Associate Professor Ali Knott will spend the next two years working at a newly-formed AI company based in Auckland, Soul Machines. The company was launched yesterday: it's a commercial spin-off of Mark Sagar's Laboratory for Animate Technologies at Auckland University. Soul Machines will build simulated computer agents, using novel computer graphics and AI technologies.
The AI approach is novel in using biologically-inspired neural networks as a core technology, and in 'starting from scratch', by focussing on modelling how babies learn about the world around them. Ali has been collaborating with Mark since 2014, as part of his ongoing Marsden project on language and sensorimotor cognition.
Learn about the rapidly expanding field of 'Internet of Things' with the NodeMCU board. We will provide all the basics you need to start your own projects! You will learn how to set up an electronic circuit, program it to sense and respond, and eventually upload your data onto the internet. There are many different applications for this kind of technology; you could have a self-watering plant or a website showing you the temperature in your home.
We will provide all the equipment necessary, including computers, but you have the opportunity to buy the electronic board, sensors and components for around $20 at the end of the workshop so you can continue to play!
The workshop will run on the 8th and 9th of December in the Computer Science Department, from 9am - 4pm with a lunch break around 12pm - 1pm. It is open to year 7 and up. Each day is charged at $60; but we highly recommend you come for both days. The teaching ratio will be 1 to 5.
Please email email@example.com if you are interested in signing up!
The department was delighted to hear today that Dr Yawen Chen has won a Marsden Research Fund award of $300,000.
Yawen's project title is 'Optical Network-on-Chips (ONoCs): Architectures and Routing Algorithms for Ultra High-Throughput and Energy-Efficient On-Chip Communications'.
Read more about the project and the award at the Royal Society site here.
Emeritus Professor Brian Cox, our department's founder and first Head of Department has passed away today.
For those of you who didn't know him, Brian was Head of Computer Science from its formation as a department in 1984 until he retired in 2000. Before that he was Director of the Computing Centre (now ITS).
His funeral will be on Monday at Hope & Sons at 3pm.
The Department welcomes our new lecturer Stefanie Zollmann, who has come to us having worked previously with ARL as a senior developer.Stefanie's staff page.
Congratulations to Hamza Bennani for being awarded the 2nd best poster at the Dodd Walls Centre Symposium in Queenstown last week. Well done Hamza!
Let's talk Science (featuring A/P Zhiyi Huang)
Brainwaves are the Future: Anxiety, Telekinesis and the Mind
ATOM, previously SciCo, is an OUSA-affiliated club aiming to provide learning and social events for science students. They have an upcoming event called Let's Talk Science where two University researchers (AP Zhiyi Huang and Prof Neil McNaughton) are speaking about their exciting research on brainwaves and the implications of it for us as students. This event is on the Wednesday 23rd of March at 5.30pm in Quad 4.
The department congratulates Matt Crane, whose PhD thesis 'Improved indexing and searching throughput' has just been accepted.
Matt's thesis is available here.
This semester we are organising a series of seminars to discuss the impact of Artificial Intelligence (AI) on society. Recent advances in AI are focussing attention on several questions.
Some are technical. What can AI techniques do now? What advances are we likely to see?
Some are philosophical. What sort of thing is a machine 'with human-like intelligence'? If such a thing was created, what ethical obligations would we have towards it?
Some are legal and/or political. What impact would intelligent machines have on our society? What legislation should control such machines?
We feel it's a good time to discuss this question in an interdisciplinary environment, since no-one's an expert in all these areas.
The seminars will run all semester, on Fridays from 3:30-4:30pm, in Owheo, Room G34. (Theyĺll take the place of the AI/graphics seminars for this semester.) The first seminar will be on Friday 4th March. At this seminar, there will be some short introductory presentations, and then a discussion about what form the seminar series should take: we don't have a set agenda, and would appreciate everyone's input.
Looking forward to seeing you on Friday of Week 1!
Ali Knott (Computer Science)
James Maclaurin (Philosophy)
Colin Gavaghan (Law)
Computer Science postgrad Hamza Bennani has won the OUSA Teaching Excellence award for best Tutor/Demonstrator in Summer School 2016. Well done Hamza!
Matt has been offered and has accepted a one-year contract (with an option to extend) as a Post-Doctoral Fellow under Professor Jimmy Lin, in the Department of Computer Science, at the University of Waterloo in Canada.
Applications are invited for a full-time, confirmation path position as Lecturer in the Department of Computer Science. The successful applicant will be expected to teach at undergraduate and postgraduate levels, develop an active research programme, and supervise postgraduate research students.
There are still places available on our Summer School papers COMP160 (General Programming) and COSC360 (Computer Game Design).
For background on the COMP160 paper see here.
Allso see the University's Summer School page for the paper.
For more info on the COSC360 paper including a FAQ and examples of games produced by previous classes see here.
You can also look at the University's Summer School page for the paper.
Graeme Muller (CEO of NZTech)
Technology continues to evolve at an exponential pace. As we move further into the era of cloud, mobile computing and big data analytics we are starting to observe a new wave of innovation accelerators. From 3D printing, AI and robotics to bio- & nano-technology these new technologies are all developing exponentially. As the pace of change accelerates, Graeme Muller, the Chief Executive of the New Zealand Technology Industry Association, will share insights into the exponential opportunities that this could bring for New Zealand.
1 - 2 pm
Seminar Room (G34)
133 Union Street East
From Amy Ma, Sqore:
Create something amazing with this November's Nature Hack! Callaghan Innovation and Landcare Research are challenging NZ students to a weekend hackathon on Nov 6 - 8.
Free to enter, and held at a secret location in Wellington. Dream teams of up to three, or take destiny into your own hands!
The Computer Science department is offering a number of research bursaries this Summer. Bursaries are offered to 'returning students' - i.e. students who will continue studying CS topics next year, either as undergrads or postgrads. Each bursary is worth $500 per week for 10 weeks. Bursaries are mainly intended for students completing their 3rd or 4th years of CS, but if you're finishing your 2nd year and you're a smart cookie, it's also worth applying.
