Outstanding School Service Winner

Imperial College London ACM Student Chapter

Name and address of chapter

■         Imperial College London ACM Student Chapter

■         Department of Computing, Imperial College London, South Kensington Campus, London SW7 2AZ, United Kingdom

Names and email addresses of chapter officers and faculty sponsor

■         Petr Hosek, Chair - [email protected]

■         Nicholas Ng, Vice Chair - [email protected]

■         Claudia Schulz, Treasurer - [email protected]

■         Feryal Mehraban Pour Behbahani, Secretary - [email protected]

■         Zhongliu Xie, Membership Chair - [email protected]

■         Rumyana Neykova, Webmaster - [email protected]

■         Prof. Alexander L. Wolf, Faculty sponsor - [email protected]

A brief description of your chapter and school including number of chapter members

Imperial College London is consistently ranked as one of the top research universities in the world, specialising in Science, Engineering and Medicine, and has one of the largest Computer Science department in the UK. With the large number of research students in our Department, the aim of our Chapter is to create a strong research student community within our university, thus we focus on creating an environment for students to learn from each other and engage in research collaboration.
The Chapter was established in June 2013 by a group of enthusiastic and committed PhD students.  Our Chapter has a strong academic and research focus and is the main body behind the graduate activities in the department. However, it is open to all students and it is highly attractive to undergraduate and master students interested in research.
We currently have 23 registered Chapter members, all of which are PhD students.

Our department, the Department of Computing has about 1000 full time students (includes joint-department courses), within which

  • Major undergraduate (BEng/MEng) courses include Computing, Joint Mathematics and Computing  (JMC) [joint with Department of Mathematics], Information Systems Engineering (ISE), [joint with Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering]: a  total of 460, 110 and 90 students in each course respectively
  • Postgraduate (taught MSc) courses include Computer Science, Advanced Computing and Specialist Computing in areas such as Artificial Intelligence, Computational Management Science, Machine Learning, Software Engineering and Visual Information Processing: Total of 150 students
  • Research Postgraduate (MRes and PhD) in the following themes - Computer systems, Distributed software engineering, Human-centered computing, Logic and artificial intelligence, Quantitative analysis and decision science, Theory of computation systems, Visual information processing: 175 full time and part time students

URL for chapter home page

Essay - Outstanding School Service

Our Chapter has an academic and research focus, and the primary goal of our Chapter is to create a strong research community for students. A number of departmental events and activities are organised with this goal in mind: The weekly Student Seminar series is designed to introduce a new area of computing research to our audience. The speakers are students in our department, and the aim of the is to encourage students to learn from each other. The seminar series gets an average of 20 attendees every week. The annual internship event targets PhD students and is formed by Q&A panel with former PhD internship students on their experience of doing an internship at PhD level, and recruitment talks from companies with PhD research internship opportunities (includes Google, Microsoft Research Cambridge, IBM). The event was well attended with about 30 students and many students found this event useful and informative.

Carl Sagan said that “You have to know the past to understand the present.” We believe this is true for every aspect of human knowledge and every field of science, which is why (as a Chapter focused on computing students) we organised a group visit to Bletchley Park earlier this year. Bletchley Park is a cradle of modern computing, a place where Alan Turing and others built first computers to crack the secret communications of the Axis Powers during the Second World War. We arranged a guided tour of both the Bletchley Park museum which hosts both Enigma machines and the ‘Bombe’ devices used to crack their code, and the National Museum of Computing to see many of the world’s first electronic computers. This trip was highly appraised by all students.

Finally, the main event for contributing to our university was the Hour of Code. Technology is all around us. Almost every faculty of study and every sector of business makes extensive use of technology. However, only a handful of people on the planet know how to code. Our chapter joined the worldwide Hour of Code initiative, which aims to introduce 10 million students to computer science, by organising a local event targeted at Imperial College students from various backgrounds on 11th December during the Computer Science Education Week. Over 50 students took a part in this event and learned basics of coding. We also managed to attract excellent helpers from within our school to join us and help the students with every step of getting familiar with programming. This not only helped the students to improve their studies by teaching them how to code, but also created an opportunity for the helpers to put their skills to good use.  The event was a great success and we received a lot of positive feedback from both helpers and students. This motivated us to further promote computer science within our school and we plan to host more school-wide events in the future.

Future events

In the coming months from May to September, we have a number of activities in preparation. This includes:

  • By popular demands: An evening workshop where we build a network from scratch to learn about networking with a LAN party as an extra incentive
  •  A series of hands-on tutorials led by student volunteers for attendees to learn a new skill, the confirmed topics include
  • Drawing in LaTeX with TikZ/PGF
  • Webpage 101: Learning HTML and CSS
  • Using the departmental cloud infrastructure
  •  Invited Seminars by a prominent researcher via the ACM Distinguished Speakers Program

Major Chapter activities between September 2013 and April 2014

Imperial College Computing Student Workshop (ICCSW’13)

  • 26th - 27th Sep 2013

Industry Internship event

  • 25th Nov 2013

  • Event featuring a Q&A panel with former PhD internship students on their experience of doing an internship at PhD level, and recruitment talks from companies with PhD research internship opportunities (includes Google, Microsoft Research Cambridge, IBM, Thomson Reuters, Entrepreneur First and ZLemma). (30 attendees)

Hour of Code 2013

  • 11th Dec 2013

  • As part of a globally coordinated Computer Science Education Week event to introduce programming to people with no computing background for an hour. (50 attendees)

A Trip to Bletchley Park

  • 2nd Feb 2014

  • Event to visit the former code-breaking site and a guided tour to the National Museum of Computing. (17 attendees)

Students Seminar series

  • Oct 2013 - Mar 2014 (average 20 attendees)

The What, How and Why - Petr Hosek

  • 11th Oct 2013

Yes - No - Yes - No - Yes - Claudia Schulz

  • 18th Oct 2013

Type Me If You Can - Rumyana Neykova

  • 25th Oct 2013

Probabilistic Logic: A Biased Review - Călin-Rareș Turliuc

  • 1st Nov 2013

Critical Spiking Neural Networks - Filipe Peliz Pinto Teixeira

  • 8th Nov 2013

Life After DoC - Dr. Nick Dingle

  • 15th Nov 2013

What else could you know, given what I assume you know? - Christos Hadjinikolis, KCL

  • 22nd Nov 2013

Understanding human faces - James Booth

  • 29th Nov 2013

The PhD Mind @Work: How my degree helps me today - Dr. Felipe Franciosi

  • 6th Dec 2013

The Fast and The Dangerous: Safer Parallel Programming with Types - Nicholas Ng

  • 24th Jan 2014

Machine Learning Applications: Empowering Medical Science Through Computing - Loizos Markides and Zena Hira

  • 31st Jan 2014

Domain-specific languages: the key to computational efficiency and programmer productivity - Florian Rathgeber

  • 7th Feb 2014

The Brain: Bayesic Stuff - Feryal Mehraban Pour Behbahani

  • 14th Feb 2014

EdgeReduce: Eliminating Mobile Network Traffic Using Application-Specific Edge Proxies - Dr. Andreas Pamboris

  • 21st Feb 2014

Crouching Time Series, Hidden Markov Model - Applications of HMMs in the Real World - Tiberiu Chis

  • 28th Feb 2014

Document Recovery - Tomasz Kuchta

  • 7th Mar 2014

How to Coach Robots to Play Soccer - Gao Yang

  • 14th Mar 2014

Keeping Safe While Being on the Edge - Petr Hosek

  • 21st Mar 2014

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