• The Monday Mail - Highlights of the Year - AY16 - #16.33

    Published: Monday, 12 June 2017

    :: Your weekly round-up of undergraduate life in the School. From Toby Howard, Director of Undergraduate Studies. :: http://tinyurl.com/themondaymail | http://www.facebook.com/computersciencemcr | https://twitter.com/csmcr  

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    Hello UG! I hope academic year 2016-17 has been a great year for you all. In this final Monday Mail of the year we’re taking a look back at all the amazing things UG students have got involved with since last September, and as you'll see below, it’s an impressive list, featuring all kinds of successes! Well done everyone!

    Best wishes,
    Toby Howard
    Director of Undergraduate Studies

    * BADGES.  Since we launched the Badges scheme in January 2017, we’ve awarded over 500 badges to 150 students, celebrating all kinds of achievements, from academic successes in course units, to PASS Coordinators and Leaders, SSC Reps, and School Ambassadors, and more!

    * PRIZE WINNERS. In September, UG students received their prizes for excellent academic performance or making significant contributions to the School. IBM ThinkPad Challenge for the best second year group project: Tom Robinson (Y3, CS), Eugen-Alexandru Virtan (Y3, CS4wIE), Anuj Vaishnav (Y3, CSE), Andrew Crofts (CS, out on IE), Cristian Brisan (CSwIE, out on IE), Ivelin Rachev (Y3, CS4); Professors' Prize for the best second year student: Andi Zhang (Y3, CM); Michael Jealous memorial prize for best first year student: Lewis Grozinger (Y2, CS4). Golden Anniversary prizes for excellence in first year studies: Alexander Mitcu (Y2, CS4wIE), Samuel Da Costa (Y2, CMwIE), Yangguang Li (Y2, CM), Igor Wodiany (Y2, CSwIE), Dmytro Chekunov (Y2, CS), Cristian Bodnar (Y2, CSwIE).

    * BLOGPOSTS. This year we welcomed Aayush Chadha (Y1, AI) and Ana Gabriela Pandrea (Y1, AI4wIE) as regular bloggers about student life. Check out Aayush's and Ana's blogs.

    * UKIEPC. In October, at the UK & Ireland Programming Contest we had 11 teams competing from Manchester, out of around 200 in the UK, and 2 of our teams made the top 40. The top three teams from Manchester were: Kifte (4 problems) – Tsvetomir Tsanev (Y1, CS), Konstantin Vladimirov (Y1, CM) and Valentin Borisov (Y1, CM);  m4dch35t3r (4 problems) – Ettore Torti (Y3, CSwIE), Ion Diaconu (Y4, CS4), Izz Abudaka (Y3, CSwIE); and Anonymouslambda (4 problems) – Daniel Thomas (Y3, CSwIE), Ignas Bolsakovas (Y3, CMwIE),  William Brown (Y3, CSwIE). Well done all!

    * HACKTRAIN. In November at HackTrain UK, two Computer Science students, Julio Vega (PhD) and Dragos Alex Radu (Y3, AI) were part of the team who won 2nd place. They developed a prototype to identify and categorize 3D objects from a cloud of points. Congratulations!

    * GREAT UNI HACK. At GreatUniHack 2016 we had more than 250 attendees, mentors and volunteers who all played an important part in making this event so amazing. And we had wins! Alice Colt (Y2, CSBMwIE), Radu Ciobanu (Y2, CSwIE) and Anca Raluca Cristian (Y2, CSwIE) (in a team with a student from Birmingham) won the Barclays Prize! And Andrei Iliescu (Y2, CS), Paul Chelarescu (Y2, CSwIE) and Dragos Alex Radu (Y3, AI) won the Bloomberg Prize! 

    * INTERNATIONAL AWARD. Veneta Haramplieva (CSwIE, graduated 2016, now Software Engineer at Amazon) received a special award from the University in recognition of her final year project being given a "Highly Commended" rating in the international Undergraduate Awards, aka the “Junior Nobel Prizes”, placing her project (supervisor Gavin Brown) in the top 10% of undergraduates internationally, across all subjects. The scheme covered 244 universities worldwide, with a total of 5,514 project entries. Veneta was selected as one of the 9 best Computer Science projects worldwide – an exceptional achievement! You can read her project report here.

