Photo by Medakit Ltd on Unsplash

The UK government is encouraging people to take regular COVID tests even if they show no symptoms. Schoolchildren are already testing themselves twice a week, and it is hoped that regular testing will help to prevent asymptomatic carriers from spreading the disease.

However, some people are concerned there will be too many false positives: people whose test gives a positive result, forcing them to self-isolate even though they do not, in fact, have COVID. …


Photo by Giacomo Carra on Unsplash

“A wise old ruler wanted to reward his servant for an act of extraordinary bravery. The servant said:

‘Master I ask you for just one thing. Take your chessboard and place on the first square one grain of rice. On the first day I will take this grain home to feed my family. On the second day place on the second square 2 grains for me to take home. On the third day cover the third square with four grains for me to take. Each day double the number of grains you give me until you have placed rice on…


Photo by Ajay Meganathan on Unsplash

The premise of this week’s blog was simple: see how Liverpool’s Premier League title defence compares to other unsuccessful defences over the 28 years of the league’s existence.

The Premier League website has a list of results and tables for every ‘matchweek’ back to the formation of the competition. So, I thought, it should be a simple case of loading the tables, reading in the position of the previous year’s winner and writing a short blog.

Not the open goal it looked! Reliably reading in the data was harder than I expected. However it was an interesting exercise in using…


Photo by Ivan Diaz on Unsplash

The UK Covid-19 vaccine roll-out is going well: I am increasingly optimistic about when 42 year olds with no underlying conditions might get vaccinated.

Over the past two months, I have visited some websites that estimate when I can expect to be offered a vaccine; however, as the program appears to be exceeding expectations, the dates are moving (earlier!), and in any case it’s not obvious what assumptions are being used.

Therefore I thought it would be fun to use Python to produce a few graphs tracking the programme and predicting what might happen next.

The UK government website has…


Over the last few years, I have been increasingly interested in how we can get people coding. I don’t mean advanced coding as a discipline in itself, but using coding to help in everyday life, in the same way as we would use a word-processor or a calculator.

One of the difficulties has always been the high ‘barrier to entry’ of installing the correct software and learning the basics, which must be done before the beginner can see how coding can be used in interesting ways.

Whilst testing Filament, Euan Wielewski and I have seen how easy the platform makes…

Clive Siviour

I am a Professor of Engineering Science at the University of Oxford, where I do research and teaching in Mechanical Engineering. I am also CSO of Filament.

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