DIREC TALKS: How can we encourage more women to study computer science

How can we encourage more women to study computer science?

Women are widely underrepresented in Computer Science. We will consider why this is a problem from a societal, institutional, and individual level.

In 2015, only 10% of students on ITU’s Bachelor of Software Development were women. ITU decided to do something about this and a number of initiatives were launched. Now, the percentage of women has risen to 23% (in 2020). We will present an overview of ITU’s efforts to address this gender imbalance in computing.

Also, we will present brand new research on how to change educational activities so that they appeal more to women.

Finally, we will show the effect of ITU’s onboarding initiative BootIT and how this connects with increasing diversity.

The talk is based on joint work with among others: Melissa Høegh Marcher, Ingrid Maria Christensen, Therese Graversen, Pawel Grabarczyk, and Sebastian Mateos Nicolajsen (all from the IT University of Copenhagen).


Head of Center for Computing
Education Research (CCER),
IT University of Copenhagen


Claus Brabrand holds a PhD in Computer Science from the BRICS International Research Center at Aarhus University (January 2003).

He is the writer, director, and co-producer of the award-winning educational short-film “Teaching Teaching & Understanding Understanding” (2006) used around the world for educational development. Since 2007, he has been an Associate Professor at the IT University of Copenhagen, conducting research within the area of Programming Languages, Program Analysis, and Software Product Lines.

Parallel to this, he has worked with Educational Development and "teaching teachers to teach", both at ITU, nationally, and internationally. He has done a number of keynotes within this area. He has designed the educational materials for most of ITU's main initiatives aimed at increasing student diversity; in particular, the recruitment, onboarding, and retention of women on ITU's Bachelor of Software Development. He is now working exclusively with Computing Education Research and heading the recently inaugurated Center for Computing Education Research (CCER) at the IT University of Copenhagen.

He is the (first) recipient of the Danish National Teaching Award 2020 (Undervisningsprisen) awarded to two out of approximately 18,000 university teachers in all of Denmark).

Previous events

DIREC Seminar 2021

13 – 14 september 2021

DIREC Seminar 2021

The purpose is to give the participants in DIREC the opportunity to get to know each other, both professionally and personally / socially and thus create new networks across the universities and the Alexandra Institute.

We hope this will lead to the identification of new research issues, including grand challenges for digital technologies, collaboration across workstreams, and new projects with companies and the public sector.

Previous events

International Workshop on Re-Using Robot Data

International Workshop on Re-Using Robot Data

We will discuss the needs of industry, current solutions and the scientific and technical challenges that are connected to the problem of an efficient re-use of robot data.

  • Do you want to make more out of your robot applications?
  • Do you want to predict failures of your system before they occur?
  • Do you want to use data in your production to improve quality inspection?
  • Are you tired of always starting from scratch when you establish new robot solutions?
  • Do you want to exploit information about trajectories, grippers and cameras from already existing robot set-ups to speed up the development of new robot solutions?
  • Do you want to apply already established control strategies by adapting those to a new problem?

Re-Using robot data is key to these challenges!

However, the potential of re-using robot data is not realized yet due to scientific, technical and IPR issues. The ReRoPro project, Re-Use of Robotic-data in Production through search, simulation and learning aims at addressing this problem.

We invite for tasks such as predictive maintenance, speeding-up the establishment of new assembly solutions and fine-tuning of critical components of your production.

At the workshop, we will discuss the needs of industry, current solutions and the scientific and technical challenges that are connected to the problem of an efficient re-use of robot data.

Find out how to make efficient use of your robot data!


9:30  Welcome with coffee and rolls in the lobby

10:00  Welcome and Introduction
Prof. Norbert Krüger, University of Southern Denmark, coordinator of the ReRoPro-project

10:15  Session 1: The ReRoPro Project

10:15   The i4.0 use case and current software solution       
Assoc. Prof. Aljaz Kramberger, University of Southern Denmark

10:30  Data sensitivity issues in data re-use
Prof. Mikkel Baun Kjærgaard, University of Southern Denmark

10:45   Differential simulators, digital twins & data (d^3)
Prof. Kenny Erleben, University of Copenhagen

11:00  Data-reuse in machine learning and planning
Assoc. Professor Andres Masegosa, Aalborg University and Assoc. Professor Alvaro Torralba, Aalborg University

11:15  Coffee Break

11:30  Session 2: Data-Re-Use in Industry and Science

11:30  Examples of industrial robot applications, where
data could have been re-used   
Prof. Henrik G. Petersen, University of Southern Denmark, MADE

11:50 The Danish robot ecosystem and the re-use of data
Project Manager Søren Adamsen Mouritzen, Odense Robotics

12:05  Paving the way for a Cambrian explosion in robotics: open knowledge services for robotics applications
Prof. Michael Beetz, University of Bremen

12:45  Lunchbreak

13:30  Session 3: Industrial perspectives

13:30  Data in Pharmaceutical Device Manufacturing
Senior Assembly Engineer, Roger de Reus, Novo Nordisk

13:45  Robots and Sensors in Surface Treatment Applications
Head of R&D Lars Kristian Feddersen, Nordbo Robotics

14:00  Re-use of data in CAM programming
Head of Production Bo Schmidt, WellTec and Head of Digital Integration CNC Thomas Hyllen, WellTec

14:15  Factory of the Future
Program Director Alex Severin, Rockwool

14:30  So we got big data – now what?
Chief Commercial Officer
Anders Meister, CIM.AS

14:50  Coffee Break

15:20  Toward a Knowledge-Based Data Backbone for Seamless Digital Engineering in Smart Factories
Dr. Markus Rickert, Technische Universität München

15.50  Round Table discussion

16:30  Concluding remarks

The workshop is organized by DIREC with MADE as a supporting partner and with support from DDSA (Danish Data Science Academy.

