Owen Jones, BSc Computer Science graduate 2011

We’ll I can’t believe it is all over but graduation seems several weeks ago but not as long ago as when I was a student at St Columba’s College in St Albans.

Owen outside Guildford cathedral

Looking back the Computer Science course was perfect for what I wanted to study going into University as it covered many major topics in computing. The location was also ideal due to the proximity to London. I preferred the idea of a campus university, and Surrey’s is ideal as it is so close to the town centre as well as having all the key locations close to halls of residence which was brilliant in my first year.

I think one of the best bits of being at Surrey was my placement year at Detica, an information security consultancy firm based in Guildford. I was part of Managed Services who were in charge of supporting the various projects that were developed throughout the rest of the company.

I am going to work at Detica again as of September following on from a successful placement year with the company.  I will be moving to London as I will be based there instead of Guildford this coming year.

Posted in students - a day in the life | Comments Off

Recently, Steve Schneider, James Heather, Chris Culnane and Zhe Xia of the Trustworthy Voting Systems Group attended the Dagstuhl seminar titled Verifiable Elections and the Public in Germany. This 5-day event brought together key researchers from a variety of disciplines, ranging from computer scientists, political scientists and legal experts from around the world, to discuss the issues of computer based voting technologies as well as trends in their development.

In general, election systems currently used in the developed world are trusted by the public. But this does not mean that they are trustworthy. Ideally, an election system should not only be secure, i.e. guarantee accuracy of the election result and voter privacy, but also be verifiable by voters so that they can see that their intent has been correctly captured by the system and be convinced that all votes have been properly tallied.

The Department of Computing is currently working on an EPSRC project Trustworthy Voting Systems with aim to introduce new voting technologies as well as implement a system which can be used by the public.

Posted in general | Leave a comment

Vedika Dalmia, BSc Computer Science Level 3 student 2011-12

Recently I had the opportunity to visit Google’s office in Zurich as part of the Scholar’s Retreat for the Anita Borg Scholarship. All the scholars got to spend two days in Zurich meeting Googlers and learning about interesting work being done by everyone.

It kicked off with advice from hiring managers about CVs and interviews. Then we had an amazing product design workshop where we were split in groups to come up with features for a new product. We got to work with Google product managers during the workshop.

We were treated to a tour of Google Zurich which is the most exciting office space I have ever come across, complete with slides, game rooms and aquariums.

The second day started with some amazing talks. There was a talk about security and privacy, specially about how people were coming together to protect the identities of victims of social media. They talked about how the name of the young child who was part of the “start wars kid” internet meme was deleted by Wikipedia users from that page if someone added it.

The other great talk we had was from a Software Engineer from Gmail who told us about the Priority Inbox. Gmail’s Priority Inbox is one of the largest and most user facing applications of machine learning at Google. The speaker explained how they came up with the ideas and algorithms, how it is implemented and where they wish to take it in the future.

We also had a talk about technology and where it was going. This included a very nice description of Google’s self driving car and how it works.

It was an amazing experience. There was so much to learn and so many brilliant people to meet in such little time it was extremely overwhelming. However, the amazing food and hospitality helped a lot.

Posted in students - a day in the life | Comments Off

Vahid Abolghasemi

The location of the SSP2011 conference was amazing. It was held in Negresco Hotel in Nice, France. One of the luxury and most historic hotels in Nice and probably most famous in the entire country!

The workshop featured regular contributed paper sessions, special invited paper sessions, and a number of plenary lectures covering basic theory, methods and algorithms, and applications in statistical signal processing. The posters about statistical signal processing were mainly from French Universities but there was also a paper from GIPSA group about connectivity estimation in FMRI. I presented my paper and attended other sessions about Sparsity which related to my field. It was a fantastic opportunity to be able to meet researchers from all over the world and discuss research areas in the poster sessions and take in the beautiful views of the beach from the hotel.

Posted in PhD- a day in the life | Comments Off