Below is a list of projects which our staff have proposed. If you'd like to apply for a bursary, please email Alistair Knott (firstname.lastname@example.org) with your choices, in the following format:
Ranked list of preferred project titles
- First choice:
- Second choice:
- Third choice:
You don't have to specify more than one project title - please don't specify more than three.
The deadline for applications is **Tuesday 29th September**.
Best wishes - Ali
Project title: Visual tracking for BristleBot football
Supervisors: Steven Mills, Anthony Robins, Mike Paulin (Zoology)
Robot Soccer has been a successful outreach activity for the department for many years, but the Lego robots are expensive and can be difficult to co-ordinate. A (much) cheaper alternative is 'BristleBots', which are essentially tooth-brush heads with a mobile phone vibrator on them:
These can be given basic control with Arduino boards, but typically have very limited sensors (if any). One solution is to suspend a camera above the pitch and send information about the locations of the BristleBots and the ball to all the players. The purpose of this project is to write software that can detect and track up to 8 BristleBots and a ball in real time from such an overhead view. This information would then be sent to the BristleBots to allow them to plan their behaviour.
Project title: Developing a database and web front-end for a pipeline supporting researchers analysing ancient DNA
Supervisors: David Eyers, James Boocock (Biochemistry)
University of Otago researchers examining ancient DNA required a particular bioinformatics workflow to be implemented. The necessary programming and scripting work has been completed but requires significant technical experience to use. This project will develop a web interface for controlling the pipeline, and a database to manage its input data and the results generated. A stretch goal is setting up a cloud-hosted service.
Project title: Building a web-based system for examining the University's energy consumption
Supervisor: David Eyers
The University is seeking to better collate and correlate its data on energy use, both in terms of electricity and heating. This project will develop a web interface that aggregates data from a collection of existing heterogeneous data sources. Depending on time and candidates' skill-sets, integration of additional types of energy sensor may be implemented, alongside geospatial and/or mobile interfaces.
Project title: Reverse-engineering a robot
Supervisors: David Eyers, coordinating with Steven Mills and Allan Hayes
The department has a somewhat ancient, but potentially capable robot that was custom-built at significant cost for some Artificial Intelligence research. The robot has spent its recent life in the Department's museum doing nothing. Far from humanoid, the robot is cylindrical in shape, and about the height of a chair. It can spin on its axis and move forwards and backwards. It has various sensors for detecting distance and movement, and has speakers and microphones. It has no limbs, and as far as we know, contains no laser weaponry. The robot contains a fairly typical, standard-sized PC motherboard of the day. That computer is independent of, but connected to, the robot control systems. This project would involve getting the robot up and running, as well as figuring out what we can and can't do with it.
Project title: Augmented Reality Sandpit
Supervisors: Steven Mills, Holger Regenbrecht (Information Science)
Together with Surveying, we are interested in building an Augmented Reality Sandpit. What's an AR Sandpit and why do we want one? Watch these videos:
Basically it is a Kinect depth sensor and a projector over a sandpit. The Kinect tells us the shape of the sand, and the projector can add textures, contours, or virtual objects such as water. There is existing open source software for this, and the first step would be to install that. The current software only uses version 1 of the Kinect sensor, so the next step would be to update it to use the new (v2) sensor. Finally it is expected that you would work with another student and staff from Surveying to develop software that will be used to evaluate the AR sandpit as a teaching tool next year. Longer term we're interested in the user interface possibilities of such a device.
Project Title: Developing applications for Wearable EEG Devices
Supervisor: Zhiyi Huang
Electroencephalography (EEG) is a recording of electrical activity from human brain. It contains a lot of interesting and important bio-information from human body which are yet to be discovered. Recently there are quite a few off-the-shelf, wearable and portable EEG devices available, such as Brainlink, MUSE, and Emotiv. Some interesting mobile Apps were developed for gaming and meditation. However, more interesting Apps could be designed and developed. In this project, advanced Apps based on EEG will be designed and developed based on Raspberry Pi.
Celebrating the UNESCO International Year of Light, the Art and Light Exhibition features collaborations between artists and scientists around the theme of light. The exhibition is hosted by the Otago Museum and runs until 30 August.
Steven Mills has been involved in the development of one of the installations, and two other artists have produced works in response to aspects of his research.
"[Steven Joyce] has now revealed that the southern ICT grad school school will be hosted by the South Island Tertiary Alliance, which consists of the University of Canterbury, Christchurch Polytechnic and Institute of Technology (CPIT), Lincoln University, Otago Polytechnic and the University of Otago.
It will eventually have a Christchurch campus .. and a satellite site in Dunedin."
The department congratulates Mira Guise, whose PhD thesis has now been accepted.
Mira's thesis is entitled 'An examination of polychronous neural groups as a potential substrate for representation'.
Congratulations to Andrew Webb, whose recently-awarded PhD thesis has been placed on the Division of Science's list of 'Exceptional PhD theses'.
Exceptional theses are listed here.
Associate Professor Ali Knott will be giving a talk on National Radio's 'Our changing world' on National Radio about his work on language and sensorimotor cognition.
Full details are here.
Two Departmental staff members (Sandy Garner, Anthony Robins) are members of the Robotics Education NZ Trust (RENZ), and very active in supporting robotics activities such as RoboCup Junior in schools.
RENZ has just been awarded a $10,000 grant from Google's Computer Science for High Schools (CS4HS) programme. The purpose of the grant is to run workshops for training teachers in robotics, and thus supporting schools' robotics activities.
