Category Archives: News

BSc Digital Arts Computing degree show

Exit Strategy from Goldsmiths Computing on Vimeo.

The degree show for BSc Digital Arts Computing launches on Thursday 3 May.

Titled EXIT STRATEGY, the exhibition features over 30 computational artists, using digital technologies to create works on surveillance, artificial intelligence, art theory and the end of humanity.

Artworks include cliquey robots, a VR gallery, life stories from the Soviet era, haptic devices simulating human touch, sonified data, and a toddler exposed to the internet.

The exhibition launches with the ever-popular opening night party, 5.30pm-9.30pm Thursday 3 May 2018, with guests from across the world of art, curating and digital practice. Get free tickets for the party

EXIT STRATEGY continues from Friday 4 until Monday 7 May, 12noon – 5pm each day.


EVENT: Digital Art’s Exit Strategies
3pm – 4.30pm Saturday 5 May
We invite artists, theorists and curators Suhail Malik, Ami Clarke and Bob Bicknell-Knight to respond to the exhibition and propose art and curatorial strategies for exits. Open to all.


MA students create Playful Experiences podcast

30740277_10156071513906138_3200763693751074816_nStudents on the MA Independent Games & Playable Experience Design have  regular podcast talking about their experiences and loves.

Listen below, or catch them on iTunes, Stitcher or Soundcloud.


EPISODE ONE: It’s Alive!
Join us for our inaugural episode as students Matthew, Ben and Tommy sit down to chat about games, university life in London, the importance of embracing failure, and more!


EPISODE TWO: The New Challengers!
Matthew, Ben and Tommy as they are joined this week by newcomers Billy, Ece, and Doruk to discuss Games, Design, and student life in London. This week we discuss the importance of the magic circle, player agency, and narrative choice with a discussion on Stardew Valley, Prey, Gone Home, Life Is Strange, What Remains of Edith Finch, Hollow Knight, Bury Me My Love and more.


EPISODE THREE: Life in London
Join Matthew, Billy, Tommy and Alex as they discuss their chosen course of study, what it’s like returning to school, life in London, and arcade culture!


EPISODE FOUR: Narrative Games and Voice Over Artistry
This week we have a visit from a very special guest, voiceover actress Natalie Winter. We discuss what it’s like to work in a recording booth and how best to incorporate voice over into our games. And we have a massive discussion about both the physical and digital in gaming; from The Town of Light, Before I Forget, Fragments of Him, to Forbidden Desert, Pandemic Legacy, Dungeons and Dragons, and all the way to Super Mario Odyssey, Assassin’s Creed, Skyrim VR and TWINE.


EPISODE FIVE: End of Term
This week, we discuss Horizon: Zero Dawn and other open-world games, developing for virtual reality, share some of our thoughts from the end of the first lecture term, and have a deep discussion about some of the projects that we’ve been working on.


The podcast team invite you to chat to them at contact@playfulexperiences.com and on twitter @_experienceplay.

New model reveals forgotten influencers and ’sleeping beauties’ of science

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The influence of ‘forgotten’ scientific papers has been demonstrated in a new study led by a researcher from Goldsmiths, University of London.

A team from Goldsmiths, the University of Chicago, Google, the University of Maryland, and Columbia University, developed a model that tracks ‘discursive influence’, or recurring words and phrases in historical texts that measure how scholars actually talk about a field, instead of just their attributions. To determine a particular scientific paper’s influence, the researchers can statistically remove it from history and see how scientific discourse would have unfolded without it.

aaron-gerow380Aaron Gerow, Lecturer in Computing at Goldsmiths, who led t
he study said: “Citations are one kind of impact, and discursive influence is a different kind. Neither one is the complete story, but they work together to give a better picture of what’s influencing science.”

The researchers report in the journal PNAS how they trained the model on massive text collections from computational linguistics, physics, and across science and scholarship (JSTOR) and then traced distinct patterns of influence. They found that scientists who persistently published in a single field were more likely to be ‘canonised’ in a way that compelled others to cite them disproportionate to their papers’ discursive contributions. On the other hand, discoveries that crossed disciplinary boundaries were more likely to have outsized discursive impact but fewer citations, likely because the ‘owner’ of the idea and her allies remain socially and institutionally distant from the citing author.

