Fundamentals of Success, Life and Academic Performance

The following videos outline some general rules of success and how one can ultimately change the world, through focus, dedication and commitment coupled with giving back to the world / community that has contributed along the way.

Arnold Schwarzenegger – In this video he outlines 5 key Rules of Success. A far more detailed and in-depth interview exploring Vision, Goals, Confidence and Time Management may be seen (online)

One of the key elements mentioned in the video above is to have a clear vision, a destination. Perhaps the following video from Star Trek VI – The Undiscovered Country, 1991 (IMDB) is a good example, as the Enterprise is asked by a Klingon outpost for its Destination – “What is your Destination, Over”. Even with a warp capable Starship like the Enterprise, without a Heading / Destination one will just drift through space without ever getting anywhere. Many star athletes “begin with the end in mind” to quote Stephen R. Covey and “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People”, they visualise and see the ultimate goal the wish to achieve.

As with all journeys one must first have a direction of travel, in the case of Samwise and Frodo departing the Shire in The Fellowship of the Ring, 2001 (IMDB), their initial destination was the village of Bree. As with all journeys one must set off by putting one foot in front of the other and embrace the adventure that lies ahead.

Admiral William H. McRaven – highlights 10 key life lessons that are very much centered around how one can change the world by adhering to some basic principles. A more detailed account, along with a 20 minute video may be seen (online).

Many of the above Rules & Life Lessons can be readily applied to Academic study. As Schwarzenegger mentions one has to “work your butt off”. Putting in hard work and focus is essential, however perhaps even more importantly is to focus on working hard at doing the right things. The following video below highlights several key things that the top 10% of students do in stark contrast to the other 90%. Two of the key things that make all the difference is to develop a Schedule / Plan and also to put in the work doing Practice Exams / Homework.

An interesting article in which the speaker in the video above contributes, can be found (online) and is aptly named the “Science of Student Success”.

Just turning up to class for example, isn’t going to guarantee success in coursework / exams. One must put in the work. Its just like having a Gym membership, paying the membership fee, and going to the gym for just a few weeks or on the odd occasion will not produce any results. One must put in the work over and over again, moreover it is important to do the right thing, hence how one works out at the gym with the correct form is also crucial. The real key to building muscle mass is not stopping once you have done 10 reps just like everybody else, the real value comes at the very end by putting in that extra couple of reps. This extra bit of effort is what makes all the difference to making the most of the training session. This is something that Schwarzenegger mentions time and time again in many of his interviews.

Perhaps it is apt quote Colonel John Hannibal Smith from the A-Team – “I love it when a plan comes together”. The videos below depicts Hannibal (George Peppard) from both the TV Show and the more recent move (Liam Neeson) saying the well know line.

Commitment is also a key ingredient, as is well voiced by wise Jedi Master Yoda “Try not, Do or Do not, there is no try” – Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back, 1980 (IMDB). Trying to do something half-heartily will not lead to success, if you are going to do something the commit to it 100%. Another very good example of this is from The Karate Kid, 1984 (IMDB), at the point where Mr. Miyagi ask Daniel if he is ready to begin his Karate training. Daniel responds by saying “Yeah, I guess so”. Mr Miyagi in turn outlines a short story about walking on a road, both the left and right sides are safe, but if one walks in the middle, then sooner or later you will get run over. Again it all comes down to Commitment, either you are going to do something and give it 100% or not.

Perhaps one of the most important thing at University, especially in Computing is to treat it like a Gym. Only by working out and learning to tackle new problems can one problem solving skills improve along with their programming ability.

Any other tips for success?
Do you know of any other good strategies useful on the road toward Academic Success?
Have you seen any interesting videos recently about how to focus, do the right thing and ultimately achieve the best results?
What interesting things have you learned from watching the videos above?
What are the most profound / useful things you can take away and action from the above videos?

Kainos AI Camp and Hackathon – Week 2 Summary

This post gives some idea of what the final week of the Kainos AI Camp and Hackathon was like. The start of the second week commenced on Monday morning by reviewing what was explored the following week. A number of people from Kainos also attended in order to capture some interviews and video of the AI Camp in action. Around the middle of the week Kainos’ CTO Tom Gray (online) visited to give a talk about the company followed up by a Q&A session. During the final two days of the week two further tutors took part to explore the world of computer vision.

A day long Hackathon took place on Saturday 15th with teams consisting of two to three people developing some really excellent and interesting ideas. The hackathon concluded with all teams presenting their work to a panel of Judges, with some really great and fun prizes available to the winning teams along with a number of individual prizes as well. The previous day – Friday 14th Sept, the participants spent much of the day thinking of the ideas for the hackathon, getting into teams, and exploring the possible data sets they could use. It was really great to see the amount of in-depth detailed discussion and enthusiasm that electrified the room with creativity. A huge shout out to all the tutors must be given particularly to Chloe (online) and Jake (online) who ran most of the two week event.

The tweets below should help to give you a good sense of what Week 02 was like along with the capstone Hackathon event.

Summary of Week 01 (online).

Social Media Feeds
Kainos (online)
Kainos Academy (online)
Kainos CTO – Tom Gray (online)
AI Camp Tutor – Chloe Thompson (online)
AI Camp Tutor – Jake Young (online)
AI Camp Tutor – Mary-Jane (online)
AI Camp Tutor – Liam Ferris (online)
AI Camp Co-ordination – Don Le (online)
Guest Speaker (Convolution Neural Networks) – Alan Dolhasz (online)
Guest Speaker (AI & the Media) – Kari Lawler (online), Youth4AI (online)
BCU Computing (online)
AI Camp Hashtag (online)

AI Camp Week 02 in Tweets
The following embedded tweets below should give you some sense of what the second week of the AI Camp was like along with the final Hackathon event that took places at Kainos’ Offices located at Alpha Tower (online), Birmingham.

Kainos AI Camp and Hackathon – Week 1 Summary

Over the first two weeks of September 2018 Kainos has been running a AI Camp and Hackathon event (online) hosted at BCU Computing. The AI Camp schedule runs from 09:00 to 17:00 Monday to Friday over the two week period, with a final Hackathon taking place on Saturday 15th Sept at Kainos’ office located in Alpha Tower, Birmingham. Around twenty of those who signed up were selected to participate in the AI Camp and Hackathon. The group consisting mainly of Computer Science / Computer Science and AI undergrad students along with some from Physics as well, spans a number of university institutions across central England.

Just prior to this event another had been held in Belfast during the last two weeks of August with the final Hackathon taking place on Saturday 1st September. That left the tutors running the AI camp with just the Sunday to get packed and fly to Birmingham to get going again first thing on Monday morning with the second instance of the camp.

Social Media Feeds
Kainos (online)
Kainos Academy (online)
AI Camp Tutor – Chloe Thompson (online)
AI Camp Tutor – Jake Young (online)
AI Camp Co-ordination – Don Le (online)
Guest Speaker (Convolution Neural Networks) – Alan Dolhasz (online)
Guest Speaker (AI & the Media) – Kari Lawler (online), Youth4AI (online)
BCU Computing (online)
AI Camp Hashtag (online)

AI Camp Week 01 in Tweets
The following embedded tweets below should give you some sense of what the first week of the AI Camp was like.

