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Computer students win £1000 at Microsoft Research conference

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Richard Allitt (second left) and Harry Jeffery (second right) with their giant cheque. Chris Bishop and Andrew Herbert, from Microsoft Research, are first left and right respectively. Computing student Ed McCarthy took the photograph

Two of our Computing students, Harry Jeffery and Richard Allitt, came top in the Microsoft Research Big Quiz and bagged £1000 for the Computer department at Long Road.

Microsoft Research, based in Cambridge, organises an annual conference Think Computer Science to encourage and inspire the next generation of computer scientists.

“We were very pleased that so many of our Computing A level students were able to go this year,” says Computer teacher Ian McConnell, who accompanied the students. “It is always an exciting and stimulating programme.”

In the morning there were five talks:

  • Getting from A to B: fast route-finding using slow computers
  • Kinect for Xbox 360: how we made it work
  • Human memory in the digital age
  • Changing the world, one mobile at a time
  • Embracing uncertainty

After lunch there was a panel Q & A. “Then it started to get really exciting for Long Road,” says Ian.

“The students were divided into teams for The Big Quiz. Harry and Richard steamed through the early rounds to reach the final, against The King’s School Ely, – and won!

“There were questions about Maths and Computing,” says Harry. “We had to pick out non-existent acronyms, for example.”

Harry and Richard were presented with their giant cheque by Dr Andrew Herbert, Chairman, Microsoft Research EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa) and Professor Chris Bishop, Microsoft Distinguished Scientist at Microsoft Research, Cambridge.

Our students were full of enthusiasm for the day.

“It gave us a great insight into Computer Science,” says AS Computing student George Lucas

“It was interesting to see all the complications which have to be overcome, and how much work goes into aspect of Computer Science,” adds Stuart Keppie.

“Now all we have to do,” says Sue Sentance, Computing Course Team Leader, “is decide how best to spend the prize money to benefit all our Computing students.