    * HACKERGAMES WIN. In November, Ignas Bolsakovas (Y3, CMwIE) and his team won First Prize at the Hackergames hackathon in Utrecht. The team built an intelligent personal assistant that learns the routines and habits of the user. As well as winning the event, they also won a trip to Silicon Valley. Congratulations on this amazing success!

    * OXFORD HACK WIN. At OxfordHack Dragos Alex Radu (Y3, AI), Raul Ignatus (Y1, CS), Andrei Muntean (Y3, CS) and Alexandru-Paul Copil (Y1, AIwIE) won both Second Prize, and the Microsoft Challenge. They developed a program that can generate an instrumental track for your lyrics. You input a text and it uses cosine similarity analysis to find the training data songs that resemble it the most, then takes the first three and inputs them into a restricted Boltzmann machine algorithm that generates new original music based on that. Well done!

    * PROGRAMMING COMP. Still in November, two teams from the School took part in the Northwest Europe Regional Programming Competition (NWERC 2016) in Bath. The teams were "Kifte" (first years) and "m4dch35t3r" (third and fourth years). There were 114 teams competing in total. Team Kifte achieved 26th place, solving 6 out of 11 problems, while m4dch35t3r achieved 69th place, solving 4 out of 11 problems. See the full scoreboard. Only 38 teams solved six or more problems. To get anywhere at all in such a difficult contest is a splendid achievement, and for a first year team to make the top 30 is exceptional. Well done all! Team Kifte: Valentin Borisov (Y1, CM), Tsvetomir Tsanev (Y1, CS),  Konstantin Vladimirov (Y1, CSBM); Team m4dch35t3r: Ion Diaconu (Y3, CS4), Karol Jurasinski (Y3, CMwIE), Ettore Sergey Torti (Y3, CSwIE).

    * HACK-KING SUCCESS. At HackKing's in London Aayush Chadha (Y1, AI), Raul Ignatus (Y1, CS) and Mihnea Savu (Y1, CS) won the Bloomberg Prize for building an application which finds for you the nearest public toilet in London. Another winning team was Igor Wodiany (Y2, CSwIE) and Hamza Ghani (Y2 SE at MMU) who won the Just Eat challenge for creating an automated hotel check-in solution using Amazon Echo. Well done everyone!

    * VENTURE OUT WIN. Zac Riley (Y1, SE4wIE) and Diwakar Saxena (MBS) won 2nd Prize in the Digital Category for their “HallSwap” application in this year’s Venture Out, the University’s student ideas competition run by the Manchester Enterprise Centre.

    * PORTICODE WIN. Petia Davidova (Y1, CSwIE), Mihnea Savu (Y1, CS), Constantine Dimitrov (Y1, SE4wIE) and Rifad Lafir (Y1, CS4wIE) won Best Polished Hack at UCL Porticode. They built a skill for Amazon Alexa called Nancy that allows it to recite a poem, motivate, narrate a story and flirt with the user. Well done!

    * STUDENTHACK SUCCESS. In March, Hacksoc organised StudentHack V, their most ambitious event ever. The Ultrahaptics challenge was won by Liang Huang (Y2, CS), Ziyuan Chen (Y2, CS) and Yangguang Li (Y2, CM) who used the Ultrahaptics Transducer Array. This device is able to create virtual objects in mid air using vibrations and they've used it to create some virtual drums which can be used for playing music. The other team of Pablo Manzano Salmeron (Y1, AI4), Nikolay Gospodinov (Y1, SE4), Alex Ivanov (Y1, CS) and Izz Abudaka (Y3, CSwIE) won three – yes three! – prizes: the Big Data Track Prize, the Accenture Big Data Challenge, and the #HackHarassment Prize. Their hack was using Machine Learning to detect harassment in SMS messages. Well done to you all!

    * HACKTHEBURGH. In late March Teodora Stoleru (Y1, CS), Cristian Bodnar (Y2, CS) and Robert Ihnatisin (Y2, Electronics student) won the top prize at HackTheBurgh in Edinburgh. Their hack was a briefcase on wheels (video proof!) which you can control using your phone. 

