event, and would like to invite one student to represent each school in an exciting winner takes all challenge.

How can your school take part?

1. Nominate one student to represent your school in this gaming challenge. This must be a student already registered to attend the event. You do not need to let us know who this is until you arrive at the event.

2. On arrival, you will be asked to give the details of the student who will be playing for your school. The TCS team will let you know when your selected student should arrive at the Xbox zone to play.

3. Visit the Xbox zone and complete a timed lap. The fastest two laps of the day will go on to compete in a final race live on stage at the end of the day!

4. Ensure that you attend the closing session of the event, as this is when we will announce the schools who have made it into the final.

*Please note: if your school makes it into the final, but you do not attend the closing session, you will be disqualified and replaced by the next fastest school.


Follow us…

If you and your students aren’t following us on Facebook and Twitter yet, then you’re missing out on the latest news about the event, as well as some great competitions and giveaways! But don’t worry, it’s not too late…find us at and @ThinkCompSci.

If you have any questions, please contact us via email at, message us on Facebook or tweet us!

Science Fair

Sanitarium-2Project: Sanitarium

Become part of a simulated drug trial and help fight Tuberculosis, play as a doctor and help raise awareness and money. At the core of this game is a predictive mathematical model, created by the Infection Group from St Andrews University and used in their most recent drug trial.

Presented by Abertay University
For further information please visit the following links:


Microsoft IT Academy and Certification

The Microsoft IT Academy (ITA) programme provides academic institutions, students and staff with digital curriculum and certification for fundamental technology skills – as well as courses critical for students to be successful in today’s technologically evolving world. Microsoft certification helps students to add a distinct edge in today’s competitive job market.

Presented by Prodigy Learning

For further information please visit:


hand-trackingFully Articulated Hand Tracking

We present a new real-time articulated hand tracker which can enable new possibilities for human-computer interaction (HCI). Our system accurately reconstructs complex hand poses across a variety of subjects using only a single depth camera. It also allows for a high-degree of robustness, continually recovering from tracking failures.

Presented by Microsoft Research

For further information please visit:


Program-a-Biological-ComputerWhat if you could program a biological computer?

The cells in your body have to process information in order to make the decisions that keep your heart pumping, your stomach churning, and your legs moving. Biology has to perform computation! Come and see how Microsoft Research are uncovering biological programs, and investigating how to program cells ourselves in the pursuit of new technologies and medical treatments.

Presented by Microsoft Research

For further information please visit:


The Magic of Computer Science

See how computer scientists really are wizards. The cs4fn team will do magic tricks, teach you how to do them yourself and at the same time you will learn some linked computer science.

Presented by cs4fn

For further information please visit:


Robots, Cannonballs and Other Essential Gismos

The Cambridge Science Centre and partner MathWorks will be showcasing fun hands-on MATLAB based education activities. From building predictive models with the new ‘Go Ballistic!’ workshop to robotics activities including a vertical robotic plotter. Come along to see it sketch faces live during the day.

Presented by the Cambridge Science Centre and partner MathWorks

For further information please visit:


Games-CreationGames Creation using visual coding tools

Kodu and Project Spark provide a quick and powerful way of creating Xbox Games. Find out here how you can build your own games, where you focus on the game creation and not learning boring code.

Presented by Microsoft

For further information please visit:


Computing at School

Computing at School (CAS) is an organisation that promotes and supports the teaching of Computer Science in UK schools. Our representatives will be on hand to answer questions from teachers and discuss the support CAS can provide.

Presented by Computing at School

For further information please visit:


Where-it-all-beganWhere it All Began

Our display gives you the opportunity to experience the machines that started the home computing revolution way back in the seventies! Play Space Invaders and Pacman or try your hand at programming the computers of yesteryear…

Presented by the Centre for Computing History

For further information please visit:


VISRVISR Virtual Reality

Come and try out virtual reality experiences with the VISR team. The VISR is a virtual reality headset that can be used in conjunction with your smart phone. You may even be able to take one home!

Presented by Microsoft Research

For further information please visit:


Disruptive Displays

Taking inspiration from old chemical photographic processes, we are creating novel displays which are both analogue and digital in nature. Certain display driving architectures have become virtually universal, however their construction limits the potential usage for designers. Here we aspire to treat displays as a material rather than unyielding and fragile devices. We can now imagine displays which are resilient, of low power, complexity and cost and apply them to previously unimagined forms and situations.

Presented by Microsoft Research

For further information please visit:


Building New Worlds

Interact with technology in its most creative form with our latest games. You won’t find a more engaging and immersive application of computer science than that found within the games industry. Experience how games work behind the graphics; we’ll be bringing our free-to-play, team-based ‘build and shooter’, Block N Load, and we will also be taking you through the process of making a game in rapid time, from concept to playable demo.

Presented by Jagex

For further information please visit:


You think you know what Microsoft Office is?

Office is more than just Word, PowerPoint and Excel. Come and find out for yourself how it can help you work smarter now and also prepare you to be more employable in the future as part of tomorrow’s workforce.

Presented by Microsoft

For further information please visit: