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Firefly: Highlighting future trends in computer systems

Tuesday 16 December 2008, 1205-1230
Lecture Theatre 1, Management School Building

Project Firefly is an ongoing research and development project within the Computing department at Lancaster that is investigating ways of building coherent, self-organizing display surfaces. In other words, bringing the pixels off a computer screen and into the real world. A public deployment and field trial of Firefly is already underway in Dalton Square, Lancaster, and was recently featured on BBC1 North West.

Using Firefly as a case study, this talk by from Computing's Joe Finney will provide a conceptual overview of how the technology operates, the advantages it brings, and through this will highlight some future trends, challenges and opportunities in computing.

Computers have now become commodity items. Most people now treat the presence of a computer in the home or at work with about the same enthusiasm as a washing machine, and they cost about the same amount too. In fact, home computers can now often be found on sale in supermarkets somewhere between the cheese crackers and last year's Easter eggs...

Some people believe the commoditisation of computing spells the end of the recent boom in the development and utilisation of innovative computer systems and applications. In reality, this couldn't be further from the truth. Computing is being applied to an increasingly diverse range of new and exciting scenarios, and this is resulting in the development of new and novel technologies, many of which we use every day without giving them a second thought. By using Firefly as a worked example, this talk will highlight how we are slipping into a whole new era of computer systems.