- 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.
- 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
Coverage of the IPENZ graduate profileThe panel was satisfied that the VUW outcomes were substantially equivalent to the generic IPENZ Graduate Competence Profile for Professional Engineers; that by deriving them from VUW's overarching outcomes they were linked to VUW as a specific provider; and that they incorporated feedback from VUW's industry advisory panel and programme advisory panel.
About IPENZ accreditationIPENZ, the professional body which represents professional engineers from all disciplines in New Zealand, manages the accreditation of all New Zealand professional engineering programmes. Full accreditation means that Victoria University‘s BE programme is taught to the standards set out in the Washington Accord, and that Victoria now stands equal with other professional New Zealand engineering programmes in terms of international recognition. IPENZ accreditation provides graduates with international recognition through the Washington Accord. Other jurisdictions currently covered by the Accord are Australia, Canada, Chinese Taipei, Hong Kong China, Ireland, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Russia, Singapore, South Africa, Turkey, the USA and the UK. To learn more about IPENZ accreditation visit http://www.ipenz.org.nz
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.
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
Paving the way for female Māori graduates13 May 2013 Miria Royal doesn’t see herself as a trail blazer for Māori women but, as the first Māori female to be accepted into Vodafone’s Graduate Technology Programme, it’s a concept the Victoria University graduate is getting used to.
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org, 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
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.
Victoria Engineering students win Australasian robotics competitionA team of engineering students from Victoria University of Wellington has taken top honours in the Australasian National Instruments Autonomous Robotics Competition held in Melbourne this week. The Victoria team, ‘Ownbot’, beat 15 other teams from Australian and New Zealand universities with its robot Michelangelo, named after its turtle-like shape. A video of the achievement is gaining attention in the press. Led by PhD student Henry Williams, the team was made up of undergraduate and postgraduate students from the School of Engineering and Computer Science: Tessa Phillips, Robby Lopez, Alex Campbell, Hamish Colenso, Alice Lawn and Joseph Shadwick. Henry says he is “well chuffed” that their autonomous creation performed so well. Dr Will Browne, a senior lecturer in the School who supported the students as they developed Michelangelo, is excited by the win. “It’s fantastic news. The students have worked incredibly hard on this project over the last few months and to see them win a competition like this is just superb. “It showcases the depth of talent and skill amongst our students, and also the team’s passion for robotics, since this was an extra-curricular project which complemented their formal studies.” Dr Browne says things weren’t all plain sailing for the team, with Michelangelo initially consuming too much power and nearly catching fire, but the students overcame the difficulties through excellent teamwork. To qualify for the competition finals, the team had to achieve four milestones during the year, which tested different aspects of the robot’s capability. The students documented their progress through a blog (http://vuwniarc2013.blogspot.co.nz). In the grand final this week, the Victoria University team won the ultimate ‘Gold Rush’ themed task, where robots were required to navigate an obstacle-filled course, and identify, pick up and move objects to designated locations in the shortest possible time. The team has won a cash prize $3,000. Quicktime Movie of Michelangelo
Two highly-respected academic staff from the School of Engineering and Computer Science (ECS) have been recognised for their outstanding contribution to Victoria University in teaching and research. In Victoria’s Staff Excellence Awards for 2016, Dr Ciaran Moore received an Early Career Teaching Award and a $5000 grant, while Professor Mengjie Zhang received a Research Excellence Award and a $10,000 grant. The Awards are designed to acknowledge staff who have gone over and above the call of duty and are also a tangible way of promoting excellence at Victoria. Dr Moore, a lecturer in electronics and maths, says his teaching responsibilities have included re-designing first-year engineering maths papers, and encouraging peer-led learning among students. “I delivered a series of labs to show how maths can be used in an engineering context”, he says. “I also organised self-paced labs and student-led tutorials. Students learned a lot from each other and got to see their learning in action”. Dr Moore’s techniques had a great effect on overall engagement and achievement in his courses. He says it was a “wonderful feeling” to be recognised for his efforts and plans to use the grant to attend an engineering education conference in the United States in October. Colleague Professor Mengjie Zhang also has plans for his grant. The Professor of Computer Science and Associate Dean (Research and Innovation) for the Faculty of Engineering was recognised for superb research leadership, especially in Evolutionary Computation, including several international awards. “I will use the money to support staff and students’ research”, says Professor Zhang. “I would like to help more people within our Group and Faculty to play an international leadership role in their areas, and to attract high-quality students from overseas”. Vice Chancellor Professor Grant Guilford agrees that acknowledging exemplary staff contribution is a crucial step for Victoria. “In order to achieve our goal of being a world-leading capital city university, we need to ensure we foster and support excellence for the world-leading people across our organisation”, he says. This year Professor Guilford presented 22 staff excellence awards, including several to teams. He says, “These accolades are testament to the work of all the people who make our capital city university tick”.
