Student Profile: Jannat

Hey there! I’m Jannat, I’m from Italy, I came to Italy from Bangladesh when I was younger. I am 18 years old and I am currently studying Computer Science at Goldsmiths.

Why I came to Goldsmiths to study Computer Science 

Before coming to this fun university, I was an A-level student. I studied Maths, Computer Science, Biology and Italian. It may seem a bit of a weird combination, however, I was interested in finding similarities and differences between Artificial Intelligence and humans so I chose Computer Science and Biology.  

I chose to do Maths as I believe it is fundamental when it comes to doing any science or technology subjects. I did Italian because I did not want to forget it if I left Italy and because I love learning new languages.  

I decided to study Computer Science for my degree because I have been very interested in tech since I was young, especially programming and AI. I chose to come to Goldsmiths because I felt like they helped me to recognize my potential, even at the interview where we have talked about my A levels, what I’m currently working on and about my future.  

What I am studying 

My experience so far at Goldsmiths has been amazing. The staff and students are nice and always make me feel included. The course is fun, we get to learn through various activities during our lectures and seminars such as using Kahoot or debugging codes… 

This term we have done 4 modules: 

  • Fundamentals of Computer Science 
  • Numerical maths 
  • Programming  
  • Web development 

Currently, I am working on my individual website which is worth 60% of my marks. I am making a website about the city of Venice and its history. The content includes advice on the places you should visit and which shops you should check out if you visit. I am also working on the last stage of my games project, which very exciting as the extension requires us to add either an enemy, platform, advanced graphics or sound to our game.  

My plan for the future 

For the rest of this academic year, we will carry on studying Fundamentals of Computer Science and Programming, and start two new topics, Problem Solving and Symbolic Maths.  

Once I graduate, my plan is to work as a programmer, but I would also like to explore different sectors such as cybersecurity and AI. I also aim to visit countries where children receive poor education and do charity work with them as much as I can.  

A day in the life: Zala

Zala is a Year 1, BSc Creative Computing student at Goldsmiths, University of London.

Progressing from the well-established secondary school routine to a completely new independent and self-initiated university one, is a rather big change, but so is moving from a town of 100 000 people to a city with a population 4-times the size of my whole home country. Here is how I spend an average weekday in my new life.

Establishing a morning routine

Although my days differ due to my varied timetable, having an established morning routine gives them some structure, which I believe is vital to maintain my productivity and motivation. Since this term none of my classes begin before 12 and I live nearly on campus, I do not have to rush to wake up early in the morning and usually wake up around 8 after, hopefully, a good amount of sleep. I put on a jumper and head straight into our flat kitchen to make some breakfast. After changing and stretching a bit, I opt between going to the library or staying at home to catch up with lectures or work on projects.

Lectures, labs, tutorials

Then come the lectures. After spending the majority of the first term learning the fundamentals of computing and programming, we’re now starting to specialise by taking classes such as Generative Drawing, Graphics, Sounds and Signals and developing an independent creative project, which seems like it’s going to challenge us and our way of thinking quite a bit. As we’re just at the start of the new term, I’m not quite sure what’s in store for us for each specific module, although after having the first lecture of Generative drawing, I’m positive it is going to be one of my favourite classes. For a visual person as I am, Graphics sound interesting as well.

Finishing the Day

As most of my classes finish in the late afternoon, that does not leave me with much time before the evening. On days when I do have extra time, I might head to the campus gym, attend a society meeting/social or go to any event that Goldsmiths’ organises and I find interesting. By the time I get back, my flatmates are in as well and we spend our evenings eating and chatting in our kitchen, which serves as our main social space. We also might head to a pub or on occasion a party. I end my day by reading, watching a movie or talking with friends and family from back home.

Then, we repeat.

Staff Profile: Evan Raskob

In this post we meet Evan Raskob. Evan runs MA modules in Physical Computing and is pursuing a PhD in “liveness in physical computational art & design”. He also performs as a livecoding musician under the name BITLIP.  

Evan Raskob, left, live-coding at an event in New York

Evan originally hails from the picturesque town of Mahopac in New York State. His father was a dentist and his first interest in computing sparked from reading computing magazines in his office waiting room. At high school, he was inspired by a friend’s father who worked at IBM to use his burgeoning technology skills to create text based adventure games for other students, in the manner of the text-only BBS games that were popular at the time like Legend of the Rd Dragon (LoTRD) and others. He then managed to land himself a summer internship at Bell Labs in New Jersey, the iconic home of the creators of C++ and birthplace of both transistors and the laser.  