COMP112 - Wed 3 Jun - 2:30
COMP150 - Tue 9 Jun - 2:30
COSC241 - Sat 13 Jun - 2:30
COSC243 - Tue 16 Jun - 9:30
COSC341 - Mon 8 Jun - 9:30
COSC342 - Wed 3 Jun - 2:30
COSC343 - Wed 17 Jun - 9:30
COSC410 - Sat 6 Jun - 2:30
COSC420 - Wed 3 Jun - 2:30
COSC430 - Thu 11 Jun - 2:30
TELE301 - Fri 5 Jun - 9:30
TELE402 - Fri 5 Jun - 2:30
Study abroad as part of your Otago degree.
To find out more, check the Exchange week events listed here.
As part of a radio interview, hear Head of Department Prof Michael Albert talk about quantum computing research with the Dodd-Walls Centre for Photonics and Quantum Technologies (a new Centre of Research Excellence).
Check the link named 'Play' at the bottom of this RadioNZ page to hear the full interview.
Prelim lectures will be held as follows this Friday
As previously notified
COMP112 - 9:30 - Archway 4
COSC200 - 10:30 - Archway 4
COSC300 - 11:00 - Archway 4
COSC400 - 11:30 - Owheo G34
COMP150 - 2:00 - Burns 1
TELE 300 - 12:00 - Commerce 220
TELE 400 - 11:00 - Commerce 220
Campus tours for new students are running 16th-20th February.
Remember that the department offers three papers in Summer School 2015 - COMP160 (General Programming), COSC326 (Effective Programming) and COSC360 (Computer Game Design).
Closing date for Summer School enrolment is 10th December.
The Department of Computer Science at the University of Otago offers school students the chance to learn how to program in a fun way, using robots.
Many employers will be attending a Careers event to be held on Wednesday 20th August from 6-8.30pm in Com 2.03 & Com Staff Room.
Congratulations to our latest completed PhD, Paul McCarthy.
His thesis is entitled "Analysis of fMRI/EEG Data using Graph Theory Techniques". He was supervised by Dr Lubica Benuskova and Prof. Liz Franz (Psychology).
Update: Paul is now a postdoc with the FMRIB Centre, Nuffield Department of Clinical Neurosciences, University of Oxford, U.K.
Sight Singing App
Originally aired on Our Changing World, Thursday 19 June 2014
"There are many people who want to sing or join a choir but who can't read and sing music at first sight, so at the University of Otago, Judy Bellingham, from the Department of Music, teamed up with Geoff Wyvill from the Department of Computer Science to develop an app to help people learn not only to sight-sing music but also learn some basics about music in general. "
Read more and listen to the Radio NZ programme here.
Listen to Brendan McCane and Steve Mills on Radio New Zealand talking about Nabeel Khan's recently completed PhD thesis, which is entitled 'Self localisation in indoor environments using machine vision'.
Check the 'Mobile App for Recognising Places' clip on this RNZ page:
Our Changing World
The ODT have now picked up the story: Smartphone app helps blind find their way
Computer Science graduate Stu Sharpe of Cannonball Software is pictured in New York with the Sports Emmy for outstanding new approaches for sports event coverage, awarded for an app which allows users to follow the action during America's Cup races: ODT story.
Congratulations to the following two students who were both awarded their PhD on 27 March.
Jenny McDonald - "A pragmatic tutorial dialogue system: design, implementation and evaluation in a health sciences domain".
Nabeel Khan - "Self localisation in indoor environments using machine vision".
SLI Systems is an innovative software development company offering up to two awards of $2,500 to students who:
- are enrolled in undergraduate or postgraduate study in Computer Sciences, Information Sciences, Mathematics, Sciences or related fields
- have a passion for coding, are detail oriented and have an instinctive desire to solve problems
Applications should consist of:
- a brief C.V.
- a covering letter discussing the applicantĺs interests and study in relation to the type of work carried out by SLI Systems (see below).
- an academic transcript (the Doctoral and Scholarships Office can provide this ľ just add a signed note to your application giving the University permission to provide the transcript on your behalf).
Applications are due by 5pm, Monday 31 March. Applications must be submitted to the University of Otago Doctoral and Scholarships Office.
If you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact the Doctoral and Scholarships Office:
Ph. 479 5292
Graduate Research School, north end of the Clocktower Building
"SLI Systems is at the forefront of developing innovative search technology, user-generated search engine optimization (SEO) services and dynamic site navigation. The company supports hundreds of ecommerce sites globally and serves millions of page views every day.
SLI Systems offers an exciting work environment and employs passionate and talented Software Developers from around the world.
The SLS Systems Scholarships for students attending the University of Otago have been established in 2013 to provide not only financial assistance but also networking and career opportunities for smart and tech-savvy students."
"A virtual recruitment fair is hoping to attract hundreds of international candidates to IT jobs in New Zealand in a bid to fill the skills shortage facing the sector.
An industry group estimates there are currently 10,000 IT vacancies [in NZ], which companies are struggling to fill.
In a bid to plug that gap, recruitment website Workhere.co.nz, Immigration New Zealand, the expat network Kea and the New Zealand Technology Industry Association are hosting a virtual event called Tech Connect.
Thousands of IT workers from around the world are expected to dial into the the live streamed event on 31 March, where around 50 companies are advertising 200 jobs, as well as presentations from chief executives and industry leaders. "
Read more: IT sector plans recruitment drive.
The department would like to congratulate Sheetal Jadhav whose PhD thesis "QoS-based handover for next generation wireless networks" was recently accepted.
Sheetal's supervisors were Associate Professor Zhiyi Huang and Dr Haibo Zhang (and previously Dr Paul Werstein).
She is currently working at the General Electric John F. Welch Technology Centre in Bangalore, India.
Associate Professor Ali Knott's TEDx Athens talk 'The building blocks of language and perception is now available on YouTube.
