SoIT's News, Issue 1 2010

National Computer Science School

By Wei-ying Ho

National Computer Science School

Fifteen years ago when the University ran its first computer science school, websites were a novelty and HTML a rare skill.

Today we receive National Computer Science School (NCSS) applications which include URLs for student websites and companies.

To ensure that the NCSS academic program remained fresh and challenging for incoming students, the charity website program has been replaced. This year’s seventy-eight incoming NCSS students and teachers were asked to develop a social networking site from scratch.

Sixteen outstanding students from NCSS 2009 were invited to return for NCSS 2010. Their project was to program iRobots to navigate a maze to find a third iRobot, and release it from captivity by pressing two buttons simultaneously.

Finally all six groups of students, were required to make a 2.5 minute documentary of their programming project, and a 2.5 minute documentary on some aspect of NCSS life with the allocated topics being: lab life, college life, the great outdoors and NCSS fashion. The videos were presented at the Closing Ceremony to give parents, sponsors, staff and friends an overview of what had occurred during the previous 10 days.

The site visits to Macquarie Group, Atlassian and Google offices gave the students an insight into how IT knowledge can be applied to the workplace, and some of the possible careers paths for those who are skilled in IT. To prepare the students for their working life, this year we introduced a session on Mentor Interviews. During this activity each student presented themselves for a mock job interview with our sponsors and obtained valuable feedback on how they presented themselves and their CVs.

Without the help and support of our sponsors, NCSS would not happen. NCSS 2010 was sponsored by: The University of Sydney, NICTA, ESA, Altium, Industry and Investment NSW, Atlassian, AUC, Capital Markets CRC, CargoWise, Google, Macquarie Group, and Smart Services CRC.

Last but not least, NCSS is only possible with our excellent team of volunteer tutors, who are mostly Sydney undergraduate and postgraduate students and alumni. They do everything from lecturing and tutoring, to student supervision, running the extra-curricular activities and letting students back into their college rooms when they lock themselves out at 2am!

Sanjay Chawla (Master Class)
James Curran (NCSS Director)
Alan Fekete (Mentor Interviews)
Judy Kay
Bob Kummerfeld (Embedded Stream)
Tara Murphy (NCSS Director)

Recent graduates and alumni
Mark Assad (Programming Comp)
Katie Bell
David Blaikie
Michael Cahill
Nick Cooper
Anna Dominguez
Laura Ingram (Mentor Interviews)
Jonathan Kummerfeld
Terry Miu
Sam Tardif
Sam Thorogood

Postgraduate students
James Constable
Liviu Constantinescu (Master Class)
Tim Dawborn (Lecturer)
Greg Darke
Emma Fitzgerald
Khairul Kasmiran
Ashnil Kumar (Master Class)
Joel Nothman
Will Radford
Nicky Ringland
Honours Students
Dominic Balasuriya
Will Cannings (Lecturer)
Dominick Ng
Ben Taylor
Georgina Wilcox

Undergraduate Students
Giles Gardam
Sophie Liang
Stephen Merity
Katrina Nally
Ben Sand
Madeleine Reid
David Rizzuto (Master Class)
Peter Ward
Bin Zhou

More information on NCSS.

Photo by Greg Darke.