The model also sheds light on so-called ‘sleeping beauties’: papers that went relatively unacknowledged for years or even decades before experiencing a late burst of citations. For example, a 1947 paper on graphene remained obscure and forgotten until the 1990s with a resurgence of research interest in the material and an eventual Nobel Prize.

Study co-author James Evans, director of Knowledge Lab and professor of sociology at the University of Chicago, said: “Papers have a news cycle, when lots of people chat about them and cite them, and then they’re no longer new news. Our model shows that some papers have much more influence than citations will typically demonstrate, such as these ‘sleeping beauties,’ which didn’t have much influence early but come to be appreciated and important later.”

The study used a computational method known as ‘topic modeling’ that was invented by co-author David Blei of Columbia University. The authors said the same model can also be used to trace influence in other areas, such as literature and music. Text from poems or song lyrics, and even extra-textual characteristics such as stanza structure or chord progressions, could feed into the model to find under-credited influencers and map the spread of new concepts and innovations.

A report of the research, ‘Measuring discursive influence across scholarship’ by Aaron Gerow, Yuening Hu, Jordan Boyd-Graber, David M. Blei and James A. Evans, is published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.


This article is based on an original story written by Rob Mitchum for University of Chicago News, which was then adapted by Peter Wilton for Goldsmiths News.


Goldsmiths Computing student shortlisted for Undergraduate of the Year

A third year Computing student has made it into the final of Target Jobs’ Undergraduate of the Year, in the Science & Computing category.

The organisers describe their ideal winner as “someone who can demonstrate a real passion for technology and the ability to communicate their innovative mindset with others”. They will win a month’s internship at FDM, a global professional services provider with a focus on IT.

highres_2665890643rd year Francesco Perticarari got through to the assessment stage by completing maths, computing and psychometric tests, and writing about a piece of technology that he is working on.

“At the moment, I’m building Silicon Roundabout, an online hub to help startups and tech ideas at any stage of development connect with investors, early adopters, and software developers / employees.

“When I got through to the assessment day, I wasn’t sure about what to expect and I remember walking in fairly casual, only to find out that everyone else was in a suit. Despite that I felt fairly relaxed because all the other attendees were quite friendly and fun and we linked up quickly. We were asked to do a group test including time management, organisational skills, and presentation.

“After that we had individual interviews. I was asked to explain why I should win this internship and I said: Because I’ve worked really hard, and if I don’t know something, I keep looking for the right people who can help me, and then annoy them until I get it.

Last week the organisers announced that Francesco had made it into the top ten. The winner will be announced at a networking lunch event in April. The business-savvy student says: “This event will give me a chance to connect with interesting people in the industry that could possibly help my Silicon Roundabout project gain traction.”

Good luck, Francesco!


🍕 ‘Secret language’ of emoji revealed

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People create their own ‘secret languages’ by attaching lasting alternative meanings to emoji unrelated to what they are designed to represent, according to a study from Goldsmiths Computing.

In people’s secret languages emoji of pizza or wedges of cheese mean ‘I love you’ (because these were foods people love), a bathtub emoji means a coffin (because it was the closest to a coffin shape), and a thinking face means ‘lesbian’ (because the position of the thumb and forefinger on the chin means ‘lesbian’ in American Sign Language).

These alternative meanings can be assigned randomly but become permanent and are used consistently over time between partners, friends, or family members, the research found.

The study, by researchers from Goldsmiths and the University of Birmingham, is due to be presented at the Computer Human Interaction 2018 conference in Montreal, Canada (21-26 April 2018).

In 2016 there was a furious customer backlash against Apple for changing the rendering of its peach emoji to look smoother. Researchers found that most Apple users were using this emoji to refer to buttocks, with only 7% referring to the foodstuff, and were angry the redrawn emoji did not fit this alternative meaning.

The Goldsmiths-led team launched an online survey to investigate how individuals personalise emoji to create ‘secret’ meanings. Those responding reported repurposing 69 different emoji for secret communication with the most common emoji chosen being an octopus, the most common emoji for an affectionate name being a penguin, and the most common category of emoji used ‘Animals & Nature’.