'TEDxAthens is a world-class conference about Innovation, Creativity and Ideas based in Athens, Greece. TEDxAthens is one of the first TEDx events worldwide and the first ever TEDx event in Greece - started in May 2009. Its main goal is to develop and leverage the TED experience at a regional level, uniting innovators, thinkers, inspirational speakers, shakers, makers and breakers. TEDxAthens is curated by Dimitris Kalavros-Gousiou and organized by a team of 40 volunteers.'
You can view the video here.
From Head of Department Prof. Michael Albert:
"Please join me in congratulating Lynn whose PhD thesis 'A natural interface for 3D manipulation' has been accepted. As a result, the convener of examiners (who just happens to be me) has made a final recommendation that she be awarded the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.
Congratulations Lynn and best of luck in your future endeavours."
You can see a short video of some of Lynn's work here.
Longstanding 300-level Teaching Fellows Raymond Scurr and Matthew Jenkin have left their positions.
Matthew had been in the Department since 2002. He was especially associated with the renowned COSC326 paper, Effective Programming.
Raymond has had an even longer association with the Department, and first started tutoring in 1984. He then had a spell in the Maths Department, but then returned to Computer Science in 1996.
Raymond is continuing as a demonstrator.
The current issue of the Univerity of Otago magazine describes Associate Professor Ali Knott and Dr Lubica Benuskova and Dr Martin Takac's Marsden supported research into language and the sensorimotor system.
Software Developer and Computer Systems Analyst have been rated #1 and #2 in a list of 100 Best Jobs (in the USA).
Also, 'Growth for both types of IT professionals should balloon: The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts there will be nearly 140,000 brand new positions created before 2022.'.
Following requests, a page listing New Zealand ICT employment resources has been created, for use by students and graduates interested in employment opportunities.
Check it here.
Suggestions for additional resources can be sent to Robert: email@example.com.
Applications are open for the Kevin L Novins Scholarship/Fellowship
Applications are due in by 1st April, 2014.
Dr Kevin Novins was a valued member of the Department of Computer Science from 1995-2001 who tragically passed away in 2011. This scholarship/fellowship has been made possible by a generous bequest from the Novins family to the Alumni of the University of Otago in America.
The department can no longer subsidise student printing.
We hope to introduce the OU Uniprint / mPrint (or some other user-pays variant) system in our labs before Semester One
Two awards were won at the Image and Vision Computing NZ, 2013 conference last week:
Maria Mikhisor won the best student paper.
Steven Mills won the best poster.
Congratulations to both!
The department has farewelled secretary Helen Mulholland, with a presentation at today's morning tea.
Helen worked in the department for the last two and a half years.
Congratulations to Ali Knott and Lubica Benuskova who have had their Marsden grant application funded. The project is called 'Does language syntax mirror the structure of sensorimotor cognition?' and the amount awarded is $652,174.
Details of all the Marsden awards are here.
Message to students from Head of Department Professor Michael Albert:
First of all, I hope you've had a good semester. See you at the barbecue on Friday (RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org if you haven't already done so), and good luck with your exams.
Please remember that the department offers two papers at summer school that you may be interested in:
COSC326: Effective programming (note that this is a required paper for both the B.Sc. and B.A.)
COSC360: Computer Game Design (the page www.cs.otago.ac.nz/cosc360 will tell you a bit about last year's version of the course -- next year's will differ slightly)
The resources to offer these papers come directly from their enrolments -- so sign up soon please!
For further information, please don't hesitate to contact me or Willem Labuschagne (email@example.com) our adviser of studies.
The Dunedin site of the South Pacific Programming Contest saw three teams from the University of Otago Computer Science Department go head-to-head with a field of 85 other teams from sites in Australia and New Zealand.
Fewer than half of the SPPC teams in 2013 were able to answer more than two questions correctly, but all of our teams were able to get three questions finished. Our top performing team on the day, Breakfast Search (Stuart Austin, Nicky Crawford, and Matthew Bennett) came 22nd overall, followed closely by Team Pedro (Toby Yuretich, Cain Edie-Michell, and Tim Jacomb) and Bint Fatuma (Caitlin Miller, Vaughan Weatherall, and Nic Robertson) and many teams were close to stepping up to another question solved.
Site coordinator David Eyers would like to thank Matthew Jenkin for his support throughout the year; Cathy Chandra for a number of changes that facilitated us being able to run contests within the student labs; and of course the teams for applying themselves throughout the year.
Now that we are back in the routine of competing in the practice rounds (after a many-year hiatus), I look forward to building on these successes in future years!
Please contact David Eyers if you are interested in competing.
The 2013 OUSA teaching awards voting is about to open.
Voting will run until the last day of semester two (11th October).
Students can vote for one top lecturer and also the most inclusive lecturer (a disability support based award).
There a prize for one lucky voter.
Voting is via the OUSA website.
Voting closes on the 11th October.
OUSA will be letting every lecturer know they have been nominated, even if they are not in the top 10.
The awards ceremony is being scheduled for the afternoon of the 25th of October.
Voting is being done via this link: http://www.ousa.org.nz/teaching-awards-voting/
The entire Otago campus will go smoke free on 1st January 2014.
This includes the grounds, so there will be no smoking in the Owheo courtyard from then on.
"This Policy applies to all University of Otago employees, students, visitors, contractors, volunteers, research participants and any person on any University of Otago Campus at any time, for any reason."
"University on Otago Campuses means all University of Otago buildings (including residential accommodation), grounds, vessels and vehicles owned or leased by the University of Otago."
Associate Professor Maria Markosova is visiting until mid Nov 2013.
She is working with Dr Lubica Benuskova on dynamic models of brain functional networks.
The print quota allocation has changed
Each student studying an under-graduate Computer Science paper has been given an allocation of 30 pages on each of the printers in the undergraduate labs. This is the hard limit, and any print job which would take the number of pages printed (since quotas were reset on Friday 26/07/13) over that total will not be actioned. There is a soft limit of 10 pages less than the hard limit which can be used as a warning that the hard limit is about to be reached.
