The following are a few photographs taken of the Gardens at The Burn in Scotland, taken in May 2010. One can see that it was a really nice day and many of the trees were looking wonderful with an array of colours to be seen.
The Sphere within a Sphere recorded at Trinity College Dublin TCD, was created by Italian sculptor Arnaldo Pomodoro. It is located just outside of the Berkeley Library, very close to the old library featuring the long room and the book of kells. Quite a number of these may be found scattered around the world in places such as the Vatican to the UN headquaters in New York and even in Japan.
After the RGU School of Computing team arrived in Cork for the IrlCPC Programming Competition, we set off on a short tour around the campus. It was roughly between 22:00 and 22:30, so the Quad and Honan Plaza were lit up.
A section of the UCC Library, known as the Fish Tank, due to the students studying behind the large panels of glass that look out on to the Quad. It was interesting to see that quite a few students were hard at work studying even thought it was around 22:30 on a Friday evening.
My previous post gave an outline of the RGU Computing Team’s journey and experience at the IrlCPC Programming Competition held in Cork, Ireland on Saturday 24th March 2012. Once the competition had concluded at about 17:30 and following on from some group photographs everybody made their way to one of the lecture rooms for a series of presentations and the awarding of prizes. The video below includes some words from the chair of the UCC ACM Student Chapter, a presentation from one of the sponsors (Big Fish Games) and a short talk from another software development company that have offices in Cork.
Following on from about 15 minutes or so of presentations, the winning teams from the competition were revealed and prizes awarded, the video below is of this half of the closing ceremony.
On Friday 23rd March myself and three of our Computer Science Undergrads set off on a visit to Cork, Ireland to take part in the IrlCPC Programming Competition. The competition, now in its third year was hosted by the UCC ACM Student Chapter at the Department of Computer Science, Western Gateway Building, University College Cork. In total about 30 teams took part across two categories Undergrad & Staff/Postgrad.
We began by meeting up at Aberdeen Airport around 11:30 on the Friday morning to catch the 13:00hrs flight to Dublin, touching down around 14:30. From there we got the 747 bus into the city centre arriving at the central bus station just after 15:40. After grabbing a takeaway sandwich or two we boarded the 16:00 bus to Cork. The 260km or so journey took about 4.5 hours, thereby arriving in Cork around 20:30. We took a short stroll from the bus station at Parnell Place down Patrick Street (the main street), along Grand Parade, and out the Western Road to just before the main gates of the University, arriving at our B&B around 21:00. After dropping off our bags we then went on a short night-time walk down to see the Western Gateway Building, and then on towards the heart of the campus to see the Quad with its night-time lighting, Honan Plaza, the Honan Chapel & the Student Centre as well as the O’Reilly Building and the Library. It was interesting to see that the library was quite busy (specifically the area known as the “Fish Tank”) with people even thought it was around 22:30 on a Friday evening.
The competition day itself began with registration at 10:00, followed by a practice session about an hour later, then it was time for a spot of lunch before the competition itself commenced at 13:30. The competition featured eight questions to be completed in a four-hour period. The teams had to work on the problems without the aid of their coaches, therefore the coaches had four hours with which to catch up on the essentials like email, take some photos around the building & tweet about how things were going. Around three hours into the competition I heard that the RGU team had just taken the lead, so I was able to get a photograph of the leaderboard (which can be seen below). The competition concluded around 17:30, and all the participants made their way outside for a group photograph, after which we all headed back inside to one of the lecture theatres for some short talks and the handing out of the prizes. The award ceremony drew to a close around 18:30 & everybody parted ways, with many of the teams heading directly back to places such as Limerick & Dublin.
The night was still young however, so after grabbing a bite to eat & heading back to our B&B we went out to meet up with about 30 or so of the other competitors at one of the local bars often frequented by those at the University – the Mardyke. Unlike most bars, the Mardyke has quite a selection of various games dotted about, including chess, checkers, pool, table tennis & a number of others. All in all everybody had a great time and everybody made the most of what turned out to be a very long day of programming and partying. Competitions like this are a great way to exercise ones programming skills & I am sure that we all look forward to seeing more opportunities like this to take part in.
I should also say that RGU School of Computing team were very happy with achieving second place in the competition. The winning team of the undergrad category “DIT Champions” had also won the competition the year before & had been in training for quite some time before the event. Further details of the scores should become available in the coming days. Most of the photographs below were taken by myself on the day, but a few of them were taken by the events photographer Helmut Simonis who posted the photographs he took of the competition on the following site.
