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Summer Internship – Week 5

This week I finally got to sink my teeth into testing the Southampton specific eprints configuration files. This presented a pretty steep learning curve for me, having to read, understand, and test code written in a language I only picked up last week. I started small, realising that tackling the 120 line sub routine should probably wait until I’ve built up a little more experience. There were a few very short sub routines that I could start with, only a few lines long. For these shortest of short routines, writing tests almost felt like overkill. It seemed as simple as running a routine that set x = True, and then checking afterwards that x=True and patting myself on the back. As soon as I built this up to routines that were 15 lines long, or 20 lines long, I started to see the usefulness. There were changes I wanted to make immediately, nested if statements that could be cleaned up, variables that seemed redundant. Putting these tests in place means that people will have the freedom to do these things, and to improve the code without fear of breaking the overall functionality.

I also had a somewhat unexpected task set for me, to create a teaching workshop to introduce my team to machine learning. I’ve talked about my undergrad course and the PhD that I’ll be starting in a couple of months’ time, and apparently this sparked an interest in some other members of my team. I’m specialising in machine learning and computer vision, specifically for use in classification of species. My individual project for my undergraduate involved classifying bird species in audio files, and my PhD will be focusing on classifying crab and coral species in images of the sea floor. My workshop will start with an overall introduction to machine learning, very quickly focusing on the idea of classification. I’m not sure when I’ll be giving the workshop, but I’m excited to give it a go. I’m a volunteer teacher with Robogals and go into local schools to teach programming with lego mindstorms, but I haven’t had much opportunity to branch out and teach an older audience more technical topics before.

And of course, my week ended on a high with the University of Southampton staff party. It was a great opportunity to spend more time with some of the other interns at iSolutions, the food was wonderful, and I got to learn a little bit of poi from a good friend of mine at the circus society workshop.

Posted in Perl, Programming, testing.

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