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Group Design Practicals: Winners Announced


The winners of the inaugural “Group Design Practical” prizes have been announced.  The IBM prize was awarded to Team Six for their Smart Phone application and the Ocado prize was awarded to Team One for their “Tower Tunes” Microsoft Surface project.  Both teams received a cheque for £400.

The Group Design Practicals are a new element to the undergraduate Computer Science degrees at Oxford. They give second-year students the opportunity to experience of working on a group development project.

The students were split into six groups of 5 or 6 people and given the choice of a project from a list of five design briefs. Two teams worked with the Microsoft Surface, and implemented an application for collaborative music-making. Two teams worked with Lego Mindstorms Robots, and constructed robots that could navigate a maze and retrieve a tin can. Two teams worked with smart phones, and implemented applications to enable software developers to work more effectively. The briefs were both open-ended and challenging leaving plenty of opportunity for students to decide how best to approach the project.

Teams were allocated an academic sponsor who held scheduled meetings to discuss progress and obstacles, students were also given seminars on team-working and how to give presentations, which were presented by IBM, Microsoft and also given by departmental staff.

The group design practical culminated with a demonstration at the Department’s Industry Showcase Day, on 1st June 2011. The teams gave presentations on their projects and also the experience of team-working, after which a small panel of judges (Prof. Stephen Pulman, Mr Michael Coleman, IBM and Mr Kieren Johnson, Ocado) awarded two prizes of £400 each to the winning teams. Samsung and Microsoft also supported the Group Design Practicals.

The members of the winning groups were: 

  • Team Six: Lukas Bosko, Mark Brown, Ben Gazzard, Max Goulding and Stephen Parish.
  • Team One: Christopher Hydon, Daniel Nichol, Kristoforos Joanidis, Ian Jones and Bogdan-Alexandru Panait.


Photos of the event are available on the Department's Flickr pages, or see Microsoft's blog item about the projects.