Evan went to study at Cornell, then moved away from small town life and relocated to New York City for postgraduate study on the Interactive Telecommunication Program (ITP) at NYU.  During this time, he was also involved with Julie Martin and Robert Whitman, some of the remaining founding members of  Experiments in Art and Technology (E.A.T), an influential and forward-thinking collective of artists and engineers. He immersed himself in creative interactive technology and became particularly interested in building his own digital instruments and audio-visual “controllers”.  

His passion in making his own musical, digital DIY/punk instruments has continued. He performs under the artist name BITLIP, where he explores making music through live coding and particularly using 3D printers as instruments. In 2019 Evan was quoted in the New York Times about his live coding:  

“The great thing about punk is they played three chords, and you said, ‘I could do that,’” Evan said. “With live coding, you type in a few lines and hit compile and you’re playing music.” 

This experience has shaped his work in the UK. Evan relocated to London in 2006 and has since worked at the University of Creative Arts, Kingston University and Ravensbourne University teaching and developing courses in Design, Coding and Computer Games. He then went on to work at the Royal College of Art, where he ran the “Mixed Reality Design” theme exploring VR/AR and sensory design.  


The CyberAnthill, Evan Raskob

Evan joined Computing at Goldsmiths in 2018. He lectures in Physical Computing and takes part in teaching trips to China. At the same time he is working toward a PhD titled “liveness in physical computational art & design”. In particular, he is looking at live computational and procedural sculpting with computer numerical control and 3D printing, augmented by virtual reality/augmented reality and machine learning. 

Computing student wins J.P. Morgan’s Code for Good

Students at JP Morgans Code for Good
Melat, in the centre, with team mates from other London universities

BSc Computer Science student, Melat Gebreselassie, is on the winning team for J.P. Morgan’s annual hackathon, Code for Good.

JP Morgan’s annual Code for Good programme gives participants the chance to use their coding skills to build creative solutions for problems faced by not-for-profit organisations.

Melat’s team worked with Project Access, who run an international mentorship programme to help students from disadvantaged backgrounds navigate applying for university. The team had to address the issue that the huge amount of data available online about university applications can be overwhelming.

“The challenge was to find a solution for students age 16-18 all around the world who have very little knowledge in how they should apply, where they should apply etc. in one place online in an accessible simple way” Melat said.

Melat and her team decided the best approach was to create a chatbot implanted into Facebook messenger, which would be accessible to young people who are used to texting and messaging through social media. They used Google’s machine learning brain, DialogFlow, to power the chatbot. This means that the more chatbot is used the better the algorithm becomes.

Melat’s BSc Computer Science degree was important as she used knowledge of node.js to build the chatbot, a coding language she is currently learning in her Data and the Web module taught by Dr. Elaheh Homayounvala.

Her team completed the challenge in just 16 hours, and after presenting to an audience of 400 people and 5 judges, were announced the winners of the competition.

Congratulations to Melat and the team!

Games Library Night

Games Library Night at Goldsmiths, University of London

For the second year in a row, at Goldsmiths we have celebrated the connection between our library and the world of games. The social space in the library is an incredible setting for showcasing games and have a friendly meetup and talk sessions with people from the game industry.

Plus, we had popcorn, cupcakes and tea for getting cosy and relaxed as the reading week is fading out and the winter is kicking in.

Across the evening we showcased many student games, some of which are making their own way to publishing and hitting the market. We played and talked together, giving and receiving feedback.

After a brief opening by Eve Jamieson and Alan Zucconi we’ve welcomed on stage our speakers.

Jupiter Hadley has introduced the audience to her job as a journalist and a reviewer, pointing out what are the elements that stand out in independent and game jam games.

Allan Cudicio, the second speaker of the evening, talked about how to research precolonial Africa for games. His talk was very well received, especially given how strong the discussion about decolonising the library currently is.

Anisa Sanusi closed the event talking about her mentorship programme for underrepresented genders in the game industry. We think this discussion is extremely relevant and important in an industry that is changing a lot and which is not always welcoming people in the best way.

