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Tuesday, 9 March 2021, 6:00PM - 7:00PM
Online Lecture

Computers: A History

Professor Richard Harvey

Even the most humdrum of electrical devices nowadays contains at least one computer; yet surprisingly few people are aware of their history, their form or function. 

In this talk we will see that not only is the history of computers rich and diverse, their architecture likewise. Astonishingly, all the computers ever made can be modelled by one universal machine – the Turing machine.

Image © Jitze Couperus CC BY 


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Given Covid-19, we are live-streaming all our lectures online in 2020-21 and aim to re-introduce in-person lectures gradually as social distancing rules change.

To attend lectures online, please register using the button above. This also allows us to let you know how to book in-person tickets when they are reintroduced. The registration process is simple, free, and only requires an email address.

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Richard Harvey is IT Livery Company Professor of Information Technology at Gresham College and Professor at the School of Computing Sciences at the University of East Anglia.

He also holds several posts in the Vice-Chancellor's Office at University of East Anglia, including Academic Director for Admissions and Academic Director of Internationalisation. Before joining UEA in 1993, Professor Harvey was a mathematician at first Plessey Naval Systems and then Marconi Underwater Systems.

Professor Harvey holds a PhD in the application of statistical estimation theory to the passive synthetic aperture problem. In his early career, he focused on problems in signal processing, acoustics and vibration.

His research now focuses on artificial intelligence and computer vision. Recently he has been working in the field of artificial lip-reading which fascinates him because of the scientific challenge and allows him to debunk false claims and misunderstandings.

He routinely speaks at schools and conferences around the country both on technical topics related to Computer Science but also on matters relating to admissions policy and widening participation.

Professor Harvey has also acted as a consultant for international companies and as Executive and Non-Executive Director for several spin-outs and start-ups.

Professor Harvey's lecture series are as follows:

2020/21 Great Ideas from Computer Science

2019/20 The Digital State

2018/19 The Science of Information

All lectures by the IT Livery Company Professors of Information Technology can be accessed here.

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