The Open versus Closed Debate – Reading, 14/11/06

OSSG hereby gives notice and support for the following BCS Berkshire event to be held on 14th November 2006 at Reading University.


The talk will cover the open versus closed source software debate, plus disclosure of vulnerabilities in security, copyright versus creative commons-style licensing and patents in standards.Is Open Source software more secure than closed source? Is it better to have digital content controlled by DRM mechanisms or in an open digital format?
Are proprietary data standards or open standards better for the computer industry? Are open communications channels a benefit to the free flow of ideas or simply a channel for spam? Does anonymous access to send and receive information promote freedom of speech or encourage the dissemination of illicit material?Many of the controversial issues about how to design and use computers and communications systems today can be characterised as an “open” vs. “closed” debate.

Venue, Time, and Contact Details

This event will be held in Room 105, Palmer Building at Reading University. Refreshments will be available from 19.15 and the events will start at 8.00pm.

(All BCS meetings are open to everyone unless otherwise stated.)

For further details please visit or contact OSSG via Mark Elkins at

About the Speaker:

Dr Andrew Adams of the School of Systems Engineering at The University of Reading.

Lecturer Appointed: 2000


LL.M., University of Reading, Law, 2005.
Ph.D., University of St Andrews, Computer Science, 1997.
M.Sc. (with distinction), University of Leeds, Computer Science, 1995.
B.Sc., University of Leeds, Mathematics and Computer Science, 1991.

Expertise and Research Interests

I have a wide range of research interests in multi-disciplinary fields:Social, Legal and Ethical Aspects of Computing:
– I am the workpackage leader of WP230 (Social, Legal and Ethical Aspects) in the EU-funded ISCAPS project, collaborating locally with James Ferryman. We also collaborate on the EPSRC project REASON (EP/C533402)
– I gave a University of Reading Public Lecture in November 2004 on “Copyright v Creativity”.
Security Research:
– My work on the ISCAPS Project includes consideration of the assessment of technological responses to security threats.
– I collaborate with Prof Kecheng Liu on informatics for police and security services.
– I have collaborated with researchers at various European institutions and companies on proposals for PASR funding but only ISCAPS has so far been funded. Further proposals are being considered in this area and I am open to approaches for involvement in such projects. My interests are primarily in the human factors of technological approaches to security, including social, legal and ethical questions raised by technological developments, and the potential for abuse and misuse of such technology.Mathematics:
– Higher Order Theorem Proving:
– I have worked with a number of different systems including The Coq System (in which I did my PhD) and PVS (with which I continue to work).
– I am involved in the Calculemus Initiative on combining the facilities of theorem provers and computer algebra systems. I was a research fellow at the Universitaet des Saarlandes in 2001 on the EU 5th Framework Calculemus project and held a grant from the UK EPSRC (GR/S15044/01) to continue collaboration with the group of Prof Siekmann there.
– I am collaborating with Dr James Anderson (The University of Reading) and Dr Norbert Voelker (University of Essex) on formalising the TransNumbers related to Dr Anderson’s Perspex Machine model of computation.Mathematical Knowledge Management:
I was a member of the EU 5th Framework project MKMNet (including UK EPSRC funding on grant GR/S10919/01) which performed initial investigation into the new area of Mathematical Knowledge Management. See my paper from the MKM ’03 conference: Digitisation, Representation and Formalisation for my views on the general direction of this work, called “a manifesto for MKM” by one of the conference referees.

Other Expertise

I supervise undergraduate computer science projects in the area of computer-aided learning and computer mathematics.

Future Research

I am concentrating on the area of social, legal and ethical aspects of high technology, particularly computer and communications. My focus is on privacy and identity with respect to surveillance and dataveillance, identity and authentication issues.

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