For each undergraduate course, an additional number of pages has been allocated, for each student doing the course, on the printer in the lab which is being used for the course. e.g. for COMP160 students, there is a hard quota of 30 pages for each printer in Labs A, B, C, E and F with an additional 50 pages (i.e. a total of 80 pages) on the printer in Lab C - a warning will be given if a print job will take the number of pages printed by the student on the Lab C printer over 70 (or if it will take the number of pages printed over 80 - in which case a message will be sent to say that the hard limit has been reached, and the job will not be printed).
For students doing COSC242 or COSC244/TELE202 the number of additional pages is 25 split over the printers in Labs E & F, and so those students have a soft quota of 45 and a hard quota of 55 on each of the printers in Labs E and F - plus any additional pages they may have been allocated because they are taking some other course which uses either of those labs.
If students exceed their quota on any printer, they should check with technical
staff to find out what quotas they have left on other lab printers (and possibly
ask to have the quota from one printer assigned to another) by sending e-mail
If a student has used up all their quota, or if the quota on any printer has been used for non-CS-course-related printing, then they must go to the Computer Science Office (9-5) and request an increase in their quota for that printer. The cost for this is 10c per page, in blocks of 50 pages. Students must pay before the quota is increased. Note that the Office now has an EFTPOS machine. Students can also use cash.
A successful Postgraduate Symposium was held in the Department on Monday 26/8/13.
At the end of the Symposium, there were three prizes awarded:
The 2013 publication prize was shared by Xiangfei Jia and Nabeel Khan.
The 2013 best talk prize went to Gonzalo Sanchez-Nido, for his talk on gene coexpression networks.
Photos by Kai-Cheung Leung.
Upcoming conference - /dev/world is a conference for people who have an interest in developing for Apple computers and Apple mobile devices.
It is open to the public and will be held at the Rydges Bell City, Melbourne, on September 30 and October 1, 2013.
Thomas Verbeek, current Masters student will be giving a talk at /dev/world/ about 'co-founding Sideline Junkies Limited, a NZ sports company that's changing the way you keep up with local sport. This talk demonstrates what AUC delegates can achieve with the exposure and skills acquired from AUC events. Thomas discusses his involvement with the AUC, starting a company with All Blacks, the iOS technology involved to make their flagship app 'Waterboy', and the exciting road ahead.'
20th August 2013, 10am-4pm, in the Link.
Visit 50 booths representing more than 70 areas of study (including Computer Science).
Find out how you could further your career or follow your passion with postgraduate study.
View more than 30 posters on display from existing postgraduates.
Come and meet current postgrads from 10am- 12noon on the mezzanine floor to get the real story.
Listen to why postgraduate study should be in your future.
Speakers from across the University and beyond outline the benefits of postgraduate study in the Gazebo Lounge from 12noon-2pm.
Information Session - 2014 JET (Japan Exchange and Teaching) Programme - this is an an opportunity to live and work in Japan. Positions available for graduates: Assistant Language Teacher, Coordinator for International Relations
When: Wednesday 4 September 2013, 1pm-2pm
Where: Archway 2
Assoc. Prof. Brendan McCane:
I have been asked to publicize Kiwi Pycon to you all (the NZ Python conference).
It's a very interesting industry conference and if you go you will get to meet a lot of people who use Python in industry and you'll probably learn some useful stuff about Python along the way.
The dates are 6-8th September, and the venue is at AUT in Auckland. The registration cost is very reasonable for students at $60 for the whole conference. The disadvantage for us is that it's in Auckland, but it's worthwhile going to if you are interested in Python.
More information: nz.pycon.org/.
"Altus Financial Services is a Dunedin-based AMP Adviser Business established in 2005 to provide financial advice to personal, business and corporate clients.
Altus are offering a scholarship worth $10,000 to award to a local person helping to put Dunedin on the map or whose endeavours might lead to the creation of opportunities for others around town. They are interested in hearing from entrepreneurial people from the Dunedin community.
Last year's recipient was David Cameron, a student from the Otago School of Business, and founder of LearnCoach.
The application process is done on-line: http://www.altus.co.nz/do-your-thing.
Applications are now open until 31st August."
From Westpac:"Westpac wants to collaborate with New Zealand developers & designers to identify mobile apps that will make a process, transaction, application or any other common banking activity easier, faster and safe for customers.... So, be part of the Westpac App Challenge and if we end up selecting your app for development, you'll get $10,000, the opportunity to work with us to make your concept a reality and, once your app is live in New Zealand, the opportunity to take it to the rest of the world.
Details here: westpac.co.nz/appchallenge
ADInstruments and KuraCloud Careers Event 2
This event will be held on Tuesday 23 July 2013, at 2 pm in Seminar Room 106, Computer Science Department, Owheo Building, 133 Union Street East.
ADInstruments and KuraCloud are currently recruiting for 5 positions based in our Dunedin, New Zealand office. We will be holding an information session where you can have a chat with our employees about working at ADInstruments and KuraCloud.
We will be recruiting for the following positions:
UX Design Engineer
The closing date for applying for these positions is 26 July 2013 - application details will be posted on Otagocareerhub.
If you are interested in a career at ADInstruments and KuraCloud please come along.
Web contacts as in Event 1 listing below.
There will be a College of Education Teaching Expo on Thursday 1st August, in the Robertson Library, Union St East, from 11am-3pm. Find out about teaching around the world and talk to teacher recruitment organsations.
There is currently a shortage of science teachers.
ADInstruments and KuraCloud Careers Event 1
2pm Wednesday 17 July 2013, room 118/119 at the Hunter Centre (opposite the Dental School).
ADInstruments and KuraCloud are currently recruiting for 5 positions based in our Dunedin, New Zealand office. We will be holding an information session where you can have a chat with our employees about working at ADInstruments and KuraCloud.
We will be recruiting for the following positions:
UX Design Engineer
The closing date for applying for these positions is 26 July 2013 - application details will be posted on Otagocareerhub.