    * STAFF-STUDENT CODING COMP. The 5th Annual staff-student coding competition was a huge success as usual, with 23 teams competing. In 1st Place was team Naive Bayesians (staff): Gavin Brown & Tudor Morar; in 2nd Place team StaffMeOutside: Izz Abudaka (Y3, CSwIE) & Nikolay Gospodinov (Y1, SE4); in 3rd Place team Extremely fashionable guys (staff): Andrew Webb & Joe Mellor; Best 1st year team team was team Jordas: Dragos Taraban (Y1, CS4wIE) & Andrei Iordache (Y1, CS4). Well done everyone!

    * CS50. Also in March, the first CS50 Hackathon in Manchester took place at The Landing, MediaCity UK, organised by HackSoc, featuring special guests David J. Malan and his team from Harvard University.

    * HACKTRAIN WINS. At Hacktrain, 24-26 March, Dragos Alex Radu (Y3, AI) won the O2 challenge (best solution for passenger movement data) while Alex Copil (Y1, AIwIE) won the Reading Buses challenge (best solution for buses).

    * SPRING BALL. The Spring Ball was held on 29 April at the Imperial War Museum North, in collaboration with Whitworth Park Halls.

    * HACKMED WIN. Ayush Chadha (Y1, AI), Lorena Oros (Y1, CSBM) and Harry Songhurst (Y1, CS) participated in HackMed2017 in Sheffield at the end of May and won the Oxford Nanopore Technologies challenge for "Best use of data" for their voice-based Parkinson's Disease Diagnostic Service.

    * 1ST YEAR PROJECT SHOWCASE. At the May 1st Year Project Showcase the work on display was as original and imaginative as ever. The winners were: Coolest Application (visual or idea): X6 for UniTracker (a fine UI to timetables and ARCADE data & grades; tutor: Dirk Koch); Best User Interface: X4 for Avoid IT (a route finder that avoid high crime areas/analyses crime data; tutor: John Latham); Best Data Content: W2 for Hungry? Always! (groceries price comparison site; tutor: Mary McGee Wood); Best Implementation Quality: Y1 for Kil-IT (navigation support for Kilburn and IT Building; tutor Carole Twining); Best Implementation Quantity: X6 again for UniTracker; and Most Professional (business plan, legal, ethical, terms-of-use...): X4 again for Avoid IT. The overall winner is X6 (Raul Ignatus, Advik Jain, Samuel Littlefair, Liam Maddison, Andreea Smidu, Teodora Stoleru, Yilei Wu) with an impressive 26 nominations!

    * VENTURE FURTHER. Also in May, Jonathan Tang (Y1, CMwIE) was Runner-Up in the Digital Category of the Manchester Enterprise Centre’s 2017 Venture Further business start-up competition, with his project “HollaMe”, a marketplace and platform for student services exchange.

    * PASS AWARDS SUCCESS.  Struan McDonough (Y3, CMwIE) received an ‘Outstanding Contribution to Peer Support’ award for his contribution to the School’s PASS scheme at the Peer Support Celebration Evening on 4 May at the Ramada Renaissance Hotel. The event was attended by over 100 students and staff from across the University. Struan’s award was presented by Lemn Sissay, Chancellor of the University. This is the 5th year in a row that the School has had at least one recipient of this prestigious award. 

    * SOFTWARE ENG PRIZES. Congratulations to the winners of the IBM Team Challenge in COMP23420! First prize went to Team Q01: Nick Park (Y2, CSwIE), John Iyere (Y2, CSwIE), Costanza Maria Improta (Y2, CSwIE), Martina Catizone (Y2, CS), Asta Simaityte (Y2, CSwIE), James Ellis (Y2, CS4wIE). Two other teams were Highly Commended; Team Q06: Cristian Bodnar (Y2, CS), Alexandru Mitcu (Y2, CSwIE), Alexandru Mardale (Y2, CSwIE), Raul Lozano Martin (Y2, SEwIE), Max Staniforth (Y2, CS), Bowen Li (Y2, CS), for their excellent approach to testing and additional work on the REST API; and Team R04: Daniel Allison (Y2, CMwIE), Natalia Piasek (Y2, CS), Pierre Barnaud (Y2, SEwIE), Danielle Holliday (Y2, CMwIE), Boyin Yang (Y2, CS), Anca Cristian (Y2, CSwIE) for their collegiate working practices and high quality user interface.

    [ End of The Monday Mail - Highlights of the Year - AY16 - #16.33 ]
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