Royal Caribbean cruise ships made headlines earlier this year as the world’s largest cruise ship, Harmony of the Seas, pulled into port in Southampton. After 32 months in construction the ship was finally complete, measuring almost four football fields in length, and built from over half a million individual components.
In addition to the list of superlatives that accompany the record-breaking ship, Royal Caribbean’s floating city also plays home to the tallest slide at sea, spacious state rooms complete with virtual balconies showing real-time views of the ship’s destination, and a bar served entirely by robots.
Winner of the inaugural Queen Elizabeth Prize for Engineering, Dr Vinton (Vint) Cerf, was last week elected as a Foreign Member of the Royal Society. An American computer scientist, Cerf is considered one of the ‘fathers of the internet’ and, along with Robert Kahn, Louis Pouzin, Marc Andreessen and Sir Tim Berners-Lee, was awarded the Queen Elizabeth Prize for Engineering in 2013 for his contribution to revolutionising the way we communicate.
Gaining global Twitter-fame in 2014, there is no doubt that many will recognise the iconic photograph of a young woman grinning as she adds the final folder to a stack of papers that looms above her. The five-foot-something tower in question was the software code responsible for landing Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin on the moon back in 1969, and the lady beside it was Margaret Hamilton, one of its programmers.
Hollywood may be more commonly known for its film stars and glittering lights, but alongside their movie-town status, the Hills are a top destination for budding engineers.
From the dizzyingly photo-realistic scenery of ‘Gravity’ to the iconic opening sequence of the latest ‘Bond’ instalment, visual effects (VFX) have become a staple feature of modern cinema. Even the pre-film advertisement reel has been digitally enhanced. And behind all of this blockbuster-worthy VFX lies a massive range of artists, designers and both software and mechanical engineers, creating entire worlds from reams of coded script and intricately designed rigs.
World leaders of government and business are gathering in the Alpine town of Davos this week for 2016’s World Economic Forum (WEF). The theme for this year’s discussion is Mastering the Fourth Industrial Revolution and amongst the speakers is Royal Academy of Engineering Research Chair Jeremy O’Brien.
Pocket sized and costing just pocket change, the Raspberry Pi is the fastest selling personal computer to come out of the UK, with almost 8 million units sold to date. And in the few short years since its launch, it sure has gone a long way!
Software engineering in today’s world is a big business, and software engineers have become our everyday heroes. Zuckerberg has become a household name, supermodels are leading girls into the world of coding, and Academy Awards are being won by software engineers for computer generated cinema. Programming is becoming cool, and so it should.