Looking Back at George Boole’s 200th Birthday Celebrations

Today 2nd November 2016 is the 201st Birthday of Professor George Boole, the first professor of mathematics at University College Cork, known the world over as the “father of the information age”. On this very day last year I had the opportunity to be on campus to witness some events celebrating his 200th birthday. As you can see from the photos below quite a sizable cake decorated with 0’s and 1’s was on display. A number of talks also took place on the day. One of the talks I attended was given by Professor Anant Agarwal from MIT (online) about working in the realm of Digital Systems. Also in the audience was Professor Donald Knuth (online), well known for the multi-volume book “The Art of Computer Programming”, he had given a talk / Q&A session just prior. Hopefully some of the images below will give a sense of what the campus was like this day last year for the 200th Birthday celebrations.

Some time ago I wrote a post going through all the dates on the calendar listing the Key People and Events in Computer Science (online). Another person whom was also born the very same year as George Boole was Ada Lovelace, well known for her work with Charles Babbage on the Analytical Engine and the creation of the first algorithm intended to work on a machine. Its probably safe to say that without the work undertaken by both of these people born in 1815 none of the digital world that has permeated the very fabric of our lives today would exist.

George Boole 200 Years

George Boole 200 Years

George Boole 200 Years

George Boole 200 Years

George Boole 200 Years

George Boole 200 Years

George Boole 200 Years

George Boole 200 Years

George Boole 200 Years

George Boole 200 Years

George Boole 200 Years

George Boole 200 Years

George Boole 200 Years

George Boole 200 Years

George Boole 200 Years

What Qualities Make a Game Popular?

I recently made a post about Dare to be Digital 2016 (online) highlighting a number of video pitches. What qualities make a game addictive & popular? To what degree does the gameplay, sound effects, music, graphics, playability, level of difficulty have a bearing on the overall popularity and addictiveness of a game. The following are just a few popular games.

Cooking Fever
Cooking Fever is all about cooking – anything from burgers and hot-dogs, to pizza, suchi and baking. One can upgrade kitchen appliances to make cooking faster, upgrade the restaurant to increase customer wait times and how generous they are with tips. The main interaction style consists of simple drag and drop. When a customer arrives at your kitchen, the ask via a graphic bubble representation of the items they are looking for, e.g. an icon representing a burger. You then need to get some burger buns set out on your work surface and start dragging the ingredients on to complete the burger. One of course needs the cooked burger meat, along with various combinations of extras such as lettuce, tomato, ketchup – dragging each component on to the burger bun. Once the burger is fully assembled one then drags the burger to the waiting customer. If you manage to do this quickly enough they will drop coins representative of the price of the burger along with a tip for good service on the counter and leave as happy customers. As the levels progress the number of customers and combinations of food items increase. At the time of writing the number of installs was between 10 & 50 Million, the game is available from the google play store (online).

Angry Birds
Angry Birds has become an extremely popular game with 100 to 500 Million installs of the app via the Google Play Store (online). What are the qualities of launching a bird at various targets to get them to topple over that makes the game so popular.

Candy Crush Jelly Saga
Having 10 to 50 Million downloads Candy Crush Jelly Saga is certainly another popular game (online).

Clash of Clans
Available from the Google Play store (online) has between 100 & 500 Million installs.

SimCity Buildit
With 10 to 50 Million Google Play installs SimCity Buildit is certainly another popular game (online). This game is all about creating a city and populating it with residences, so you can earn Simoleons through the construction of residences and earn tax from same as well. One can also earn cash through the Trade Depot whereby you can sell goods that you create. One can sell all manner of goods from the basic raw materials created by factories, to more complex items created by taking the raw materials and forming them into a new product such as: Doughnuts, Shoes, Watches, Nails, Vegetables, Tables & Chairs to name but a few.

As you level up through the game further opportunities for Trading become enabled such as the Port for shipping your goods overseas, or the Airport (available once you have a population of 120,000). The Airport allows you to gain special items allowing you to build new types of residences with higher population capacity, namely, Paris, London and Toyko zones. To keep the population happy one must supply them with basic services, provide them with places to relax (parks), and a whole host of other facilities from Schools and Universities, to Entertainment and Gambling.

Over time one can create a city of some 4 million inhabitants and stretch out the area of the city to encompass both the beach and mountains. These areas allow one to build special buildings that can greatly boost the population within a certain catchment area.

At the Vu Tower (available at a population of 90,000) one can unleash a number of different disasters, that allows you to gain valuable Golden Keys. The most basic disaster one can unleash is the Meteor Strike, followed by Earthquake, Alien Invasion and several more.

Questions
What makes a good game?
How important is the embedding of Social Media in a game?
Do you make use of in-app purchases, to buy credits, upgrade systems etc?
Is it easy to lose track of the amount you spend on in-app purchases?
How important is the time it takes to complete a level – especially for Mobile Games?
What are your favorite games and Why?
How often do you play games on your Mobile?

Essential Viewing – Prof Randy Pausch Time Management & The Last Lecture

Professor Randy Pausch (Oct 1960 – July 2008) of Carnegie Mellon University is well know for delivering some lectures that have been viewed millions of times. The talk titled “The Last Lecture: Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams” was delivered about a year after he had been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. The recorded lecture hosted on CMU’s YouTube channel as been viewed over 17.5 million times at the time of writing this blog, in addition it can be found on several other locations on the web. Another very interesting talk that everybody should watch  on “Time Management” has been viewed almost 2 million times on CMU’s YouTube channel. Both of these lecture are essential viewing for everybody & not just those studying computing.

The reason I decided to write this blog post was that a colleague of mine recently queried me regarding email server settings. This lead to some discussion on the pro/cons of using Outlook vs Thunderbird which lead me into talking about Randy Pausch’s love of the “empty inbox” and his use of prioritized “to-do lists”.  During several courses I have taught in the past I got the students to watch these lectures to see what nuggets of gold they could learn regarding their approach to learning and being organised – specifically the lecture on time management. They always came back to say they found the lectures extremely interesting & made them reflect on how they work. So I thought it was now about that I mentioned these lectures in a blog post & thereby having them in one place for ease of reference in the future.

If you haven’t seen these talks before then I strongly suggest you watch both of them & I’m certain you will learn a lot and in so doing should reflect upon how you approach work/study/research & life in general. If you do some searching online then I’m sure you can find out lot’s more about Randy, his teaching, research and the founding of the Alice software project. The following are just a few links you can follow for more info.

Randy Pausch’s Homepage (online)
Randy Pausch on Wikipedia (online)
Randy Pausch – Last Lecture Transcript (online)
Randy Pausch – Time Management Transcript (online)

I have summarized the key points under each video to make that particular topic area readily accessible. Clicking on the “go to” hyperlinks will open up the video in a new tab at the associated time-stamp of the topic. If you have any other tips / useful strategies on effective time management / achieving you’re life goals (childhood dreams) then do leave a comment.

