New Zealand Computer Science Research Students Conference

18 May 2009 - 09:38:58 in Event

During the mid-trimester break in April, seven students from ECS (Keith Cassell, Adam Clarke, Rashina Hoda, Ben Palmer, Kourosh Neshatian, Kok-Lim.Yau, and Craig Anslow) attended the New Zealand Computer Science Research Students Conference (NZCSRSC) at Auckland University. The Conference, which is in its 7th year, is organised and run by postgraduate students, and aims to promote and strengthen the nationwide community of ICT research students.

Key note speakers included former Victoria University masters student Alan Blackwell, who gave an insight into Interdisciplinary Design Research for Interactive Technology. As Alan, who is now at Cambridge University, states on his home page "I only have one big research question, but I attack it from a lot of different angles. The question is representation. How do people make, see and use things that carry meaning? The angles from which I attack my question include various ways in which representations are applied (including design processes, interacting with technology, computer programming, visualisation), various methods by which I collect research data (including controlled experiments, prototype construction, ethnographic observation), and the theoretical perspectives of various academic disciplines (including computer science, cognitive psychology, engineering, architecture, music, anthropology)" ( ).

Another key note speaker, J.P. Lewis from Weta Digital, used the movie King Kong to illustrate Why Academic Research Matters to Weta Digital. Specifically the presentation looked at the graphic techniques used to recreate the city of New York in 1920 and the realistic skin, fur, eyes and movement of Kong.

A core component of the annual Conference are the presentations and posters from students. This year 25 graduates studying at New Zealand universities (and 7 from ECS) gave presentations and as in previous years the standard of talks and posters were of high quality. A range of workshops also gave students the opportunity to build on their research skills and topics ranged from thesis writing, time management, presentation skills, the publication game, to discussions on careers in research and the industry in general.

The conference not only gave student researchers an understanding of what others are doing, but also gave them the opportunity to interact with others who are motivated and passionate about their work. But it wasn't all work, highlights of the conference included the Endace opening dinner and the Orion Health social night that involved a boat cruise on Auckland harbour.

Feedback from the students who attended was positive - "The organisers did a fantastic job in planning the conference which ran very smoothly. We are looking forward to next years conference".