For the last time this academic year … Good morning UG! Although we’ve all been severely impacted by the COVID-19 epidemic, I hope the 2019/20 academic year has gone well for you. I’ve certainly enjoyed my first year as Director of UG (although I have no idea where the time has gone). In this Monday Mail, the final one of the year, we’re taking a look back at what has happened over the year. Each year I get more and more impressed by the great things you get up to; it makes me very proud to be involved with UG teaching. Well done everyone! Please keep safe.
Director of Undergraduate Studies
UNICS PUB CRAWL.
This from Nora Tuta
(Y2, HCI4wIE): Hello everyone and welcome (back)! UniCS, the Computer Science society, has prepared some activities during Welcome Week for both first year and returning students. First, you are invited to UniCS Freshers' Pub Crawl this Weds 18 Sept from 19:00. And, you can find our stall at the Society Fair in Academy 1 (next to the Students Union) 10:00-16:00 this Weds/Thurs 18/19 Sept, so come and ask us any questions you might have! Check our Students' Union page
where you can find all our social media and join our group. And here is a calendar
with all the events that UniCS is going to organize this year. Have fun and good luck in the coming year! Below is this year's and last year's committee!
Congratulations to Sam Joynson
(Y2, CSwIE) who has won a BP Achievement Award
. Well done, Sam!
Every year the School awards prizes to UG students who have excelled academically or made significant contributions to the School. Last week our Head of Department Professor Robert Stevens
awarded the prizes. Below, L to R, Joshua Cheung
(Y3, CSwIE), winner of the Kate Kneebone Bursary 2018; Nicky Chau
(Y3, CS), Professor's Prize; Kanyinsola Sagoe
(Y3, BM), Professor's Prize. Other Professors Prize winners were Jonathan Tang
(Y3, CMwIE), Yuxuan Zhou
(HCI, out on IE) and Ivan Pupovac
(CM, out on IE). Well done everyone!
FIRST YEAR STUDENTS.
First year students (seen below!), I hope you enjoyed Welcome Week, and I hope you're settling in ok. We tried not to overwhelm you with information last week, and if you have any questions, just drop into our Student Support Office (SSO
, next to lab LF31, and see next item!), contact your Personal Tutor, or Gareth Henshall
(all programmes except CM and HCI), Andrea Schalk
for CM, or Simon Harper
for HCI – they’ll all be very happy to help.
PASS SCAVENGER HUNT.
This from Erika Angell
(Y3, CM): Thank you everyone who attended the scavenger hunt last week. I hope you all had a good time, got to know some second years and your campus a little better! Congratulations to the winning team Köfte! Look out for future events for PASS!
Every year the Department awards prizes to UG students who have excelled academically or made significant contributions to life in the Department. Last week our Head of Department Professor Robert Stevens
awarded the prizes. Below, L to R: Alex Bowker-Lonnecker
(Y2, CSwIE), winner of the Michael Jealous Memorial Prize for best first year student. Golden Anniversary Prizewinners, for excellence in first year studies: Nathan Mannall
(Y2, CS4wIE), David Baxter
(Y2, CS4wIE), Vlad-Mihai Ene
(Y2, CS4), Chen Bo Calvin Zhang
(Y2, CM), Simas Kuprelis
(Y2, CS) and (not pictured) Kalina Stefanova
(Y2, CS). Well done everyone!
INTERNATIONAL UG AWARDS SUCCESS.
Congratulations to no less than FOUR
of our recent UG students, all of whom graduated last summer, who have won prizes in the prestigious annual Global Undergraduate Awards
! Andrej Ivanov
(now at ETH Zurich) and Igor Wodiany
(now doing a PhD with our APT group) received Highly Commended in the Computer Science category; Samanyou Garg
won Regional Winner for Europe in the same category, making his entry the best Computer Science work amongst all submissions from Europe; and Aayush Chadha
(now doing a PhD with the Graphene NOWNANO
project) won Global Winner in the Engineering category for his 3rd year project BL!NK: Detecting, Analysing and Storing Eye Blinks
, supervised by Professor Tom Thomson
. Well done all for these outstanding achievements. I’m sure your success will enthuse others to submit their projects to the 2020 awards, which we’ll tell you about when they open.