The event is held in collaboration with IDA Fremtidsteknologi. The participant list will be shared with IDA for statistical use only.


Two new calls for DIREC Explore projects

7 September 2021

Call for project proposals: Young researchers and digital solutions for climate change

Explore projects are small agile research and innovation projects with the purpose to quickly screen new ideas within or between the core thematic topics of DIREC – possibly in relation to specific challenges of companies or society. Explore projects run for 3-12 months with a focus on identifying and creating new research challenges and areas.

Projects can be stand-alone projects or part of a sequential evolution of projects. For example, an Explore project may be a natural start to investigate into a new field or topic, which can lead to the creation of a larger research project.

DIREC is launching two special calls for Explore project proposals:

  • DIREC Climate Explore projects supports researchers wanting to explore how digital technology can help address some of the challenges related to climate changes. We are especially looking for ideas where digital technology has a centre role in the potential solution or where the research might make a significant impact
  • DIREC Starter Explore projects are targeted at researchers in the beginning of their carrier (up to 7 years after defending their PhD) and who have an idea for an excellent project within one or more of the workstreams of DIREC.

Each Explore project may be supported with up to DKK 300-500.000 including overhead for a period of up to a year.

We expect to start up to 10 explore projects during this round. 

Deadline for applying is November 5th, 2021.

Looking forward to seeing your proposals.


Danish researchers will build a data warehouse to increase the possibilities with position data

7 September 2021

Danish researchers will build a data warehouse to increase the possibilities with position data

Incomplete data and different formats often make it difficult to integrate different position data and thus get the desired yield. A new collaboration between researchers at Aalborg University, Aarhus University and the University of Southern Denmark as well as Rambøll and the robot company MIR will make it easier to utilize the possibilities with position data.


DIREC TALKS: Can cryptographic algorithms affect legal doctrines? 

Can cryptographic algorithms affect legal doctrines?

Legal principles, philosophy and doctrines are the pillars of modern society. It is tempting to believe that, while specific laws and regulations adapt to the particular technologies of the time, the basic legal doctrines remain unchanged – and guide us in regulating and harnessing technology. 

This talk will present situations where technological feasibility, accompanied with appropriate theory-of-computation reasoning, impacts not only specific laws and regulations, but also some basic legal doctrines. Specifically, these are situations where justified secrecy and privacy rights regarding sensitive information is pitted against equally justified transparency, accountability, and due process rights pertaining to the same information.

Current legal doctrines accept the seemingly inevitable reality the not all rights can be honored, and instead aim at   “balancing the harms” on all sides.   In sharp contrast, cryptographic concepts such as Zero-Knowledge Proofs and Secure Multi-Party Computation enable legal processes that do honor all rights. 


Moreover, these technologies enable fine-grained delineation of what partial information should be disclosed and to whom, thus opening the door to more nimble legal doctrines and thinking regarding the ownership, sharing, and use of information in a modern society.

The talk will be mostly based on the following two papers:

  • Kenneth Bamberger, -, Shafi Goldwasser,  Rebecca Wexler, Evan Zimmerman:  Verification Dilemmas in Law and the Promise of Zero-Knowledge Proofs.  Berkeley Technology Law Journal, Vol. 37, No. 1 (2022).
  • Dor Bitan, -, Shafi Goldwasser, Rebecca Wexler: Using Zero-Knowledge to Reconcile Law Enforcement Secrecy and Fair Trial Rights in Criminal Cases. SSRN  (2022).

Ran Canetti

Professor of Computer Science,
Boston University

Ran Canetti

Ran Canetti is a professor of Computer Science in Boston University, where he directs the center for Reliable Information System and Cyber Security. He is a Fellow of the Association for Computing Machinery  and the International Association for Cryptologic Research, and an incumbent of the RSA Award in Mathematics.

Canetti’s research interests lie primarily in  cryptography and information security, with emphasis on the design, analysis and use of cryptographic algorithms and protocols. Recently he has been studying ways for the co-design of algorithms, law, and policy so as to provide sound foundations for society in the information age. 


Roskilde University is now part of DIREC

1 September 2021

Roskilde University is now part of the new national research centre DIREC​

The newly established research centre DIREC will strengthen digital Denmark with world-class IT research, which will be used in industry and in the public sector. At Roskilde University, they work with artificial intelligence in healthcare.