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Contest Winner Announced

11 May 2009 - 11:36 in Event


The winner of the School of Engineering and Computer Science contest is 13 year old Tariq Kader. Tariq is in year 9 at Wellington College and one of his favourite subjects is mathematics. He also enjoys computers and as this photograph illustrates he is very happy at receiving his prize - an Aluminium MacBook supplied by Student IT based at the Victoria University, Kelburn Parade. Tariq won his prize after entering an on-line contest advertised at the recent Wellington Armageddon show. While on campus, Tariq also received a quick tour of the new School of Engineering and Computer Science, and was shown the Honeynet Project and the visualisation display OptIPortal.

Dr Ian Welch, who was on-hand to give Tariq some pointers on his new prize, states, "we hope that the new MacBook helps to further develop Tariq interest in computer science, and with his strong maths interest, Tariq is developing an educational foundation that will stand him in good stead for future university study in engineering and computer science."

And it sounds like the School may see Tariq in the near future. "I have always wanted a computer," said Tariq. "And more specifically, an Apple Macbook. I would avidly look at all the features it came with and imagine how it would be to have one. So when I heard that I had won a new Macbook, I could hardly believe it. I was also taken on a tour of the School of Engineering and Computer Science and learned about the amazing things people were doing with computers, getting information and even building robots. Even before this tour I was interested with computers and technology, and seeing those exciting things happening in there has given me confidence in my curiosity. I hope to continue my interest with computers and engineering, and hopefully take it to a university level in the future; and my new Macbook should help me get there."

New Zealand Computer Science Research Students Conference

18 May 2009 - 09:38 in Event


During the mid-trimester break in April, seven students from ECS (Keith Cassell, Adam Clarke, Rashina Hoda, Ben Palmer, Kourosh Neshatian, Kok-Lim.Yau, and Craig Anslow) attended the New Zealand Computer Science Research Students Conference (NZCSRSC) at Auckland University. The Conference, which is in its 7th year, is organised and run by postgraduate students, and aims to promote and strengthen the nationwide community of ICT research students.

Key note speakers included former Victoria University masters student Alan Blackwell, who gave an insight into Interdisciplinary Design Research for Interactive Technology. As Alan, who is now at Cambridge University, states on his home page "I only have one big research question, but I attack it from a lot of different angles. The question is representation. How do people make, see and use things that carry meaning? The angles from which I attack my question include various ways in which representations are applied (including design processes, interacting with technology, computer programming, visualisation), various methods by which I collect research data (including controlled experiments, prototype construction, ethnographic observation), and the theoretical perspectives of various academic disciplines (including computer science, cognitive psychology, engineering, architecture, music, anthropology)" ( ).

Another key note speaker, J.P. Lewis from Weta Digital, used the movie King Kong to illustrate Why Academic Research Matters to Weta Digital. Specifically the presentation looked at the graphic techniques used to recreate the city of New York in 1920 and the realistic skin, fur, eyes and movement of Kong.

A core component of the annual Conference are the presentations and posters from students. This year 25 graduates studying at New Zealand universities (and 7 from ECS) gave presentations and as in previous years the standard of talks and posters were of high quality. A range of workshops also gave students the opportunity to build on their research skills and topics ranged from thesis writing, time management, presentation skills, the publication game, to discussions on careers in research and the industry in general.

The conference not only gave student researchers an understanding of what others are doing, but also gave them the opportunity to interact with others who are motivated and passionate about their work. But it wasn't all work, highlights of the conference included the Endace opening dinner and the Orion Health social night that involved a boat cruise on Auckland harbour.

Feedback from the students who attended was positive - "The organisers did a fantastic job in planning the conference which ran very smoothly. We are looking forward to next years conference".

Industry Evening

19 Jun 2009 - 10:02 in Event

On Wednesday 10 June 2009 the Faculty of Engineering hosted approximately 70 people from the Wellington engineering and computer industry.

21490 LES4651.jpg

The aim of the event was to further develop relationships in the community by showcasing the new Faculty of Engineering. As well as tours of the new space on the second floor of Cotton, staff and students displayed a wide range of interesting research projects. The evening gave staff, students and industry the opportunity to interact and discuss developments in the engineering and computer science field.

In the first photograph, Master's student Vipul Delwadia is demonstrating his software for remote control of mobile applications.

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Peter Andreae (Pondy) explains a learning agent: the agent watches what is happening in a world (a kitchen with a tap, sink etc) and constructs mental models of how the world works in order to predict and plan.

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The Mechatronics Group, headed by Professor Dale Carnegie, has developed a fleet of mobile robots capable of autonomous operation over a wide variety of different terrains. Here Dale is explaining the importance of maneuverability for rescue robots in disaster environments. The goal is to provide these robots with the ability to learn and adapt, and eventually be able to operate autonomously (without human assistance).

Pacific Network Operators Group Meeting

09 Jul 2009 - 16:04 in Event


Recently Andy Linton, a teaching fellow at the Faculty of Engineering, took part in the 5th conference and educational workshop of the Pacific Network Operators Group (PacNOG). Held in Tahiti, the 5 day conference provided an important forum for service providers in the Pacific Network community to meet and discuss current issues as well as receive technical training. The workshops at the conferences are deliberately designed to strengthen technical expertise by training people and organisations. In return the participants are expected to return home and teach others in their country what they have learnt at the PacNOG workshops.

As PacNOG aims to build relationships among individual and institutional contacts in the Pacific region, a key outcome of the organisation is the building of relationships with peers/colleagues in the region. Andy, who is an instructor and active member of PacNOG, has been involved in technical knowledge transfer in the Pacific Region for the pass 12 years and views PacNOG as an excellent opportunity for people in the Pacific region to share and develop technical expertise - "People in New Zealand understand the tyranny of distance, which is even more of a challenge in the South Pacific region. Geographically these island nations cover huge areas, which result in scattered and sparse populations. By bringing people together they are able to identify similar experiences and share innovative solutions."


This year's conference highlighted many of the challenges and issues facing internet development in the Pacific region. As John Crain, Chief Technical Officer ICANN, stated in his keynote address - "Everyday more than a Billion people rely on the Internet to conduct aspects of their daily life. Those who use the Internet and those of us who operate the networks need to be more aware of the risks". While the workshops addressed a range of challenges, this year the conference focused on current best practices in security and the importance of well engineered router and server infrastructure.

Relationship building is also an important aim of PacNOG and as Andy states," it was really good to see the sharing of knowledge and the building of relationships, which continues well after the conference finishes. The Fijian contingent stayed for a few days after the conference to work with their Tahitian counterparts and this working together is what the organisation is about". PacNOG also receives support from a number of institutions in the Pacific region. Victoria University provided Andy's time, while InternetNZ paid for his travel and accommodation. The next meeting this November in Fiji, will be supported by the Internet Society ( ) and InternetNZ (

For further information check out:

Evening with Industry

11 Aug 2009 - 10:14 in Event


On Thursday 6th August Victoria University were the hosts for the New Zealand Computer Society Evening with Industry 2009. The McClaurin foyer and lecture theatre MCLT101 were packed with 200 students, NZCS members and employer representatives for the annual "Evening with Industry". Students from the Wellington region tertiary institutions came in by bus, mini bus, car and foot to hear from eight recent graduates about their experiences in the ICT industry and to mix and mingle with employers such as Deloittes, KPMG and Orion Health. The speakers came from a range of Wellington ICT employers, including BNZ, Catalyst IT, Code to Customer, Intergen, KPMG, ProjectX, Provoke and TradeMe and included John Clegg who spoke about Summer of Code 2009.

To hear more about the event, go to Twitter:

The Clash of the Robots - the Annual Lego Competition

22 Sep 2009 - 15:16 in Event


With names like Praying Muntaz, Predator, Icarus and Optimal Prime, the stage was set for an exciting match at the Annual Lego Competition. Monday night gave students enrolled in ECSE430 Advanced Mechatronic Engineering II the opportunity to design, construct and programme autonomous robots that not only had to work but compete against each other. The aim of the competition was to score the most points by having the robots locate and physically pick up a puck then deliver it to a donut shaped goal. Pucks varied in value depending upon how hard they were to locate. Maximum points were scored if the robots deposited the puck in the donut centre as opposed to the raised outer surface. As the Robots were required to operate completely independently of humans, points were deducted if a competitor touched their robot.

Harry Jones and Ben Drayton with Predator proved from the very start that they were contenders to be reckoned with. Predator lived up to his (or her) name and preyed upon the pucks (and other contenders) scoring well in the first few rounds. The final round resulted in a play off between Predator and Praying Muntaz designed by Vincent Fletcher and Patrick Thomson. The photograph show the results, a victorious Vincent Fletcher and Patrick Thomson celebrating their win and the A+.

IEEE Postgraduate Presentations Event 2009

25 Sep 2009 - 14:10 in Event

Harry Jones receiving his prize from Murray
Milner, Chair of the IEEE New Zealand Central
Section Committee

On the 4th September Massey and Victoria engineering and computer science students came together in the annual IEEE New Zealand Central Section ( postgraduate presentation event, held at Victoria University in the Old Government Buildings. Fifteen students presented to an audience of their peers, staff from Massey and Victoria and members from the IEEE and IET. The presentations were of an excellent standard covering a range from electronics, communication systems and networking to Artificial Intelligence and Software Engineering and it showed many synergies exist between the Massey and Victoria research groups.

It was difficult to pick the winners, but after an agonising discussion the overall winner was Harry Jones (Victoria) who talked about his honours project in channel sounding with software defined radio. In second place Ayesha Hakim (Massey) presented on a reliable hybrid technique for human face detection. As runners-up Adrian Jongenelen (Victoria) talked about compact real-time range imaging systems and Keith Cassell (Victoria) told us about clustering techniques to improve the maintainability of object oriented classes.

Many thanks to all who took part and we look forward to next years event!

Electronics New Zealand Conference (ENZCon 2009)

23 Nov 2009 - 12:57 in Event

The sixteenth Electronics New Zealand Conference (ENZCon 2009) was recently held at the University of Otago. The papers presented broadly covered the areas of electronics, signal and image processing, RF-design, FPGA processing and antennas.

Victoria University's Faculty of Engineering students made an impact, with Carl Benton winning the best presentation prize for his joint paper on: The Comparison of Analogue and Digital One-Cycle Control Feedback Methods around the Output Stage in a Digital Audio Power Amplifier (C.D. Benton, D.A. Carnegie and P. Gaynor). Ben Drayton (Victoria University Honours students starting a PhD next year) was awarded the best novice presenter prize for: Life Sign Detection on a Disposable Robotic Platform as Part of a Three-Tier System for Urban Search and Rescue Operations (B.M.M. Drayton, and D.A. Carnegie).

Professor Dale Carnegie said, "overall the conference was a good opportunity for staff and students in this field to share technological research that could future benefit New Zealand's economy. The Conference highlighted the depth and quality of the research coming out of the Faculty of Engineering at Victoria University".


14 May 2010 - 13:44 in Event

During the mid-trimester break 12-15 April 2010, ECS hosted the 8th New Zealand Computer Science Research Student Conference (NZCSRSC) on the Kelburn campus. The conference was organised and run by postgraduate computer science students from ECS. The aim of the conference is to promote and strengthen the nationwide community of ICT research students.

There were a number of exciting keynote speakers. Nat Torkington a graduate from our school talked about "The Career-Spotter's Field Guide", which explained about life beyond the ivy-covered walls of academia. Nat drew upon his vast experience and anecdotal evidence from working in small startups to large corporations. Rob O'Callahan from Mozilla talked about how computer science can change the world. Rob encouraged people to think hard about what research problems one should solve in order to make a significant impact on society. Sebastian Castro from the .NZ Registry Services talked about "A Day in the Life of the Internet Project" which collects traffic data from key locations of the Internet for analysis to provide insight and questions about the future of the Internet. Miriam Lips from Victoria University of Wellington talked about the "Value of E-Government Research for Designing 21st Century Government".

There was an entertaining panel on what are your options once you have completed your masters or PhD degrees. The panelists ranged from people working in academia, government organisations, industrial research labs, startups, and large corporations. They gave the audience interesting insight into their careers since completing their PhDs and offered some good advice to follow such as networking with other people and think carefully about the kind of job you want to do once you graduate.

A range of workshops gave students the opportunity to build on their research skills. Workshop topics ranged from critical thinking, thesis writing, time management, presentation and poster skills, Maori and Pacific Nations students engaging in computer science research, women in the New Zealand IT industry, preparing to succeed in the job market, how to get yourself the job you want, the publication game, commercialisation and intellectual property in the IT, to discussions on careers in research and the industry in general.

A core component of the annual conference are the presentations and posters from students. This year 33 graduates studying at New Zealand universities gave presentations and the standard of talks were of high quality. While 21 graduates had short papers presented as research posters. Siva Dorairaj, James Bebbington, and Craig Anslow from ECS presented papers. The Intergen best paper presentation was awarded to Michael Walmsley, "Automatic Adaption of Dynamic Second Language Reading Texts", and The IET best poster to Stefan Schliebs, "Heterogeneous Probabilistic Models for Optimization and Modelling of Evolving Spiking Neural Networks".

The conference not only gave student researchers an understanding of what others are doing, but also gave them the opportunity to interact with others who are motivated and passionate about their work. But it wasn't all work, highlights of the conference included a powhiri and a performance by a local kapahaka group at Pipitea Marae, Google opening dinner, Pingar social night that involved ten-pin bowling, and Careers Industry Night where a number of companies were present to recruit eager graduate students.

The conference was made possible with the tremendous effort by the organising committee, the local university contacts, and support from our key sponsors: Google, Intergen, Pingar, The IET, InternetNZ, VicLink, and Victoria University of Wellington.

We are also grateful for the valuable assistance provided by the following people and groups: Sue Hall, Ally Reid, Peter Andreae, David Pearce, John Hine, Ian Witten, Tim Bell, Doug Hauraki, Liz Richardson, Robert Amor, Rachel Blagojevic, panelists, workshop presenters, Andy Linton, Will Browne, Ian Welch, OLPC Project, Victoria Communications and Marketing, ITS Teaching Services, Campus Care, VicVenues, KPR Catering, and Eurest Catering.

Further information about the conference is located on the web site:

Engineering Video Competition

20 Jun 2010 - 17:20 in Event

We are looking for creative and bright ideas on how you would tell the world about the Engineering students and the School of Engineering and Computer Science at Victoria University Wellington.

1st Prize is an 32GB iPod touch (value $520), 2nd Prize 8GBiPod nano (value $240), 3rd Prize Sennheiser headphones ($120)

If you're interested, then contact: Senior Tutor Ambreen Khan-Evans Email: Phone: 04 463 5936 Room CO340 Cotton Building, Kelburn Campus

The Rules

ECS hosts Wellington site for ACM South Pacific Regionals

14 Sep 2010 - 16:37 in Event


On Saturday, the 11th of September, 2010, School of Engineering and Computer Science hosted the Wellington Site for the regional qualification round of the world oldest and most prestigious programming competition: The ACM International Collegiate Programming Contest. Victoria was represented by 5 teams of three students each. Four hours into a five hour battle, a Victoria team called DJ Tomato (Roma Klapaukh, Joshua Baker, and Daniel Atkins) was leading New Zealand with 5 out of 9 problems but the shortest time taken to solve them. Unfortunately, in the last minutes of the competition, a Christchurch team and two Auckland teams solved an additional problem each to edge DJ Tomato into a 4th place in New Zealand and 11th place in the South Pacific region overall. The other Victoria teams: Bunny on a Turtle (Victoria Ozorio, Amy Chard, Michael Homer), WUV (Carlton Downey, Michael Mudge, Hugh Davenport), Last Minute Entry 1 (Jiaen Xie and Ben Russell), and Bobby Tables (Simon Welsh, Chris Hall, and Melby Ruarus) came 6th, 7th, 10th and 13th in New Zealand respectively. A total of 16 teams from New Zealand took part and a total of 59 teams took part in the South Pacific region this year.

At the same time, a special High School site was hosted in Wellington, Auckland, and Christchurch with the same problems as the University teams and additional 2 high school level problems. A team called Calcky (Luke March, Cain Edie, and Luke Bravenboer) proudly carried the Paraparaumu College flag at the Wellington Site and solved 3 problems - coming safely in the top half of NZ-based high school teams and beating some of the University teams while at it! At least two of Calcky's team members already chose Victoria to continue their University study at.

The site was organised and ran by Alex Potanin with a lot of help from Neil Ramsay and Stuart Marshall. We thank the contest's sponsor: IBM. IBM has provided us with prizes and catering during the contest and had 3 current IBM employes (two of which have recently graduated from Victoria) present throughout the event and award prizes at the end. If you have any questions about the ACM Programming Contest or a local Australia and New Zealand Algorithmics and Coding League that holds 6 contests leading up to the regionals throughout the year, please contact Alex Potanin.

Update: Official results are available here.

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Podcast - Autonomous Rescue Robots

19 Oct 2010 - 14:55 in Event

Our Changing World, Radio New Zealand National (14 October 2010).

The threat of being buried in rubble in an earthquake is a real and horrifying prospect, and trying to rescue trapped people from collapsed buildings is a dangerous task.

To help in such situations, Dale Carnegie from the Mechatronics Research Group, is developing a hierarchy of small, autonomous `rubble robots'. He tells Alison Ballance how the `grandmother' will deploy all-terrain `mother' robots that enter such sites and in their turn deploy expendable mobile phone-sized `daughter' robots to search for signs of life.

Student Michael Rothbock is working on the currently out-of-commission grandmother robot, nicknamed the `tank' because of the tank tracks that make her mobile, updating all her sensors and computers.

Listen to the podcast and watch a video of the robots in action.

Read more about the Mechatronics Research Group.

2010 Programming Challenge for Girls

14 Dec 2010 - 10:11 in Event

At Victoria University on the 24th of November, 52 year 10 girls from 9 Wellington high schools took part in the 2010 Programming Challenge for Girls. This is an annual event held in various locations throughout New Zealand and around the world, and is designed to introduce year10 girls to computer programming. Dr Alex Potanin coordinated the Victoria University event.

The girls had a 1hour practice session prior to the 2.5 hour programming competition, which used "Alice," an educational software program for teaching students 3D animation. Dr Peter Andreae ran additional activities and games designed to introduce computer science concepts such as error detection and correction, public key cryptography, and algorithm complexity. A 2.5 hour workshop was run for teachers on teaching and assessing the new NCEA level 1 programming achievement standards.

Stu Sharpe and Julianne Lim from Sidhe Interactive helped to judge the competition. The company also provided the prizes, which included a "Shatter" computer game, the soundtrack for this game on CD, and T-shirts.

Gold medals were awarded to:
  • Bonnie Liao and Poonam Patel, Wellington East Girls College
  • Francina West and Claudia Devlin, Onslow College
  • Sonja Bimler, Wellington East Girls College and Maia Holder-Monk, Wellington High School
  • Geogina Kebbell and Rose McLellan, Paraparaumu College

Silver medals were awarded to:
  • Emily Fiennes and Isabel Kelly, Samuel Marsden Collegiate School
  • Ashilta Sharma and Jessica Suo, Wellington East Girls College
  • Cassidy Cosgrove and Georgia Groen, Kapiti College

Bronze medals were awarded to:
  • Morgan Archer and Hannah Sampson, Samuel Marsden Collegiate School
  • Polly Pesheva and Megan Park, Naenae college
  • Shagufa Mirzad and Joely Huang, Wellington East Girls College
  • Briana Hunt, Paraparaumu College, and Evangeline Martin, Onslow College
  • Georgia Borthwick and Maddison Batten, Kapiti College

Victoria University will host the 2011 Programing Challenge for Girls around the same time next year, and all year 10 girls are welcome to participate. Please contact A/Prof Alex Potanin for further information.

To find out more about about the Programming Challenge for Girls, go to:

Many thanks to the following people for their help in making this event a success: Dr Alex Potanin, Dr Peter Andreae, Dr Stuart Marshall, Dr Hui Ma, Dr Petra Malik, Dr Xiaoying Gao, Dr Monique Cano-Damitio, Dr Marcus Frean, Dr Ian Welch, Huia Hopkirk, Stu Sharpe, Julianne Lim

iPredict Smartphone App Competition

23 Jun 2011 - 16:00 in Event

Latest news. Unfortunately the contest has been cancelled. See for details.

iPredict is an online political and economic trading market which allows traders to buy and sell “shares” in future events.

At present, all trading is done via the web site, but iPredict is looking for a “innovative, useful, accessible, and fun” application that will allow people to trade on iPredit using their mobile devices.

Win up to $3,500 cash by making an iPhone, iPad, Android Win7 Mobile smartphone trading app, or mobile web site for iPredict.

Applications close 17 July.

ECEN 405 Students See Power Electronics in Action at Haywards Substation

30 Jun 2011 - 14:12 in Event

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On the 16th of June, students enrolled in ECEN 405 visited Haywards Substation in Stokes Valley, in order to see power electronics at work on a large scale. They were accompanied by the course lecturer Dr Ramesh Rayudu, technicians Jason Edwards, Tim Exley and Sean Anderson, and two post-graduate students, Dayna-Maree Kivell and Matt Bourne.

Hosted by 5 staff from Transpower, the students were shown pole 1, which contains the ‘old-style’ mercury-arc valves that have been in operation since the 1960’s. The students also toured Pole 2 where they had a closer look at the thyristors used for power conversion. Transpower staff also toured the students through Pole 3 that is currently under construction, and explained the processes involved. More particularly the students got up-close look at capacitors, filters and synchronous condensors at work.

The students appreciated the enthusiasm of the Transpower staff for their field of expertise, and their willingness to provide detailed explanations of how things work. “The fact that what they said made sense after doing power electronics totally made the course worthwhile” said Henry Williams.

The trip also gave students an ideal opportunity to see how the things they had learned about in class were applied in real life. “The sheer size of the equipment used was astounding, but at the same time, the knowledge gained from the ECEN course allowed us to understand the theory behind it all.” said Luke Frogley.

The students thanked Dr Rayudu for organising the trip, and sharing the practical knowledge he has acquired from working in the industry. Dr Rayudu says Transpower staff enjoyed hosting the students, and hopes that a visit to Haywards substation will become a regular component of the course.

Victoria University Teaching Fellow Presents Workshop at PacNOG Meeting

14 Jul 2011 - 11:52 in Event


Victoria University Teaching Fellow Andy Linton co-presented a workshop, with instructors from NSRC (University of Oregon) and Google, on DNS operations at the 9th Meeting of the Pacific Network Operators Group (PacNOG). The meeting was held at the University of the South Pacific in Suva, Fiji, from the 27th June to the 2nd July.

PacNOG was initially established in 2004 as a mailing list for ISP operations engineers working in the Pacific region, in order to facilitate the exchange of technical information and cooperation on implementation issues.

The educational workshops offered by PacNOG are part of a capacity development programme offered to IP-ISP providers in the Pacific Islands. Three workshops were offered on days 2-6 of the meeting.

The "Robust and Reliable Domain Name System (DNS) Operations" workshop offered participants the opportunity to learn about the principles of DNS design, DNS server software, best practice in deploying DNS servers, security mechanisms for DNS servers, and Internationalized Domain Names (IDN).

Due to the global success of the Internet, the range of numbers in the original address scheme, IPv4, has almost been used up. The replacement, IPv6, marks a radical change and training is vital. The "IPv4 / IPv6 BGP" workshop provided participants with the knowledge and skills needed to utilize BGP for multihoming, take part in an Internet Exchange Point, and utilize IPv6 across networks.

The "Internet and Network Security Fundamentals" workshop addressed the basics of network security, network analysis and forensics, the anatomy of network attacks, penetration testing, and DNS security.

A survey of participants from several Pacific Island countries confirmed that many found the workshops useful and informative, with one person commenting "It was a real pleasure to attend this workshop. The instructors are really interesting, they gave me a lot of information." Many participants plan to attend the next PacNOG meeting in in Noumea, New Caledonia in November.

New Computer Graphics Programme Launched

18 Aug 2011 - 14:28 in Event

Victoria University has unveiled plans for a leading-edge study programme that will support innovation and growth in Wellington's internationally recognised entertainment and digital technologies industries. From 2012, Victoria will offer a Computer Graphics programme that is unique in Australasia in the way it blends computer science and design. Other courses available at tertiary level focus on one or other of the two disciplines. Victoria's Computer Graphics subject will be a course option for Masters level students in both the School of Design and the School of Engineering and Computer Science, with the computer science and design components weighted differently for the two degrees.

Professor John Hine, Dean of Victoria's School of Engineering, says the cross-disciplinary nature of the programme is one aspect of what makes it unique. "The other is the involvement of local industry. We have worked very closely with leading companies in the digital industries sectors, particularly Weta Digital, Sidhe Interactive and Unlimited Realities, to develop a course that is relevant and will produce graduates with the skills the sector needs." Professor Hine says the relationship with local industry will be continued through sponsored scholarships - with Weta already having confirmed one PhD scholarship - consultation, guest lectures and internship opportunities. "Weta in particular has a lot of experts visiting its research and development facility in Wellington and we hope to get some of them along to teach our students."

The long term goal is to build in-depth capability at Victoria to support New Zealand's digital industries. That will include specialist programmes at Master's level, supervision for PhD study and a research programme that can deliver new technologies and skills to industry. "The initiative will lead to a range of new career opportunities in the region's internationally acknowledged digital creative sector, making Wellington and Victoria University a logical location to study this exciting specialisation."

As part of its support for growing New Zealand's high tech creative sector, the Ministry of Science and Innovation (MSI) has contributed $500,000 towards the cost of establishing the programme. Murray Bain, Chief Executive of the MSI, says the Ministry is keen to support and encourage industry engagement with universities.

The website for the new Computer Graphics program is at

Annual Lego Robot Competition

19 Aug 2011 - 09:56 in Event

The School of Engineering and Computer Science's Annual Lego Robot Competition for 400 level ECEN students will be held at 7pm Monday 22 August in AM106.

The constructed robots must be autonomous – any human intervention occurs a penalty.

This competition forms a significant component of the assessment in the course ECEN430.

For further information, contact Dale Carnegie

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ECS Hosts Successful Annual Programming Challenge 4 Girls

30 Nov 2011 - 14:11 in Event


On the 23rd of November 2011, ECS and VUW hosted 51 Year 10 girls from around the Wellington Greater Region as part of the annual Programming Challenge 4 Girls competition. The girls worked in pairs to complete a series of challenges developed by AUT in Alice. At the same time, teachers attended a Professional Development workshop to learn about electronics and programming.

ECS graduate students and staff helped run the challenge: Harsha Raja, Shahida Jabeen, Bing Xue, Sharon Gao and Monique Damitio assisted in the labs, while Luke Frogley, Roma Klapaukh, Ian Welch and Stuart Marshall ran the workshop for teachers.

Gold medals were awarded to the following two pairs:

  • Nicole Rennie and Rachel Wong (Samuel Marsden Collegiate School)
  • Nadja Jury and Piper Biswell (Wellington East Girls College)

Silver medals were awarded to the following girls:

  • Isabella Strang and Chanelle Doole (Sacret Heart College)
  • Janice Chin, Bettina Dela Paz, and Anna Lin (Onslow College)
  • Jialin Sae-Jin and Anna Singleton (Samuel Marsden Collegiate School)
  • Samantha James and Gemma Burns (Wellington East Girls College)

Finally, bronze medals were awarded to the following girls:

  • Anneka Wijetunge and Zahra Zanahir (Newlands College)
  • Bella Wallace and Tulsi Wallace (Wellington East Girls College)
  • Danielle Bettany and Pippi Sargent (Wellington East Girls College)
  • Jess Dellabarca and Shannon Denham (Wellington East Girls College)

The prizes were kindly provided by Google and ECS. The gold medalists were also invited to attend a Girls Summer Camp hosted by Victoria University from 24th – 26th January 2012 for the top teams around NZ in the Programming Challenge 4 Girls. This event is being organised by Stuart Marshall.

ECS will be hosting the Programming Challenge 4 Girls again in late November next year. We highly encourage you to get in touch with Alex Potanin, the organiser of the challenge, for more information.

Google Revamps Network With OpenFlow

01 May 2012 - 10:43 in Event

OpenFlow (an open source networking technology) research is currently being conducted at Victoria University of Wellington, UC Berkeley, UC Stanford, and University of Waikato.

Google has explained how it is revamping its network, which is ranked highly amongst large Internet service providers, using an open source networking technology called OpenFlow.

The Open Networking Summit 2012 was held on the 16th -18th of April at Santa Clara, California. Participants included representatives from US universities (UC Berkeley, UC Stanford, Georgia Tech, Princeton, Cornell), major network equipment vendors (Juniper, Cisco, HP, NEC, IBM, Extreme), and tech companies (Google, Deutsche Telekom, Verizon).

Steven Levy from Wired outlined Google’s plans, and Urs Höelzle, Google’s head of infrastructure, explained the technology behind OpenFlow. OpenFlow is the linchpin of Google’s network overhaul. It is an open source technology that separates packet switching and management. Network control is moved to servers.

The swap to OpenFlow was carried out data centre by data centre. Networking equipment was pre-deployed to take over half the capacity. Höelzle said that Google will make its own networking equipment, and already makes its own servers. Google’s routers power the G-Scale network.

Software expertise is key to Google’s ability to schedule traffic and Off-load work to regions. Google also needs to predict the time to move backups and other key tasks.

Höelzle also discussed the returns the company expects on its investment. The returns aren’t quantified just yet, but Google has hundreds of engineers working on the project.

Victoria University of Wellington is also supporting OpenFlow Research in conjunction with REANNZ through a Bootcamp to be held on the 7th May. The Bootcamp is aimed at giving participants practical experience at implementing OpenFlow, and will involve building and trouble-shooting an OpenFlow-based L3 router.

For more information, contact the engagement team at REANNZ.

Pavle Mogin Retirement

25 Jun 2012 - 09:40 in Event

Dr Pavle Mogin recently retired from Victoria University of Wellington having served the department and faculty for over a decade, from 2000-2012. To help celebrate Pavle's retirement a small party was held with some speeches and a document as well as a tribute video was put together: A Tribute to Dr. Pavle Mogin.


Startup Weekend Wellington

13 Aug 2012 - 10:40 in Event

School of ECS student Matthew Betts led the winning company in Startup Weekend Wellington on 29th July. Along with SOAD student Max O’ Brien, he successfully pitched Questo!, an educational gaming platform which encourages student participation in homework. The first prize includes $10,000 advertising on TradeMe, $1,000 MYOB business services start-up package, a 3 month part-time desk based at Bizdojo, $500 cash from Hyperstart, and a US $200 voucher for Amazon Web Services.

Another ECS student George Davie was part of the runner-up company Mia’s Ideas, whose business was based on buying and selling pre-loved party décor online. Other VUW students who participated in the event include Thomas Caskey, Pauline Kelly, Hans Lim, Ian Loh, Matt Rollitt, and Earl Stewart.

Startup weekend is an event that brings together entrepreneurs, developers and designers for an intense weekend of pitching business concepts to participants, forming teams, developing ideas, market research, receiving coaching, and developing mock-ups, culminating in a final presentation on Sunday night, followed by judging and awards. A number of successful New Zealand businesses have arisen from Startup Weekend Wellington, including previous winners TranscribeMe and

IPENZ Seminar on Assistive Technologies

19 Sep 2012 - 10:11 in Event

* IPENZ Networking Evening September 2012:
IPENZ networking evening.jpg

On the 5th September, The School of Engineering and Computer Science with IPENZ were pleased to host a public seminar by Marcus King on the development of technologies for the rehabilitation of people affected by stroke. Research work into assistive robotics and human machine interaction, coupled with industrial professionalism, was expounded by an internationally renowned guest speaker.

Marcus King is a leading research engineer in the field of assistive technologies focusing on the use of information technologies during rehabilitation following brain injury or disease. He has received New Zealand Innovator of the Year 2011 and engineering excellence awards for his work in this field. His work is commercialised by a locally based international rehabilitation company, Im-Able Ltd. This company has a joint project with the School to develop the next generation of active assistive devices.

This work influences both undergraduate and Masters level study for students interested in biomedical engineering. The seminar was received enthusiastically by approximately 60 students, staff, IPENZ members and members of the public. It underlined the professional nature of the Bachelor of Engineering Degree which enables students to progress on to professional careers, e.g. in companies such as Fisher and Paykel Healthcare.