PASS2. Rifad Lafir
(Y3, CSwIE) writes: Hi from the PASS2 team! We were very thrilled to see the turnout for our first session of PASS2 (pictured below). We hope you found it beneficial. If you have any feedback for us on how we can improve our sessions going forward, please do visit our website
and submit your suggestions. PASS2 continues this week, today Monday 7 Oct at 12:00 in Collab. We will be talking about CVs and LinkedIn and all the Dos and Don’ts in making killer job applications. We hope to see you there. Do bring your CV too, we will be happy to take a look.
MEET YOUR STUDENT REPS.
Voting is over and your student reps are now elected, so congratulations to them all: Sana Aftab
(Y2, CS4), Andrei Aleksanian
(Y1, CS4), Gurneet Bhatia
(Y1, AIwIE), Shu-Ting Chang
(Y2, CSwIE), Yash Chopda
(Y2, AI4wIE), Jacopo Matteo
(Y3, AIwIE), Alex Dumitru
(Y3, CM), Leo Elmecker-Plakolm
(Y1, CS) (not pictured), Maria Praxedes
(Y2, SEwIE), Vlad-George Ionescu
(Y2, CS4wIE), Diana-Cristina Irimia
(Y1, CM), Zain Jaffal
(Y1, SE), Edoardo Lunati
(Y3, CM), Cristina-Malina Mircescu
(Y2, CSwIE), Kashish Raimalani
(Y1, CMwIE) (not pictured), Sai Sambaraju
(Y1, CSEwIE), Stuti Sethi
(Y4, CS4), Alexandru-Mihai Suciu
(Y1, CS4wIE), Nora Tuta
(Y2, HCI4wIE), Brian Tam
(Y2, BM). You can find their contact details on Blackboard under CS UG Community > School of Computer Science SSC
. Please let them know of any issues you’d like raised at the first SSC meeting on Weds 6 Nov.
This from Simas Kuprelis
(Y2, CS): Thanks to everyone who attended our pub quiz with American Express last week! We had a massive turnout of 28 teams! Congratulations to the winning team, who will be treated to a VIP experience in Brighton & London. They will also represent our university in the grand final next month. If you enjoyed the American Express culture, check out their student careers opportunities
. To stay up to date with upcoming great UniCS events, like our Facebook page
or subscribe to our events calendar
This from Gurneet Bhatia
(Y1, AIwIE): Last weekend a few of us had the opportunity to attend HackUPC in Barcelona. I had Jang Belche
(Y1, HCI) on my team and we worked on an Android mobile game that calculated your stress level by monitoring your heartbeat through a fitness tracker and decided on a difficulty level based on that. While we did not win the hackathon, we had a really good time working on it and learned a lot since we had never worked on hardware before. It was especially difficult since the fitness tracker didn't have its own API for transmitting the data and we had to write our own. Here is a Devpost
link to our project.
Last week's Google talk was a great success, with our alumni Teo Stoleru
(graduated last summer) and Todd Davies
(graduated 2016). Thanks to them both for coming! You can see more pix here
* UKIEPC. On Saturday 19 Oct, the UK Ireland Programming Competition (UKIEPC) took place, in which teams of three attempted a series of thirteen fiendish programming challenges over a five hour period. Teams from universities across the British Isles competed at a number of sites, one of which was Manchester. Of the 17 Manchester teams, 3 did particularly well: "Byte Me" (Andrei Bostan (Y1, CS), Alex Iordachescu (Y1, CS), Dragos Marin (Y1, CS), 7 problems solved), "Make Manchester Great Again" (Mihail-Emanuel Ghinea (Y3, CSwIE), Vlad-Andrei Munteanu (Y3, CSwIE), Patrick Sava (Y3, CSwIE), 6 problems solved) and "Kibir Tele Vibir" (Pijus Bradulskis (Y2, CM), Daumantas Kojelis (Y2, CS), Simas Kuprelis (Y2, CS), 5 problems solved). And every one of the Manchester teams solved at least one problem! See the final standings. For those interested in these competitive programming competitions (which are great fun), there are regular practice sessions in the Collabs on Wednesday afternoons. Contact Ian Pratt-Hartmann for details. All welcome!
