The Theme

The influence of data, software and computation on the world is intensifying. The emergence of a dazzling range of digital technologies has transformed fundamentally many aspects of our political, economic, social and personal lives. Computer scientists are at the heart of these technologies and can have deep insight into how they affect and change the world – from theory to policy and practice.

Swansea computer scientists have made, and are making, technical contributions that are driving change, but they are also addressing questions such as these:

  • Education. What education in computing should we offer (i) to school and university students and teachers; (ii) to people working in businesses, public services and the professions, and (iii) to citizens?
  • History and heritage. What are the causes of changes? What are the inventions and innovations that are key to our current technologies, ambitions and concerns?
  • Philosophy. How do our technologies speak to classic, human philosophical problems of what we can know, what we can do, and who we are?

Swansea computer science takes a holistic and multidisciplinary approach to such questions, bringing together knowledge in fields as diverse as, e.g., mathematical logic, the theory of computation, software engineering, artificial intelligence, data science, global and local history, classical philosophy, philosophy of science and technology, social and media studies. Philosophical discourses about epistemology, ethics, identity, etc., underpin current debates and future speculations. Furthermore, our investigations of educational, historical and philosophical questions are often directed at the development of policies in the public and private spheres.

Since the 1990s, the Department has built up substantial facilities and courses for staff and students to develop their knowledge and awareness of complex issues. Most importantly, it has reached out to many sectors and citizens to investigate current practices, understand how they arose, and what are support and changes might be needed. The facilities include:

  • Technocamps, which provides a huge network of expertise focussing on school pupils, curricula, and professional support for teachers and businesses in Wales.
  • Institute of Coding (IoC) in Wales, a community of learners, businesses and educators creating new ways to develop the digital skills needed in the workplace and beyond.
  • History of Computing Collection (HoCC), which collects materials of all kinds to do with the development of computing and its social impact.
  • Legacy Laboratory, which provides facilities for rescuing and preserving digital materials, digital curation and archives.

The Department is committed to research and teaching covering the past, present and future of computer science, in order educate people who are capable technically and in reflecting on the influence and scope of computing technologies.