CSS

Autumn 2019: Another amazing start to the year for CSS

Welcome to the Computer Science Society!

Computer Science Society is the departmental society of Computer Science at the university, and we are one of the many GuildofStudents Societies and EPS Societies. For those who don’t know us, we run many events including pub nights and special meals, as well as tech events like hackathons and workshops.

The society has had another great start to the year. We’ve held record-breaking events and started new initiatives. We have even updated our online presence with our re-modelled website and monthly newsletters. This article is an introduction to who we are and summary of the last few newsletters. So if you would like to read more about what we are doing, then please take a look at cssbham.com/newsletter.

We have so far put on 26 different events for our members, of which we now have 272 - a new record. Welcome Week this year started with the usual pub night in Selly Oak. We saw almost 100 of our returning members and new members at the Bristol Pear. Another annual event we ran was our trip to Ming Moon - a Chinese Buffet in the town centre. For many of our new members, this was the first time visiting the town centre and we were able to celebrate the new year with some delicious food.

Almost 100 students enjoy a Chinese Buffet at Ming Moon

The start of term also brought the launch of the university’s new campaign - Birmigham In Action. This campaign aims to bring together the university’s charitable projects and focuses on cancer research, the environment, access to higher education, mental health and the needs of refugee families. To celebrate this launch, the university took the first ever university-wide photo. CSS took part in this photo on the Green Heart. Can you spot us?

Can you spot the blue CSS tshirts in the launch of Birmingham In Action?

Hackathons are one of the most important things a student can get involved with. We worked with our friends at HackTheMidlands to bring one of the largest events in October and in Birmingham. HTM is an annual inclusive hackathon for all ages 14+, no matter whether you are a complete beginner or veteral. Hackathons are a chance to learn some new skills, build a fun and awesome project, and most importantly share what you have done.

Other honourable mentions from October include a Tech Talk by one of our long term speakers, Jon Kingsley. He spoke about “how to destroy your car, ruin your printer, and make your family hate you.” We also ran Local Hack Day: Learn, in conjunction with our friends at Hacking and Computing Society at Bimringham City University and Aston University’s Computer Science Society. The day was a mini-conference where we ran workshops on fun hackathon skills, such as Amazon Web Services, the Javascript React framework, and even Discord bots.

November brought about our greatest new project so far. Developer Student Clubs is a worldwide initiative lead by Google, whose aims are to link the learning we do at university with useful skills which are applicable in industry through workshops and tutorials. Justin kicked off this series of workshops with one on Git - the most used code version control system used in industry and followed up with a workshop on Docker - a software deployment system using containers. We are always looking for suggestions of what workshops we should run next. Please do get in touch with us/Justin if you have any ideas on what skills you would like to find out more about.

Students work on signing the guestbook at the Git Workshop

We held our largest event so far. We worked with the Qiskit team at IBM to bring a series of sessions consisting of two workshop lectures, and a hackathon. Qiskit is an open-source quantum computing framework with tools for developing quantum programs.The first session we ran was a lecture given by Dr. Miriam Backens. They gave an introduction on what quantum computing is all about and outlined the basic theory in what makes quantum computers work. The second session was a workshop, hosted by our Qiskit volunteers, focusing on setting up the Qiskit environment in preparation for the hackathon. The final session was a 9 hour hackathon, during which we provided breakfast, lunch and dinner. The judges were impressed with the many different projects all of the teams presented at the end of the hackathon, but they were most impressed the two joint winning teams, who implemented a simple game with a quantum twist and simulated quantum gates.

The Organisers and Winning Team of the Qiskit Hackathon

Our final big event of the semester was the annual Christmas Dinner and once again we dined at the S’Oak. 88 members came together to close out and celebrate the term with some tasty food, and there was some karaoke as well.

The Christmas Meal at the S'Oak

It has been an amazing close to the decade for CSS. We’ll be back in the new year with many great events including more from the DSC workshop series and our CSS Ball in March. As usual we are always looking for new ideas too, so please send us any ideas. And Don’t forget to keep an eye out on our website and Facebook group for updates in January. We wish everyone a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!


Happy Holidays,\ Likkan - Publicity Rep


Read more about what we have been doing: