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.
Masters student Abigail Arulandu has been named as a finalist in the youth category of the Wellingtonian of the Year Awards. For her Master of Engineering project, Abigail designed and built a device to assist with the rehabilitation of stroke patients by helping then re-gain control and strength in their hand and arm muscles. New Zealand company Im-Able obtained funding from the Ministry of Science and Innovation for Abigail develop a prototype, and is currently working to patent and sell the device. “The Wellys” are an annual celebration of the extraordinary contribution some Wellingtonians have made to their community, across a number of different sectors. The nine categories in the awards are arts, business, community service, education, environment, government, science and technology, sport, and youth. There are four finalists in the youth category. The Wellingtonian of the Year Awards Dinner will be held in The Ballroom, Amora Hotel, on Thursday the 22nd of November. The winner of each category will be announced, and then from these winners, the Wellingtonian of the Year award winner will be named. Past winners of the award include Peter Jackson, Bret McKenzie and Jemaine Clement, and Father Des Britten.
- Be a female student enrolled in undergraduate or postgraduate study in the 2015 academic year.
- Be enrolled in a university in Asia Pacific, excluding Greater China* where we have an additional scholars’ retreat in China Mainland. 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.
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: http://www.summeroftech.co.nz
SDN is a new networking technology, which greatly improves network programmability, that is changing how we design, build and operate networks. In this project, we will investigate the practical issues on the adoption of SDN in production networks. It is a great opportunity to work with SDN communities both locally and internationally.
Value of award: Up to $20,000 + tuition fees
Tenure: One year
*Strong programming skills in C/C++ or Java.
*Strong motivation for developing practical networking solutions
Contact person: Dr. Qiang Fu, email@example.com
- Dr. Simon Lovatt, AgResearch (Chair). Simon is a Science Strategist at AgResearch with a software engineering background.
- Prof. Chris Cook, Dean of Engineering, Univ of Wollongong.
- Prof. Tanja Mitrovic, Head of Computer Science and Software Engineering, Univ of Canterbury.
- Mr. Ivo Tisch, Founder and Managing Director, Precision Technologies.
- Mr. Brett Williams, Director of Learning and Assessment, IPENZ
The development of an engineering programme at VUW had been considered at different times in the University's history so, when the decision was finally made to develop a Bachelor of Engineering in 2005, it was seen as an evolutionary rather than revolutionary step. The existing Bachelor of Information Technology, which was to be replaced by the BE, was considered to have a strongly applied focus. All the same, the decision was supported by a significant programme of staff recruitment and capital expenditure, consistent with the University's objective of developing an internationally recognised engineering programme. The panel also wished to recognise the following strengths of the programme.We are continually listening to constructive comment from students, industry/business and professional bodies to adapt, improve and keep our courses/degrees at the forefront of professional engineering education in New Zealand and internationally.
The Accreditation Panel set the following requirements to be met by Victoria:
- Part III of the degree structure provides excellent potential for producing broader graduate skills. (Part III of the degree is designed to provide students with the opportunity to develop wider contextual understanding by allowing them to select three coherent courses that are outside the student's specialisation from across the University.)
- The strength of the team- and project-based experience gained by the students
- The collegiality and enthusiasm for engineering demonstrated by staff
- The strength of the staffs' research and industry interaction and the richness this brings to the teaching program
- The strength and commitment of the institutional support for engineering from VUW
- The quality and quantity of infrastructure, personnel, technical and other resources provided to engineering by VUW
Miria, who will be awarded a Bachelor of Engineering tonight, says she feels a responsibility to other Māori women in the engineering and telecommunications field. “It’s a bit intimidating to be set up as an example, but if I can open the door for other Māori women to come into this career then that would be fantastic.” Miria, who is one of 10 in the Vodafone Graduate Technology Programme, started working in Vodafone’s Auckland-based optimisation team in February. “I’m working to maintain, manage and optimise the network to improve the customer experience in terms of coverage, speed and reliability.” However, she almost missed out on a place in the programme, which has been running since 2008. “I attended a tech users event, where Vodafone’s Chief Technology Officer, Sandra Pickering, was speaking. I introduced myself and told her I was looking for a job and even though applications for the graduate programme had closed, she told me to send in my CV.” Four days later, the job was hers. “I was surprised at getting in, because I always thought graduate placements were for A+ students.” Amy Oding, Leader of the Technology Graduate Programme at Vodafone, says Miria is “a star in the Technology Group”. “She has displayed a high standard of engagement and her team leaders are confident she will make a success of her career at Vodafone. We are very pleased to have a female Māori graduate of this calibre,” says Amy. Miria, who was born and raised in Wellington and is of Ngāti Raukawa descent, is following in the footsteps of her engineer father. “I did a two-month internship at 2degrees in Wellington which really cemented my enjoyment of technical engineering and the telco industry. The industry is so fast-paced and varied, it’s exciting to know that there’s always something new around the corner.” After finishing the two-year graduate programme, Miria hopes to gain overseas experience in her field before returning to New Zealand. “I want to give back and technical engineering is one way I can do that.” Miria will graduate with a Bachelor of Engineering tonight, Monday 13 May at 6pm. She will also attend Hui Whakapūmau, a celebration for Māori graduands at Te Herenga Waka Marae at Victoria University on Tuesday 14 May at 9am.
Dr Mansoor Shafi Member of New Zealand Order of Merit (MNZM) For services to wireless communication technologies. Dr Mansoor Shafi, of Wellington, is Telecom Fellow at Telecom New Zealand and Adjunct Professor, School of Engineering and Computer Science. His rich industrial experience and knowledge of telecoms informs his teaching on the Advanced Communications Engineering course ( ECEN-410) This course provides an introduction to the fundamentals of wireless communication systems. The characteristics of fading channels are considered and their effect on the propagation of signals. Countermeasures such as diversity, forward error control and modulation schemes for wireless communications are studied. Multiple-access techniques such as time-, frequency- and code-division multiple access are examined. WLAN, WPAN wireless sensor networks, cellular concepts such as capacity, congestion, interference and multiple access are also presented. Victoria University of Wellington is ranked number one for research in New Zealand, where our teaching is directly led by our research. Students benefit from top-quality academic and industrial research practices, provided by experts in their field, such as Dr Mansoor Shafi. Staff and students join in congratulating Dr Mansoor Shafi on his well-deserved award.
At the recent Genetic and Evolutionary Computation Conference, GECCO, Amsterdam, July 2013, they were awarded the best paper in the Genetics-based Machine Learning Track. GECCO is an Australian Research Council (ARC) A-rated conference. There were only 13 best papers awarded out of 570 submitted papers from the leading researchers worldwide.
The core idea of the work is to reuse already learnt information to solve increasingly harder problems, which the research team has shown to scale successfully to problems previously unsolved in machine learning. Surprisingly, nearly all other machine learning algorithms restart learning at the start of each new problem. This work introduces evolvable finite state machines into a problem's representation as a way of reusing cyclic building blocks, which are most appropriate for domains requiring repetitive patterns of knowledge. The work produced for the first time compact solutions that could solve any size problems in a number of important domains, such as parity problems. Evolutionary Computation is a branch of Artificial Intelligence which takes its inspiration from Darwinian ideas of survival of the fittest as multiple solutions are tested and bred with each other until the fittest survive. The research team form part of the Evolutionary Computation Research Group (ECRG), Victoria University of Wellington, which is one of the largest and most successful groups of this type in the world - currently with available doctoral places and scholarships available.
Track: Genetics Based Machine Learning
Extending Scalable Learning Classifier System with Cyclic Graphs to Solve Complex Large-Scale Boolean Problems. Muhammad Iqbal, Will N. Browne, Mengjie Zhang
(firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org)
Evolutionary computational techniques have had limited capabilities in solving large-scale problems, due to the large search space demanding large memory and much longer training time. Recently work has begun on automously reusing learnt building blocks of knowledge to scale from low dimensional problems to large-scale ones. An XCS-based classifier system has been shown to be scalable, through the addition of tree-like code fragments, to a limit beyond standard learning classifier systems. Self-modifying cartesian genetic programming (SMCGP) can provide general solutions to a number of problems, but the obtained solutions for large-scale problems are not easily interpretable. A limitation in both techniques is the lack of a cyclic representation, which is inherent in finite state machines. Hence this work introduces a state-machine based encoding scheme into scalable XCS, for the first time, in an attempt to develop a general scalable classifier system producing easily interpretable classifier rules. The proposed system has been tested on four different Boolean problem domains, i.e. even-parity, majority-on, carry, and multiplexer problems. The proposed approach outperformed standard XCS in three of the four problem domains. In addition, the evolved machines provide general solutions to the even-parity and carry problems that are easily interpretable as compared with the solutions obtained using SMCGP.
Josh/VUW PhD scholarship position
Victoria University is pleased to announce a co-funded PhD scholarship position (approx NZ$35k/year for 3 years) in Software Defined Networks (SDN). The position based at Victoria University will provide research which is of practical benefit to the SDN community and the NZ networking community in particular. This may be via applied research of use and interest to REANNZ, and possibly international research partners like ESnet.
Possible research areas
Interdomain SDN (“east-west interface”): how to connect SDN networks in different administrative domains, including BGP alternatives
Optimal network design: how to design and test through the use of automated software optimal SDN based network designs based on specified constraints (Eg, number of routes, redundancy of critical links, etc)
Migration to SDN: how to migrate common ISP/carrier architectures from non-SDN to SDN (including network management)
SDN network management: how to manage an SDN network without needing legacy protocol support (Eg, streaming statistics replacing use of SNMP polling)
Systems/networking software experience preferred
Algorithm development including its software implementation
Software development experience in C++/Java (python advantageous)
Software engineering/test practices such as unit testing
SDN/OpenFlow experience advantageous but not necessary
Networking protocols (Eg, BGP) advantageous but not necessary
Basic familiarity with network architectures and protocols, some exposure to new Future Internet Initiatives like OpenFlow, Named-Data Networking, GENI etc.
Strong ability to articulate technical problems and solutions, using various communication mechanisms such as presentations, conference papers etc.
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.
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).
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. http://ecs.victoria.ac.nz/Main/ECSPostgraduateStudentWinsVUW3MinuteThesisCompetition 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. http://ecs.victoria.ac.nz/Groups/Alumni/AlumniStoriesBrendanVercoelen
- Events and technical visits.
- Networking at local level.
- International speakers as well as monthly seminars that cover a wide range of topical issues.
- 4th Year student presentations - a local competition called Present Around The World where the local winner could go to a final in Australia and possibly on to the UK.
Milner, Chair of the IEEE New Zealand Central
Play it Again: Creating a Playable History of Australasian Digital Games, for Industry, Community and Research Purposes.
“So I've been looking at a passive way to measure the foetal heart rate. You can do this either by putting electrodes on the mother and then detecting the Electric Cardiogram (ECG) signal, or by listening with microphones, which is what my research has focused on. This is more like using the Pinard – the foetal stethoscope that midwives used before the invention of Doppler ultrasound, but much more reliable and easy to use.”Paul, who previously worked at Industrial Research Limited (IRL) in Gracefield, has been collaborating with his former colleagues to develop a method of using microphones to separate out the mixture of signals emitted from the womb by using a technique called Blind Source Separation.
“This isolates the foetal heart rate from the mother's heart rate, and the background noise. It's also a more passive method of monitoring that doesn't negatively impact upon either the mother or the baby.”Paul says he and his IRL counterparts are now working closely with Wellington midwives to collect data from mothers using this less invasive method.
“We've proved the method works in the last few weeks of pregnancy, but we're hopeful that eventually we will be able to use it from when a foetus is 18 weeks. Doppler ultrasound can work from about 12-14 weeks, but the important stages are later in the pregnancy.”
Daniel Akinyele has been awarded one of two student sponsorships to attend the 2014 NZ Wind Energy Conference and Exhibition, which will be held from the 14th-16th April at Te Papa Tongarewa in Wellington. In addition to presenting his proposal at the conference, Daniel will spend a day at Transpower, meeting staff and learning about the company, and about the electricity market and transmission planning and investment. Daniel’s proposal focuses on the intergration of wind power into distribution networks in New Zealand from the end-use and wider application perspectives. His research will model and simulate grid-connected micro and commercial-scale generation from residential and commercial premises respectively. It also considers microgrids connected to local grids for city-wide applications, which may also be disconnected from the network and operated independently in the event of a disaster. New Zealand probably has the most abundant wind energy resource in the world. Harnessing this natural resource for widespread distributed power generation (DPG) in New Zealand will not only provide support to the electrical network, improve the reliability and efficiency of the electricity supply and offer environmental benefits, but also aid the achievement of sustainable and future smart grid and help the government realize its goal of 90% renewable power by 2025. Daniel holds a National Diploma in Electrical and Electronic Engineering with Distinction from Osun State Polytechnic, Nigeria in 2002. He holds a First Class Degree in Electrical and Electronic Engineering from Nigeria’s Premier University, the University of Ibadan in 2008. He attended Loughborough University, UK for his Masters Degree in Renewable Energy Systems Technology, graduating with Distinction in 2010. He was a Senior Engineer in the renewable energy research group of the National Agency for Science and Engineering Infrastructure (NASENI) under the umbrella of the Federal Ministry of Science and Technology, Nigeria. He was responsible for renewable energy systems design and installation. He then joined the Department of Electrical and Information Engineering, Covenant University, Nigeria, as an assistant lecturer, teaching the fundamentals of Electrical Engineering and Network Analysis. He is currently a PhD student in the School of Engineering and Computer Science, Victoria University of Wellington, under the supervision of Dr Ramesh Rayudu.
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)
- 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)
- 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)
DoView helps companies visualise outcomes in strategic planning, management, monitoring and evaluation of tasks and is gaining worldwide appreciation:
Please see their website
Or a recent stuff article
It is great to see our Computer Science (and Software Engineering) degrees help our graduates develop innovative software with worldwide applications.
Magritek specializes in providing compact NMR and MRI systems for industrial and educational customers around the world. The present R&D focus is the development of compact low field NMR spectroscopy systems for chemistry education, industrial chemical processing and pharmaceutical markets. The product development work we are undertaking involves several technical disciplines including electronic, software, mechanical, magnet and chemical engineering. Our products consist of electronic hardware with embedded systems that interact with an application running on a users computer.
We are developing a new software control system for a new hardware platform to be used in upgrades of existing and new NMR related products. The new embedded ARM based hardware platform will use LINUX and will typically be controlled using an Ethernet port or WIFI. In order to simplify the development for the new NMR products we intend to create one or more custom high level languages that will be used to design experiments and NMR pulse sequences. The custom languages will generate LLVM IR output. This LLVM IR can be optimized for specific CPU's, like ARM or a custom FPGA based softcore processor. The task and challenge is to create a language and an associated debugging tool to debug code on a remotely connected system. The compiler and debugging tool shall run on Windows.
Magritek has an established team of world leading scientists and engineers and this is also bolstered by our collaboration with staff at Victoria University of Wellington. This position will provide someone with the unique opportunity of developing in these areas:
1. interacting with a diverse technical team that has a commercial focus.
2. undertaking leading edge research and development
3. working on a real project that will end up with customers
4. working within an environment will real commercial pressure
5. presentation and report writing
The skills that the applicant must have are C++, Linux, LLVM and compiler development. Additional skills such as C#, ANTLR and knowledge of ARM processors would be desired but are not essential.
The applicant must also have recently graduated with a Masters or PhD in computer science or software engineering or equivalent.
For eligibility criteria, please go to https://www.callaghaninnovation.govt.nz/what-we-do/funding-and-grants/rd-student-grants Robin@magritek.com
Please also include a copy of your academic transcript and two referees. Closes: 2 Dec, 2014 Commences: 1 February 2015 Type: Contract Remuneration:$60,000 per annum pro-rata Location: Wellington, New Zealand Website: http://www.magritek.com/ Program: Graduate recruitment program
Ph: 04 920 7671
Saud's paper investigated models of human eye movement. Humans concentrate only on small parts of an image at a time, termed fixation. Saud developed an existing biologically inspired model of how humans attend to a scene by using artificial intelligence to weight important aspects of the image. His method was compared with alternative artificial approaches and actual recordings of human eye movements, where he showed positive results in being able to predict human eye movement.
The practical applications of Saud's work range from developing fast camera systems for autonomous robots to predicting the best places for road signs to be mounted so that drivers notice them quickly.
The award carries a prize of $1500, which will be spent on assisting Saud with conference travel, was kindly funded by a donation to the conference from Google. This will enable Saud to present his follow up work that has been accepted for publication in the International Congress on Evolutionary Computation (CEC 2013), which is a top rated A international conference, to be held in Cancun, Mexico.
This is an example of Victoria's national and internationally leading research as recognised by the first place ranking in the recent research evaluation exercise. Doctorate scholarships are currently being offered for bright, hard-working and enthusiastic researchers to join the Evolutionary Computation Research Group and other world-class researchers.
NZCSRSC 2013 was the 10th conference in the series which started in 1992 and has now become a regular event in New Zealand.
