Graduating and Being Awarded the Departmental Prize

On the 14th of July 2014 my degree was officially conferred to me at a graduation ceremony at Hull City Hall.

The day started off with a lunch inside the computer science department at the university, which was a nice opportunity for my parents and siblings to see the labs in which I’ve done a lot of my work over the past three years.

Whilst we were at the lunch I was called up in front of the other students, and their families, to receive the departmental award. The award means that my name will be shown on a golden plaque inside the social area of the department and I will receive £100 from the university. It will be quite cool to have a plaque inside the department, especially as I recognize a lot of the names on the board already as being our current lecturers — my name will be in good company. I received the award for having the highest overall grade of a graduating student — at 86.05%.



After lunch my family and I made made our way to the Guildhall in Hull City Centre where I picked up my cap and gown.



We then made our way to the City Hall where the actual graduation took place. Rob Miles, one of my lecturers from the first two years of my degree, explained how the process of graduating worked. We simply had to walk across a stage after our names had been called and nod at the Chancellor of the University. Behind us were some of the lecturers from Computer Science, Maths & Physics and The Hull York Medical School — all of the departments who had people graduating that day.



Once the graduation had taken place inside we went outside for the traditional slate throwing with the town crier. He was rather funny.

Preparing for Cap Throwing Outside
Preparing for Cap Throwing Outside

Once all of the pomp and ceremony was over my family and I went for dinner and then the drinks started flowing with my brother and university friends out in a few pubs in old town, and then the Piper Club on Newland Avenue.

My degree certificate, and shield, on my living room wall.
My degree certificate, and shield, on my living room wall.

The day after my graduation was my birthday, so its been a truly brilliant few days. Thanks to everyone involved, you know who you are!


Year 3 Semester 2 Results

Today I received my final set of grades for my BSc (Hons) in Computer Science from the University of Hull – This included my two second semester modules, Mobile Devices and Application and Distributed Systems Programming, as well as my Final Year Project.

I achieved a grade of 85% in Mobile Devices and Applications, and 89% in Distributed Systems Programming.

The final year project was worth twice as many credits as each second semester, and so had more of an effect on the final grade. Thankfully I did quite well in the final year project, achieving a grade of 86%.

My overall weighted average for this year, including my first semester modules grades, is 86.5%.

This grade, weighted with my second year grades, means that my final grade for my degree as a whole is 86% – a very high first! I am of course over the moon with this.

I’d like to again say thank you to everyone who has made my time at university not only great for learning, but truly the best three years of my life (so far! :P). Particularly, but not limited to:

  • Rob Crocombe
  • Simon Watkins
  • Hayley Hatton
  • Russell Billingsley
  • Toby Russell
  • Jon Rich
  • Tom “Jeff” Procter
  • Special mention to “our American foreign exchange students”


  • Dr Martin Walker
  • Eur Ing Brian Tompsett
  • Rob Miles
  • Dr David Parker
  • Dr Peter Robinson

And of course anyone I spent time with in the labs or any of the many, many nights out in the first two years. Last but by no stretch of the imagination least thanks to my Mum, Dad, Brother and Sister for supporting me throughout the last 3 years.

I’m looking forward to trying to maintain this good score next year at York! Of course I will continue to do this blog throughout my time there too.


University - Masters

University of York – MSc in Advanced Computer Science

Today I recieved word that I have been accepted for an award of a £5000 academic performance scholarship at The University of York.

This offer, alongside the high standard of teaching & research, beautiful new department facilities (pictured above) means that I have decided that I will be spending next year studying a Masters of Science degree in Advanced Computer Science at The University of York.

It is my intention, once the masters degree is complete, to continue on with a PhD. The masters degree should give me all the knowledge and experience I need to choose a partciular field in which I wish to do my research.

In the near future I will be formally accepting the offer, which I can do once I have recieved my final transcript from here in Hull, choosing my accomodation and selecting my module choices for next year. I will of course keep the blog updated with any developments.

I would like to take this time to thank Dr. Martin Walker and Rob Miles at the University of Hull for writing me two fantastic references, which no doubt helped me get accepted onto the course and in the application process for the scholarship award.

