CSS: BrumHack and beyond

 

BrumHack

This March 150 students from universities across the UK flocked to the University of Birmingham to take part in one of the highlights of the Computer Science extra-curricular calendar. BrumHack is a 24 hour hackathon - best described as an Invention Marathon - which sees students work in teams to design and build a software project from scratch, and present it to their peers at the end of the weekend.

The event ran over a weekend in mid-March for the fourth time, this time bigger than ever before. With sponsorship from GitHub, Nationwide, Holovis, QA Consulting and Mobile Fun attendees were able to network with potential future employers, as well as learn from professional representatives and mentors.

The winning team, "The Sheriffs", used an Oculus Rift and Leap Motion to make an augmented reality game simulating a carnival shooting range. Players wear an Oculus Rift, hold out their hands, and mock-shoot at an augmented reality row of bowling pins. The Leap Motion then detects this movement, code simulates firing and knocking down the pins in a virtual world.

Other notable projects were Dash, a tool for aggregating timetable and assignment information for University of Birmingham undergraduates, and Team Rainbows who programmed a backlit keyboard to light up keys in the colour and shape of the logos of websites the user is browsing.

Shortly before this latest 4th instalment of BrumHack we received notice that the University of Birmingham has been placed second in the Major League Hacking European rankings. We sent more students across the European Union to hackathons than any other university in Europe and this accolade certainly provided suitable motivation for BrumHack 4!

Future events are planned for October 2016 and March 2017. Anyone who would like more information or become involved in BrumHack, please email us on hello@brumhack.co.uk.

CSS 2016 BrumHackCSS 2016 BrumHack 2

 

And everything else!

The end of the Spring Semester saw the annual AGM for the Computer Science Society, and this year has been a bigger success than ever. A number of huge milestones were reached for the Society, as well as professional achievements such as affiliating with the British Computing Society.

The most impressive milestone by far was reaching 200 society members, which is the largest number CSS has seen in our history. This is all the more impressive when combined with the unprecedented number and size of events we have run. In October we saw 3 start-up founders join us for a forum discussing their experiences of forming their own companies, as well as 3 later industry speakers discussing the challenges of working with Big Data.

We also organised our first overseas trip: 15 members visited FOSDEM, the largest developer conference in Europe. We joined 5,000 other developers in hearing about the challenges faced by the most cutting edge parts of the software industry, ranging from railway safety through to real-world mapping as used during the Ebola crisis in Africa.

Shortly afterwards we hosted the Women in Technology Conference with the University’s Women in Science and Engineering (WISE) Society. This was the first event of this kind help at Birmingham and was a real success!  The whole EPS Community was invited to attend a day of talks, workshops and networking sessions from invited industry speakers and sponsors working in the technology sector. It was amazing to see such enthusiasm from attendees coming from all walks of life and all levels of experience!

CSS & WISE - WIT 2CSS & WISE - WIT

This year’s been great for CSS and with more members, events and sponsorship raised than ever before, we’ve set the bar high for future years. For more information see our website or to get involved email eps-community@contacts.bham.ac.uk. We’d like to hear from you and hope to learn from your expertise.

We are now counting down to the end of term and annual EPS Societies’ Awards. With the exciting year we’ve had we’re hoping to get on our hands on one of the prestigious Awards on offer. If you are or have been part of CSS, or have enjoyed reading about our activities this year please nominate us!

 

Best wishes,

Jack Wearden

President 2015-16