Energy, Engineering, and Social Justice

24 Jun 2013 - 10:31 in Event

Henry Louie Seminar.JPG

On the 17th June at Transpower House, Associate Professor Henry Louie from the College of Science and Engineering, Seattle University, gave a seminar on the importance of energy in raising the standard of living amongst people living in poverty, and the role engineers might play in helping them gain access to electricity. The seminar was jointly organised by EEA, IEEE PES Chapter, and Victoria University of Wellington.

Professor Louie explained that at present, 1.2 billion people or 17% of the world’s population don’t have access to electricity. A high proportion of these people live in Sub-Saharan Africa or South Asia, and live in rural rather than urban areas.

The dilemma we face is that if all 7 billion people in the world used 9.94 MWh, the average annual power usage per person in New Zealand, and the world’s population continues to increase at its current rate of 1%, and demand per capita also increases, by 2050, 109 1000 MW coal plants will need to be built that year to meet the energy demands of 10.2 billion people.

Assoc Prof Louie then described how appropriate and affordable technologies that are expandable and scalable can be used to provide electricity on a sustainable basis to the rural poor, and can also provide them with opportunities to generate an income.

As a result of attending the seminar, several ECS students are keen to attend the upcoming Engineering Change workshop at Auckland University, in order to gain inspiration for developing technologies for the poor as part of Dr Ramesh Rayudu’s special topic course ECEN 427.

Study Software Engineering for Game Development Skills

31 Oct 2013 - 09:21 in Event

Study Software for Game Development Skills

"Booming NZ game industry faces skills shortage"

Study Software Engineering (BE) or Computer Science (BSc) at Victoria University of Wellington to gain skills necessary for success in the rapidly expanding New Zealand game industry.

Studying at Victoria gives you a range of skills, starting from the core programming skills, algorithms and ending with dedicated game design courses. The final year project a compass many aspects of computer game design from artificial intelligence algorithms, to networking, to user interfaces and beyond.

Beyond your studies, we run graduate level boot camps, where two successful spin out companies are making their living through game design. Many of our students are now employed in local gaming companies, such as Pik Pok.

TopTenReasons to Study at ECS

19 Dec 2013 - 10:29 in Event

Here are the top 10 reasons why students choose to study with us at ECS!

Students create their own league to find legends

17 Apr 2014 - 16:04 in Event

Victoria University of Wellington will play host to an e-sport tournament over the holidays, with students both co-ordinating and competing in online games.

Organised by the Victoria Engineering Club (VEC), teams of students will play League of Legends which, with 27 million active players, is currently one of the most popular video games worldwide.

Through the support of Riot, the company behind the successful game, the winning Victoria team will go on to compete against other Oceania teams at the Oceanic Gaming Winter Arena in May.

After battling it out for two weeks from 21 April, the final on 2 May will be screened on campus for students to watch. VEC organiser, Kieran Carnegie says the entertainment of e-sports isn't just for those playing.

"Commentary of games is much the same as with sports, and it's something that's really blossomed within e-sport culture. So we're going to have students within the club commentating every game for those wanting to watch, and then some professionals for showing the final on campus," says Carnegie, a computer science Master’s student.

Victoria researcher Dr Yuri Seo from the School of Marketing and International Business at Victoria Business School says that as computer gaming has grown worldwide, a spectator element has developed, as is the case with any other professional sport.

"There are people who want to watch the game, and it becomes a form of performance. And because you have increased spectatorship, you then have companies which want to sponsor events, and they just grow from there," says Dr Seo.

According to Dr Seo, a lot of the industry is consumer driven, and the tournament at Victoria is a good example of how the industry is working in a variety of ways to engage with consumers.

"The thing with e-sports is that community is a really big thing, and plays a very important role. This means it's common to see companies try and engage with them, and leads to both large and small scale events."

Dr Seo says that although the local market is currently quite small, because it's youth and technology driven, people living in New Zealand can still be a part of the growing international e-sport culture.

Victoria's first big e-sport tournament is open to students of all abilities, and there are a number of prizes being offer to competitors by both Riot and the VEC.

"This isn't a tournament where we're expecting everyone to be amazing. Whether you've only played a little bit or a lot, get together with a couple of mates and have a lot of fun," says Kieran.

The VEC, which has grown to over 300 members this year, is open to all students interested in engineering, computer science, or technology in general. Along with e-sports, the club runs a number of events from LAN-parties to robot building competitions.

For more information or to register for the tournament, visit:

To find out more, contact Kieran Carnegie on 04-463 5233, extn 8286 or email or

NCEA critique on Seven Sharp

06 May 2014 - 09:25 in Event

A news item of Seven Sharp about NCEA that features Victoria University students and Professor Dale Carnegie from the Faculty of Engineering:

Inside the world of a nanotechnology researcher

19 Jun 2014 - 20:09 in Event

Victoria University physics student Elf Eldridge will discuss the field of nanotechnology and provide a glimpse into the world of PhD study at a free talk in Napier this month.

Presented in association with the Hawke’s Bay Branch of the Royal Society of New Zealand, Elf will give a broad introduction to what nanotechnology is and why it's important, followed by a discussion of his own PhD research.

Elf will also provide insights into some of the issues facing science PhD students in New Zealand, and discuss how the MacDiarmid Institute for Advanced Materials and Nanotechnology, a Centre of Research Excellence based at Victoria University, is attempting to address these. This includes providing industry internships with companies in New Zealand and abroad, and offering short term scholarships to carry out research on a commercial project.

“I got to spend two weeks on a short term scholarship doing a feasibility study on a new technology developed at Victoria. That was great for me. I loved it,” says Elf.

“We were looking at the industry areas it could fit in, how big they were, what the competition was and what the intellectual property law was like. It’s an experience in a whole area you don’t get to touch on in science. But if you want to work as a scientist or an engineer in the technology field, you have to know about it.”

Elf, who was part of the University’s 2013 Know Your Mind recruitment campaign, is nearing the end of his PhD research in which he is using a device called the qNano to look at the characteristics of tiny invisible particles that can be found everywhere in nature (similar to viruses and bacteria).

In his role as senior tutor at Victoria’s School of Engineering and Computer Science, Elf's time is split between working with New Zealand secondary schools to encourage more students to consider engineering and computer science as a career, and supporting currently enrolled students with their studies.

As well as giving his own talk, Elf will also be attending the Victoria University information evening in Hawke’s Bay, and running workshops with year 11 to 13 students at local schools.


Connecting stargazing, nanotechnology and the future in New Zealand

Thursday 26 June, 7.30pm

Hawke’s Bay Holt Planetarium, Chambers Street, Napier

No RSVP required

For more information contact Elf Eldridge on 027 964 3575 or .

Engineering School Outreach

01 Jul 2014 - 13:30 in Event


Elf Eldridge is leading Victoria University's new engineering outreach programme for secondary school students and challenging stereotypes about what engineering is and where it can lead.

Elf, who is currently completing his PhD in Physics and was part of the University’s 2013 Know Your Mind recruitment campaign, was snapped up by the School of Engineering late last year and given the mission of exciting students about engineering.

Part of his role is visiting schools and communities to encourage students to do whatever they’re interested in, from animation and robotics, to game design and basic electronics. “My work aims to help students be well prepared if they choose to pursue engineering at university,” says Elf.

One of the challenges is that there are many students interested in engineering and science, but only localised pockets of knowledge. “You might find one school with an amazing teacher who is really gifted in all kinds of technology, and another school with a bunch of interested pupils but with no teacher that takes the lead,” he says.

One initiative aimed at tackling this problem is <Tek Ctrl/>, an after-school programme aimed at Year 10 to 13 students, giving young people a chance to play and learn about various technologies in an informal setting.

“I turn up and see who else turns up—it’s normally a mixed bag. Each student has a different idea of what they’d like to do,” says Elf.

“One of the toughest challenges is to get girls to continue on in the engineering field, which is why one tech group, based at the National Library, is targeted specifically at females and run by a female second year software engineering student.

“One of my favourite examples is a girl who is absolutely nuts for space and astronomy. She wants to build her own planetarium and software, which is great, but no one else at her school knows anything about doing it. I really want to enable her.”

