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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: GR/N18130/01
Title: PPU: PORTABLE ROBOTICS LABORATORIES FOR INTRODUCING YOUNG PEOPLE TO THE SCIENCE OF COMPUTER PROGRAMMING
Principal Investigator: Calder, Professor M
Other Investigators:
Murray-Smith, Professor R
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
GlaxoSmithKline plc (GSK)
Department: School of Computing Science
Organisation: University of Glasgow
Scheme: PPE PreFEC
Starts: 16 May 2000 Ends: 15 May 2003 Value (£): 27,340
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Information Technologies Electronics
No relevance to Underpinning Sectors
Related Grants:
Panel History:  
Summary on Grant Application Form
This project will bring key, fundamental research issues in computing science into the hands of young people. It is specifically targeted at addressing the difficulties of attracting young people to science and technology and aims to address particular misconceptions of complex computing software; by doing so, it will attract more talented young people to computing science.Communicating software systems pervade our high-tech society, for example in telecommunications, air traffic control, railway signalling, and environmental control, but, the complex ideas and research challenges which lie behind them are often disguised by successful, simple to use interfaces. Ironically, the fundamental essence of computing science is being eclipsed by the ease of use of the technology; the public and young people in general, are increasingly being lulled into false perceptions about the nature of computation and computer programming.We aim to make young people aware of the underlying complexity of modern day applications through programming miniature robotics based systems. We will generate the excitement of scientific experimentation by creating unique, portable, physical, computer-controlled laboratories, enabling young people to program physical systems to which they can relate. Typical examples include water tank ecosystems, robot obstacle courses, or a set of telephones. The laboratories will be based on computercontrolled LEGO, allowing a variety of computer-controlled systems involving sensing and actuating movement, temperature, and colour. School pupils using the laboratories will gain first hand experience of the profundity of getting it wrong , and ultimately the pleasure of getting it right, as well as a taste of the underlying complexity and intellectual challenges which underlie computer programming.To achieve our aims we will bring together computer science researchers, educationalists, communication specialists, and industry.
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Organisation Website: http://www.gla.ac.uk