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Four £500 prizes awarded to students at the Second Year Group Design Practical Presentation Day


The Group Design Practical, runs from January, and sees teams of 5-6 undergraduate students battling it out with their chosen project. Many of the challenges are set or sponsored by industry partners. The students’ work culminates in an exhibition and formal presentation, which this year was held in the department on May 9.

The judging panel consisted of one each from sponsors - GResearch, Metaswitch, Palantir and Winton Capital. Each industry partner awarded the teams a prize based upon their own criteria.

Teams chose a challenge from a list of 14 different project briefs proposed by industry partners and colleagues from within the department. Project topics are presented in the form of an outline design brief. Part of the work is to undertake a proper requirements analysis for the chosen project, working with the project mentor.

This year the competition for prizes was tougher than ever, Professor Pete Jeavons, a member of the judging panel, commenting that in his opinion this was the most professional set of demonstrations and presentations he had seen so far.

The projects being demonstrated on the day included the ‘Band to the Pole’ project, proposed and supported by Microsoft. The aim of this project was to develop a system that would allow James Redden, a former soldier, to collect daily metrics for heart rate, GPS waypoints and calories burned, on his solo, full distance ski to the South Pole, due to take place in November 2017

One of the projects, Project E: ‘Identifying and analysing “fake” content on social media’ is particularly topical at the moment. Social media platforms provide us all with opportunities to share our thoughts and views but are also fertile ground for false news, hoaxes and conspiracy theories.

The task for this project was to develop a prototype, but working, system that can help users identify and/or analyse fake news, hoaxes or conspiracy theories on social media.

Winning teams:

Team 8 was awarded the GResearch Prize for their Musical Machines project. The challenge was to develop a system that could generate music. The team consisted of Ruofeng Yuan, Szymon Kowara, Nicholas Sale, Michael Wang, Jo Lee and Robert Mitchell, with Departmental Lecturer Dr Joe Pitt- Francis as their mentor. The project was in collaboration with Winton Capital.

Team 2 won the Metaswitch prize with their Proof of Location project. Their task was to build a prototype time-location verification system using low-cost hardware such as Raspberry Pis to prove that someone was in a certain place at a certain time.  Their team consisted of Samuel Hindmarch, Jesse Sigal, Andrew Kenyon-Roberts, Ioana Vasile Sauyon Lee and Catherine Vlasov. Dr Reuben Binns acted as the team's mentor.

Team 5 was awarded the Palantir Prize for their project ‘AI Racing Market’. This challenge was set in collaboration with GResearch who challenged the team to develop a competitive market in which members of the public could submit algorithms to an interactive game to see which is the best. Team members were Aleksandar Monev, Michael Agius, Janpreet Khabra, Paul Horvath-Bojan, Calin Tataru and Daniel Mroz. The group were mentored by Dr Peter Minary.

The final prize, sponsored by Winton Capital, was awarded to Team 7 for their ‘Virtual Reality Finance’ project. The project asked the team to implement visualisations that would allow users to immerse themselves in real-world financial datasets, allowing them to explore and interact with the data from within. The project was sponsored by Oxford Asset Management and the team was mentored by DPhil student Ivo Sluganovic.

All second year undergraduates reading Computer Science, Computer Science & Philosophy or Mathematics & Computer Science take part in the Group Design Practical. This area of work is designed to allow the students to practice skills learnt on the course, and helps them develop and apply the theory learnt in the previous year and a half. It also helps develop team-working abilities, project and time management as well.

Companies interested in sponsoring projects or prizes in future years, or just wanting to learn more, please contact