Similarly I would like to thank Jonathan Stokoe for the making the application process so pain-free, and Dr. Jeremey Jacobs for giving both myself and Rob Crocombe a tour of the Computer Science facilities at York.


Microsoft Student Partner University

Micro-talks Review

As promised I ran the Micro-talks event at the University of Hull Department of Computer Science Christmas Bash (try saying that 10 times quickly) last week. We had a surprisingly high turn out and a lot of familiar faces got involved! In fact, the room had nearly twice as many people in by the time it filled out as are in the photo above — I counted around 45 in total.

I started us off by managing to throw together a few slides, and talk for a few minutes, about entering the world of open source for the first time. If you found yourself inspired by that you should check out my blog post on the same subject here.

The assortment of prizes I bought along for speakers and listeners alike!
The assortment of prizes I bought along for speakers and listeners alike!

Once I’d finished my bit and introduced the prizes, generously provided by Microsoft, fellow MSP Merrick Sapsford, took the floor to talk about why developing for charities can be a worthwhile endeavour. Merrick develops applications to support a charity which maintains and flies the last XH558 Vulcan Bomber.

Merrick Talking about his Vulcan Bomber App for the iPhone
Merrick Talking about his Vulcan Bomber App for the iPhone

Through this work he has managed to make connections with other aviation companies that are giving him paid work, has managed to get into a list of some of the top grossing apps on the iPhone Store and has even managed to get a few free iPhones in the process. You can check out his app here.

Rob Miles and his "Connected Fun"
Rob Miles and his “Connected Fun”

Lecturer Rob Miles had a presentation of his own, which included some cool lights which he could change the colour of using the Bluetooth connection from his Windows Phone. You can check out Robs round-up — and considerably better quality photos — on his blog.

Dr. David Grey on "FoodCloud"
Dr. David Grey on “FoodCloud”

Dr. David Grey — who you may remember from such introductory lectures as… — had the unenviable task of following Rob. Dr. Grey spoke about FoodCloud — a multi-platform augmented reality application the university is developing as part of its research into teaching people about how their food is grown and produced. The app seemed like a really cool idea and the implementation was obviously really smooth! It’s a shame we don’t hear more about research within the department (until recently I was under the impression the department did very little)

Simon Grey inviting people to Global Game Jam '14
Simon Grey inviting people to Global Game Jam ’14

To finish things up Simon Grey, without the use of even the 4 slides he was allowed, invited everyone to sign up for Global Game Jam 2014. GGJ is a games development competition over 48 hours, like a double length Three Thing Game, which takes place all across the world, starting at 5pm in each time zone. This year Hull will be hosting the biggest individual event in the UK, in a collaboration between The University of Hull, Hull College and the Grimsby Institute. Simons put a lot of work in so if you’re interested you should sign up here.

Overall the event was a success, a lot of people heard and learnt about a lot of cool stuff. Hopefully people were inspired to do something new, and if not at least there was pizza afterwards… 😉 I hope anyone who nabbed a prize enjoyed what they got. The Microsoft-branded lip balm seemed to be a crowd pleaser at any rate. Hopefully we will take what we learnt from this event and try something similar again next semester!



Microtalks at the Computer Science Christmas Bash!

As some of you may have read on Rob Miles’ blog, I will be running one of the events at the Computer Science departmental bash this year. The event is called Microtalks and gives any student who wants to be involved 5 minutes in front of an audience of their peers. The time limit, along with a limit of 4 power-point slides mean that each students presentation will be short, snappy and interesting.

The idea of Microtalks is to get both students and lecturers here at the University of Hull sharing knowledge and success with one another, as an extension of the Hull Comp Sci Blogs initiative. Examples of things people could talk about include:

  • Talking about an open source project they’ve contributed to
  • Talking about a game or piece of software they have produced
  • A cool bit of technology they have discovered, like a new programming language or methodology
  • Anything, in fact, to do with technology!

I will be talking about my recent contributions to LibreOffice, which you can read about here.