This from Horia Gabriel Radu
(Y1, CS4wIE): Hello, everyone! We hope you had fun and learnt a lot at the HackBack2 CTF event last Saturday. Huge congratulations to team WorkWithJam for the hard work they put in, and of course, to team M4nch3st3r for being the team with the most points in Manchester. Also don't forget about the Bloomberg Pub Quiz, this Thursday 7 Nov 19:30 at Turing Tap (M13 9WG). Sign up
with your team (max 6 members) and enjoy the free drinks and snacks alongside the quiz!
HACK THE MIDLANDS WIN!
Congratulations to Mohammed Anees
(Y2, CSE), Ali Awan
(Y1, CS), Zain Jaffal
(Y1, SE) and Roger Howell
(Aston University) on winning the Capital One Challenge for best financial hack at Hack The Midlands
last week in Birmingham. They created a web application called Budget-Time to calculate how much time you're spending on various activities during the week as well as suggesting any improvements you can make to your routine to improve your well-being or achieve any goals you've set for yourself.
GLOBAL AWARDS SUCCESS!
Huge congratulations to four former Computer Science undergraduates who last week all won at the prestigious Global Undergraduate Summit
in Dublin! Aayush Chadha
(now PhD at UoM) was a Global Winner, Samanyou Garg
(graduated 2018) was a Regional Winner, and Andrej Ivanov
(now MSc at ETH Zurich) and Igor Wodiany
(now PhD at UoM) were Highly Commended. This follows last year’s success when another of our UGs, Cristian Bodnar
(now PhD at Cambridge), was a Global Winner. The Global Undergraduate Awards (aka the Junior Nobel Prizes) is the world's leading undergraduate awards programme which recognises top undergraduate work and shares this work with a global audience. Why not consider submitting
your work next year? We’ll provide more details once submissions are open. If you have any questions feel free to contact Igor
1ST YEAR PROJECTS.
40 projects! 277 students! The First Year Project poster session in University Place last Tuesday was buzzing, with fantastic ideas on display – see all the posters in the Y1 Project Poster Gallery
). Onto the prizes! Z8
, Siyam Muhammad
, Arun Ramasamy
, Andrew Rusli
, Sheikh Sabri
, Bence Webber-Nagy
, Renhua Zhou
) won Application with Best Idea
(tutor Mustafa Mustafa
) with Inkker, a tool for collective writing; Y10
, Rashed Alshamsi
, Olanrewaju Borishade
, Claudiu Jechel
, Mohsin Khan
, George Tarleton
) won Visually Most Appealing Poster
(tutor Christoforos Moutafis
) with Rogue Star, an arcade game; and M4
, Maksymilian Gotkowicz
, Matthew Horrocks
, Wenda Lu
, Hristo Mihaylov
, Adan Raheel
, Omar Taha
) won Best Thought Through Application
(tutor Konstantin Korovin
) with Hyperboli.co, a collaboration tool for working on Math.
GSK HACKATHON WIN.
Congratulations to Ibrahim Sowunmi
(HCIwIE, out on IE) who together with Artem Butbaev
(University of Bath) won first place in a GlaxoSmithKline Hackathon! Competing teams were given a large set of unstructured commercial data to work with, and tasked to come up with an innovative solution for how to increase business value using this data by driving new product development and package design. Ibraham and Artem came up with an idea for a bespoke machine learning scoring model which categorises reviews, complaints and other unstructured data into "buckets" in line with a lexicon of flagged terms, such as "smell" and "packaging", along with a sentiment score for each response ranging from very negative to very positive. Well done to them both!
