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KS4 students problem-solve in Royal Navy Challenge

On Tuesday 4 December, KS4 students at UTC Reading took a day off timetable to compete head-to-head in a day of problem-solving challenges, set by the Royal Navy.

Students worked on the challenges in teams, to be in with the chance of winning a visit to a warship in HMNB Portsmouth, followed by an afternoon learning to code in the Royal Navy’s Digital Lab.

The inspiring day kicked off with an introduction from the Royal Navy team, consisting of military personnel and those in the ‘Programme Nelson’ team.

Programme Nelson was formed to rapidly accelerate the exploitation of advanced data analytics and Artificial Intelligence (AI) in the Royal Navy. A core element of the programme is to deliver a common maritime big-data platform.

Following introductions and an overview of the Royal Navy, the challenges were set. The first was a tech challenge; the second a murder-mystery on board a warship and the third, a data science challenge. All of these activities challenged students in some of the skills used in Programme Nelson.

The first tech challenge looked at a warship weighing in at 65,000 tonnes, with a length of 280m and a crew of 1,600. Students had to find a solution to the problem of the captain needing to know where his crew were, at all times, in a hazardous environment. They were encouraged to think about the use of technology and how this could be used effectively to solve the problem. Teams also had to create a dashboard to show where the crew were, that could be easily understood and very intuitive. Later that morning, team leaders presented their ideas to not only the Royal Navy, but to the rest of the KS4 teams too.

Jim Briscoe, Lieutenant Commander, Royal Navy said, “The breadth of ideas that were covered, from GDPR to using technologies together – It was very impressive.”

The final winners of the Royal Navy maths/AI challenge were the team comprising the groups from: 10 Anderson A, 11 Anderson A and 11 Anderson B.

Well done to all our KS4 students for contributing your fantastic ideas, and a big thank you to the team from Royal Navy who came in to host this exciting challenge day!

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