The aim of the New Zealand Computer Science Research Student Conference is to establish and reinforce a nationwide community of ICT graduate students. It provides an opportunity for students to establish contacts and share their research with graduates from across New Zealand, and members of the wider community. Students will gain experience in communicating their research and participating in an ICT community by:
- submitting, presenting and reviewing research papers in a supportive and enthusiastic environment,
- participating in workshops dedicated to providing practical information for completing a successful graduate programme, and pursuing future careers in academia or industry,
- participating in a range of special events that get students in touch with like-minded people working in related areas within ICT, and
- hearing from leading ICT experts in a series of exciting invited keynote presentations
- Value of digital economy in 2011 was $100 billion ICT
- demand forecasts 14,000 extra jobs in 2012 and up to a total of 35,000 by 2013
- University ICT annual enrolments down in NSW, VIC, QLD, WA & TAS
The Google Anita Borg Scholarship was established in 2004 to honor the legacy of Dr. Anita Borg and her efforts to encourage women to pursue careers in computer science and technology.
Scholarships will be awarded based on the strength of candidates’ academic background and demonstrated leadership. A group of female undergraduate and graduate student finalists will be chosen from the applicant pool. Each scholar recipient will receive a $5,000 AUD scholarship towards the following academic year. In addition all finalists and scholarship recipients will be invited to an expenses-paid networking retreat to be held at Google’s Sydney Engineering centre. Watch highlights from the 2012 Sydney Retreat here.
Who can apply?
Applicants must satisfy all of the following criteria to be eligible:
Be a female student enrolled in full-time undergraduate or postgraduate study for the 2013-14 academic year.
Be enrolled at a University in any of the following countries: Korea, Japan, Southeast Asia, Australia, New Zealand and India. Citizens, permanent residents, and international students are eligible to apply.
Be studying Computer Science, Software Engineering, or a closely related technical field.
Maintain an excellent academic record
Citizens, permanent residents, and international students are eligible to apply. Past applicants and finalists are also encouraged to re-apply. If you have any questions, please email the Anita Borg Memorial Scholarship Team at email@example.com, or reply to this email.Deadline to apply: 31st of May 2013
For further information on this scholarship and how to apply, check out www.google.com/anitaborg/apac
A passion for problem-solving leads brothers to collaborate on study and work
Seeing the interesting assignments his brother was doing for his Engineering degree at Victoria University of Wellington confirmed Alex Quinlivan’s decision to follow the same path. John Quinlivan is a third-year student and Alex is in his first year. Both are majoring in Software Engineering.
“We spent a lot of our childhood mucking about with computers and played our fair share of video games,” says John. “Eventually the passion for ‘how does it work?’ extended into the tertiary education field.”
Alex always knew he’d study computer science or engineering because he was drawn to computing and problem-solving.
“When decision time came, I was swayed by the interesting courses that my brother was taking, as well as some of the assignments, which looked like something I’d be keen on doing. The other drawcard was the sheer number of courses you can choose from for a Software Engineering degree at Vic.”
The first-year Autonomous Vehicle Challenge is one of the assignments that hooks students into Engineering, says Lecturer Dr Will Browne. Students have to make a vehicle using a micro-processing board, a gear box and a motor driver. Sensors are added to improve performance in a competition to see whose invention takes top honours.
The hand-sized vehicles—which range from mini-tank lookalikes to sand buggies and go karts—have to look good, be recyclable and able to complete physical tasks such as weight pulling, a drag race, a slalom and navigating a maze. “The challenge happens at the end of the first trimester so students are thrown in at the deep end, but it’s really popular and a great way to get students engaged in many aspects of engineering,” says Will.
Although Victoria’s Engineering degree is relatively new, having siblings and cousins involved at the same time is increasingly common, says Will. “Once other family members get to see some of the hands-on and fascinating projects Engineering students do, they get inspired to follow in their footsteps. “To recommend a university course to your own whānau is a pretty high recommendation.”
Although the Quinlivan brothers are at different stages of their degree they get to take some classes together. That’s because John was Alex’s tutor in the first trimester. “It was a bit of fun having my younger brother in the tutorial,” says John, while Alex enjoyed a few perks from living in the same house as the teacher. “I could hitch a ride in to the early morning labs that started at a ludicrous time of 9am which meant I didn’t have to get up early and wait for public transport!”
Studying engineering together has also deliver benefits outside of the university. John and Alex have developed applications for Android and iOS systems, along with a corresponding website, and already have projects underway with several small start-up businesses.
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.
- 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
- 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
- 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