How did we spend the summer?

It’s that time of year again where the Part IBs tell us all how productive and useful their summers were. And, indeed, what a wide variety of entertaining and interesting activities were undertaken! Brad now has a 10% equity share in a new start-up, Sam ate a lot of donuts, Alex devoured dominos, Henry milked the stock market, and Rob developed racing game mods!

Sam kicked us off, telling us about the free beer at the pub with his colleagues and his work at RealVNC. He was using Java and C++ at the Java Native Interface level, writing software to bring VNC into customers’ cars. RealVNC is a commercial product used to remotely access and control a desktop or mobile. It’s a based on an Open Source core component to which RealVNC add features geared towards enterprise or typical home users. After his intense work and dedicated donut eating, Sam flew off for a much needed holiday.

The world is full of surprises and opportunities and Brad’s exemplifies this! He ended up working for a person Tatsiana (an MIT exchange student at Queens’ last year) met on a plane whilst she was jetting around Europe last Christmas. Brad was tasked with building the back-end analytics of the start-ups app, coded using Scala and Apache Spark. Additionally, he delved into tedious and frustrating administration work with the Amazon EC2 servers. Brad’s view on Amazon EC2 is short and simple, “Would not recommend!” As if all that wasn’t enough, he managed two separate teams in India where they had outsourced the iOS and API development of their product. A thoroughly enjoyable experience, despite having to sack one of the teams… Ah well, all’s well that ends well and it certainly did for Brad as he flew out with the family to the gorgeous Caribbean for a nice relaxing break.

Henry was luxuriating in his longest summer ever, June through to October, thanks to the early ending of MIT semesters and the late start of Cambridge terms. Aiming to maximise his summer productivity, he got himself hired by Goldman Sachs, working in their New York offices which he emphasises is an amazing place to be. It’s all very hush hush but, what he could divulge was that he worked on the algorithms used for trading stocks. In Henry’s words, “it’s like playing poker…except instead of James Bond it’s a computer program … and its trading one million dollars’ worth of US Equities faster than you can blink.” Let’s let that sink in for a moment…

Alex spend his summer in a very exotic place: the William Gates building! Otherwise known as the Computer Lab, which is where lectures take place for IB and II students. Alex worked on the Pyland project with a team of fellow first year students, working to add a slick user interface and error message diagnostics on top of the engine build by last year’s Pyland team (including yours truly). Furthermore, he delivered a whirlwind of presentations to a diverse spectrum of audiences, including teachers and Raspberry Pi enthusiasts.
Rob spent his summer rewriting (sorry, I mean improving) Matt’s app for the Naked Scientist. The original app was written just for Android but Rob made use of Xamarin, a cross platform development platform using C#, to build both an Android and iOS version. He ported Matt’s code to C#, added in the needed glue code and then worked on enhancements including some cool server-side Python scripting (Rob now likes Python).

The evening was wrapped up with the unanimous and entirely voluntary election of Sid to the role of President of the Queens’ Computer Science Society. We wish him all the best as he takes on his role this year!

Note: It should be recorded that in the awards ceremony for the best talk, Eduard (Queens’ resident Part III student) decided to award himself third place and one donut for his colourful and all-encompassing summer holiday presentation slide. This was Eduard’s backup slide in case any Part IB missed Eduard’s rigorously enforced submission deadline…summer blog