The Summer Vacation at Cambridge provides ample time for Computer Scientists at Queens’ to try their hand at a variety of new skills, as well as travel and have amazing experiences. The second years this year were impressively proactive in securing placements, expanding their skillset, and perhaps most importantly, recharging for the new academic year ahead – all of which they told us about in this week’s Wednesday afternoon meeting.
Yuzheng Ding began with a trip with his girlfriend travelling through Windermere, Edinburgh, Whitby and York. This well-earned break provided a chance to recover from the stresses of exam term before he returned home to China where he tutored students in maths, physics and IT. This was a great way to learn skills in teaching, and a chance to help others become better at SQL, algorithm design, BASIC, and more. He even found time to try to teach his mother some English and learn to cook, though apparently with mixed results!
Lex van der Stoep similarly took the summer as a chance to learn what he wanted to, studying game playing and machine learning off Kaggle. Impressively, he even got his dad interested in Haskell and to this day he helps him learn more of the functional programming language via email! The summer provided him with time to visit Tuscany in Italy, and the pictures of him basking in beautiful and sunny Split, Croatia certainly made everyone in the room feel very envious!
Aliyah Bond meanwhile worked for a much more established London startup, Monzo. This company’s fluorescent orange debit cards have become a familiar sight around Cambridge Computer Science students as they promise a simplified banking experience, integrated with smartphones with better ease-of-use. To gain experience and knowledge of the codebase, she was initially placed on bug fixes before being moved onto front-end development with React, as well as a some time on the backend writing Go. Aliyah enjoyed the working environment which had all the usual perks you would expect in a funded tech startup – beanbags, a dog-friendly policy, casual atmosphere and the like. And whilst there was only one other intern, she appreciated how it ensured she would interact with full-time, experienced employees.
Interesting insights into life as researcher came from Jamie Lowenthal, who worked in the University of Cambridge’s Computer Laboratory. Specifically, he worked in the Rainbow Group, who specialise in graphics and motion. His team were researching high dynamic range multifocal displays, which promise hologram-like graphics, as well as high dynamic range virtual reality headsets. His work included breaking apart iPads, stitching them to powerful GPUs, and tearing apart virtual reality headsets. It sounds like Jamie enjoyed his experience and whilst research may not have been quite like he expected, he certainly may return again – and highly recommends the UROP scheme for all those interested as well!