Become a tech champion with robot soccer!
Need convincing that computer science is a great career choice? Just spend five minutes with Associate Professor Aleksandar Ignjatovic, UNSW’s algorithms guru.
With the explosive reach of information technology into all areas of life, Aleksandar predicts an “insatiable need” for highly competent people who can design software and hardware for future applications.
Computer science (CS) skills will become “the hottest commodity in the marketplace,” says Aleksandar. His colleague, Professor Claude Sammut, a specialist in Artificial Intelligence (AI), agrees, and says jobs that are AI-related are on the rise.
UNSW has a rigorous CS and engineering course, where self-directed learning is balanced with “encouragement, support and guidance to expand critical thinking and analytical skills,” says Sanjay Alapakkam, a second-year computer science/law student.
Students can further enrich their program by participating in the Association for Computing Machinery International Collegiate Programming Contest (ACM-ICPC), a global uni competition, and the RoboCup Championships, too.
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Top of the world: why problem solving is important?
UNSW has always had great results at ACM-ICPC – they’re set to host the finals in 2020 – but this year’s computer programming team of Oliver Fisher, Mohammad Huda and Ray Li achieved the most impressive result yet… sixth in the world, winning a silver medal at the international finals in Beijing last April. These three students have been offered lucrative job overseas, too.
Aleksandar coaches UNSW’s ACM-ICPC teams and has taken five teams to the world championships so far.
“I feel privileged to be their coach. Their enthusiasm for problem solving is pure and infectious.”
Aleksander believes problem solving is a skill that can be learned with practice… and pizza. His weekly ACM training sessions include tutoring from former members of the ICPC team and… eating pizza.
In June 2019 the world’s biggest robotics event is coming to Sydney, with over 400 teams battling it out for one of the prestigious RoboCup world trophies.
UNSW teams have won five RoboCup championships and Claude wants to win one more, in front of a home crowd.
There are a number of ways for UNSW students to participate in RoboCup, including working it into their program as a fourth-year thesis or a special project unit.
Either way, Claude says the skills that students learn programming robots in RoboCup prepare them for future employment.
“RoboCup gives students a wide breadth of skills and understanding of how mechanisms interact with the real world, which is full of uncertainty. A number of our graduates are now working for companies building self-driving cars because the things they learned programming robots at university carry across to projects at the leading edge of technology.”
– Rebecca Hanlon
TO GET THERE: bit.ly/ComputerEngUNSW
This article is brought to you in partnership with UNSW.
Author: Rebecca Hanlon
I am a freelance writer with a passion for telling stories. I love writing about people who are applying STEM disciplines to create a more sustainable future for everyone.