We recorded all of the talks, which you can see in this playlist:

We’ve literally filled the space up to the brim and the Games Library Night has been a success for Goldsmiths. The feedback has been great, and the event was also featured on Timeout London.

Alan Zucconi, Federico Fasce, Eve Jamieson and Pete McKenzie

Goldsmiths undergraduate projects presented at CHI Play

Image of Barcelona with the words 'CHI Play 2019' overlaid

Dr Sarah Wiseman, programme leader for BSc Games Programming, reports on two student projects which were presented at the Chi Play conference in Barcelona this October.

In their last year at Goldsmiths, our undergraduate students design and deliver their final year project, which runs through the course of two terms. This is a fantastic opportunity for students to learn new skills and explore in depth the areas of computing that are of particular interest to them.

Often these project result in games or software being produced, but sometimes the students are able to conduct research in conjunction with that development.

In our graduating class of 2019, two such students produced work that was of such high quality that it was recognised at an international academic conference. As a result, the work of Kevin Lewis (BSc Creative Computing) and Rees Morris (BSc Games Programming) was presented at CHI Play conference in Barcelona last week.

Kevin’s work looked at how technology can affect the way that social deduction games are played.

Kevin Lewis shows his thumbs

If you’ve ever played the games Werewolf or Mafia, you’ll know that social deduction games involve you needing to determine who amongst your fellow players are lying, and who you can trust.

In Kevin’s game, an app provided players with facts about how the players were playing – who had lied, who was being more trustworthy – and explored whether players trusted the app or their own instincts more. Instincts won.

Rees’s work focused on Multiplayer Online Battle Arenas (MOBAs).

Rees was unable to attend the conference, so his supervisor Dr Sarah Wiseman took his place

MOBAs are incredibly popular, and the eSports scene around them is worth a massive amount of money. MOBAs are interesting from a games perspective as often players will dedicate time to online one game in the genre because of the amount of time required to become expert and acquire the in-game items.

As part of Rees’s final project, not only did he create a MOBA, but he also conducted a comprehensive survey of MOBA players to find out why they chose the particular MOBA they were interested in. Surprisingly, players didn’t often cite the game play itself, but more commonly chose the game based upon social connections, wanting to play with their friends.

Well done to Kevin and Rees!

The papers can be found here:

Games Library Night

To celebrate International Games Week, Goldsmiths Computing and Goldsmiths Library present a night with special guest speakers from across the games industry.

The event is free and open to the public, all are welcome. Participants will have an opportunity to play exciting new games created by Goldsmiths alumni and current students.

  • When: Friday 8 November 2019, 5pm – 9pm. Talks start at 6pm
  • Where: Goldsmiths Library
  • FREE. Register on Eventbrite

Speakers

Jupiter Hadley: Game Jams and Games You’ve Never Heard of….

Jupiter Hadley

This talk will explore Game Jams and highlight a collection of amazing game jam games that you have probably never heard of before.

Jupiter Hadley is a games journalist and YouTuber, primarily of indie games. Jupiter is also the Games Wizard at Armor Games.

Allan Cudicio: Make Pre-Colonial Africa Great Again – in Your Game

Allan Cudicio

This talk will tell you why you should start thinking about including precolonial Africa in your game (or other media) and will provide actionable first steps on how to research and implement it.

Allan Cudicio is Founder & Creative Director at Twin Drums, a new independent games studio focused on bringing together the fantasy genre and African folklore. Berlin based, Allan has worked for, among others, Candy Crush’s maker King and story driven mobile game developer Wooga.

Anisa Sanusi: Mentorship for the Underrepresented

Anisa Sanusi

Anisa discusses the story behind Limit Break Mentorship, a program created specifically to connect senior women in games to new or mid-level developers who are considered to be underrepresented in the industry.

She delves into how help can be sought after at any level of ones career, and the importance of giving back to a community – whoever you are.

Anisa Sanusi is a video games UI/UX Designer and Founder of Limit Break, a mentorship program for developers of underrepresented genders in the games industry. Throughout the years Anisa has cultivated a devotion to ethical UX design, speaking at the first UX Summit held at GDC in San Francisco and also served as a Juror for the BAFTA Games Awards for multiple years.

Anisa is an advocate for diversity and inclusivity in the industry, and this year she was listed as one of the Top 100 Influential Women in the UK Games Industry.