Categories
University

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!
Danny

Categories
University

Course Rep Training

Yesterday I went for my course representative training in which we learnt about how the Hull University Union works, what we are expected to do to fit in to that and how to be a great, approachable course representative who gets things done for their coursemates.

We also learnt more about the university as a whole, our moral obligations to both the union and our fellow students. In addition to that we met a whole bunch of new people 😀

Part of the training was creating the monstrosity of a picture you can see above. It’s supposed to be the idealization of the perfect lecturer, each feature he has contains an alternate meaning:

  • He has a big head and a brain protruding from it showing intelligence
  • He has a captains hat & mustache to show he’s in authority and gets things done
  • He has big ears to show he listens to his students problems
  • The monocle shows he is classy
  • He has a big smile to show he is easily approachable
  • Under his suit, which shows hes professional, he has a superman outfit because hes great!
  • He has a penguin on his shoulder, which was initially meant to be a parrot but im rubbish at drawing 😛 So it become the first and only penguin ever able to fly because of how inspirational the lecturer is
  • He has a thumb up to show he actually solves problems
  • And most importantly he has jet engines for feet to show how he quickly deals with issues

Course rep training was a fun experience and I can’t wait to start making a difference to the Department of Computer Science and the University as a whole, for the better 🙂

Danny

Categories
University

BCS Accreditation

I’ve become a tad forgetful recently and forgot to post about the meeting that took place between University of Hull Computer Scientists and the BCS a few weeks ago.

For those who don’t know, The British Computer Society are the Chartered Institute for IT and according to their website they:

promote wider social and economic progress through the advancement of information technology science and practice.

In addition to this they also accredit degree courses in subjects such as Computer Science, Information Technology and Information Systems. According to the Department of Computing Science at Imperial College London:

If you are studying a degree that is “accredited” it means that it contributes either fully or partially to the academic requirements required for you to register for “Chartered” status. In other words you will be exempted from some or all the professional exams required to achieve this title.

Unfortunately you wont get “Chartered” status straight away as usually you will need to become a member of the BCS or IET and do at least two years relevant work experience before you can be considered. You may also need to provide evidence that you have sufficient competences to justify this status and could have to sit a peer review panel before it is granted.

To become a full member of these institutions you have to meet their professional requirements and pay an annual fee but once enrolled you are entitled to use the initials MBCS or MIET behind your name. It is possible to get student and associate membership of these institutions.

Having these initials after your name is a good way to show to potential employers or customers that you are a trustworthy, competent and capable computer scientist and know more than just how to code: i.e. you know how to behave in a professional and socially responsible manner. Coming from an accredited degree is much better than coming from a non accredited one.

In order to validate how good the Computer Sciences courses are at UoH they wanted to meet a few students from each year on each course (e.g. A few people from MEng Computer Science, a few from BSc Computer Science with Games Development etc.) I was chosen to be one of these people based on lecturer feedback, so 9am on the Wednesday morning I went to the Robert Blackburn building to meet with the BCS Secretariat as well as two board memebers, one from Birmingham University and one from Manchester Metropolitan, all three of which seemed impressed with the department.

After asking us questions about how the courses and department are run for about 30 minutes the BCS were happy with the information they had retrieved, their final question was “Is there anything you would change about your department or course?” Everyone went silent. After what felt like a few minutes of silence I jokingly replied “I’d put the computer science books somewhere other than the top floor of the library”, which got a laugh. But in all seriousness it was great to see that everyone felt that everything was going great in the department.

The next day Warren Viant, head of department, emailed everyone involved thanking them for their help and telling us that every course had been accredited at the level the university was aiming for. Well done Warren and team! 🙂

Danny

Categories
University

Danny Brown – Course Representative

A few weeks ago I applied to be a course representative for Diploma Stage (Second Year) students within the Computer Science department at the University of Hull. Yesterday I received an email congratulating me on having been accepted as a Course Rep for the year :).

The role of a course rep is to interface with both their fellow students and the department/faculty in order to make sure the quality of life and education is as good as possible for each student. Therefore if you have any issues with anything on the course you shouldn’t hesitate to contact me or one of my fellow course reps through our university emails, or in person — this can be done confidentially.

My fellow student reps include my housemate James Czerwik-Hampshire as well as Scott Sanderson, Ryan Mitchell and Marty Hoyle

I look forward to trying to improve the department, starting with training next week!

Danny

Categories
Programming University

Second Year Starts

Yesterday I officially started back at The University of Hull for my second year in my Masters of Engineering Degree in Computer Science. This came as a bit of a shock to the system after a very long summer without education and a fantastic freshers week, but I’ve been enjoying every second 🙂

Advanced Programming

The first lecture I had on Monday afternoon was for the Advanced Programming module and was very interesting, C++ looks similar to C# on the surface but there’s a lot of differences.

The lecturer for the module and head of Department, Warren Viant, even said that a year was long enough only to make us “OK C++ programmers, not great ones” because its a hard language to learn with lots of intricacies.

Right from the offset there was a totally different attitude than last years Programming lectures in which we focused on getting things working well with very readable code even if it wasn’t the most efficient way of doing things — this year Warren wants us to focus on optimization and getting code to run as fast as possible because the requirement for real-time programs is the main reason for using C++.