It’s an exciting week in the Victoria University calendar. From Monday, the first cohort of students officially begin classes at the Wellington ICT Graduate School, located in a new space on Wigan Street in the heart of Wellington’s CBD. As our world becomes increasingly digitally-dependent, graduates with strong digital skills are more in demand than ever. The School – a partnership between Victoria University, WelTec and Whitireia – is offering four brand new Master’s programmes: a Master of Software Development, a Master of Engineering Practice, a Master of Professional Business Analysis and a Master of Information Technology. Wellington is widely known as the ideal place to study ICT. It boasts a creative and innovative environment, with significant local digital, film and gaming industries, alongside a strong start-up culture. While New Zealand’s ICT industry is booming, Wellington is at the heart of the growth with more than 13,000 full-time ICT jobs in the wider region. Rees Ward, Director of the School, says New Zealand’s industry leaders have identified the need to grow the ICT workforce. “The Wellington ICT Graduate School will expose students to the industry as they undertake their study, to ensure they join the workforce attuned to the latest trends and practices”, says Mr Ward. “Industry partners will be able to connect with students through scholarships, mentoring opportunities, internships and project work”. The Master of Software Development, for example, is a one-year, 180 point Master’s degree delivered through a combination of coursework, and Research and Development (R&D) projects with industry partners. The course will also include a range of case studies from Wellington’s software development industry. About 18 of the programme’s enrolled students recently completed SWEN131, a programming ‘bootcamp’ designed to develop their basic skills, prepare them for their coursework and give them a taste of what is to come. Students learnt to design and debug small programmes and work on larger software projects in groups while applying software development methodologies and tools. Professor Mike Wilson, Pro Vice-Chancellor of the Faculties of Science, Architecture and Design and Engineering at Victoria, is welcoming the new classes. “This is an excellent opportunity for Wellington and for us all to combine our existing networks, resources and education capabilities", he says. ”Our aim is to develop a school that will create a pool of ICT talent and develop research partnerships, not just for the benefit of Wellington, but for all of New Zealand". For more information, check out https://www.wellingtonict.ac.nz/
- If you are going to spend money on Pokémon GO, the egg hatchers are the best bet for improving Exp gain and getting rarer Pokémon – just don’t use them on 2 km eggs.
- Take it easy! The game will be around for a long time and will be rebalanced and modified, so don’t try to do everything at once.
- Don’t bother with Zubats. Catch Pidgeys, Caterpies and Weedles for mass evolution.
- Combat Points (CP) values on gym defenders are irrelevant. You can take a gym that is 500CP above you with a type advantage, and 750-1000CP above you if you can time dodges well.
- Multiple people on the same team can attack a gym at once to make it easier.
- Team Valor is the best.
- If you are going to use lures, the Botanical Gardens, Frank Kitts Park and Victoria University all have locations where three PokeStops overlap. These are the best lure spots - lots of people get to use them, and you get to spawn lots more Pokémon.”
- Software engineering, esp., maintenance (software refactoring)
- Service-oriented & object-oriented architectures
- Data engineering, esp., service & schema matching
- Green-aware engineering of service-oriented software
- Software-as-a-Service architectural model on the cloud
- Software design principles & patterns.