A few days ago on Friday 23rd March myself and a few other academics along with a group of students at BSc, MSc & PhD level visited BP in Dyce to see one of their HIVE (Highly Immersive Environment) installations. The following are a few photos of the group that attended, as well as some of the slides and visualizations presented during the 1.5 hour visit. The first photo seen below is of the group sitting in front of the HIVE’s curved screen, just prior to the presentations commencing.
The following are just a few photographs of Union Terrace Gardens and the surrounding area. One can see a number of stalls running along Union Terrace, these are of a market that is held every three months, selling everything from rugs and pottery, to garden furniture, sweets, cakes, fruit and the like. One can expect this area to dramatically change in the coming years with plans afoot to double the surface area of the gardens and create amenities for concerts, artistic installations & even ice skating. Even though these photographs were taken in May at the time of the Market when many thousands of people descend on Union Terrace one can see that very little use was being made of the gardens, even though as you can see from the sunlight in the photographs that is was quite a wonderful day.
The following are just a few quick photos of Sea World Orland. One can see the lighthouse that is located close to the main entrance, the pirate ship that features Clive the seal, a few of the rides, and the Believe show featuring Shamu the Killer Whale with the capacity of catering for 12,000 spectators. A visit to Sea World of course isn’t complete without paying the dolphins a visit.
In May 2009 I travelled to Glasgow to see a concert by Jean Michel Jarre at the SECC Auditorium otherwise known as the Armadillo. Before the concert began I took a few photos of the area including the concert venue, the BBC Scotland Building and STV. As you can see it was quite a nice evening, with just a few clouds in the sky. The concert itself was amazing and the acoustics in the auditorium were fantastic. Then again, the speakers were pumping out a tremendous amount of wattage, and quite a number of the tracks had some very high-pitched waveforms.
My first visit to Universal Studios was around 18:00 in the evening in early August 2010. It just so happend that I timed it perfectly as my first glimpse of the new Hogwarts World of Witchcraft & Wizardary was seemlingly under attack by Voldemort’s Deatheaters, or you could say that there was just a few lighining strikes happening in the vacinity, some of which just lined up perfectly with the Castle as you can see below. The photos below are of stills captured from a number of videos I recorded of the event. Enjoy. You can see the video here.
The following are some photographs taken at Kennedy Space Centre back in 2010. The photos give just some small sense of the facilities, one can see a space shuttle, the space shuttle launch experience facility, the International Space Station Assembly building, the Rocket Garden and a few other sites. Will provide additional posts on this in the future.
The research seminar given by Prof Simon Dobson last Friday 16th March 2012 is now available online. He got the 08:33 train from Edinburgh in the morning arriving at the School around 12:00. After having a chat and some lunch we went to C48 for the seminar. The seminar concluded with the usual round of tea/coffee before Simon set off to catch a train back to Edinburgh. All it all it was quite a busy day & the talk itself was both really interesting and entertaining. If you wish you can watch the video below to learn a bit more about wireless sensor networks. One can see the abstract available at
as well as details of previous and upcoming seminars.
The following are just a few photographs of the Vulcan (HX558, the one and only Vulcan still to be seen today (
) known as “The Spirit of Great Britian”) flying about in the skies over Leuchars during the 2011 Airshow. Enjoy the photos of the marvelous piece of engineering.
After celebrating St Patrick’s Day by working on an exam paper I decided to take a trip to the cinema to the 17:30 showing of John Carter. Runtime 132 minutes with a rating of 7.1 on IMDB. Overall I quite enjoyed it, certainly there was some nice graphics, and some scenes had a distinctive Star Wars Episode II feel to them. Surprisingly there was just ten people present at the screening. Should you want to see further information about the film then you could check out the reviews on IMDB. Quite a few balloons were to be seen around Belmont Street in the colours of the Irish flag and there seemed to be quite a bit of activity about the place.
Some time ago our Systems Manager @cbeagrie and myself spent quite a large amount of time (over the course of a few months) sifting our way through renderfarm specifications looking for a system that would be suitable for our School. Colin wrote a blog post about it today on the Schools new wordpress powered site that is currently under construction. You can see details about the specification from his post. It has been up and running for a while now and many of our students working on 3D Projects and Courseworks have been making use of it.
This video is of a Java Application I developed quite a number of years ago, making use of recursion to generate 2D Plasma Fractal Images.
Today a small number of staff and students gathered together for a short meeting and during same we took some time out to celebrate Einsteins birthday and Pi Day by having some pie. To be precise we had some Banoffee pie and lemon cheesecake, pollished off with some Cadburys Heroes and washed down with some Irn-Bru. What a combination. After that a number of us then went for lunch!