Time Management

00:05:56 Time = Money, how much is you’re time worth, should I just buy software or write it, try thinking of time and money almost as if they are the same thing  (go to)

00:07:54 Money not Important, its time – you can never get that back (go to)

00:10:13 The Time Famine, bad time management = stress, need to think long term, life advice happy wonderful life, why do it if its not fun, life is too short, don’t like you’re job then change, the overall goal is fun (go to)

00:12:25 Typical Office Worker Wastes 2 hours per day, desk messy, can’t find things (go to)

00:12:58 Managing your time well makes you successful (go to)

00:13:34 Goals, Priorities and Planning, why am I doing this, what will happen if I don’t do it, best thing in the world – just say no (go to)

00:15:04 Do the right things, rather than doing things right, doesn’t matter how well you polish the underside of the banister (go to)

00:15:45 The 80:20 Rule, A small number of things will contribute the most value, e.g. if in sales 80% of revenue will come from 20% of you’re clients (go to)

00:17:01 The Power of Inspiration, if you can dream it you can do it, Disneyland built in 366 days, a lot of hard work in anything you want to accomplish (go to)

00:18:24 Planning is very important, failing to plan is planning to fail (go to)

00:19:04 To Do Lists, break things down into small steps – how to clean a room, can you make the bed, can you tidy the clothes, do a few things then you get it done, do the ugliest thing first (go to)

00:21:01 Most Important Thing, 4 Quadrant To Do List, Important do soon, most important, everybody gets it wrong by going on to what’s not important and not due soon, things that are due soon and not important – just don’t do it – and magically you have time to work on what’s not due soon but important, so it never gets a chance to be due soon – thereby becoming one of those Zen like people who seem to have all the time in the world (go to)

00:23:24 Paperwork, clutter leads to thrashing (just like excessive paging on a HD!), keep you’re desk clear, have just one thing on you’re desk, touch each of paper once, especially email, you’re inbox is not you’re to-do list (go to)

00:24:33 Need to get the Inbox clear, sometimes means just filing things away, and putting something on the to-do list – sorted by importance (go to)

00:25:40 A Good File System is Essential, having a single place when looking for important receipts beats the hell out of running around for hours looking for it (go to)

00:27:11 Randy’s Desk, 3 Screens – screen space (on screen desktop real estate) is critical, compare working on a little tray in an airplane vs at an actual desk, cost of giving everybody 2 or 3 screens is trivial – so why wouldn’t you do it, will increase productivity having a second screen (go to)

00:29:05 Randy’s 3 Screens, left – to-do list (sorted by priority 0 to 9), middle – note the empty inbox – sleep better with an empty inbox, right – calendar  – essential you know where you’re supposed to be (go to)

00:30:25 The Desk Itself, the one and only thing that is being worked on, speaker phone – essential (best thing you can buy to counter stress) – having a timer is useful as when you get through having been waiting you can say how long you have been waiting (I presume you’re logging this kind of stuff), hence they feel really guilty (go to)

00:32:15 Telephones, a great time waster, if you stand during phone calls you can be much brisker, start by announcing goals for the call e.g. I have 3 things to discuss, do not put you’re feet up, having something on you’re desk that you want to do next is a great way to get off the phone quickly, chit chat is just a time-waster, to get off the phone quickly – just say I have some students waiting (there must be students waiting somewhere – as a professor) (go to)

00:34:02 Telemarketer, as you are talking just hang up on yourself – who does that!, or perhaps tell them that you would like to sell them something (go to)

00:35:05 Group You’re Phone Calls, do them right before lunch or just before the end of the day – that way they have something else they would rather do than just chit-chat with you, you are not more interesting than lunch (go to)

00:35:25 Have a Hands Free Set, one can exercise (cycle) at the same time as talking!, can fold laundry while on the phone (go to)

00:36:35 What Else is on the Desk, address stamper, tissues – essential as faculty (have the module code written on the box and turn it so they can see that its for the class), thank you cards – pen, ink, paper – really important – a tangible way to say that you appreciate somebody, have them on you desk always (go to)

00:39:30 Paper Recycling Bin, – acts as a trash can one can recover things from, notebook, post-it notes (go to)

00:41:30 Spreader Organization Strategy, everything just one arms radius away, from where one sits, do what works for you (go to)

00:42:05 Office Logistics, make the office comfortable for you – but not for others, have folding chair just in case next to the wall (if a longer detailed discussion is necessary), if somebody want’s to talk then they need to stand – makes for a fast discussion  (go to)

00:43:05 Scheduling Yourself, you make time by electing not to do something else, opportunity cost – the bad thing about doing something that isn’t very valuable is that if you spend an hour doing it – that’s an hour you can’t get back (go to)

00:43:37 Learn to Say No, to keep unimportant things from sucking into you’re life, gentle no’s – if nobody else steps forward I will do this for you, or I’ll be you’re fallback but you need to keep searching for somebody else – if they stop looking then they have abused you’re relationship (go to)

00:42:18 Find You’re Creative Time, defend it ruthlessly, spend it alone – at home if necessary, schedule phone calls, meetings, mundane stuff when you’re not at you’re best (go to)

00:45:54 Interruptions, studies show an interruption takes 6-9 minutes + a recovery of 4-5 minutes to get you head back into what you are doing – if doing something like software development you may never get you head back into what you were doing, 5 interruptions – blows a whole hour, must find ways to reduce the frequency and length of interruptions (go to)

00:46:28 Turn Phone Calls into Email, any time a new email makes a “ding” it creates an interruption – turn it off, go to the email when you are ready  (go to)

00:47:30 How to cut things Short, if somebody interrupts you and asks if you have a few minutes, tell them that you are in the middle of something right now, could say you only have 5 minutes – puts a clear deadline on the interaction, if somebody doesn’t get it walk to the door of you’re office – complement them, thank them, shake their hand, then if they still don’t leave – then you just keep going out the door (go to)

00:48:45 Have a Wall Clock, right behind any visitors to you’re office  (go to)

00:49:00 Time Journals, find out where you’re time is going, monitor yourself in 15 minutes increments for 3 days (go to)

00:50:20 Meeting with Students – What’s you’re time schedule?, gaps between classes – make up a fake class, go to the library & study (go to)

00:51:16 Time Journal Data, what are you doing that doesn’t need to be done, what can you delegate, what can I do more efficiently, how am I wasting other peoples time, you become more efficient at work so you can leave at 17:00 and go home – work life balance (go to)

00:53:16 What’s Important, What’s Not, don’t worry about things that don’t matter (go to)

00:54:04 Effective vs Efficient, best overall outcome (go to)

00:55:55 Procrastination, is the thief of time, doing things at the last minute is really expensive, that’s where stress comes, deadlines really important (make some fake deadlines), sometimes you have to ask – and wonderful things can happen (go to)

00:59:10 Delegation, you can achieve a lot more when you have help, grant authority with responsibility – give the resources, budget and time to get it done, do the dirtiest job yourself, treat you’re people well, people are the greatest resource, treat them with dignity, respect, and the kind of love that they should have from someone who cares about them and their professional development (go to)

01:00:55 If You Want to Get Something Done You Cannot be Vague, give a specific thing, date and time along with a specific penalty or reward if the deadline is or is not met (go to)

01:01:30 Challenge People, delegate until they complain, under delegation is a problem, people want to show they are capable – let them, communication has to be clear, get it in writing, tell them what you want them to do, not how to do it, set objectives not procedures, sometimes their solutions can be mind-blowing – good or bad, tell people the importance of each task (go to)

01:03:37 Sociology, when people do things that you like – praise them and thank them (go to)

01:05:00 Meetings, should never last more than an hour, should be an agenda, if no agenda then don’t attend, write the minutes of the meeting in 1 minute or less – detailing who is responsible for what by when – and email it out to everybody  (go to)

01:06:12 Technology, only use technology that’s worth it – that makes you more efficient,  (go to)

01:07:25 Video – frustrated office worker destroys computer, only use technology that helps you (go to)

01:08:35 Email, don’t delete – save all of it, save/search, if you want something done send it to somebody who can do it, with a specific date/time/penalty, if you don’t get a response within 48 hrs try try again (go to)

01:10:38 Management from Beneath, write things down, what’s to be done by next meeting, who can help, its not a vacation if you’re reading email (go to)

