Stuart Whitehead
Stuart Whitehead

North of Scotland students lift coveted IT awards

A student from Robert Gordon’s University has been named Young Software Engineer of the Year 2016.

Stuart Whitehead won first prize for an innovative project developing a software platform for internet of things (IoT) applications. The judge considered the project to be outstanding.

Second place was won by Andreea Lutec from the University of Glasgow for her project developing real time robot camera controls. Ana Ciocarlan from the University of Aberdeen secured third place with an innovative ehealth project to monitor colorectal cancer.

The Leidos Software Engineering Project Award went to Graeme Sutters from the University of Strathclyde who developed a seriously smart travel app.

The Young Software Engineer of the Year Awards, now in their 27th year, are given to the best undergraduate software projects, drawn from across all students studying computing science and software engineering in Scotland. Each university submits the best final year undergraduate software engineering project from amongst their students.

The Awards are organised by ScotlandIS, the trade body for the digital technologies industry and were presented at the ScotSoft2016 dinner in front of over 530 guests from across the industry.

Stuart Whitehead

The Internet of Things (IoT) is the next technology wave, connecting sensors across the Internet which will help enable smart cities, especially in the use of transport and energy, automated control systems and a myriad of small consumer focused solutions that will change the way we live, work and play.

Stuart set out to simplify the way that IoT software and devices connect by creating a common ‘plug and play' framework, rather than the multiple systems already available.

The framework has four key aspects : data modelling, data persistence, a data access API and a real-time, bidirectional event API.

This project was considered to be outstanding by the judges, and Stuart received a cheque for £2500 from first prize sponsor Sopra Steria, and the Young Software Engineer of the Year trophy given by ScotlandIS.
Stuart from Cove Bay, Aberdeen won a number of prizes during his time at University and is now working in New Zealand. During his time at university he undertook two placements with Aberdeen based web design studios EQ Design and FortyTwo Studio and at Edenspiekermann in Berlin

Andreea Lutac

Andreea is fascinated by robots and the increasing ways these are being used. She spotted a problem with the widely used Robotics Operating System (ROS) and decided to see if this could be solved. Whilst ideal at small scale, the ROS has reliability issues at scale and so industrial robots normally use customised technology platforms. Andreea investigated using the Erlang programming language, a world leading technology known for its reliability at scale, to address this. Her project compared real time face tracking using the two different systems ROS and Erlang, to prove that Erlang would successfully address the reliability and scalability issues in ROS.

As runner-up, Andreea received a cheque for £2000 from sponsor BCS, and a trophy from ScotlandIS.

Andreea, grew up in Romania and studied for her undergraduate degree at the University of Glasgow. Last summer she worked at JP Morgan’s software development centre, and has spent this summer continuing her research at Glasgow University. She will shortly be starting a Masters in Robotics, Systems and Control at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich. Her work has also won her the BCS prize for best project evaluation.

Ana Ciocarlan

Colorectal cancer affects more than 40,000 people in the UK every year and it’s critical that patients who have treatment continue to monitor their health regularly. Ana developed an ehealth application (Cancer Aftercare Reporting Engine or CARE for short) to help patients check their health on a weekly basis without needing to visit either their doctor or the hospital.

The CARE application monitors a patient’s weekly and overall progress, creating automatic reports that can be read by the patient and their medical support team. The patient can use the application wherever they are based, so it’s particularly useful for people living in rural or remote areas. This new application should enable earlier detection of both recurring tumours and new primaries, enabling treatment to be provided to the patient as quickly as possible.

Ana won third prize for her project, a cheque for £1500 from sponsor Edge Testing and a trophy from ScotlandIS.

Originally from Bucharest, Romania, Ana studied for her undergraduate Computing degree at the University of Aberdeen, where she became involved in a number of voluntary roles including working at the Bookends charity shop in the city, and as an eLearning Adviser in the University’s CAD department. She was awarded the Aberdeen Quincentenary Award by the Lord Provost of Aberdeen in May 2016 for her outstanding academic and extracurricular achievements. She has just started a PhD at Aberdeen.

Graeme Sutters

Following a whirlwind tour of six European cities which didn’t run quite to plan, Graeme decided to build an App that would let tourists plan their routes round local attractions so as not to constantly double back on themselves, and perhaps more importantly get there during opening hours. His app automatically produces a sightseeing itinerary based on the user’s preferences. The user enters details of their trip and ranks a list of local attractions. The app then uses a scheduling algorithm to produce an itinerary to make the most of their stay in the city, minimising travel times between places and fitting in as many attractions as possible into the time available. The algorithm also checks the opening times of the various visitor attractions to avoid that ‘Oh no!’ moment when you turn up just as the castle/museum/gallery is closing.

Graeme won the Leidos Software Engineering Award, a cheque for £1500 and the Leidos Rose Bowl was given to his university, the University of Strathclyde.

A mature student from Glasgow, Graeme discovered an interest in programming whilst working for the Bank of Scotland. Having completed his degree he has joined ACMS Group in Renfrew, who specialise in software for the the waste disposal and recycling industry, as a software developer.