All participants will be getting prizes provided to me by Microsoft through the Microsoft Student Partner Program, a big thanks to Rebecca Moore and Phil Cross for their contributions. There may be some even better swag for the most interesting talks 😉

If you want to talk about something cool in front of your fellow Computer Scientists sign up by clicking here, more information about the event including the time and location can be found on Rob’s blog here.

I hope to see you all there, if not to present yourself, then to listen to your friends and peers!



Systems Analysis, Design and Process Exam and Result

This Image from Rob Miles’ Module Introduction Lecture Slide is what kept me sane throughout revision 😉

On Tuesday I had an Exam for the Systems Analysis, Design and Process Module. You may remember I posted about the other half of the assessment, the Mr. Bump Management System Group work before, here.

The exam mainly covered the comprehension of specifications, diagrams used in System design (State Transition, Activity, Use Case, Class, Sequence, PERT, etc) and BCS Ethics. All of which were quite interesting. 🙂

I achieved a grade of 72% — which is a first class — so hopefully, along with my Group work I will have a first class grade overall for the module.


Mobile Application Development University

Three Words for TTG October 2012

A lovely blurry photo of Rob Miles Auctioning off words for TTG October 2012

Today was the word auction for Three Thing Game October 2012. 🙂 My Team, Did You Mean “Uncle Mike’s Recursive Prolog Party?”, bid for the word fighting and, because nobody else wanted it enough to bid for it, were assigned the word toast.

At this point we were understandably wondering what in the world could link these two words in a way that wasn’t totally weird, we decided to hold off on making any rash weird game play ideas before getting our third and final word. Unfortunately we ran out of time and so Rob put off auctioning out the final words until Wednesday lunch time. Because some teams — including ourselves — were eager to get started Rob said that if we didn’t want to wait to bit on items on Wednesday we could he said we could be assigned a random word by email if we would prefer.

We did and got ourselves Party, which ties in surprisingly well with our idea. Which of course I wont be telling you anything about until Saturday at the earliest. Remember to check back for a livesteam/liveblog of the final 24 hour sprint to the Three Thing Game finish 🙂


Programming University

Three Things, 24 Hours, 1 Game – Three Thing Game is Approaching

Well, it’s safe to say that I’m pretty excited for Monday morning — and anyone who knows me will be shocked that those words just appeared on my blog. The reason is that on Monday Rob Miles will be the auctioneer in the most important auction of the year, The Thing Auction, in which all the teams involved in Three Thing Game will be able to purchase the rights to use three things in their game.

Said teams will then spend the next 5 days writing their game before a 24 hour programming marathon to finish it off — starting Saturday at midday. On Sunday the games will all be judged by Rob & Co. and some winners will be chosen.

Having learnt a lot from our last Three Thing Game we’ve reformed “Uncle Mikes Recursive Prolog Party” under the slightly altered name “Did you mean Uncle Mikes Recursive Prolog Party?” This a play on the word recursion, which means the process of repeating items in a self-similar way. It also takes inspiration from googles ‘did you mean recursion?‘ joke.

Did You Mean Uncle Mikes Recursive Prolog Party? -- Image Lovingly Produced by Rob Crocombe
Did You Mean Uncle Mikes Recursive Prolog Party? — Image Lovingly Produced by Rob Crocombe

Unfortunately Sean wasn’t up for the competition this year but Rob Crocombe, Nick Case and I are fairly confident of our chances after another few months of programming experiance, and more importantly project management experience. We were also the first team to sign up this year, which for some reason I have convinced myself means that we’ll win 😉

I’ll keep the blog updated when we have our three things and start development. We’re also thinking about live streaming the entire 24 hours, so keep your eyes open for that 🙂

Finally, good luck to everyone involved. I wish you all the best of luck!


Life University

Computer Science Welcome Party

Scalextric is cool! Especially when you mix it up with Computers! Thanks to Rob Miles for all the images in this post

After our presentation on Thursday morning we were conscripted to help out at the Freshers welcome party, not being one to turn down an afternoon of computer games and free alcohol the rest of the Hull CS Blogs team and I turned up early to help set things up 🙂

Our first job was to move some tables around to make a play area for the Skalextrics set that was going to be the centerpiece of the party, we then wen’t apart fitting the pieces of track — including a bridge — together and doing so was just as much fun as I remember from when I was a kid.