01:12:56 Most Important Advice, kill you’re television, turn money into time, throw money at the problem – hire somebody else to mow you’re lawn, do whatever it takes to exchange money for time because you just don’t have enough time, eat, sleep and exercise, never break a promise,   (go to)

01:14:30 Most Things are Pass/Fail – reason we have the expression – good enough, get feedback loops, ask people in confidence,  (go to)

01:15:10 What Can You Do Today, get a PDA, sort tasks by priority, do a time journal/count the number of hours you watch TV in the week, revisit this take in 30 days and ask yourself – what have I changed, time is all we have (go to)

The Last Lecture

Key Segments
00:03:22 Childhood Dreams (go to)

00:04:54 Being in Zero Gravity (go to)

00:08:12 Football – All about fundamentals, critics are the ones who still love you, enthusiasm, perseverance (go to)

00:12:04 World Book Encyclopedia, paper, books (go to)

00:13:02 Meeting Captain Kirk, meeting you’re boyhood idol, leadership, science of Star Trek (go to)

00:15:12 Winning Stuffed Animals (go to)

00:16:50 Being an Imagineer – Walt Disney, job applications, brick walls, how badly you want something (go to)

00:18:35 VR, junior academic, Disney’s Aladdin project, give people time and they will impress you (go to)

00:26:32 The Aladdin VR project, Imagineering, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (go to)

00:30:30 Enabling the Childhood Dreams of Others, next Star Wars film (go to)

00:32:24 Course – Building Virtual Worlds, different teams every 2 weeks, great work, I know you can do better (go to)

00:37:20 VR Demo Example (go to)

00:40:10 An Unusual Course, brilliant creative students, class pictures, anything that pioneering – you will get arrows in the back, find somebody better than you to hand over to (go to)

00:45:30 The Dream Fulfillment Factory, Entertainment Technology Center, focus on people and learning to work in groups (go to)

00:52:38 The Alice Project (go to)

00:54:38 Lessons Learned, achieving you’re dreams (go to)

01:00:42 We Learn from our Students, having fun, help others, loyalty is a two-way street (go to)

01:06:09 Never Give Up (go to)

01:09:45 How do you get People to Help You, tell the truth, be earnest, apologize when you screw up, focus on others (go to)

01:13:00 When you do the Right Thing, good stuff has a way of happening, get a feedback loop and listen to it (go to)

01:13:28 Show Gratitude (go to)

01:13:57 Important Advice, be good at something, work hard, find the best in everybody, be prepared (go to)

01:14:30 Summary (go to)

Quadcopter Flying Around Campus – Video

We had a number of very nice days last week, blue skies and sunshine all day long, hence as part of a module I have with 1st year computing students I took the class outside to experiment with some quadcopter flying. We had two DJI Phantom quadcopters in operation with Go Pro’s attached to capture the scene. One can see some still image captures at the following post.

In the first video above we were all arranged in a circle the radius being calculated by the average width of a student x the number of students / Pi / 2 / 2. This amounted to a radius of a little over 16 feet or roughly 33 feet in diameter. The reason for this was to attempt a “Bullet-time” capture of a quad-copter hovering in the centre of the circle, with the students taking photographs on all their phones. If you look closely at roughly the mid point of the video above you will see the second quadcopter taking off and flying around a little bit.


The flights took place towards the west end of campus next door to the Scott Sutherland Building and the Round Tower, see the map below.

Key People and Events in Computer Science – Dates to Celebrate

New Years Day often coincides with people making plans and new years resolutions for the year ahead. Having liked the idea of celebrating Pi Day (http://www.piday.org) for the past few years now (P.S. you will note that this post was published at 1:59), I started to wonder what other key events and people should one celebrate during the year that relates to computing. Hence the creation of this list.

Many people like to know of others who share the same birthday as themselves, hence this list may act as a useful resource mapping your birthday to well known computer scientists and key events in the world of computing.

Many days in the list below are still to be filled in, so perhaps with the help of all those out their in the Blogosphere and the Social Media Universe we can piece together a list occupying each day of the year, thereby allowing the celebration of Computing right throughout the year.

January

Date Person / Event Know for Further Info
01-Jan Brian Kernighan AWK B 1/1/1942, Toronto, Canada. Co-developer of the AWK programming language (K), also contributed to the development of Unix. (more info).
02-Jan
03-Jan Peter Chen E-R Model B 3/1/1947, Taichung, Taiwan, ROC. Well known for developing the Entity-Relationship Model to describe database structure. (more info).
03-Jan Gordon Moore Moore’s Law B 3/1/1929, San Francisco, California, USA. Co-founder of Intel. Known for Moore’s Law an observation that the number of transistors on integrated circuits doubles approximately every two years. (more info).
04-Jan Shmuel Winograd Coppersmith–Winograd algorithm B 4/1/1936, Tel Aviv, Israel. The Coppersmith–Winograd algorithm the fastest known algorithm for square matrix multiplication until 2010. (more info).
05-Jan Stephen Cole Kleene Recursion theory B 5/1/1909, Hartford, Connecticut. Worked with Alonzo Church on Lambda Calculus. Invented regular expressions. (more info).
06-Jan
07-Jan Stephen R. Bourne Bourne Shell B 7/1/1944, UK. Well known for the Bourne Shell – the standard command line interface for Unix, also worked on the ALGOL68 compiler. (more info).
08-Jan
09-Jan
10-Jan Donald Knuth TeX B 10/1/1938, Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Well known for a series of books called The Art of Computer Programming, also created TeX.(more info).
11-Jan C. A. R. Hoare Quicksort B 11/1/1934, Colombo, British Ceylon. Developed the Quicksort algorithm in 1960, also known for Hoare Logic and CSP. (more info).
12-Jan
13-Jan
14-Jan
15-Jan
16-Jan
17-Jan
18-Jan
19-Jan John Gustafson Gustafson’s law B 19/1/1955. Gustafson’s Law describes a limit on the speed-up that parallelization can provide. (more info).
20-Jan
21-Jan
22-Jan
23-Jan
24-Jan Alain Colmerauer Prolog B 24/1/1941, Carcassonne. Developed the programming language Prolog. (more info).
25-Jan
26-Jan
27-Jan
28-Jan
29-Jan Joseph Kruskal Kruskal’s algorithm B 29/1/1928. Known for Kruskal’s algorithm for computing the minimal spanning tree (MST) of a weighted graph. (more info).
30-Jan Douglas Engelbart Developing the Computer Mouse B 30/1/1925, Portland, Oregon. Well known for inventing the computer mouse, and the development of hypertext. (more info).
31-Jan