Dr Sarah Wiseman, lecturer in Computer Science at Goldsmiths and co-author of the study, said: “While we know some fruit and vegetable emoji have been repurposed by many people to mean something else, we were intrigued to find out about personal instances of this – examples of emoji that have a special meaning for just two people. Often this was about more than just typing something more quickly: people found that by using emoji they could convey very complex meanings and thoughts with them that could not be described in words.”

Of the survey’s 72 respondents (134 participants in total) who reported repurposing emoji:

  • 47% exchanged them with partners and 28% exchanged with friends
  • 21% used the emoji to express some form of affection
  • 19% used them to symbolise a particular person or pet
  • 7% used them to refer to sex
  • 6% used them to be covert while referring to sex or illegal activity

Dr Sarah Wiseman said: “Our study shows that people use emoji in a similar way to nicknames or slang, as a handy shortcut to what they mean, which through consistent use creates an intimate ‘secret language’ others don’t understand. Creators of emoji need to bear in mind the subtle way that people repurpose them and the impact even small visual changes to them could have on these alternative meanings.”

A report of the research, entitled Repurposing emoji for personalised communication: Why  🍕means “I love you” will be presented at the Computer Human Interaction 2018 conference in Montreal, Canada (21-26 April 2018).


Adapted from an article first published on Goldsmiths News.

Fifteen reasons to be cheerful

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January is over and the days are getting longer, so we’re in the mood to post a list of fifteen things from the past 12 months that we’re proud of. 

  1. We set up a playable library of computer games in the ground floor of the library.
  2. We ran our best ever Digital Arts Computing exhibition in April
  3. Our academics shared their research with students on Wednesday afternoons. More to come soon…
  4. Our Music Computing students set up Resolution, a programme of live music and visual performances
  5. Hacksmiths ran a ton of amazing events, including Non Binary in TechGlobal Game Jam, Anvil Hack, and our Welcome Week student get-together DoC.Hack.
  6. We hired Eilidh Macdonald to be our Industry Employability Champion who develops opportunities for placements, internships and other collaborations with employers.
  7. We ran an international art & tech symposium ‘Future Mind’ with our new friends at Kyoto University
  8. Post Doc Researcher Perla Maiolino exhibited at the Science Museum’s ROBOTS show
  9. Our EAVI (Embodied AudioVisual Interaction) research group ran a brilliant day of audiovisual workshops and performances at the ICA
  10. We launched five new online courses in Virtual Reality
  11. Our students were on primetime BBC1 telly
  12. We took part in an acid house revival
  13. Sex Tech Hack 2!
  14. Our students won a prize at the Living Data City Challenge hackathon in Eindhoven
  15. London Evening Standard named senior lecturer Dr Kate Devlin ‘one of London’s most influential people of 2017’

If you think of any more, send your suggestions to p.fry@gold.ac.uk.

Goldsmiths and V&A announce Computational Arts Residency

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Goldsmiths’ Department of Computing and the V&A Digital Programmes team have announced their inaugural Computational Arts Residency.

The three-month residency is open to artists who have a strong interest in producing computational art. We welcome applications from people of all backgrounds, from performance, visual art and literature to science. What we are interested in seeing is how their background has been combined with their interest in computation.

Awarded to two computational artists, the residency includes:

  • three months’ access to state-of-the-art computing facilities at Goldsmiths, University of London
  • mentorship from Irini Papadimitriou, Digital Programmes Manager at the V&A
  • rich interaction with the academic community at Goldsmiths Computing
  • a £500 stipend

Each artist will research and develop new work during Summer 2018, and produce a piece that will feature in the V&A’s Digital Design Weekend in September 2018.

Application deadline: 1 March 2018
Start date: Summer 2018 for 3 months (dates flexible within reason)

The residency is open to computational artists (or artist-duos, but not collectives) who have a strong interest in producing computational art. They should have some technical expertise and will probably be able to code in at least one language which they use in their practice. We welcome applications from people of all backgrounds, from performance, visual art and literature to science. What we are interested in seeing is how their background has been combined with their interest in computation.

More information about applying for the residency