If you are interested in a career at ADInstruments and KuraCloud please come along. We look forward to seeing you there.
ADInstruments Careers page: http://www.adinstruments.com/company/careers
Professor Enric Vallduví is currently visiting from from Universitat Pompeu Fabra, Barcelona, and will be here for six months.
During his visit, he will continue ongoing research on the role of information structure in natural language. He will also be working with Alistair Knott on the neural basis of information structure: for instance, what are the neural processes associated with adopting a new topic, or with retrieving an answer to a question.
Dr. Anita Borg (1949-2003) devoted her life to revolutionizing the way we think about technology and dismantling the barriers that keep minorities and women from entering the computing and technology fields.
As part of Google's ongoing commitment to furthering Anita's vision, they announce the Google Anita Borg Memorial Scholarship 2013: Asia-Pacific (APAC).
Through the scholarship, they aim to encourage women to excel in computing and technology, and become active role models and leaders.
- Be a female student enrolled in full-time undergraduate or postgraduate study at an university in 2013/2014.
- Be enrolled at a University in Korea, Japan, India, Southeast Asia, Australia or New Zealand.
- Be studying Computer Science, Software Engineering or a closely related technical field.
- Maintain an excellent academic record.
Application deadline: 31/5/13.
The scholarship recipients will each receive a $5,000 scholarship for the 2013-2014 academic year. All scholarship recipients will be invited to visit a Google office in Sydney, Australia for a networking retreat.
Following the recent resignation of Dr Shawn Martin, we have a vacancy for full-time, confirmation path position as Lecturer.
Applicants should have a PhD, a commitment to on-going research and experience in teaching. Recent PhD graduates may apply. Applicants with teaching and/or research experience in any area of computer science can apply.
Job description and how to apply.
Department robot club member Ailsa Carroll (16) has been selected as only one of two NZ school pupils to attend the International Space Camp in the USA. Space camp includes astronaut training and using the Space Shuttle simulator.
From the ODT: "Ailsa was selected ahead of thousands of other pupils around the world because of her excellent academic results and her involvement in aeronautics (flying aircraft on computer flight simulators), robotics and computer programming".
Computer Science honours student Jess Todd holds a 'queen of the mat' title and is preparing for the New Zealand grappling and wrestling championships, to be held in Dunedin this weekend. She also hopes to compete in the Commonwealth Games next year.
Professor and Head of Department Michael Albert is to give his Inaugural Professorial Lecture on Tuesday, 16th April 2013.
Place: Archway 1 Lecture Theatre
The lecture is titled "How to shuffle badly".
The department gives each student a free printing quota of 200 pages on their account.
If students exceed this quota in the labs, they may find printing jobs will not proceed.
In this case, students should go to the Computer Science Office (9-5) and request their quota is raised. The cost for this is 10c per page, in blocks of 50 pages. Students must pay before the quota is increased. Note that the Office now has an EFTPOS machine. Students can also use cash.
There is curently a chronic shortage of ICT staff and programmers in New Zealand, reports the New Zealand Herald.
Employers are resorting to hiring staff from overseas, repurposing staff with other science or engineering degrees, and offering huge daily pay rates for specialists.
From the Herald:
"The opportunities for IT workers were highlighted last month by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment. According to the ministry's Occupation Outlook report, job prospects in ICT are among the best in the country, along with engineering and other professional roles.
The report says strong growth in jobs for ICT and business analysts - of whom there are about 9500 earning an average of $76,700 - can be expected in the medium term.
Similar growth in software development jobs is also forecast. There are about 17,000 software developers earning an average of $76,600."
Read more here.
Which tech degrees pay the most?
A current Computerworld New Zealand article answers this question, and reveals that 'Computer science is hot again, not just for geeky students but also for really talented math, engineering and science students.'
The article also reveals that the highest starting salaries and mid-career salaries for graduates in the computer field go to computer scientists, software engineers and computer engineers (in the USA).
Read more here.
Information provided by SLI:
SLI Systems is at the forefront of developing innovative search technology, user-generated search engine optimization (SEO) services and dynamic site navigation. The company supports hundreds of ecommerce sites globally and serves millions of page views every day. SLI Systems offers an exciting work environment and employs passionate and talented Software Developers from around the world. The SLS Systems Scholarships for students attending the University of Otago have been established in 2013 to provide not only financial assistance but also networking and career opportunities for smart and tech-savvy students.
1. The value of the scholarship shall be $2500, to be paid directly into the recipient's bank account.
2. Up to two scholarships shall be awarded annually to University of Otago students enrolled in undergraduate or postgraduate study in Computer Sciences, Information Sciences, Mathematics, Science or a related field. Applicants should have a passion for coding, be detail oriented, and have an instinctive desire to solve problems.
3. Scholarships shall be awarded on the basis of academic achievement and compatibility between the award recipient and SLI Systems' culture and values. Recipients may be invited to participate in SLI Systems functions and activities. Participation, where practical, is expected.
4. The scholarship may be held together with any other award.
5. If there are no candidates of sufficient merit, no award shall be made.
6. In the event of the recipient's withdrawal from the specified course of study for which the scholarship is awarded, the scholarship will be withdrawn, and any unpaid funds shall be returned to the scholarship fund.
Applications must be submitted to the University of Otago Doctoral and Scholarships Office no later than 5:00 p.m. on 30 March (if March 30 is not a business day, please submit your application on the following business day). Applications should consist of a brief C.V. and a covering letter discussing the applicant's interests and study in relation to the type of work carried out by SLI Systems. The applicant should also provide a current and official University of Otago transcript, or written and signed permission for the University of Otago to provide this on their behalf.
Short 'learn to program' courses are to be offered in the department to school children of ages 9-15 (school year 5-10).
Information about the courses has already been sent to all local schools for their newsletters.
