Interests

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I have a wide variety of interests outside of computing. I think having a broad knowledge base is a crucial aspect to creative work like programming, as I believe innovation comes about through combining knowledge from multiple areas into a single product. My favourite example of this is a story about improved memory allocation based on natural penguin colony management.

My interests involve British and European politics, singing, carpentry and product design. I have performed live on multiple occasions as part of the Plymouth A Cappella society and the Kent Sing society, and have organised events as part of my university's Darwin Student Committee. In terms of technology, I like to keep up to date with advances in prosthetics, natural language processing, and augmented reality. I am also currently learning Mandarin Chinese.

I also undertake some technical projects in my spare time, which sometimes get completed. Finished or not, these can be found on this site. I will also occasionally update my blog with my latest thoughts on different topics, usually politics.

 

Technical
Outside

Technical interests

Although I spend a lot of my spare time on other interests, I do like to explore new areas and develop existing skills by undertaking technical projects and events. I use these projects in an attempt to learn as much as possible, and I try not to take shortcuts where possible. Not all of these technical projects have a successful outcome, but they all have value in a way, and I think there's no shame in trying something just to test myself, even if the outcome isn't as good as I would have liked.

Feature - Co-op builder robots

This is a project I have been inspired to work on after thinking about the impact swarm intelligence in robots will potentially have on how society operates in the not-too-distant future. While no incarnation of this simulation will ever reach the complexity of a real-world use, I thought it would be interesting to try and get the fundamentals down. A lot of the actual simulation was probably inspired, upon reflection, by this video >.

Gallery

Other activities

Intro to AI slides - In order to consolidate my knowledge of AI from my 2nd year of uni, and so that my friends could get a headstart on the more advanced AI modules, I created three sets of slides teaching the content I had learnt. The slides cover pathfinding, neural networks and genetic algorithms. Even though the content is not very advanced, important concepts are covered (such as Hebbian learning) and the fundamentals of each topic are covered in great detail.

Download all (pdf) > | Download all (pptx) >

JP Morgan Code for Good - In December 2016 three of my friends and I took part in JP Morgan’s Code for Good hackathon, where we applied our technical knowledge to a problem faced by the charity Edulution. Our initial proposal would have improved lesson and course coherence in areas with poor Internet connection, but due to technical issues outside our control we made the decision to abandon our work up to that point and apply our knowledge of HCI and psychology to design a GUI to increase pupil attention and understanding.

Eli Lilly Hackathon - In March 2016 three of my friends and I entered into a 24-hour hackathon organised for our university by the pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly. We competed overnight against another team of our peers to construct a useful and original healthcare-related mobile app using the cloud-based Salesforce platform (which we had never used before), presenting to a team of judges from the company at the end of the 24 hours.

Outside interests

Tech is my passion, but I think the most interesting use of technology is for solving real-world problems. I love learning about the world and talking to people from different backgrounds and disciplines in order to get a wider view of the world and develop a more empathetic understanding of different outlooks. I think empathy is a key value missing in much of technology and politics, and that a better society can be created if people can find common interests and understand their opponents' points of view.

Feature - Singing

I have always enjoyed singing, but I only joined a singing group for the first time in 2017, as part of the Plymouth University A Cappella society. Over the past few years, I have performed (group and solo) in four events, including one national competition. I find that these singing groups contain a broad mix of people from all sorts of disciplines, and are a great way to make friends across subjects.

Gallery

Other activities

Darwin Student Committee - I was invited to join the student committee for my university's Darwin College, primarily in order to help organise Darwin in Rewind, an event for students of the university that was set to to have live music, two DJs, party bags, and more. At the time I joined very little had been organised, and very few tickets had been sold. I read a book on the psychology of selling in an effort to learn how to sell more tickets, which was very interesting, but came too late to have an impact on total sales. In the end we made the decision to cancel the live music and one of the DJs, and give free entry to the event. This late-stage decision saved the event, which went from having eleven tickets sold to being the most popular student committee event of that year.

Extracurricular classes - Each year of university I sign up for extra classes in order to broaden my knowledge. I have taken part in classes which examine the role of science in society, understanding how it is viewed and how political mood affects the research taking place; philosophy classes, debating God, the self, pleasure and scepticism; two lots of business start-up classes, covering legal, financial and planning considerations; a class explaining medieval pilgrimage and towns; and finally two courses on sustainable development, which has really connected with me and has inspired me to take an active role in increasing awareness and reducing impact of climate change.

Mandarin lessons - I have been using Duolingo to learn Chinese. My girlfriend is Chinese, and it will help me communicate with her friends and family if I can speak their language. I have found it very interesting so far, and find it quite satisfying to see how I have improved through daily practise.