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Festival Day

Friday, 23rd August 2024

9:00am — 9:30pm The Birchcliffe Centre


Dr Laura James


Getting Wuthering Bytes 2024 off to a start with a welcome from compère, Dr Laura James.


Loula Yorke

Zen and the Art of Modular Synthesis

From 60s counterculture to the digital age, this talk charts the evolution of modular synthesis: an early form of music technology that shows no signs of slowing down. Loula aims to demystify this 'dark art' by breaking it down to its most basic principles and showing how she learned to make music by letting go.


Professor Simon Lavington

A Formidable Lady: Dina St Johnston (1930 – 2007), founder of the UK’s first Software House

Dina St Johnston (neé Vaughan) left school at 16, studied for a Mathematics degree part-time and joined Elliott-Automation in 1953. She became the only woman in a team of seven programmers. She proved herself a star, being entrusted to write the software for a classified defence project as well as for the first business computer to be installed by a municipal authority (Norwich City Council, in 1956).

Dina left Elliott-Automation in 1958 to start her own company, Vaughan Programming Services. VPS was the first independent software company in the UK that was not a part of a computer manufacturer, not a part of a computer bureau nor a users’ organisation and not a part of a consultancy operation. VPS flourished, eventually employing a hundred people and designing and building its own computer for real-time control applications. The company was sold to an American consortium in 1996. In this talk we will illustrate some of the projects on which Dina worked.


Dr Michelle Kasprzak

Human Creativity in the Age of AI

The value of human creativity is constantly questioned as AI becomes more deeply entwined in our lives. What can we learn from talking to artists themselves? What do we already know from our long relationship with technology?

In this talk, we explore some key historical moments in terms of how human creative capabilities have developed alongside and with technological developments. We will also look at ways to frame this ever-present question of how to work with and make good use of these technologies: what is a good result, and for whom? A key ray of hope is better understanding the technology itself, and the possibilities to create our own tools to work with, and some case studies of these artist or community-led projects will be presented.


Dr Herbert Daly

The Mythical Mainframe: The unbelievable truth about the tech platform that keeps the global economy moving

Say the word “mainframe” and everyone will have a picture in their minds; maybe it’s big and perhaps it’s grey? Is it the size of a room? Believe it or not, in the world of IT critical infrastructure mainframes are still very much ‘a thing’, powering organisations around the world, particularly in finance. The popular IBM mainframe architecture — originally launched as the IBM System/360 and now IBM Z — turns 60 this year. A major influence on technology, giving us among other things the 8 bit byte, mainframes remain extremely innovative and a platform where technologies and generations meet.

This talk, for the first time at Wuthering Bytes, provides a brief introduction to the world of IBM Z mainframes. We will look at their current role at the heart of business computing, their origins and the special features that have led to their success as an ecosystem. Prepare to think big on data, on security and on resilience. Encounter all your favourite ideas and languages in a parallel universe and discover why this branch of enterprise computing has proven to be such a hardy perennial.


Paul Connell

10 years of Open Innovations. 2014-2024.

Killing reports, hosting algo-raves, fighting lazy vibes-based policy making and building a Non-Profit Data Institution for North England.

This is the story of a completely self-funded, pioneering data institution which started in a loft space in central Leeds with pin boards about bins and buses and ended up influencing government departments at the highest level, spinning out a potential Unicorn and having a load of fun on the way!


Emily Webber

The power of connection through communities of practice

Humans are social beings; we are wired to connect. In a world where we are spending more time apart through hybrid working or just working too much, we need connection more than ever.

In this talk, Emily, author of Building Successful Communities of Practice, will share some of her experience of building communities of practice for around 20 years, how she brought them into the workplace and the power they have to support people, grow confidence and skills, bridge knowledge, create the space for collaboration across silos and generally make people happier.


Rod Moody

Raftabar the Robot

Raftabar is a 3-wheel automatically guided vehicle that wanders around in the allocated space trying to avoid collisions, and recovering from them if they occur. He has a sleeping box where his battery recharges, and he comes out and returns to this on command. When wandering his height is 400mm, but when commanded he can rise to any height up to 1.5m and engage with humans in a seemingly intelligent manner using face detection, facial recognition, and two way verbal conversation.

Two Raspberry Pi computers are used, one for vehicle control and a second for engaging with humans. Rod and Raftabar will also be around all weekend at Open Source Hardware Camp, to talk in more detail about mechanical construction, motor and servo control, face detection and recognition, audio speech to text conversion and text to audio conversion.

Rod will take you on a journey from concept to finish, reflecting on the mistakes and learning along the way. He will demonstrate that achieving apparently intelligent behaviour from a machine is now within the reach of almost anyone with imagination, yet limited technical ability. Ten or twenty years ago such advanced technologies would have been out of reach of hobbyists with a modest budget.


Dr Rain Ashford

Talking of Wearables…

Rain will give a talk on the history of wearable technology, focusing on some of the more interesting or challenging artefacts and propositions that have developed during the emergence of technologies with the intention of extending the body. Rain will also discuss some of her own experiences of prototyping sensory devices and PhD research into wearables, including examples that explore nonverbal communication.

Details of more amazing speakers, talks and demos coming soon!

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Supporting diversity

Hebden Bridge

35mins from Leeds & Manchester