February

Date Person / Event Know for Further Info
01-Feb
02-Feb John Henry Holland Genetic algorithms B 2/2/1929, Fort Wayne, Indiana, US. Known for pioneering the subject area of genetic algorithms. (more info).
03-Feb
04-Feb Ken Thompson C & UNIX B 4/2/1943, New Orleans, Louisiana. Developed the C Programming language and the UNIX OS with Dennis Ritchie. (more info).
05-Feb
06-Feb
07-Feb Loren Carpenter Fractal Terrain Generation B 7/2/1947 Brighton, Michigan. Well known for creating Vol Libre – the first example of computer generated terrain. Later he went on to develop the Genesis Sequence from Star Trek II the Wrath of Kahn. (more info, more info).
07-Feb Leslie Lamport LaTeX & Distributed Systems B 7/2/1941, New York City, New York. Well known for developing LaTeX, the typesetting system used by mathematicians, computer scientists and many others the world over. (more info).
07-Feb Max Newman Colossus B 7/2/1897, Chelsea, London. Worked on the development of Colossus. (more info).
08-Feb
09-Feb John Knoll Photoshop B 9/2/1962, Ann Arbor, Michigan. Together with his brother Thomas Knoll were the original creators of Photoshop. Is a visual effects supervisor and chief creative officer (CCO) at Industrial Light & Magic (ILM). (more info).
10-Feb
11-Feb Emil Leon Post Post–Turing machine B 11/2/1897, Augustów, then Russian Empire. Developed the Post-Turing machine. (more info).
11-Feb Richard Hamming Hamming code B 11/2/1915, Chicago, Illinois. Known for the development of the Hamming Code, was also a founder and president of the Association for Computing Machinery. (more info).
12-Feb
13-Feb
14-Feb
15-Feb Niklaus Wirth Pascal, Modula-2 and Oberon B 15/2/1934, Winterthur, Switzerland. Developed the languages Pascal, Modula-2 and Oberon.(more info).
16-Feb
17-Feb
18-Feb
19-Feb
20-Feb
21-Feb
22-Feb Thomas E. Kurtz BASIC B 22/2/1928, Oak Park, Illinois. Co- developed the Beginners All-purpouse Symbolic Instruction Code with John G. Kemeny. (more info).
23-Feb
24-Feb Steve Jobs Co-founder Apple B 24/2/1955, San Francisco, California. Co-founder, Chairman and CEO,
Apple Inc. Co-founder and CEO, Pixar, Founder and CEO, NeXT Inc. (more info).
25-Feb
26-Feb
27-Feb Grady Booch UML B 27/2/1955. Developed the Unified Modeling Language with Ivar Jacobson and James Rumbaugh. (more info).
28-Feb
29-Feb Herman Hollerith Punch Cards B 29/2/1860, Buffalo, New York. Developed a mechanical tabulator based on punched cards. (more info).

March

Date Person / Event Know for Further Info
01-Mar
02-Mar
03-Mar
04-Mar
05-Mar
06-Mar
07-Mar
08-Mar Gerard Salton Vector space model B 8/3/1927, Nuremberg. Developed the vector space model and inverted index. (more info).
09-Mar
10-Mar
11-Mar J. C. R. Licklider HCI B 11/3/1915, St. Louis, Missouri, USA. Worked in several fields, laid the foundations for HCI as we know it today. (more info).
12-Mar
13-Mar
14-Mar Pi Day Celebration of Pi An annual celebration of the mathematical constant π (pi). Generally celebrated on 3/14 at 1:59. (more info).
15-Mar
16-Mar Richard Stallman GNU Project B 16/3/1953, New York City. Known for launching the GNU Project, founding the Free Software Foundation, developing the GNU Compiler Collection and GNU Emacs, and writing the GNU General Public License. (more info).
17-Mar
18-Mar
19-Mar
20-Mar
21-Mar
22-Mar
23-Mar
24-Mar
25-Mar Jean Ichbiah Ada B 25/3/1940. Was the initial chief designer of the Ada programming language. (more info).
26-Mar Larry Page Co-founder Google B 26/3/1973, East Lansing, Michigan. Co-founded Google alongside Sergey Brin. (more info).
27-Mar
28-Mar
29-Mar
30-Mar
31-Mar Edwin Catmull Texture mapping & Bicubic patches B 31/3/1945, Parkersburg, West Virginia. Discovered texture mapping and bicubic patches, invented algorithms for spatial anti-aliasing and refining subdivision surfaces. President of Walt Disney Animation Studios and Pixar Animation Studios. (more info).

April

Date Person / Event Know for Further Info
01-Apr
02-Apr
03-Apr
04-Apr
05-Apr Cuthbert Hurd Helped in developing the IBM 701 B 5/4/1911, Estherville, Iowa. Helped in developing IBM’s first general-purpose computer, the IBM 701. (more info).
06-Apr
07-Apr The First RFC RFC1 7/4/1969. Request for Comments (RFC) define the Internet. (more info).
08-Apr
09-Apr J. Presper Eckert Development of the ENIAC B 9/4/1919, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Developed the first general-purpose electronic digital computer (ENIAC) along with John Mauchly. (more info).
09-Apr Jacek Karpiński The first differential analyzer that used transistors B 9/4/1927, Turin, Italy. Developed one of the first machine learning algorithms for character and image recognition, designed of one of the first minicomputers, the K-202 in 1971. (more info).
10-Apr
11-Apr
12-Apr
13-Apr
14-Apr Yukihiro Matsumoto Ruby B 14/4/1965, Osaka Prefecture. Known as the chief designer of the Ruby programming language. (more info).
15-Apr
16-Apr
17-Apr
18-Apr
19-Apr
20-Apr
21-Apr
22-Apr
23-Apr
24-Apr
25-Apr
26-Apr
27-Apr Eric Schmidt CEO of Google B 27/4/1955 Washington DC. Served as the CEO of Google 2001 – 2011. (more info).
28-Apr Kurt Gödel Incompleteness theorem B 28/4/1906, Brünn, Austria-Hungary (now Brno, Czech Republic). (more info).
29-Apr
30-Apr Claude Shannon Digital circuit design B 30/4/1916, Petoskey, Michigan. Founded information theory and digital circuit design. (more info).

May

Date Person / Event Know for Further Info
01-May
02-May
03-May
04-May
05-May
06-May
07-May
08-May
09-May
10-May
11-May Edsger W. Dijkstra Dijkstra’s algorithm B 11/5/1930, Rotterdam, Netherlands. Well known for Dijkstra’s shortest path algorithm and the semaphore construct amongst others. (more info).
12-May
13-May
14-May
15-May
16-May Ivan Sutherland Sketchpad B 16/5/1938, Hastings, Nebraska. Developed Sketchpad in 1963. (more info).
17-May Alan Kay Smalltalk B 17/5/1940, Springfield, Massachusetts. Led the team that developed Smalltalk at the Learning Research Group (LRG) of Xerox PARC. (more info).
18-May Bertrand Russell Mathematical logic B 18/5/1872, Trellech, Monmouthshire, United Kingdom. Mathematical logic, Type Theory, Type systems. (more info).
19-May James Gosling Java B 19/5/1955, Near Calgary, Alberta, Canada. Known as the father of the Java programming language. (more info).
20-May Manindra Agrawal Primality testing B 20/5/1966, Allahabad, India. Co-created the AKS primality test with Neeraj Kayal and Nitin Saxena. (more info).
21-May
22-May
23-May
24-May
25-May
26-May
27-May
28-May
29-May
30-May John Cocke RISC B 30/5/1925, Charlotte, North Carolina. Known for developing Reduced Instruction Set Computing. (more info).
31-May John G. Kemeny BASIC B 31/5/1926, Budapest, Hungary. Known for co-developing the Beginners All-purpose Symbolic Instruction Code with Thomas E. Kurtz. (more info).

