RTC dinner on Cryptography (20 June 2006)

Cryptography: fact; fiction; and Da Vinci

Cryptography has never been as much in the news as in recent years. Books and films on Enigma and Bletchley -some more accurate than others -reached a large audience. But this has been dwarfed by the Da Vinci phenomenon. Incidentally, the book’s heroine, Sophie Neveu, studied cryptography at Royal Holloway – presumably under Professor Fred Piper, though this is not in the book.

At an every-day level, the security of Internet shopping, banking, and cash machines is based, at least in part, on cryptography. In fact this applies to the whole edifice of domestic and international money transmission, banking, finance and trade. At stake is not only the privacy and authenticity of transactions but-and this is at least as important – also the identity of the transacting parties.

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RTC dinner on Censorship and the Internet (17 January 2006)

The Internet is too important to be hamstrung by morality

Those who created the Internet envisaged global any-to-any communications free of censorship and control, whether by government or business. The majority of the population in nations like the UK, is on-line, but so too is a similar proportion of criminals and subversives. Politicians and pressures groups around the world are therefore demanding that “something” be done to protect the vulnerable and to prevent content of which they disapprove being available to all and sundry over the Internet. The solutions currently on offer range from “Cartels Masquerading as Anarchy” through “Brussels Fudge” to “Big Brother: your window on the world is their window into your mind”. So who should lead the way forward: “the moral majority”, “those who know best”, “the market”, “democratic values” or “no-one”?

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RTC dinner on Public Sector Efficiency (24 May 2005)

Poacher turned Gamekeeper

Is ‘Yes Minister’ fictional comedy or reality TV? What are the real differences between the public and private sectors? Can success ever be the norm in public sector IT projects? Based on his 4 years working at the heart of Government as the first Chief Executive of the Office of Government Commerce and then as Head of the Review of Public Sector Efficiency Peter will seek to answer these questions and provoke a lively debate.

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RTC dinner on China (18 April 2005)

China, Opportunity or Threat

China is having a rapidly growing impact on the rest of the world with economic, ecologic, social and political implications. Whether you grasp the opportunities and manage the threats or just observe you will all be affected. Our three speakers, who have all been observing and involved with China over the last few decades, will examine: Tricia will explain that China has the Internet at the heart of everything, including its ICT strategy. The results of this are now emerging for all to see. Chris will show you that Chinese culture is different so if you want to do business learn the facts and avoid the myths. Richard will speak on the evolution of the Chinese government’s controls on media and real-time content over the past 20 years, and on the growing links between the UK and China and the opportunities that these present.

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RTC dinner on Quantum Computing (21 February 2005)

Quantum Information Processing

Are you aware of the implications of quantum physics for the future of computing and information processing? We have seen three revolutions: Computing itself, PCs, the Internet – is this the fourth? Over seventy organizations are working on various aspects of QIP and a consensus is growing that quantum physics will play a major role in the future of computing. We need to understand the basic concepts and keep up to date with the implications.

Professor Tony Hey will give an overview of the science of quantum physics and its significance both to quantum computing and quantum cryptography. He is an excellent speaker and has the knack of putting over high science very clearly. He has developed some clever demonstrations of quantum phenomena, which will make everything clear.

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