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Home Brewed: A Discussion with Miltos Petridis

The first of our Wired Sussex Home Brewed events recently took place at The Skiff in Brighton's North Laines, introducing the New Head of School of Computing, Engineering and Mathematics at the University of Brighton, Professor Miltos Petridis.  

Professor Petridis discussed his vision for the School he now heads up, and how it can link in with the needs of local digital, media and technology businesses.  

Freelancer Jonathan Vernon attended the event and took some really great notes that we wanted to share....

Introduced by Phil Jones from Wired Sussex.
Value of Brighton and Sussex Universities to the sector.
Wired Sussex (the host) supports The Skiff which is now used by 100 freelancers. (Another freelancer venue is 'The  Werks')
Miltosh Petridis, New Head of School, Computing, Maths & Engineering
Brighton University. From University of Greenwich. Interested in Artificial Intelligence. i.e. ‘machines doing clever things’ with very large amounts of data. For example, tracking stuff coming in and out of warehouses and using algorithms to identify patterns in email conversations and social media threads. Fascinating conversation on social media and the algorithms used to moderate or sift conversations, whether you are GCHQ or The FT.
‘Most of the time, rather than innovation, we just remember and do what we did before so a machine can be taught how to do the search to make sure something is done in an innovative way’.
Finding real problems from companies
e.g. Experience of finding a different way to recast wheels was used to fix a software problem.
School of Engineering, Mathematics, digital media and computing brought together as the boundaries blur this is appropriate. Finding ways for the hardware and software to work together. New course in mobile computer engineering. Creating multidisciplinary teams.
(See Brighton University website)
155 members of staff
1500 students.
£9.5m  brought in to the university and £2m to the department.
29 externally funded projects.
+CPD income £140k that we want to grow.
Helping people in industry to push the boundaries.
Want more direct interaction with companies.
Want to expand into digital media and product design.
Needs to move with the times and move with Brighton.
Universities tend to thrive in times of recession.
Our graduates will be those who in due course bring wealth creation.
A lot of our alumni are staying in the area.
In three years’ time creating very employable graduates who are wanted by Brighton.
A degree is for life.
Brighton Digital from Wired Sussex research is made up of very many micro-companies.
Collaborative microsystem.
Lots of freelancers.
Difficult to find the
Skills in niche areas.
Want more 'fine-grained collisions', sandwich courses and internships for example.
E.g. sandwich course put one speaker into Virgin at Crawley.
Employ graduates through the SIP (Sussex Internship Programme) at Wired Sussex.
Freelance because they have the experience or because they can't get work?
Want freelancers to have experience having worked in industry.
Understand what works already like Wordpress etc.: being able to apply themselves to a project
(Self–reliance and common sense).
ex Disney, ex Black Rock studio, had 60 people cherry pick from the best
Internationally. Worked with uni to go in for certain refresher courses. No
Freelancer mode, so get them in, train them up and keep them. Now @GoBo, ex Black Rock, to build a studio around graduate talent.
E.g. Disney and entertainment.
So TV and film onto same interactive platforms. May take the very best from a games course. Otherwise maths.
Attracted to the continental academy.
‘What we are calling clouds a few years ago used to be mainframes’. Miltos Petridis
For £9,000 the graduate with a 1st as well as the one with a 2nd hopes to get a job from it. Up the required grades from students coming in.
A deal with companies that they will have a job for a year or two from which they can grow.
Try telling a student to go on a sandwich course that they have to be a student for another year, yet they are more likely to get a 1st and a job. But they need to hear it from the horse's mouth, from businesses and students.
Brighton Fuse with both Universities
Many companies are a one man band with a brand.
A big sector of lots of small players.
Can they be offered small term projects?
Need for more practical knowledge, how to work collaboratively on open source for example.
With a music degree working in a small team.
Yahoo as a multiple set of five people units.
NB At Masters level you will reflect on it. For example through case studies.
People learn from mistakes.
A business learns by repeating what it gets right.
You learn by other people's stories.
Being mentored.
Creating a
Sense of accomplishment over a week.
From Design UB, industry to be able to say what it wants in Preston Barracks.
Our research is hidden.
Nothing on the website.
Lowsy at commercialising it. Vs clinging to IP, spending money on it and getting nowhere.
Physical co-location (staff and students)
Get research out
Studio with creative ... At Carnegie Melon
ITP in New York doing computer art
‘I've got hundreds of solutions but not enough problems’. Miltos Petridis
Jonathan Vernon

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