June

Date Person / Event Know for Further Info
01-Jun
02-Jun E. Allen Emerson Model Checking B 2/6/1954, Dallas, Texas, USA. Developed Model Checking along with Edmund M. Clarke and Joseph Sifakis. (more info).
03-Jun
04-Jun
05-Jun
06-Jun
07-Jun
08-Jun Tim Berners-Lee World Wide Web B 8/6/1955, London, England. Director of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), founder of the World Wide Web Foundation (more info).
09-Jun
10-Jun
11-Jun
12-Jun
13-Jun
14-Jun Alonzo Church Lambda Calculus B 14/6/1903 Washington, D.C., USA. Known for several contributions including: lambda calculus, Church–Turing thesis, Frege–Church ontology, Church–Rosser theorem. (more info).
15-Jun
16-Jun John Tukey FFT B 16/6/1915, New Bedford, Massachusetts. Developed the Fast Fourier Transform along with James Cooley. Also known for Tukey range test, the Tukey lambda distribution, the Tukey test of additivity, and the Teichmüller–Tukey lemma. (more info).
17-Jun
18-Jun
19-Jun Blaise Pascal Mechanical calculator B 19/6/1623, Clermont-Ferrand, Auvergne, France. Developed the Mechanical calculator. (more info).
20-Jun
21-Jun
22-Jun
23-Jun Vint Cerf TCP/IP B 23/6/1943, New Haven, Connecticut. Was a program manager for DARPA, was instrumental in the funding and formation of ICANN. (more info).
23-Jun Alan Turing Turing machine B 23/6/1912, Maida Vale, London, England. Developed the Turing machine – a model for the general purpose computer. (more info).
24-Jun
25-Jun
26-Jun
27-Jun
28-Jun
29-Jun
30-Jun

July

Date Person / Event Know for Further Info
01-Jul Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz First-order predicate calculus B 1/7/1646, Leipzig. Contributions to theoretical foundations of computer science. (more info).
02-Jul
03-Jul
04-Jul
05-Jul
06-Jul Adi Shamir RSA B 6/7/1952, Tel Aviv, Israel. Co-inventor of the RSA algorithm along with Ron Rivest and Len Adleman. (more info).
07-Jul
08-Jul
09-Jul
10-Jul
11-Jul Max Levchin PayPal B 11/7/1975, Kiev, Ukraine (then USSR). Co-founder along with Peter Thiel and Elon Musk of PayPal was also the CTO. (more info).
12-Jul
13-Jul
14-Jul
15-Jul
16-Jul
17-Jul
18-Jul Intel Intel was Founded 18/7/1968. Founded by Gordon Moore and Robert Noyce. (more info).
19-Jul
20-Jul
21-Jul
22-Jul Pi Approximation Day Celebration of Pi Celebration of Pi 22/7, also observed on 3/14 at 1:59 – Pi Day, (more info).
23-Jul
24-Jul
25-Jul
26-Jul
27-Jul Edmund M. Clarke Developing Model Checking B 27/7/1945. (more info).
28-Jul
29-Jul
30-Jul
31-Jul

August

Date Person / Event Know for Further Info
01-Aug
02-Aug
03-Aug
04-Aug
05-Aug
06-Aug World Wide Web WWW debut 6/8/1991 marked the debut of the Web as a publicly available service on the Internet, Berners-Lee also posted a short summary of the World Wide Web project on the alt.hypertext newsgroup. (more info).
07-Aug
08-Aug
09-Aug David A. Huffman Huffman Coding B 9/8/1925, Ohio. Known for Huffman Coding a widely used compression algorithm. (more info).
10-Aug
11-Aug Steve Wozniak Co-founder Apple B 11/8/1950, San Jose, California. Invented both the Apple I and Apple II. (more info).
12-Aug
13-Aug
14-Aug
15-Aug
16-Aug
17-Aug
18-Aug
19-Aug Edgar F. Codd Developed the Relational Model for DBMS B 19/8/1923, Isle of Portland, England. Developed the Relational Model while working at IBM(more info).
20-Aug
21-Aug Sergey Brin Co-founder Goodle B 21/8/1973, Moscow. Co-founded Google along with Larry Page. (more info).
22-Aug James Rumbaugh UML B 22/8/1947. Developed the Unified Modeling Language with Grady Booch and Ivar Jacobson. (more info).
23-Aug WWW made Accessable Internaut’s Day 23/8/1991. Initially the service went live on the 6th August, but became available to new users on the 23rd. Hence is considered the anniversary of the WWW. (more info)
24-Aug
25-Aug
26-Aug
27-Aug Kristen Nygaard Simula B 27/8/1926, Oslo, Norway. Developed the proto-object oriented language SIMULA with Ole-Johan Dahl. (more info).
28-Aug
29-Aug
30-Aug John Mauchly Developed the ENIAC B 30/8/1907, Cincinnati, Ohio. Developed the ENIAC along with J. Presper Eckert. (more info).
31-Aug

September

Date Person / Event Know for Further Info
01-Sep
02-Sep Ivar Jacobson UML B 2/9/1939, Ystad, Sweden. Developed the Unified Modeling Language with Grady Booch and James Rumbaugh. (more info).
03-Sep
04-Sep John McCarthy LISP B 4/9/1927, Boston, Massachusetts. Developed LISP and coined the term “artificial intelligence” (AI). (more info).
04-Sep Google Google Founded 4/9/1998. Incorporated as a privately held company on September 4, 1998. (more info).
05-Sep
06-Sep
07-Sep
08-Sep
09-Sep First Computer Bug Moth found in Harvard Mark II 9/9/1947. Moth found trapped between points at Relay # 70, Panel F, of the Mark II Aiken Relay Calculator. (more info).
09-Sep Dennis Ritchie C & UNIX B 9/9/1941, Bronxville, New York, U.S. Worked with Ken Thompson to develop the C programming language and UNIX. (more info).
10-Sep
11-Sep
12-Sep
13-Sep
14-Sep
15-Sep
16-Sep
17-Sep
18-Sep
19-Sep
20-Sep
21-Sep
22-Sep
23-Sep
24-Sep
25-Sep
26-Sep
27-Sep Larry Wall Perl B 27/9/1954. Known for the development of the Perl programming language. (more info).
28-Sep Seymour Cray Cray Research B 28/9/1925, Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin. Founded Cray Research in 1972, known world wide for the development of supercomputers. (more info).
29-Sep
30-Sep

October

Date Person / Event Know for Further Info
01-Oct
02-Oct Martin Hellman Public key cryptography B 2/10/1945, New York. Known the invention of public key cryptography with Whitfield Diffie and Ralph Merkle. (more info).
03-Oct
04-Oct
05-Oct
06-Oct
07-Oct
08-Oct
09-Oct
10-Oct
11-Oct Jack Elton Bresenham Bresenham’s line algorithm B 11/10/1937, Clovis, New Mexico. Well known in computer graphics for Bresenham’s Line Algorithm to allow the plotting of a straight line on a 2-dimensional raster. (more info).
12-Oct Ole-Johan Dahl Simula and OO Programming B 12/10/1931, Mandal, Norway. Developed Simula and object-oriented programming along with Kristen Nygaard. (more info).
13-Oct
14-Oct
15-Oct
16-Oct
17-Oct Spreadsheet Released VisiCalc was shipped 17/10/1979. The electronic spreadsheet – considered by many to be the first “Killer Application”. Developed by Dan Bricklin and Bob Frankston whom founded the company Software Arts Inc. to develop the application. (more info, more info).
18-Oct
19-Oct
20-Oct
21-Oct
22-Oct
23-Oct Randy Pausch HCI & Alice B 23/10/1960, Baltimore, Maryland, US. Founder of the Alice software project. Well known for a number of lectures including “Time Management” and “The Last Lecture”. (more info).
24-Oct
25-Oct Peter Naur BNF & ALGOL60 B 25/10/1928, Frederiksberg, Denmark. Contributed to ALGOL60 and BNF. (more info).
26-Oct
27-Oct
28-Oct
29-Oct
30-Oct
31-Oct

