Keynote Speakers

Kate Stone

Kate has spent the last decade on a journey of discovery from the world of science to creative design.  Kate and her team at Novalia have developed a new technology platform with which they create products that are a delightful blend of being magical, old fashioned and futuristic.  Kate believes the future will look more like the past than the present due to our natural mix of nostalgia and futuristic stargazing.  Over the last few years with her team she has created experiences for large brands as part of advertising campaigns, working with Pizza Hut, McDonalds, Bud Light, Hersheys and IKEA.  They are presently working on a children’s toy called ‘Touchscape’ that is a board game like surface that connects to Amazon’s Alexa.

Kate is from the UK however now lives in Woodstock, New York and has a degree in electronics from Salford University and PhD in physics from Cambridge University but believes the most useful things she learnt in life were discovered during four years of travel through Australia and Asia and in particular working on a sheep farm for two years in the Australian outback.

Kate has spoken at TED twice and both talks can be found online on

Marian Petre

Marian Petre is a Professor of Computing at the Open University in the UK.  She held a Royal Society Wolfson Research Merit Award, in recognition of her research on the nature of expertise in software design.  

Lessons from Experts:  Software Design Dialogues

This talk will reflect on decades of empirical research on software design in high-performing teams by experts. 

The talk will present three broad perspectives:
(1) It will identify some of the particular challenges of designing software and the practices that experts use to address them.
(2) It will characterise expert software design in terms of a complex of design dialogues.
(3) It will consider how expert practice can inform how we teach software design.

Marian’s interdisciplinary research draws on cognitive theory and qualitative research methods to analyze how expert software designers behave and reason when solving design problems and is grounded in empirical studies of actual professional practice in industry. Her recent book with Andre van der Hoek, Software Design Decoded, is a succinct summary of insights from this research. 

She is an Associate Editor of IEEE Software and of ACM Transactions on Computing Education.  She has also conducted substantial empirical research in Computer Science Education, co-authoring Computer Science Education Research and Principles and Pragmatics of Computer Science Projectwork. She has a PhD in Computer Science from University College London and a BA in Psycholinguistics from Swarthmore College.