“The appointment of someone of Mandy Simpson’s calibre as Chief Executive Officer is further testimony to the quality and impact of Cyber Toa,” said Professor Dale Carnegie, Dean of the University’s Faculty of Engineering.
“A combination of Victoria’s research and teaching excellence, Cyber Toa’s status as one of just 10 certified training partners in the world of the gold-standard Software Engineering Institute (SEI) at Carnegie Mellon University in the United States and Mandy’s extraordinary leadership skills makes for cybersecurity capability and potential unmatched in New Zealand.”
Victoria’s partnership with Cyber Toa, previously the cyber division of Total Risk, includes a new Master of Cybersecurity, with a range of undergraduate degrees also proposed.
In addition, Cyber Toa’s existing SEI-accredited cybersecurity training delivered in association with Victoria is being expanded to eventually include all 42 courses the SEI has available.
Cyber Toa and Victoria will be the only provider in the Southern Hemisphere to offer all the courses, teaching them in Wellington and Auckland, and if demand requires in Australia and other Asia-Pacific countries.
The partnership also sees the establishment of a commercial computer security incident response team, or CSIRT, run by Cyber Toa and based at Victoria’s Kelburn campus, where it will offer proactive and reactive cybersecurity support to businesses and other clients.
Chief Operating Officer at NZX for the past four years, Ms Simpson has held senior roles at the State Services Commission and IT services company Fronde.
Born in Britain but a Wellingtonian since 2006, she has an Executive Master of Public Administration from Victoria’s Australia and New Zealand School of Government and a Master of Arts in Law from the University of Cambridge.
She trained as an accountant at Deloitte in London, specialising in financial investigation, and later spent four years at the London Stock Exchange, initially in market surveillance.
Ms Simpson said: “I’m excited to be joining Cyber Toa in this key growth phase. As the use of technology accelerates in all areas of our business and personal lives, the need for qualified, capable cybersecurity professionals has never been clearer. With Cyber Toa’s world-class expertise, and in partnership with Victoria University, we’ll be able to make a significant difference to our clients’ ability to respond to this growing threat.”
“PxlJam is a whirlwind event where teams have to design a game in just 48 hours based on a given theme. This year’s theme was “It’s not a bug, it’s a feature!” We competed last year after we were encouraged to get involved by one of our tutors - and we enjoyed it so much we decided to have another crack this year.
Our team consisted of us coders – Hannah and Tana – as well as designers Nicola Yeo and Gerrit van Rooyen, and our friend Jackson Cordery, who studies musical composition. There’s a great mix of people who take part, from first years who we’ve tutored ourselves through to PhD students who’ve tutored us. There are even people outside of the University who come along because they have a passion for game-making.
After the theme was announced, we spent the first few hours coming up with an idea for the game, which we found really challenging to begin with. The theme could be interpreted so many different ways and we wanted to come up with something unique. So we deliberately built bugs into our game, but gave players the ability to turn those bugs into tools they could use to complete each level.
Although we probably got more sleep than the majority of competitors, time management was still the biggest issue. We spent a lot of time getting the game mechanics to work - and we still didn’t have any levels designed three hours out from the end of the competition!
There were so many awesome games and it was amazing to see what other people came up with. One of the highlights was collaborating with the two designers in our team – they were great to work with and they also created some really cool content that was key to our success. Jackson’s compositions were also a real selling point: his music was amazing and everyone who played our game commented on how nicely the different pieces of music complemented the overall experience.
We didn’t expect to win overall – we were just there to have fun making games with our friends – but we were so happy to place first after last year, when our game was nowhere near as good. This year’s competition was sponsored by Victoria University, Victoria Engineering Club, Acidic website developers and Powershop, so we got to choose from a big pool of prizes: everything from Nerf guns with foam ammo to Steam gaming vouchers.
We’d love to revisit our game in the future to really flesh it out. We need to fix up some bugs and create some more levels and content. We met some awesome people, got great content for our portfolios – and it was some of the best fun we’ve had this trimester!”