November

Date Person / Event Know for Further Info
01-Nov
02-Nov George Boole Boolean Algebra B 02/11/1815, Lincoln, Lincolnshire, England. First Professor of Mathematics at University College Cork. (more info).
02-Nov Sergey Alexeyevich Lebedev MESM B 2/11/1902, Nizhny Novgorod, Russia. Lead the team that developed the Small Electronic Calculating Machine (more info).
03-Nov
04-Nov
05-Nov
06-Nov
07-Nov
08-Nov Gottlob Frege Developed first-order predicate calculus B 8/11/1848, Wismar, Mecklenburg-Schwerin, Germany. Considered to be one of the founders of modern logic. (more info).
08-Nov Bill Joy Vi B 8/11/1954, Farmington Hills, Michigan. Developed the Vi text editor. (more info).
09-Nov
10-Nov Bert Bos CSS B 10/11/1963, The Hague. (more info).
11-Nov
12-Nov
13-Nov
14-Nov
15-Nov
16-Nov Gene Amdahl Amdahl’s law B 16/11/1922, Flandreau, South Dakota. Known for developing a key law on the limits of parallel computing – Amdahl’s law. (more info).
17-Nov
18-Nov
19-Nov
20-Nov Windows Windows 1.0 released 20/11/1985. 16-bit graphical OS, developed by Microsoft. (more info).
20-Nov Benoit Mandelbrot Mandelbrot Set B 20/11/1924, Warsaw, Poland. Was one of the first to use computer graphics to create and display fractal geometric images, discovered the M-Set. (more info).
21-Nov
22-Nov Jeffrey Ullman Formal Language Theory, Database Theory B 22/11/1942. Known for textbooks on compilers in particular the Dragon Book. (more info).
22-Nov Rasmus Lerdorf PHP B 22/11/1968, Qeqertarsuaq, Greenland. Known for developing the PHP server-side scripting language. (more info).
23-Nov Edward F. Moore Moore finite state machine B 23/11/1925, Baltimore, Maryland. Known for developing the a Moore machine – a finite-state machine whose output values are determined solely by its current state. (more info).
24-Nov
25-Nov
26-Nov
27-Nov
28-Nov
29-Nov
30-Nov

December

Date Person / Event Know for Further Info
01-Dec
02-Dec
03-Dec John Backus Development of FORTRAN B 3/12/1924, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Directed the team that developed FORTRAN, also developed BNF (more info).
04-Dec
05-Dec
06-Dec Grace Hopper Developed the first compiler B 9/12/1906, New York City, New York. Navy Rear Admiral. Found the first computer bug, developed the first compiler. (more info).
07-Dec Noam Chomsky Chomsky hierarchy, the universal grammar theory B 7/12/1928, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Sometimes described as the “father of modern linguistics”. (more info).
08-Dec
09-Dec
10-Dec Ada Lovelace Analytical Engine B 10/12/1815, London, England. Known for her work on Charles Babbage’s Analytical Engine, & the creation of the first algorithm intended for use on a machine. (more info).
11-Dec
12-Dec Seymour Ginsburg Automata theory, formal language theory B 12/12/1927, Brooklyn. Known for contributions to automata theory, formal language theory, and database theory. (more info).
13-Dec
14-Dec Stephen Cook Polynomial-time reduction (a.k.a. Cook reduction) and NP-completeness B 14/12/1939, Buffalo, New York. Made major contributions to the fields of complexity theory and proof complexity. (more info).
15-Dec
16-Dec
17-Dec Kenneth E. Iverson APL B 17/12/1920, Camrose, Alberta, Canada. Known for developing the APL programming language in 1962. (more info).
18-Dec
19-Dec
20-Dec
21-Dec
22-Dec Tommy Flowers Designed Colossus B 22/12/1905, Poplar, London, England. Designed Colossus the world’s first programmable electronic digital computer. (more info).
23-Dec Bob Kahn TCP/IP B 23/12/1938, Brooklyn, New York. Noted for developing TCP/IP along with Vint Cerf (more info).
24-Dec Wim Ebbinkhuijsen COBOL B 24/12/1939, Amsterdam. Considered one of the “fathers of Cobol”. (more info).
25-Dec
26-Dec Charles Babbage Difference Engine B 26/12/1791, London, England. (more info).
27-Dec Jean Bartik One of the original programmers for the ENIAC B 27/12/1924, Gentry County, Missouri. Was one of ENIAC’s first programmers. (more info).
28-Dec John von Neumann Von Neumann architecture B 28/12/1903, Budapest, Austria-Hungary. Developed the Von Neumann architecture upon which all modern computers are based. (more info).
28-Dec Linus Torvalds Linux & Git B 28/12/1969, Helsinki, Finland. Known for developing Linux and Git. (more info).
29-Dec
30-Dec Bjarne Stroustrup C++ B 30/12/1950, Aarhus, Denmark. Known for creation and development of the C++ programming language. (more info).
31-Dec Leonard Adleman RSA & DNA Computing B 31/12/1945, California, United States. Co-invented RSA (Rivest–Shamir–Adleman) in 1977. (more info).

Moments in time of Building a Motion Capture System

Over the past few days I have been assembling a 12 camera Optitrack Flex 13 Motion Capture System in the Schools new Green Screen Room. The first set of images below are a photography journey of this process of the first day working on this. The consisted of setting up the workstation, mounting the cameras, wiring them up and positioning them with respect to the capture volume. Have written more about the process at the following blog.

Motion Capture Setup in Green Room

Motion Capture Setup in Green Room

Motion Capture Setup in Green Room

Motion Capture Setup in Green Room

Motion Capture Setup in Green Room

Motion Capture Setup in Green Room

Motion Capture Setup in Green Room

Motion Capture Setup in Green Room

Motion Capture Setup in Green Room

Motion Capture Setup in Green Room

Motion Capture Setup in Green Room

Motion Capture Setup in Green Room

Motion Capture Setup in Green Room

Motion Capture Setup in Green Room

Motion Capture Setup in Green Room

Motion Capture Setup in Green Room

Motion Capture Setup in Green Room

Motion Capture Setup in Green Room

Motion Capture Setup in Green Room

Motion Capture Setup in Green Room

Motion Capture Setup in Green Room

Motion Capture Setup in Green Room

Motion Capture Setup in Green Room

Motion Capture Setup in Green Room

Motion Capture Setup in Green Room

Motion Capture Setup in Green Room

Motion Capture Setup in Green Room

Motion Capture Setup in Green Room

Motion Capture Setup in Green Room

Motion Capture Setup in Green Room

Motion Capture Setup in Green Room

Motion Capture Setup in Green Room

Motion Capture Setup in Green Room

Motion Capture Setup in Green Room

Motion Capture Setup in Green Room

Motion Capture Setup in Green Room

Motion Capture Setup in Green Room

Motion Capture Setup in Green Room

Motion Capture Setup in Green Room

Motion Capture Setup in Green Room

All the above images were form this past Thursdays work on the Motion Capture System, given that all the cameras were positioned all that was remaining was to calibrate the system and tidy up the cables, which I spent a good deal of this past morning and afternoon doing, as per the following images.