Full details of the courses and an online application form can be found here:Learn to program classes for school years 5-10.
Computer Science Honours students Nicky Crawford and Caitlin Miller who were the only two undergraduate finalists from New Zealand for the 2012 Google Anita Borg Memorial Scholarship. Well done both!
Read more here: google.com.au/anitaborg/winners.html.
Anthony Robins and Michael Albert have been promoted to full professorships, it was announced today (20/12/12).
A total of 24 leading academics have been promoted.
"Announcing the new professors, University of Otago Vice-Chancellor Professor Harlene Hayne warmly congratulated them on their hard-earned and well-deserved promotions.
'Otago has rigorous processes for conferring professorships that ensure only those with suitably strong records are selected. Staff applying must demonstrate that they have made outstanding and sustained contributions in key areas including research, teaching and service to the University and community,' Professor Hayne says.
Input from international experts is sought as part of the process to ensure that candidates' contributions are indeed world class, she says.
'These appointments reflect the breadth and depth of the talent we enjoy here at Otago. The work of these individuals is of enormous value to the University and is often of considerable international significance.'"
Congratulations to Computer Science graduate Caitlin Miller has won a Google Internship. You can read more about these internships here.
It has been confirmed that Associate Professor Michael Albert will take over as Head of Department from Associate Professor Brendan McCane, from 1st January 2013.
MSc student Thomas verbeek is to present a workshop at /dev/world 2012.
This is the Apple University Consortium's conference for Mac OS, iOS and web in Melbourne, Australia. He will be presenting a workshop entitled "Integrating the video element using HTML5" to delegates from across Australia and New Zealand.
Read more on the AUC website.
The latest economic news from Stats NZ reveals people who design computer systems are in hot demand.
- Jobs in the industry increased by 78 percent between 2000 and 2010.
- The industry had the equal-highest rate of product innovation in New Zealand in 2011.
- Most Computer Systems Design companies exported their goods and services in 2011.
- The workforce is concentrated in major cities, and is well educated and young, with above-average pay.
- CSD businesses invest heavily in their future growth.
Head of Department Brendan McCane presented two awards at the postgraduate symposium, held in the department on 27th August.
Hamza Bennani, for the best presentation
Kai-Cheung Leung, for top 2012 publication
Associate Professor Anthony Robins has won one of the three latest teaching excellence awards.
The university awards recognise an "outstanding ability to teach".
All winners receive $7,500 to support student learning and teaching.
More details and a photo can be found here.
Anthony has now (17/7/12) become one of only 12 recipients of a national teaching award from the National Centre for Tertiary Teaching Excellence.
From the award citation:
"Anthony Robins has made a significant impact in the field of computer science nationally and internationally, and is considered by his peers to be one of the leading researchers in computer science education. His unique contributions range from his involvement in developing the national curriculum in Digital Technology for secondary schools to groundbreaking research in the development of the Learning Edge Momentum model of student learning that is influencing how programming is taught.
Testimony to Anthony's sustained excellence in teaching are his high student satisfaction ratings, his exceptional skills in programme design and continuing reflection and critical evaluation of his teaching performance. His teaching has been described by students as powerful and transformational; his exemplary leadership has inspired colleagues."
All recipients of this award receive a cheque for $20,000. More details about the awards and Anthony's full citation can be found here.
The department will be hosting the 27th Image and Vision Computing New Zealand conference.
This will be held from November 26th to November 28th.
The call for papers is currently open.
You can read more about the conference here.
CareerCast has rated Software Engineer as the best of all jobs in 2012, using criteria such as Work Environment, Stress, Income and Physical Demands.
"The world is going digital, and Software Engineers who can help with that transformation are reaping the benefits. Their pay is great, hiring demand for their skills is through the roof, and working conditions have never been better".
Tertiary Information Day will be on Monday 30th April. The department will have a booth at the Expo in the Link, and Head of Department Brendan McCane will be giving talks in the Owheo Building at 12 noon and 1pm. If you are thinking of studying Computer Science, come along and find out about what we offer and the career prospects for graduates.
More details about Tertiary Information Day can be found here.
Staff and student BBQ will be held in the Owheo courtyard on Friday 9th March, 2012, at 4pm. See you there!
AUC offers WWDC Scholarships to Staff and Students
The AUC today (1st March) announced that it would be offering Scholarships to University staff and students to attend this years Apple World Wide Developers Conference (WWDC) being held in the USA in 2012. (Note that dates for WWDC 2012 have not yet been confirmed by Apple.)
To be eligible to obtain a competitive scholarship, you should be a staff member or student of an AUC Member University and have a background in programming (Mac, Unix or Windows) and in interest in learning about the latest OS X & iOS development.
Successful Scholarship recipients in 2012 receive a financial subsidy to assist in covering the cost of:
- Return economy airfares to San Francisco, USA from Australia or New Zealand.
- Twin-share Accommodation in San Francisco at a designated hotel for up to 7 days.
- WWDC 2012 E-Ticket
Staff and Students interested in the Competitive Scholarships must apply by completing an application form available on the AUC web site. Applications close 23 March 2012.
For more information about the WWDC 2012 Scholarships please visit the AUC web site at: http://auc.edu.au/wwdc
Yawen Chen has also joined the department as a Lecturer this week. To read about her background and her research interests, you can check this page.
Shawn Martin has joined the department as a Lecturer. To read about his background and interests, you can check this page.
Graduate Pete Bruns has created the best Tantrix playing robot, based on his COSC490 project. This robot, called 'Monte', successfully defeated the previous best bot in a game lasting 27 hours. The software is based on the Monte Carlo method.
To find out more, and to challenge the robot yourself (if you dare), see the Tantrix site.
PhD candidate Sheetal Jadhav has won a best paper award at the PDCAT 2011 conference in South Korea.
Her paper was called "Performance Evaluation of Quality of VoIP in WiMAX and UMTS".