The School of Engineering and Computer Science (ECS) was twice recognised for teaching excellence at the Student Representation Celebration held by the Victoria University of Wellington Students' Association (VUWSA) recently. From more than 100 nominations, VUWSA's selection committee awarded ECS's Dr Elf Eldridge the prestigious Lecturer of the Year Award, while Senior Tutor Dr Howard Lukefahr received an Honourable Mention. It was the first time that Victoria's outstanding lecturers were recognised at the awards, alongside the achievement of exceptional student representatives and student leaders. Annaliese Wilson, VUWSA's Education Officer, said the time was right to celebrate Victoria's unsung heroes with a formal awards ceremony. "We wanted to recognise the quality of our talented teaching staff and the time and effort they put into making their lectures useful and engaging", Annaliese said. "The Education Team had a tough time selecting the winners becaues of the high calibre of the candidates". Elf Eldridge, a well-known personality around campus and an ECS institution in his own right, is currently teaching ENGR101 (Introductory Engineering) and ENGR110 (Engineering Modelling and Design). He is also actively involved in many of the student hackathon events held throughout the year and frequently uses social media to engage with students. Students nominated Elf - one describing him as "hands down the best lecturer I have ever had" - for always making lectures enjoyable, for his clear and accessible teaching style, and for going above and beyond the call of duty when students need extra help. "Elf is very passionate about engineering, friendly and empathetic - and he makes every class interesting", said one student. "He can explain difficult concepts well, he is entertaining to listen to, and he captivates the audience no matter what the topic". "Elf really enjoys the subject he is teaching, which makes for a good vibe in class", said another student. "When I queried a grade, he sat down and remarked my assignment with me, giving me personal feedback as he went". Elf himself says the best thing about being an ECS lecturer is working with students who have a great mix of enthusiasm and humour - and teaching a subject that is so relatable. "Engineering and Computer Science is so easily connected to modern life; be it from examining content throttling by Internet Service Providers, to discussing the effect of bugs in games; from the design of new graphics cards to the ethics of probing the security of a network", he says. Elf has also honed his teaching technique to get the best from his students. "I try to acknowledge that my students are human - for example, I split my lectures into two 20-minute chunks with a break for a discussion or a video in between, so it's easier to concentrate", he says. "I also use my class reps to keep track of how busy students are; I sometimes cancel lectures to give students more time, and I visit the labs regularly to keep tabs on their progress." Senior Tutor Howard Lukefahr's students were equally quick to point out his commitment to helping students achieve highly in the four 100-level Engineering courses he teaches. "Howard has gone out of his way to help us get through our first year of engineering and our first set of university exams", said one student. "He even ran extra tutorials before assessments". Students also commended Howard for making sure that no one is left behind. "He always makes sure that everyone understands the concepts by teaching in an engaging, fun and informative way. I am nominating him because he is the most involved and passionate lecturer I have ever had. "It's because of him that I have succeeded this year". Howard himself says it is a "great honour" to receive the Honourable Mention from VUWSA. "I get to work with very keen and able students everyday - they like learning and I like helping them learn", he says.
L-R: Nikkitesh, Dipen, Fatemah and Michael The other winning team from Victoria ‘Team IV & CO’ comprises Bachelor of Commerce students Michael Kotlyar, Fatemeh Saleh and Nikkitesh Gurnani, and Software Engineering student Dipen Patel. ‘Team IV & CO’ secured their spot at the national final by designing an app called ‘MYOB Recruit’ that streamlines the recruitment process for small to medium businesses. Michael says the app fills a gap in the market by being an “all-in-one app that organises finding the applicants, completing forms and finalising the contract”. The app makes the hiring process easier, quicker and cheaper as businesses would no longer have to use multiple services. Michael adds there’s still work to do ahead of nationals as they need to develop their prototype, refine their business plan and practise their presentation ahead of the finals. Both teams are being flown to Auckland to compete in the national final against teams from University of Auckland, AUT and University of Canterbury, each hoping to pocket some of the $5,000 prize money.