 "I WISH I'D KNOWN..." SEMINAR
 Speaker: Prof. Ljiljana Brankovic, School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, The University of Newcastle
 Title: Gamification of STEM courses
 Location: Room V205, Mathematics Building (Callaghan Campus) The University of Newcastle
 Time and Date: 4:00 pm, Thu, 2^{nd} Mar 2017
 Abstract:
Gamiﬁcation refers to the use of elements of games in nongame contexts and has been applied in workplace, marketing, health programs and other areas, with mounting evidence of increased interest, involvement, satisfaction and performance of the participants. More recently gamiﬁcation has been emerging as a teaching method that has a great potential to improve students’ motivation and engagement. Gamiﬁcation in education should not be confused with playing educational games, as it only uses concepts such as points, leader boards, etc, rather than computer games themselves. In this talk we describe the gamiﬁcation of a theoretical computer science course we performed in 2014/2015/2016 as well as our experience with two other STEM courses.
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 CARMA SEMINAR
 Speaker: Prof. Ljiljana Brankovic, School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, The University of Newcastle
 Title: Combining two worlds: Parameterised Approximation for Vertex Cover
 Location: Room V129, Mathematics Building (Callaghan Campus) The University of Newcastle
 Time and Date: 4:00 pm, Thu, 29^{th} Nov 2012
 Abstract:
Parameterised approximation is a relatively new but growing field of interest. It merges two ways of dealing with NPhard optimisation problems, namely polynomial approximation and exact parameterised (exponentialtime) algorithms.
We explore opportunities for parameterising constant factor approximation algorithms for vertex cover, and we provide a simple algorithm that works on any approximation ratio of the form $\frac{2l+1}{l+1}$, $l=1,2,\dots$, and has complexity that outperforms previously published algorithms by Bourgeois et al. based on sophisticated exact parameterised algorithms. In particular, for $l=1$ (factor$1.5$ approximation) our algorithm runs in time $\text{O}^*(\text{simpleonefiveapproxbase}^k)$, where parameter $k \leq \frac{2}{3}\tau$, and $\tau$ is the size of a minimum vertex cover.
Additionally, we present an improved polynomialtime approximation algorithm for graphs of average degree at most four and a limited number of vertices with degree less than two.
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