A View of Computer Science

A View of Computer Science

Entries to our annual photo competition capture
the world of computer science research

HONOURABLE MENTION: Malcolm Scott's view of the wiring in our model datacentre, which underpins projects from network protocols and architecture to computational linguistics. 

HONOURABLE MENTION: Malcolm Scott's view of the wiring in our model datacentre, which underpins projects from network protocols and architecture to computational linguistics. 

Image of researchers in the Prorok Lab, working on miniature robotic cars as they model the driverless cars of the future.
Image of researchers in the Prorok Lab, working on miniature robotic cars as they model the driverless cars of the future.

From robotics to hardware security, from colour imaging to the view of snow falling outside the Department: our annual photo competition brought a range of entries capturing the world of Computer Science research here.  

WINNER: JAN BLUMENKAMP.

PhD student Jan Blumenkamp's photo (created with help from Qingbiao Li and Hai Zhong) shows researchers in the Prorok Lab here working on the 'Minicar' project - a low-cost mobile robot platform developed in the Lab.

Researchers programme a small fleet of miniature robotic cars to drive on the multi-lane track and observe how the traffic flow changes under different conditions.

They are modelling and analysing ways in which - on real roads in the future - driverless cars may communicate both with each other and with cars controlled by human drivers.

SECOND: MARNO VAN DER MAAS.

"The FT232H board in the foreground of this photograph was part of a hardware security training in which we learned to open up a Wifi router and probe for weaknesses," PhD student Marno van der Maas explains.

"This scene captures two important things that I love about Cambridge," he adds. "The board in the foreground represents the wealth of technical knowledge that can be acquired here, and the background represents the amazing community of people that we have at the Computer Laboratory."

THIRD: ALBERT KUTSYY.

"It was a blast to make," says third year undergraduate Albert Kutsyy of the robotic backgammon arm that he and a team of fellow students designed and built for their Part 1B group project.

"The challenge was to construct and program a robotic arm that autonomously plays backgammon against a human. After custom-building the arm from an EV3 LEGO kit, we used a webcam and OpenCV to understand the move the human makes, used machine learning to determine the best move to make, and then sent motor commands to the arm to move the backgammon pieces accordingly."

And how did the robot arm get on? "Over a number of games, nobody EVER beat the arm at backgammon."

HONOURABLE MENTION: RAFAL MANTIUK.

"This is a photograph of our prototype ultra-bright high-dynamic-range display," says Dr Rafal Mantiuk, Reader in Graphics and Displays. "The display can reach luminance levels of 35,000 cd/m^2, which is the brightness of the sky on a sunny day. For comparison, computer monitors reach the peak luminance of only 200 to 500 cd/m^2. The display has been used in several projects in which we measured human visual performance across a wide range of luminance. One of the papers presenting our data and models won the best paper award at the Colour Imaging Conference 2020.

The yellowish and blueish lights seen in the photograph are coming from two different light sources: a projector in the display and a small light that we put to better illuminate the scene. Interestingly, the scene appears to have very different colours in reality due to the perceptual mechanism of chromatic adaptation. When we see the same seen with our eyes, both light sources appear white and the colour contrast between the lights is hardly noticeable. "

HONOURABLE MENTION: GIOVANNA DIMITRI

Alumna Giovanna Dimitri's atmospheric image captures snow falling in the courtyard of the building. The photo was taken during the winter of 2018 when Giovanna was a PhD student here in the Department of Computer Science and Technology.

HONOURABLE MENTION: SERGEI SKOROBOGATOV.

'Hardware Security Research during Lockdown'.

"The restrictions imposed by government during lockdowns made it extremely challenging to carry out research that involves extensive use of hardware," Sergei says. "The picture shows an electron microscope from one of our industrial collaborators that I was using. While I was operating it remotely via TeamViewer, a mannequin of a typical engineer was placed in the chair at the control desk..."

Thank you, Sergei, for making us smile!

From robotics to hardware security, from colour imaging to the view of snow falling outside the Department: our annual photo competition brought a range of entries capturing the world of Computer Science research here.