Elf says it’s all about breaking down walls, particularly with female students. “A lot of young people tend to disengage, particularly with something like robotics, because it just looks complicated. If you sit down and build a fully functional robot in an hour, that's what I see as the value,” says Elf.

Teachers have also started to come along to <Tek Ctrl/> for support and to learn about digital technology. “Generally I’m trying to make it clear that if they want to try something technology based, like build a robot, and they’ve never done it before I say yes, go for it!”

Watch Elf’s Know Your Mind video here:

Winternz - Open For Applications

28 Jul 2014 - 20:51 in Event

The Winternz program brings New Zealand undergraduate students to Silicon Valley for 12-week internships over the New Zealand summer.

Micah Cinco, a Networking student at the School of Engineering and Computer Science, spent the four-month summer break interning with Pertino Networks. Read about his experience here:

Applications close August 15 2014. For further information:

Summer of Tech

21 Aug 2014 - 10:32 in Event

Summer of Tech is a very successful student internship programme for those studying for a technology-related career. Launched in 2006 and now in its eighth year of operation the award-winning programme helps businesses source top talent from local tertiary institutions while giving students valuable real-world industry experience. The programme includes a series of bootcamps and industry-led skills development workshops to help bridge the gap between industry needs and educational development.


The programme has helped Wellington employers source top local talent while easing the move from study to industry for hundreds of tech students.

Employers and technical experts deliver bootcamps, which are practical workshops that enable students to use technologies that are in demand in the local workforce. Bootcamps and exposure to employers during their tertiary years really kick starts their careers.

Summer of Tech culminates in paid summer internships, but its success can be measured by what happens after the internships: 2 out of 3 Summer of Tech students get on-hired, retained by their host company in a full or part-time capacity, or employed by another company in the

Since 2006, Summer of Tech has created over 300 IT jobs in Wellington, enabling NZ companies to invest in, and hire top local talent. Employers tell us the programme has become their go-to place to recruit graduates, and it’s an especially good way to find female programmers – who they’ve found rarely apply for developer roles.

The goals of the programme are to keep building the talent pipeline for NZ ICT companies, connecting local employers to local students, showing both sides of the equation that there are fantastic candidates and fantastic careers in ICT available in New Zealand.

During the summer, their Seminar Series gives interns and students who were unsuccessful getting an internship the opportunity to get connected, inspired and informed, through lunchtime learning and networking sessions. They have over 200 unique attendees at seminars every year, about half of which are students, with the other half being professionals.

For further information go to:

Music and the Machine

16 Oct 2014 - 10:30 in Event

Musical machines and robots will take over Victoria University of Wellington’s Hub this Friday.


Following the success of last year’s event, the Sonic Arts and Engineering Showcase brings together 20 collaborative installations designed by students from Te Kōkī New Zealand School of Music (NZSM) Sonic Arts programme and Victoria’s Faculty of Engineering Electronics courses.

These projects include musical robots and machines which respond to changes in their environment, resulting in a range of mechanical and sonic responses.

Another project involves the use of ultrasonic sensors so that as observers move, the soundscape they experience changes dynamically.

A particular highlight of the showcase will be ‘Striker', a three-armed mechanical drum-playing instrument, that is able to predict where and how loud to play the drums in response to incoming musical events.

There has recently been an increasing overlap and growing potential for collaboration between NZSM and Electronics courses at Victoria, with a particular focus on interactivity and audience accessibility.

Check it out on Radio NZ:

Sonic Arts and Engineering Showcase 2014

When: Friday 17 October, 12–4.30pm

Where: Level 2, The Hub, Victoria University, Gate 3, Kelburn Parade, Kelburn, Wellington

Wellington Security Defender Day

12 Dec 2014 - 16:12 in Event

The School of Engineering and Computer Science (ECS) hosted the first Wellington Security Defender Day.

Worldwide, the economic impact of cybercrime is estimated at $523 billion ( and as New Zealand ICT companies grow so does their exposure to cybercriminals.

Fighting back against cybercrime requires web security experts to share their expertise and Wellington Security Defender Day was organised to provide this opportunity.

Wellington Security Defender Day was organised by Mr Kirk Jackson who is a well known Wellington computer security expert, and the School was pleased to be able to support this initiative by hosting the day at our Pipitea Campus. Kirk who currently works for Xero is a former student and staff member of ECS.

Kirk timed the day to coincide with Kiwicon, an annual gathering of people from the New Zealand security community that takes place in the Wellington CBD on December 11th and 12th.

The day was a mix of informal presentations and discussions between computer security experts and academics. Activities such as this build upon and enhance the work completed by ECS security researchers. Since 2006, collaborative web security work at the School has resulted in the development of open source tools for academics and security professionals.

For more information please contact Dr Ian Welch:


23 Jan 2015 - 16:04 in Event

Dr Ian Welch from Victoria University of Wellington and Prof Xun Yi from RMIT have organised an upcoming cybersecurity workshop and conference as part of the Australasian Computer Science Week at the University of West Sydney. This is a hugely topical subject in light of recent cyber attacks involving governments such as North Korea and organisations such as Anonymous.

Invited speakers include Dr Mike Davies (Research Leader, Cyber Assurance and Operations, DSTO) who will talk about "How do we form a stronger base of national cyber S&T security?” and Dr Jonathan Oliver (Senior Architect at Trend Micro) who will talk about "Recent TorrentLocker outbreaks in Australia”. They will be joined by Vijay Varadharajan (Microsoft Chair Professor in Innovation in Computing) for a panel discussion around the theme of “Preparing for upcoming cyber security threats and challenges”.

The workshop takes place on the 28th of January and proceedings of the conference will be published by the Australian Computer Society.

Further details about the day are available here:

Connecting with Wellington’s tech industry

27 Jan 2015 - 22:50 in Event

Victoria University of Wellington is running a workshop aimed at getting Wellington’s tech community up to speed with the latest in network technology.

The two-day workshop, to be held on 18 and 19 February, will give participants an understanding of Software Defined Networking (SDN), an emerging paradigm which allows software to be accessed and changed remotely.

The workshops content has been adapted from a semester long course at Victoria’s School of Engineering and Computer Science.

It is early days for SDN technology, but industry leaders such as Google are already making use of it, citing flexibility and that it creates an environment for innovation as reasons for adopting the technology.

Dr Bryan Ng, an Engineering lecturer at Victoria, is organising and presenting at the workshop. “It used to be that to make a change to how a device worked you had to physically replace the hardware. With SDN, developers are not restricted by the limitations of current hardware.”

Dr Ng says connecting academics and Wellington’s growing technology industry is an important driver for holding the workshop. Presenters and contributors to the workshop include industry representatives from Google, REANNZ (Research and Education Advanced Network New Zealand Ltd), Pica8 and Catalyst.

“With this workshop we are trying to narrow the gap between industry’s needs and what researchers are doing to meet those needs,” says Dr Ng.

Along with experts in the field, two Victoria students will have the chance to present their work. The pair gained funding through Victoria’s summer scholarship programme to look at specific areas of SDN and will present their findings at the workshop.

Dr Ng says another reason for holding the SDN workshop is to provide people with the skills to enable them to participate in ‘SDN Con’ which takes place in Wellington later in the year.SDN Con will offer developers the opportunity to work in teams to build SDN solutions. The inaugural SDN Con ran successfully in 2014 and it is hoped that with further knowledge of SDN this year’s event will be even bigger.

2015 Wellington SDN Workshop

When: Wednesday 18 and Thursday 19 February 2015

Where: Pipitea Campus, Victoria University

Register: By Friday 13 February, $50 per person

Find out more:

For more information contact Dr Bryan Ng on 04-463 9998, or

Sponsored by:

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New Students' Orientation

13 Feb 2015 - 21:40 in Event

The School of Engineering and Computer Science welcomes all new students.

We recommend that you attend the new students’ orientation from the 23 - 27 February. For further details check out:

On Thursday 26 February all new engineering and computer science students are invited to a welcome session in lecture theatre 101 in the Maclaurin building. Meet staff who teach in first-year courses and find out how to get the most out of your lectures, tutorial and labs.

Engineering students will also get to know their fellow students with a fun team exercise followed by a BBQ at 5pm.