2013 11 16 MoCap

2013 11 16 MoCap

2013 11 16 MoCap

2013 11 16 MoCap

2013 11 16 MoCap

2013 11 16 MoCap

2013 11 16 MoCap

2013 11 16 MoCap

2013 11 16 MoCap

2013 11 16 MoCap

2013 11 16 MoCap

2013 11 16 MoCap

2013 11 16 MoCap

2013 11 16 MoCap

2013 11 16 MoCap

2013 11 16 MoCap

Capturing an Instant in Time – Students Making a Splash

In the previous week with my class of about 100 first year computing students we looked at the process of panoramic photography and light-painting, hence were making use of long shutter durations. This week I thought it would be interesting to go in the opposite direction and capture moments in time of just hundreds or even thousands of a second. I had seen quite a few videos in the past, about capturing such imagery, using both flash and continuous based lighting, hence I gathered together a number of these videos and made a recent blog post about them.

This first image seen above is a composite of images taken from two of the three setups that were used. Firstly the stage was set for the capturing of soap bubbles gently floating down to earth. Next the students had a chance to drop some fruit and vegetables into an Aquarium. The final option was to pour some water into a wine glass and capture the some of the detail and beauty of flowing water that we overlook on a daily basis.

The day prior to class I set out to purchase some essentials, I began by getting some PVC tape, jugs, straws and glass scraper to clear the water from the aquarium after the splashes. Having being unsuccessful in finding soap bubbles, I ventured to another shop and was delighted to see they had a good variety, hence I purchased one of each set they had, this amounted to perhaps close to two liters of soap bubbles, so I was quite sure we would have enough for the photo-shoot. The final really large and important task was to find an Aquarium, so I headed in the direction of the beach to seek one out. I looked through quite a few different aquariums, and finally settled on a glass one of dimensions 24″ x 15″ x 12″ capable of holding about 65 liters of water. So with that I carted all this stuff back to the office.

Later that night I paid a visit to yet another shop to pick up some fruit and vegetables that should make a good splash in the aquarium. Also picked up some food colouring both yellow and blue for use with the water pouring into the wine glass setup. To capture any spillage from the glass I also picked up a paint tray! So that was more or less everything.

Given the class size was about 100 a video feed was setup between the green screen room in which the photography was taking place and the computer lab where all the students were working on some Photoshop and Illustrator tasks. That way they could see what was going on as the video feed was displayed on three projectors within the lab, hence they could move between one and the other depending on how busy the photographic session was. I have used this technique in the past on a few occasions and have found it to be very useful. All in all it took about an hour to set everything up for the shoot with the help of three students and the support team for the video feed.

The following photographs should give a sense of what was taking place in the green screen room with all three stages running concurrently. As you will see bubbles were being blown, peppers, strawberries and the like were being dropped into the aquarium & water was being poured into the wine glass. Five lights were used, two for both the aquarium and the bubbles, leaving just one for the wine glass. In total this amounted to the equivalent of 5320 watts of lighting keyed at a temperature of 5200 degrees kelvin.

The following set of images give a sense of what the room was like after a bit of tidying up was done and some things moved around a bit.

The next set of images just give a sense of the materials that were used for the photo-shoot taken around two hours prior to setting up the scenes. The large Nemo sitting happily on the aquarium will probably find a new home back on my desk but inside the aquarium, in which he fits nice and snugly. This of course has the added advantage of keeping him dust free once I find a suitable cover.

The final set of images include some of the water being poured into the wine glass along with the individual shots that were combined together in the first image of the post.

All in all I would guess that a few thousand photographs were taken in the course of a couple of hours. Its probably also safe to say that the students really seemed to enjoy the photo-shoot, especially given the room was such a hive of activity. Having a number of distinct but related tasks seemed to work well, one thing we didn’t do was to capture water drops falling and splashing into a pool of water, so that is perhaps something for next time, as one can use a few techniques for this alone. If you wish to see some of these images if greater detail, then you can take a look at the corresponding Album.

How to Teach Photography to a Room of 100 Students?

In a recent post I included some videos discussing depth of field and how it can be affected by aperture, focal distance and distance of the object. The question that came to mind however is that of how could I demonstrate elements of photography to a group of about 100 students. Often you may gather a small group of half a dozen crowded around a camera to show them something, however this doesn’t really scale well to a group on the order of 100 or so.

Photography with PixelSense, Canon 600D, a Jib, TV, & Projector

To solve this problem I made use of technology to help them see the live interaction I performed with the settings on the camera itself and remotely using Canon’s EOS Utility. The room in which the students were, contained three projectors, one more or less in the middle of the room with the others at either end. To allow them to see the interaction I made use of the EOS Utility in conjunction with Microsoft’s PixelSense (Samsung SUR40) providing a table top interactive surface with which to interact with the settings of the Canon 600D. In front of the camera I placed two tables covered with some green cloth and a number of objects at different distances to focus on. You will also notice from the images below I also included a tape measure running down the length of the table.

Photography with PixelSense, Canon 600D, a Jib, TV, & Projector

Located next to the Camera and the PixelSense table I added a HD TV so I could readily see the interactions I was performing. Floating a few feet over the PixelSense SUR40 hung a Sony NX5E video camera suspended in space in a under-slung position with the help of a Libec Swift Jib 50 Kit (comprising the arm, T102B tripod and DL08 dolly).

Photography with PixelSense, Canon 600D, a Jib, TV, & Projector

The HDMI video feed from the camera was fed to a splitter box with one input and two outputs. As you can guess one of the HDMI outputs fed directly into the HD TV, the other via the use of a HDMI to VGA adapter went off to feed the three projector screens.

Photography with PixelSense, Canon 600D, a Jib, TV, & Projector

All in all I was quite pleased with the overall result especially as all the students could see what I was doing first hand, moreover there was no need to repeat the processes a dozen times or more to a set of small groups all crowded around the camera. After I demoed the variables affecting the depth of field I let the students to come up and have a go with altering the settings such as f-stop and focal length themselves. They all really seemed to enjoy interacting with the Camera through the use of the surface and whats more all the other students could see what they were doing as well. They also had a good bit of fun just playing with the controls of the Jib and operating the REMO30 pan/tilt head. Concurrently after I had demoed the use of the system I got them to do some multiplicity photographs in our green screen room. The others who were waiting of course to get their chance to interact with this equipment and take some photographs were busy working their way through some photoshop tutorials. So that kept them busy with three distinctive tasks to carry out.

Photography with PixelSense, Canon 600D, a Jib, TV, & Projector

Once they all knuckled down to work, a few 3rd year students dropped by the lab to give me a hand in moving our OptiTrack Flex 13 motion capture system to another room, thereby freeing up our green screen room purely for photographic and video effects work. All it all it was a busy morning, with lots of equipment being moved around. Fortunately I had moved all the equipment you see in the images below into place the night before. You will notice that a shadow is cast by the Sony NX5E video camera and the REMO30 tilt/pan head. I am sure with a bit of shuffling of elements around this can be eliminated for the next time. In the final photograph of the set below, you can see the setup with the projection being displayed on two of the three screens, though the far off screen is quite a distance down the lab. I had hoped to record some video of the system in use, but didn’t get around to it due to the rehousing of the motion capture system, so may give it a go the next time with the elements rearranged is a slightly better manner. I guess the question for the next class is what will I demonstrate next? Some panoramic photography with the use of a Manfrotto QTVR 303Kit was something I had considered as a possibility.

Photography with PixelSense, Canon 600D, a Jib, TV, & Projector

Photography with PixelSense, Canon 600D, a Jib, TV, & Projector

Photography with PixelSense, Canon 600D, a Jib, TV, & Projector

Photography with PixelSense, Canon 600D, a Jib, TV, & Projector

Photography with PixelSense, Canon 600D, a Jib, TV, & Projector

Photography with PixelSense, Canon 600D, a Jib, TV, & Projector