Artificial Intelligence

Next up was artificial intelligence, a module I’m not actually enrolled on and therefore a module I won’t get a grade for but one I’m attending because I find it interesting and want to further my knowledge as much as possible whilst at university.

We started off by discussing what exactly intelligence is and weather or not it would be wrong to turn off (i.e. Kill) a computer which asked you not to because it was intelligent. We then went on to talk about Prolog and how AI programming is a totally different paradigm to any other programming we’ve done before.

The only transferable skill you have from any other form of programming is the ability to touch type

I’m looking forward to learning a totally different way of thinking 🙂

System Analysis, Design and Process

System Analysis, Design and Process is about the business approach behind creating software. We started off the module by talking about how we would work out how long a project would take us to do, how much it would cost us and how much we would charge the custom based on a certain specification. It’s actually quite a difficult thing to do.

We also spoke about how and why so many software projects fail and only 37% were successful last year.

Although this module seems very similar to last years Software Engineering module I’m looking forward to learning more of the skills required to make a business out of building software 🙂

Electronics and Interfacing

Electronics and Interfacing is all about how we connect software to the actual hardware, and how better to start off a module like that then to learn about how electricity works? 🙂 We spent most of the lecture doing that but we started off with a brief overview of what is to come: Infrared Wirelessly Controlled Robots. I can’t wait to get started properly!

2D Graphics and User Interface Design

Finally in 2D graphics and user interface design we had an introduction to the history of computer graphics, which started with a great video about the cold war and nuclear bombs, and then thought about all the use cases for 2D graphics — ranging from CAD and Data Modelling to Games and CGI for Movies.

I’ve said it a lot in this post but I’m really looking forward to learning more about each module this year and am having a great time so far 😀

Danny

Categories
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!

Danny.

Categories
Microsoft Student Partner

Danny Brown – Microsoft Student Partner (MSP)

Yesterday I received an email from Phil Cross, Academic Audience Manager at Microsoft, welcoming me to the Microsoft Student Partner scheme – which I applied to be part of a few weeks ago. But what is a Microsoft Student partner?

Blake Pender from the Microsoft UK Students Group explained it well:

The main responsibilities of an MSP are to act as a liaison between the University and Microsoft and to evangelise technology (specifically, Microsoft technologies) and to encourage and inspire students from a technological background, by method of technical demonstrations and presentations.

Essentially I’m supposed to get people in the University more interested in Technology, especially those from Microsoft. I’ll also be expected to keep up to date with the latest Microsoft technologies myself , be an active part of the online community — including monthly VoIP calls on Microsoft Lync with other MSPs and The Academic Audience Team — and liaise between Microsoft and Hull’s Department of Computer Science if need be. 🙂

In return I get access to a full MSDN subscription giving me access to over £2000 of Microsoft Products for free, as well as a chance to network with my fellow MVPs and of course attend Microsoft sponsored events. It will also look good on my CV. I look forward to joining the other 45 MVPs around the country and getting as involved with the community as possible.

Danny

Categories
University

Year 1 Results

Yesterday I got my module results for my First Year in Computer Science at the University of Hull. I got a first class in all 6 modules and 82.3% average grade for the year — I couldn’t be happier. Below is a breakdown of my module grades:

  • Computer Systems – 72% – First Class
  • Information Technology and Professional Skills – 77% – First Class
  • Programming 2 – 95% – First Class
  • Programming 1 – 94% – First Class
  • Quantitative Methods for Computing – 74% – First Class
  • Software Engineering and Human Computer Interaction – 82% – First Class

I’d like to thank my lecturers and fellow students for such a great year! In particular to those whom I learnt and revised with, we tend to learn together in Computer Science at Hull, and its been a great help! I’d also like to congratulate my fellow first years who have done very well on the whole (hull?! :P)

Danny

Categories
Blogging Mobile Application Development University

Year 1 In Numbers

Today I had my final exam, which was for my Software Engineering module, specifically on project management. It went really well and I’m expecting and hoping for a really good grade. 🙂

That being done means I’ve now finished my first year in Computer Science at The University of Hull. It’s been a great year, I’ve learnt loads, made some great friends and had some good laughs! I’d go so far as to say its been my best year ever! 🙂

I thought it might be cool to reel off some important numbers to do with the year, so here it goes:

  • 104 Blog posts
  • 8203 Blog Views
  • 153MB of Lecture Notes, Programming code and associated assets
  • That’s 1,140 Files
  • 2 Windows Phone Applications submitted to the Windows Phone Marketplace
  • 308 Downloads of Sweepy Cleaner
  • 201 Downloads of Evil Squash
  • That’s 509 downloads in total
  • 3 Windows Phones – 1 I bought and 2 from Microsoft 🙂
  • 1 Year of fun!

Thanks for reading the blog this year and please do continue to check back. I shall blog over the summer as I work on and complete projects and shall continue throughout next year and into the future.

Thanks to everyone at the University of Hull — Lecturers, fellow students and friends alike for making it such a great year.

Danny