Lecture to highlight Alan Turing's genius

19 Feb 2015 - 14:23 in Event

The School of Engineering and Computer Science is hosting a lecture about the work of Alan Turing, often dubbed the father of modern computing and the subject of the film The Imitation Game.

Professor Rod Downey from the School of Mathematics, Statistics and Operations Research at Victoria will deliver the public lecture in which he aims to give an accurate picture of Turing’s work and his place in history.

Professor Downey has spent the last 35 years researching in the area of the theory of computation and recently edited the book Turing’s Legacy: Developments from Turing’s Ideas in Logic.

Alan Turing was a mathematician and logician whose ideas led to the development of the modern computer and artificial intelligence. He has recently come to popular attention through The Imitation Game which focuses on his role in cracking intercepted coded messages in Britain during the Second World War.

Professor Downey says the film “horribly mangles” Turing’s contribution, and the nature of Bletchley Park, the central site of the United Kingdom’s Government Code and Cypher School which was a key hub for penetrating communications during the Second World War.

Professor Downey describes Turing as one of the geniuses of the twentieth century.

While Professor Downey will spend a small part of his lecture discussing things the film got wrong, most of his address will focus on mathematics, especially the development of computers and how cryptanalysis worked at Bletchley Park. He will pay particular attention to covering the range and variety of Turing’s work and the impact it has had.

“Turing was a prodigy, a brilliant and original man who was terribly treated for being gay. His story is a study in ideas and social commentary.”

In his lecture, Professor Downey will cover a brief history of ciphers, the work done by the cryptanalysts at Bletchley Park and how the Enigma machine works, all of which are portrayed in The Imitation Game.

Professor Downey will also discuss some of Turing’s less known work in areas including Biology.

What: Public Lecture: Alan Turing, Computing, Bletchley and Mathematics

When: Thursday 26 February, 5.30pm

Where: Government Buildings, Lecture Theatre 2


This public lecture is the first in a series of events being run by Victoria’s School of Engineering and Computer Science with the aim of making science more accessible.

Rod Downey, FRSNZ, is a professor of mathematics at Victoria University of Wellington. His research is in the theory of computation and complexity theory. He is the only person in New Zealand who both is a Fellow of the Association for Computing Machinery and the American Mathematical Society. During the Alan Turing year (2012 – centenary of Alan Turing’s birth) he was one of the foundation fellows at the Isaac Newton Institute at Cambridge for the Alan Turing Programme. He recently edited the volume Turing's Legacy for the Association for Symbolic Logic. He has won numerous awards for his work including a James Cook and Maclaurin Fellowship, the Shoenfield Prize from the ASL, and the Nerode Prize from the EATCS.

For more information contact Professor Rod Downey on 04-463 5067, or

Launch of the TechHub CREST Challenge

06 Mar 2015 - 10:57 in Event

Year 10 students at St Mary's College were captivated by visiting speakers at a special assembly to launch the TechHub CREST Challenge to develop a phone app. St Mary’s students have started their journey into the arena of software development, highly motivated by words of encouragement from Tasha Sharp who is based at the Institute of IT Professionals, and four senior Victoria University students.

Elf Eldridge, a senior tutor from the School of Engineering and Computer Science, brought along four students who are studying either software engineering or networking. They provided an insight into the potential of pursuing a career in IT and also the opportunities for work at Google. Konnie and Kate who are Google ambassadors, and Bonnie and Ellie shared their passion for software development and programming.

Year 10 students reflected on the presentation:

Konnie and Kate made Google sound like a great work place, and a fun environment to be in. Bonnie and Ellie explained to us the sort of studies they do in university, and it sounded very interesting – Amelia.

Konnie and Kate taught me a lot about the Google lifestyle and environment, I absolutely agree that more women should be involved with technology as the world is beginning to have more and more technology – Kennedy.

Bonnie and Ellie talked about how they created programs and robots and cool things like that. They told us that even if you don't have a lot of knowledge about programming it’s alright because you will learn more and gain more knowledge. I think that doing this project will be fun and a lot of hard work and I'm also excited to see how it all works out at the end – Amour.

I'm looking forward to starting this project because it’s a new experience and seems like a fun challenge for me. I don't know what to expect because this is new to me but I’m keen for it and can’t wait to get stuck in – Lizzie.

There are a lot of apps on my phone so it would be really amazing to see how they are made. It is also very exciting because we will be working in groups so we will have to work together on this and use our skills to build an app – Sophie.

Thank you to Mrs Genevieve Herder, Digital Technologies, St Mary's College, for this article.

The Anita Borg Memorial Scholarship

03 Apr 2015 - 00:25 in Event

The Google Anita Borg Memorial Scholarship is open for applications with a deadline of 27th May 2015.

Anita Borg believed that technology affects all aspects of our economic, political, social and personal lives. In her life she fought tirelessly to ensure that technology’s impact would be a positive one. It was this vision that inspired Anita in 1997 to found the Institute for Women and Technology. Today this organization continues on her legacy and bears her name, The Anita Borg Institute for Women and Technology.

Dr. Anita Borg proposed the "50/50 by 2020" initiative, an effort to increase the percentage of women among graduates earning computing degrees to 50% by the year 2020. However, the percentage of Computer Science degrees earned by women is still far from 50% throughout the world.

Through the Anita Borg Memorial Scholarship for Asia Pacific, Google aims to encourage women to excel in computing and technology, and become active role models and leaders in these fields.

To be eligible to apply, applicants must:

  • Be a female student enrolled in undergraduate or postgraduate study in the 2016 academic year.
  • Be enrolled in a university in Asia Pacific. Citizens, permanent residents, and international students are eligible to apply.
  • Be majoring in computer science, computer engineering, or a closely related technical field.
  • Exemplify leadership and demonstrate passion for increasing the involvement of women in computer science.

For more information and application details please go to:

Offline but switched on

19 Jun 2015 - 11:21 in Event


Computer Science workshop to inspire new way of teaching

“Computer Science is no more about computers than astronomy is about telescopes”

- Edsger Dijkstra, Dutch computer scientist


Victoria University of Wellington invites primary teachers to a free workshop which aims to change the way computer science is taught to primary school students.

Computer Science Unplugged (CSU) is a collection of kinesthetic learning activities that teach computer science through games and puzzles using hands-on materials, and enable young students to physically engage with concepts – without a computer in sight!

The two-hour programme will enlighten teachers as to the benefits of CSU, and will be of value to those primary and intermediate teachers interested in adopting computational thinking in the classroom and encouraging young minds to explore the dynamic world of computer science.

“CSU is about empowering students to explore the great ideas that are hidden in the technologies that have become so commonplace that they are taken for granted,” says workshop coordinator Professor Tim Bell from the University of Canterbury.

“This removes the barrier of having to learn to program or even own a computer before you find out if computer science is really your thing.”

CSU introduces students to underlying concepts such as binary numbers, algorithms and data compression, but remain separated from the distractions and technical know-how we usually associate with computers.

These teaching methods have become widespread in countries such as Sweden, Germany, Korea and Japan, with the CSU programme itself supported internationally with online and adaptable resources.

Event details

Computer Science Unplugged

Thursday 9th July 2015, 9.30am-11.30am

Top floor of the Lower Hutt War Memorial Library, Corner Queens Drive and Woburn Rd.

Places are limited so please RSVP to at your earliest convenience.

Further information about Computer Science Unplugged, including resources and texts for teachers, can be found online at

First Year autonomous robot challenge

29 Jun 2015 - 11:29 in Event

Many Engineering students want to get ‘hands-on’ with their course work as quickly as possible—after all, they’re often practical people who like to learn through doing. So when Victoria University’s first-year Engineering students discover they’ll be building an autonomous vehicle during their first trimester , most can’t believe their luck!

“The first part of Engineering 101 (ENGR101) gives students a general introduction to engineering practice, and covers the basics of software, hardware and network systems,” says Dr Stuart Marshall, Head of the School of Engineering and Computer Science. “Halfway through the first trimester, we form them into teams so they can apply this knowledge to complete a project – the Autonomous Vehicle Challenge – which includes all aspects of these technologies.”

Dr Marshall says that each team of students must build a vehicle – complete with processing board, motor driver, and a network link to communicate its progress back to a central computer – which can navigate its way through four quadrants of a maze, each more difficult than the last. Students fit sensors to their hand-sized vehicles to keep them on the right path, and away from walls and other obstacles.

“We change the maze every year, just to keep things interesting,” says Dr Marshall. “This year, we’ve added an archway with an automated door that opens and closes; students now have the added challenge of having to get the timing right in order to pass their vehicles through the archway unobstructed.”

At the end of the first trimester, vehicles are put to the test; each team must race their vehicle against the clock while attempting to complete all four quadrants. The top performing vehicles take part in a final, more informal, challenge where they compete for bragging rights rather than credits.

“You could say that we’re throwing students in the deep end,” says Dr Marshall. “But the project not only provides an effective way for students to engage in the many aspects of engineering, it also gives them a tangible way of learning how to problem-solve. And they seem to really enjoy it!”

Dr Marshall says that in addition to team work, each student has to write an individual report, reflecting on what worked and what didn’t work during the process. “Students obviously develop practical skills while they’re building their vehicles, but they’re also learning soft skills such as report-writing, time management, and how to work as part of a team.”

Some previous ENGR101 students have cited their experience with the Autonomous Vehicle Challenge as the event that got them interested in the National Instruments Autonomous Robotics Competition (NI-ARC) – a student robotics competition designed to encourage development and innovation in the field of robotics.

Putting cybersecurity centre stage

09 Dec 2015 - 10:44 in Event


Victoria University of Wellington is kick-starting initiatives for championing cybersecurity in New Zealand with an industry briefing featuring a guest appearance from a world-renowned cyber-crime expert.

Cybersecurity is seen as one of the greatest commercial threats to New Zealand. The Wellington event aims to raise awareness of the developing risks in the digital world and the costs of complacency, and will be attended by senior representatives from some of New Zealand’s largest companies.

Joining the briefing will be Kristopher Rush, a technical director in the Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT) division of the Software Engineering Institute (SEI) in the United States, and a leading expert in cybersecurity.

Before joining SEI, Mr Rush worked for the United States Department of State as a member of the Antiterrorism Assistance Program, where he developed and taught courses relating to terrorism and cyber-crime to foreign military and police.

His visit follows the announcement of a collaboration agreement between Victoria University, SEI and the New Zealand firm Total Risk to develop training, advice and protection services in cybersecurity.

“Most New Zealand businesses and many government agencies are lacking the individual expertise to protect themselves from the growing cyber danger,” says Geoff Todd, Managing Director of Viclink, the University’s commercialisation office.

“By arranging the industry briefing and bringing Kristopher over to New Zealand, we want to place cybersecurity front and centre in the minds of industry, and profile what we intend to do in this space to help.

“The collaboration with SEI means we will be working with the gold-standard organisation in the field of cybersecurity, and the relationship with Total Risk means we are aligned with one of only nine SEI certified training partners in the world, and the only one in New Zealand.

“Through this collaboration we aspire to be a leader in cybersecurity in the Asia-Pacific region,” says Geoff.

The SEI is a Federally Funded Research and Development Centre (FFRDC) at Carnegie Mellon University, specifically established by the United States Department of Defense to focus on software engineering and cybersecurity.

Cyber security short courses for professionals

04 May 2016 - 09:10 in Event


Victoria University of Wellington is offering Software Engineering Institute (SEI) certified cyber security courses in New Zealand for the first time.

Cyber security is seen as one of the greatest commercial threats to New Zealand. With the increasing imperatives for New Zealand business and government to be protecting themselves in the cyber space, the short courses will provide specialised training opportunities.

The courses are run at Victoria’s Centre for Lifelong Learning, in partnership with Total Risk Management.

Total Risk Management has recently become Asia-Pacific’s only Carnegie Mellon University SEI Partner—one of only nine partners worldwide in the last 30 years.

The SEI is a not-for-profit Federally Funded Research and Development Centre at Carnegie Mellon University, specifically established by the United States Department of Defense to focus on software engineering and cybersecurity.

SEI courses are the recognised industry standard for the best continuing education and credentialing for engineering and software professionals in government, industry and higher education.

The courses at Victoria range from one to five days, and are crucial professional development for anyone from CEOs and CIOs wanting to understand the cyber security risks around information, through to IT professionals managing and dealing with cyber security incidents.

Offered in Wellington and Auckland, and run in-house for organisations, the five key courses cover assessing information security risks, overview of incident response teams, creating and managing incident response teams, and incident handling.

The full course outline, registration details and dates can be found online at

Digital Disruption: A Wellington Case Study

20 Sep 2016 - 11:46 in Event


The challenges facing Wellington's fast-growing digital industry were explored in a recent seminar hosted by Victoria University.

The event, titled "Digital Disruption: A Wellington Case Study", brought together staff and students from Victoria's Schools of Engineering and Computer Science, and Management, with industry experts and practitioners, who delved into what it takes to thrive in the digital age.

Dr Richard Norman, a co-host of the event, is a senior lecturer in Victoria's School of Management. His research focuses on understanding how people and organisations can adapt to technology change.

"The work environment is changing. Occupations are changing, there are new sectors emerging—such as the cyber security sector—and companies are becoming more agile, with a focus on fast development and fast turnaround", says Dr Norman.

"What is distinctive about this event is that it brought together both the people and the technical sides of business. For companies to be successful they really have to be on top of both. We have had a lot of interest in this event from the local digital industry—it's a good opportunity to share knowledge".

Dr Stuart Marshall, Head of Victoria's School of Engineering and Computer Science, says that the event gave students an important opportunity to hear about the industry many of them will be working in.

"We ran a similar event late last year, which was solely for industry. This year we wanted to open it up to students, so we ran it during class time to make it even more accessible. When students graduate a lot of them will be working in these digitally-focussed companies, and this was a valuable opportunity to hear about what the environment is like".

This year, the speakers were:

- Associate Professor Kris Bubendorfer, Victoria University of Wellington
- Professor Neil Dodgson, Victoria University of Wellington
- Collier Isaacs, Farm IQ
- Ruth McDavitt, Summer of Tech
- Dean Pemberton, Network Startup Resource Center
- Anthony Pratt, Park Road Post Production
- Laura Reitel, Lightning Lab / Creative HG
- Chris Ward, Total Risk / CyberToa
- Dr Ian Welch, Victoria University of Wellington

Victoria students compete at New Zealand Cyber Security Challenge

02 Aug 2017 - 08:18 in Event


L-R: Liam Dennis, Jack Moran and Tom Clark

Three students from Victoria’s School of Engineering and Computer Science recently travelled to Hamilton to compete in the 2017 New Zealand Cyber Security Challenge.

The challenge saw 150 top students from around the country invited to compete in three stages—hacking into programs, grappling with policy-based problems, and securing at risk systems.

Third-year Software Engineering student, Liam Dennis, says the event was a valuable opportunity to gain some hands-on training.

“Cyber Security is a fascinating topic, and being part of a team and working together to solve problems and crack codes was rewarding and satisfying, especially in the moments when our toil proved fruitful and we completed a stage.”

Also competing at the event were Network Engineering students, Jack Moran and Tom Clark, who both plan to work in the Cyber Security industry after graduating.

Tom says, “The whole event was great, but the last round of war games with 5 teams defending their systems against industry testers was awesome to see. It’s definitely an industry I want to be in. I'm aiming to do ‘Red Teaming’, and even create new security products to help secure private and public systems.”

Jack adds, “What we’ve learnt at Victoria, about networks, security, and programming languages gave us the skills we needed to compete in the challenges. Cyber Security is a really interesting area; one of my passions is finding flaws in the technology we rely on every day and demonstrating the potential that they have to damage our infrastructure.”

Head of School, Dr Stuart Marshall, says Cyber Security is an area of rapidly increasing interest and potential for students.

“Recent reports have estimated a shortfall of more than a million trained cyber security experts in the coming years. That’s a significant challenge for the world as we become more connected and the internet of things becomes ever more present there is a need to protect those systems, and that information.

“We teach Cyber Security throughout our degrees, and we’re looking at ways to increase that further to ensure that our students are well placed to take up those opportunities when they graduate.”

The event had high-profile guests, including Andrew Hampton, Director of the Government Communications Security Bureau, who spoke to the students about the rising demand for students with cyber security skills, and representatives from Interpol, the world’s largest international police organisation with 190 member countries.