Congratulations to Sheetal!
New lecturer Steven Mills has started work in the Department.
Steven is a graduate of this Department, having completed his BSc and then his PhD in the year 2000.
Read more about his research interests here.
COMP160 - Fri 4th November, 9.30
COMP212 - Sat 5th November, 9.30
COSC242 - Sat 5th November, 14.30
COSC244 - Thur 27th October, 9.30
TELE202 - Thur 27th October, 9.30
COSC344 - Wed 19th October, 14.30
COSC345 - Thur 20th October, 9.30
COSC346 - Fri 28th October, 14.30
COSC348 - Sat 5th November, 9.30
COSC411 - Tues 25th October, 9.30
COSC421 - Thur 27th October, 14.30
COSC441 - Wed 19th October, 9.30
NEUR421 - Thur 27th October, 14.30
TELE402 - Fri 21st October, 14.30
Thomas Verbeek has just come back from giving a talk at DevWorld and his animation has been accepted at CreateWorld (both AUC conferences). Here is more from Thomas:
I recently presented at /dev/world 2011 - Apple's developer's conference down under. My presentation was titled "Introducing the canvas element using HTML5". It was attended by delegates from Australia and New Zealand. Some students from our department also attended: Benjamin Mark, Malcolm Durling, and ex-student Tom Kirk (who attended as staff). It was great presenting and meeting with developers in the field. I had a few hours of one-on-one time with Josh Anon from Pixar, which was invaluable to me.
My proposal for a presentation has been accepted for CreateWorld. This is Apple's conference for digital media, innovation and creativity in Brisbane. My presentation is titled "Playtime - Student animation work at Otago - a screening and discussion". I will be screening my 3D animation "Playtime" and provide a breakdown of the work involved in making the animation at the University of Otago.
How to apply for 1 of 4 subsidies to attend:
The Postgraduate symposium is to be held on Monday 29th August, in the Owheo Building.
The full schedule of postgraduate speakers and their topics is available here.
The Apple University Consortium is pleased to announce it is offering up to 50 partially funded places to the AUC's iOS SDK Workshop to be held in Sydney & Melbourne during September 2011. (Only for university staff or students.)
Whether you are a novice or an experienced developer, anyone can write an iOS application by simply using the tools and frameworks that are freely available.
In this workshop you will learn the tools of the trade and the most important parts of the iOS SDK to get you on your way to writing cool applications for these revolutionary devices.
Spaces are limited and will be awarded on a competitive basis based on the information supplied in the application form. Subsidies for travel and accommodation where required will be available.
More information and how to apply is available at:
This seminar will look at how institutions and students around the world are using iPad in teaching, learning, and research. It builds upon last years' AUC seminar on Mobile Learning which was delivered to over 1,300 colleagues at Australian and New Zealand AUC member universities. Various Apps will be demonstrated, case studies will be shared, and current research will be examined. Please join guest presenters at this free 90 minute seminar.
Venue and Date July 15th 10:30 - 12:00 pm Hutton Theatre, Otago Museum.
New data on graduate salary earning from the Chronicle of higher Education confirms the high value of a CS degree. The median income for graduates with Bachelor degrees in Computing in the USA is now about US$70,000, with the range being $50,000 to $98,000.
Read the full details here.
The next class reps meetings will be held as follows:
100 level: Monday 16th May, 1pm, G34
200 level: Wednesday 25th May, 1pm, G34
300 level: Monday 16th May, 10.30am, 106
400 level: Thursday 19th May, 2pm, G34
If you want to raise an issue but don't know who your class reps are, see the noticeboard by reception.
A Careers Fair of special interest to Computer Science students and graduates is being held on Tuesday 10 May from 11-2 in the Link. Among those taking part are Datacom Systems Limited, ADInstruments Ltd, Intergen Limited and Orion Health. All are particularly interested in meeting computer science students.
About ninety high school students attended the talks at Owheo, and at the Expo in the Union Hall large numbers enjoyed the Lego robots, and also talking to our postgraduates Manish, Jothi, Umair and Sheetal who manned the booth for the day. Our big new banner had its first outing too!
Class reps meetings:
100-level - Monday 11th April, 1pm, with Brendan - Owheo Room G34.
200-level - Wednesday 13th April, 1pm, with Willem - Owheo Room G34.
300-level - Tuesday 12th April, 11am, with Ali - Owheo Room 106.
400-level - Wednesday 20th April 1pm, with Mike - Owheo Room G34.
Class reps for all levels will be meeting with staff soon to discuss any course-related concerns. Talk to your class rep if you want any issues raised. If you don't know who your class reps are, see the noticeboard by Computer Science reception.
The BBQ for staff and students of the Department will be held on Friday 11th March at 4pm in the courtyard of the Owheo building. See you there!
Dr Lubica Benuskova has taken up a new Editorship of the prestigious IEEE Transactions on Neural Networks.
We have a vacancy for a Lecturer in the Department.
The closing date for applications is 14th April 2011.
Sad news: Dr Kevin Novins, a Senior Lecturer in the Department up to 2001, has died in California. He had been undergoing chemotherapy.
Kevin's expertise was in Computer Graphics and Computer Vision, and he worked in the Graphics group. More recently he had been working for a hedge fund in California.
Many staff members remember Kevin with great affection.
News from CareerCast:
"Each year Jobs Rated researchers survey 200 jobs - from Accountant to Zoologist - scoring them according to five key criteria: Physical Demands, Work Environment, Income, Outlook and Stress.... In 2011, thanks to the popularity of smartphone applications and "cloud" based software, technical positions involving computers have risen to the top of the rankings. Indeed, Software Engineer, Computer Systems Analyst, Technical Writer and Computer Programmer all rank within the top 30 this year."
Software Engineer is currently the most highly ranked job of all.
Read more: http://www.careercast.com/jobs-rated/2011-ranking-200-jobs-best-worst.