Author Archives: Andrew Rice

About Andrew Rice

I am a Senior University Lecturer in the Computer Laboratory at the University of Cambridge. At Queens' I am Director of Studies for Computer Science and a Fellow of the college.

Indie game development

Last year we had a talk from Ben Nicholson (aka capeguy), a Queens’ graduate who works in the games industry and is currently starting up his own indie games studio.

He has now shipped his first game! (Currently iOS, with Android on the way)

Ski Three is the world’s first ‘match-three-endless-runner’. Moving and matching tiles in rows of three, the player must clear a path for their skier as she traverses a snow-coated mountain pass, dotted with log cabins, towering alpines, and frozen boulders.

There is more information on Ben’s website.

Congrats Ben!

Second and Third year results

The results for the second and third years came out last Friday. Well done all round. Here are the stats. 3rd years: 2 firsts, 3 2.1’s and 2 3rds. 2nd years: 4 firsts, 1 2.1 and 1 3rd. We had a couple of near misses this year and so very nearly had more firsts.

A particular well done to Rob who ranked 2nd across all 2nd year Computer Scientists in Cambridge and to Henry who ranked 4th.

4th year results

This year Eduard decided to stay on and take the 4th year option (known as Part III). In order to qualify for this you have to either get a First in the 3rd year or a First in both your 1st and 2nd years.

I’m pleased to report than not only has Eduard passed with distinction but he’s been awarded the “MetaSwitch Best Part III Student Prize 2016” for coming top of his year.

This was due in part to his excellent project score of 91/100. To score about 90 one has to meet these criteria:

  • Significant contribution to field
  • Evidence of considerable extra-curricular reading and original interpretation
  • Challenging goals, and substantial deliverables, without much help from supervisor
  • Close to faultless in execution and write-up

Well done Eduard!

The annual dinner

We had the annual Computer Science dinner last Sunday. This our annual event for current students, supervisors and alumni.

First point of celebration was that all the Part II students successfully completed their projects and handed them in on time: well done everyone!

I’d like to thank the companies that sponsored us this year: Improbable, Palantir, Microsoft Research, Jane Street and Coherent Graphics. Your support is really appreciated.

This year we were lucky to have Eben Upton and Liz Upton of Raspberry Pi fame as our guests of honour. Eben gave us a really interesting talk about things that (almost) went wrong when they were getting Raspberry Pi of the ground. The moral of his story was that its never plain sailing in a startup. Imagine a swam: calm on the surface and paddling like mad underneath.

It was great to see so many people there. See you all next year.

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I forgot to take any more photos than this one so if anyone has any good ones then please do send them to me!

Interview preparation

Its interviewing season again. We start on Monday. If you are reading this and you are coming to interview at Queens’ this year then please try not to worry too much. Our goal in interviews is to find the best in you and not to catch you out. Just be yourself.

We have a new test which you’ll be taking on the interview day this year called the CSAT. There’s lots of information about it online (including a practice test): http://www.cl.cam.ac.uk/admissions/undergraduate/admissions-test/ One thing to bear in mind when doing the test is that its supposed to be challenging: don’t worry if you can only get a few done.

Jake and I did a video a while ago about what the interviews will be like. Its still relevant. In fact the new first years this year said they were surprised when they came to interview about how realistic it is!

UK and Ireland Programming Contest (UKIEPC) 2015

This year Eduards and I arranged for the Computer Lab to be one of the host universities for the UK and Ireland Programming Contest.  We were one of 12 universities hosting. Cambridge entered 14 teams.

Well done Eduards for organising.  I am the Cambridge coach but he is the one who does all the work. Huge thanks also to Max Wilson and all the other organisers, question setters and tech. support.  The competition was really great.

We did really well this year occupying 10 spots in the top 20 with our top 10 teams coming 1st, 3rd, 5th, 7th, 9th, 11th, 14th, 17th, 19th and 20th.  The final score sheet is here: https://domjudge.bath.ac.uk/domjudge/public/

Congratulations to Eduards (EE Dragons) and Andi (Beuler) who came 1st and 3rd respectively. This means they’ll be progressing to the North Western European Regional Contest (NWERC) for the ACM Intercollegiate Programming Competition.

Also well done to the new Queens’ first years who turned out in force.  We had 4 teams with Queens’ students in them this year which was really great to see.

Andi and team Beuler

Andi and team Beuler

Waiting for the results to come in....

Waiting for the results to come in….

Queens' First years celebrating with free pizza

Queens’ First years celebrating with free pizza

Jirka, Henry M and Dhruv

Jirka, Henry M and Dhruv

Andy, Henry T and Simon

Andy, Henry T and Simon