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Five £400 prizes have been awarded to students at the annual Group Design Practical Presentation Day for second year Oxford undergraduates, hosted by the Department of Computer Science.

The Group Design Practical, which runs from January, sees teams of four to six undergraduate students battling it out with their chosen project. Many of the challenges having been set, or sponsored by industry partners, which this year included Ensoft, Palantir, WorldQuant, and Metaswitch. The students’ work culminated in an exhibition and formal presentation, held in the Department on 13 May.

The judging panel consisted of one representative from each of the sponsors and one representative of the University. Each industry partner awarded the teams a prize of £400 per winner, based upon their own criteria.

Eleven different project challenges were on offer to the teams. Project topics are presented in the form of an outlined design brief. Part of the work includes undertaking a proper requirements analysis for the chosen project, working with the project mentor.

Team 3 was awarded the Ensoft Prize for a well-designed user interface. They used information gathered from Twitter to display users’ languages on a map of Europe. The team was supervised by Jason Nurse, a researcher in the Cyber Security Centre, and consisted of Dan-Andrei Gheorghe, Toby Cathcart Burn, Alexander Bridgeland, Paul-Stefan Herman and Mariya Lazarova.

Team 4 was awarded a prize from Palantir for an engaging pitch. Their project gathered and analysed the sentiment of Twitter for the intention of using the data for regional marketing. The team consisted of Christopher Kew, Michal Bock, Blagovest Gospodinov, Miraan Tabrez and Lukas Halgas, and was supervised by Ioannis Agrafiotis, one of the University's research assistants.

Team 6 was tasked with predicting stock movements using information from news headlines. They were given a prize from WorldQuant, for careful assessment of multiple learning models. They were supervised by Alessandro Abate, an Associate Professor, and the team members were Tomas Vaskevicius, Matthew Gripton, Ying Zhu, Robert Carlan and Zichuan Huang.

Team 7 produced a car racing game, driven by an Artificial Intelligence, and was awarded a prize for an impressive demonstration by Metaswitch. The team were Mateusz Dombrowksi, Ozan Sevsevil, Matthew Boughen, Xin Sun and Mengying Xue, and their mentor was Peter Minary, a research lecturer in the department.


Finally, team 11 was awarded a prize by Bloomberg for their faultless presentation. Again sponsored by Jason Nurse, their challenge was to produce an augmented reality map of Oxford. The team was made up of Richard Applby, Sonal Vedi, Lawrence Okoth-Odida, Joshua Warwick, Charlotte Smyth and Paul Logan.

All second year undergraduates reading Computer Science, Computer Science and Philosophy or Mathematics and Computer Science take part in the Group Design Practical. This competition is designed to allow students to practice skills learnt previously on the course, and develop and apply the theory learnt thus far during their undergraduate studies. It also helps develop team-working and project and time management. 

Companies interested in sponsoring projects in future years, or just wanting to learn more, please contact shoshannah.holdom@cs.ox.ac.uk or maureen.york@cs.ox.ac.uk