What isn’t the same as I remember things is pretty much everything else about the car racing game, now your cars are partially controlled by a computer — you can set up proper races rather than arguing over who won, interdependently change the acceleration speed and max speed of each car, and even assign virtual fuel limits forcing your cars to take pit stops every few laps or run out of gas and stop working! It’s more like a computer game than a real game!

Exciting Racing Action
Exciting Racing Action
Race Control Software Showing Race Leaderboard
Race Control Software Showing Race Leaderboard

I spent a lot of the party by the Rob’s laptop which was controlling the cars as well as meeting new freshers and talking about the Hull CS Blogs platform. There were however lots of other things to do such as playing rock band with computer science lecturers, or wii tennis with freshers! 😛

After a while I claimed my two free kopparbergs and a few sandwiches. At the end of the evening there was a quiz, which we took part in but were not allowed to win 😛 It was good fun anyway and featured classic Rob Miles questions such as:

Q: Which cheese is made backwards?

A: Edam

Turns out we actually got the high score of 41, shame I wasn’t allowed to win 2 years in a row 😉 It was great fun to go to the party and as always it was brilliant to meet more people passionate about the course and hopefully some future bloggers!


Mobile Application Development Programming University

Three Thing Game – Things and Brainstorming

All The Teams Holding Up Their Things – Nick, Rob, Sean and I are somewhere near the back.

 Today everyone got their 3 “Things” around which their game would be themed. It was an impressive turnout with 33 teams, consisting of 111 Computer Science Students and was a jolly event with a fun atmosphere, its clear to see everyone is excited about the competition!

Each team was given 530 Thing “Bank of Thingland” pounds in order to bid for items they wanted upon entering Lecture Theatre 1 of the Robert Blackburn building.

We were then told we would need to have one thing from each “thing section”; green, blue and pink. This roughly translated to an object, a place and an event. Each team would have one thing from each section by default, but then other teams could bid to take it off them, obviously some things were going to be more popular than others.

Each team name was read out in often, followed by what item they had by default. When our team name, “Uncle Mikes Recursive Prolog Party”, was read out there was a howl of laughter and applause. 😛 Fortunately it seems the other CS students found the in-joke funny rather than weird. I’m quite proud of coming up with that.

In the green section we we’re awarded with “Granddad”, which seemed to fit in well with our name, which is fortunate as no-one else bid for it and so it became ours.

In the blue section we recieved “Gas Works” which again no one else seemed to want, and with good reason, we’ve found that the gas works has limited us somewhat in what we could achieve with our two other things.

In the final section, pink, we out bid everyone else in the room by spending all 530 of our Thing pounds to buy a special thing, a blank thing. A blank thing is a piece of paper with nothing on it. Sounds rubbish doesn’t it? But its not, its probably the best thing you can have, because you can write any word you like on it (subject to a profanity check by Rob Miles). In the end, after a long discussion, the team agreed on writing the word “Invasion” on the pink paper.

So, we ended up with the words “Granddad”, “Gasworks” and “Invasion” and I think we’re pretty happy with that. Weird ideas to have together, weirder still to make a game out of, but its always the quirky ideas that win these sort of things and we’re pretty sure that we have a great idea after an hour of brainstorming in the pub this lunchtime.

I don’t want to give too much away but I think we’re going to do alright with this idea, I can say that it will be on Windows Phone, so look out for “GRANDDAD INVASION: Battle for the Gas Works” on the Marketplace in the days and weeks to come.

You can see more information from my team mate Nick Case at his website here.

Rob Miles has pictures of all the contestants and some analysis of the event here.

And of course plenty of my course mates have posted their own blogs which you can see on Hull Comp Sci Blogs.

Best of Luck to everyone with their development, I can’t wait  to see you all at the Saturday – Sunday code-a-thon.