I attended the PhD Comics Movie screening this evening running as part of the Science & Engineering Week here in Aberdeen. As per my previous post it was held at one of the lecture theatres in the Zoological Building at Aberdeen University. Upon arrival I was delighted to see more or less a full house. By the time the film began being screen at about 18:22 the entire room was packed. I heard back from the organisers that 180 people were present at the event, so a great turnout all round. The film was just over and hour in length and concluded around 19:25.
Warning may contain spoilers: It was great to see the creator of PhD Comics making a cameo appearance at the very start of the movie. The overall “chapter” structure of the movie too had quite a nice manner to that of a PhD Thesis. There were several instances throughout the movie at related directly to some of my favourite comic strips from phdcomics.com If you are familiar with the comic strips then you should love the movie. I could certainly reminisce with many of the scenes. I believe the audience as a whole quite enjoyed the movie as there were certainly a good few laughs throughout. All in all I really enjoyed the movie and it was well worth while attending. Once again great to see a packed house. The photo below was taken by @AuScienceMag.
Its National Science & Engineering Week with events happening in and around Aberdeen right the way through to the weekend (Sunday 18th March). One can see a full programme of events by accessing this brochure in pdf format. I was delighted to see that PhD Comics the Movie will be screened on Tuesday 13th March from 6pm at the Zoology Lecture Theatre, Tillydrone Avenue (See page 5 of the brochure). Price of entry is £4 & there is no need to book. Should you need directions then a map of the area is accessable at the following link. I would say that this is essential viewing for anybody who is doing research. I am sure many of you have seen
and can directly relate to many of the comic strips that are depicted, as they are so true to life in the vast majority of cases. You can read more about the movie from here
and can watch the trailer below.
I had tried bringing it to Aberdeen myself shortly after it just came out with the hope of it being the first screening in Scotland, it however didn’t come to pass. So I am delighted to see that it has finally come to Aberdeen for Science Week and would recommend all those involved in PhD research and anybody considering such a career to go and see this.
The video embedded below is of a Java application developed to create 3D Fractal images through the use of recursive method calls. Probably the most well known example in the set is the Menger Sponge seen at the start of the video.
I have arranged a visit to BP’s HIVE – Highly Immersive Virtual Environment on Friday 23rd March from 09:30 to 11:00. The visit will go through a number of demos highlighting how the HIVE is used. There may also be time for demos of RFID / Video technology in use within BP. If you are interested in attending this then do get in contact with me as places are limited.
“The Aberdeen HIVE suite contains 3 virtual reality meeting rooms enabling users to experience immersion in full 3D imagery, enhancing decision making and collaboration. Its use spans engineering 3D modelling used for planning maintenance as well as engineering modifications. Reservoir / well modelling.”
Below is a map of where BP is located, as you can see it is situated just before the Marriot Hotel which is located at the roundabout intersecting Victoria Street and Riverview Drive.
Street View of the BP Building
Getting to BP
One can walk from BP to Dyce train station in about 15 mintes, its located about 1 mile away, see the map below.
There are a number of bus stops located very close to BP as you can see if you zoom in on the location map. Probably the easiest option is to get the 21 or 21A. Details of bus timings area available from the first group website one can also view this as a pdf document.
1 Wellheads Avenue
Yesterday – Thursday 8th March we had @lee_stott with us once again for more or less the entire day. After some informal meeting & chats early in the morning he gave a talk at 11:00 in C41 mainly aimed at students regarding the academic resources that are available through Microsoft. This ranges from help with student computing clubs, to free software and course material. Embedded below are the slides from this talk.
One can also see a video of the talk below, so if you weren’t able to attend you can catch up and find out all about the tools and resources that are freely available to make the most of. There were several things mentioned that were quite interesting, one however was the Imagine Cup. A short video of the 2011 finals in New York was played to give a sense of whats involved. This year it will be held in Australia.
After a chat with staff and lunch Lee gave yet another talk in A23 at 15:00, this time focused on Azure Cloud Computing, once again the slides are assessable below.
This talk was also recorded, we had a good number in attendance but if you weren’t their or if there is something you want to hear again then the video below should be of use. I chatted with Lee for a short while as I conveyed him to the front entrance. He had a bit of spare time on his hands before catching an 18:30 flight to Manchester, so I am sure he got a chance to take a very quick look around the city centre.
Unreal Tournament 5th March 2012, a set on Flickr.
The following are some photos from the Unreal Tournament held on Monday 5th March 2012. Details of the results will be posted shortly. Below is a short video from some of the games.
Breakdown of games played and points earned, as you can see the RGU eSports team won the competition as undefeated champions.