Congratulations to Pranav Aggarwal
(Y1, CS), Manya Girdhar
(Y1, AIwIE) and Kashish Raimalani
(Y1, CMwIE) who in December received Indian Excellence Scholarship Awards. And congratulations to Ziyang Yu
(Y1, CS4) who received the International Excellence Award. Well done all!
First years, we have an exciting guest lecture for COMP10120 today Monday 3 Feb at 12:00 in 1.1. We welcome back our alumni Lloyd Henning
and Peter Sutton
, aka Foxdog Studios
. They combine comedy, computer programming and rock music to produce an innovative, interactive show. They’ve played at festivals all around the UK, including the Edinburgh Fringe and have won numerous awards. Sit back and enjoy the show, but be prepared to get involved! Bring your phones!
Congratulations to Mohammed Anees
(Y2, CSE), Ali Awan
(Y1, CS) and Manav Gupta
(Y1, CS) on winning Best Automation Hack last week at ManMetHacks 2.0
with their app UiPath. They created a machine learning web data scraper which was used to develop an automated search tool for searching through a range of top eCommerce websites, and producing the best collective results from every website based on user input using UI Path Studio. Well done!
MALAWI TEAM WIN.
And congratulations to Ben Possible
and the Malawi team for winning Highly Commended in the University's Better World Showcase Awards last week!
Congratulations to Ioana Lazar
(Y2, AI) and Alex Dumitru
(Y3, CM) who as part of the Avenger Initiative team won 1st place within Manchester in the Google Hash Code competition, ranking #4 in the UK and #141 worldwide. They found a maximal solution to an NP-hard problem. Additionally, Călin Ilie
(Y3, CSwIE) and Alex also won 2nd place at the Bet365 coding challenge held last week in Collab. They used WebSockets to communicate with a server and solve an increasingly harder sequence of problems, culminating in playing Tetris through the command line. Well done all!
HACKATHON SUCCESS 1.
Last weekend was HackTheBurgh
in Edinburgh. Two teams attended from the Department: Gurneet Bhatia
(Y1, AIwIE), Greta Urkyte
(Y1, CSwIE) and Angela Popovska
(Y1, CSwIE), and Jang Belche
(Y1, HCI), Finlay Hudson
(Y1, HCI) and Matei Stan
(Y1, HCI4wIE). The first team built a platform (using Big Query and Sentiment Analysis) that compared a user’s code against all the code on StackOverflow produced using the same language, and reported to the user how good or bad their code was, along with if they’d used any unacceptable coding practices. The team were one of the five finalists and ended up winning the award for ‘Best use of the Google Cloud Platform’. The second team produced a chatbot over Facebook Messenger that connected the user to banking services. The team was also successful, winning the Barclays Challenge. Congratulations to all involved!
HACKATHON SUCCESS 2.
Also at HackTheBurgh
, congratulations to Oliver Ursell
(Y1, CSwIE) and George Tarleton
(Y1, CSwIE) along with teammates Euan Macqueen
(Glasgow University, graduated 2019) and Mehdi Varandi
(Y3 placement, Newcastle University) on reaching the final with their app EatDrinkSee
, a webapp designed using the Google Maps API to recommend and display a route for a day out in a city. Well done!
1ST YEAR PROJECT SHOWCASE.
Last Monday, the 1st Year Project Showcase was held online via Blackboard Collaborate. The turnout was great, and we were very impressed by all the applications showcased. Staff found it great to visit breakout groups and see the different applications groups developed. Well done to all 1st year students, and congratulations to the winners, which were voted for by you! The winners of the Best Application prizes were … drum roll please … M4
for Speak Easy
. Well done to all the winners and thank you for making the event so successful.