As our new students arrive, we say ‘Welcome to their Future’
With hundreds of new students just about to arrive in ECS it’s tempting to look forward to the creative potential that they will bring with them … and how this will be channelled into new opportunities for student life, as well as (perhaps more obviously) into new technology developments.
The last few years have seen an extraordinary increase in ‘happenings’ in ECS – including hackathons (and the launch of new societies, HackaSoton and HackaGlobal), global coding challenges (such as IEEE-Xtreme, in which ECS students have been enormously successful), and design-and-build events such as EMECS-thon, which over a weekend links ECS with universities across the world.
Enterprise has become an increasingly important part of student life in ECS as students have the technology at their disposal to launch their ideas on the world, not just through building apps and websites, but by successfully launching new ventures on sites such as KickStarter. Over the last two or three years our students have been extraordinarily inventive, often encouraged by the opportunities for innovation that come with project work, access to facilities such as 3-D printing, and the lively and enabling atmosphere in the labs.
Twelve years on though, the biggest contribution to innovation in personal technology from ECS still remains the 2002 third-year project of Computer Science student Richard Jones, The Man who Invented Audio-Scrobbling and Changed the World’ as he was appropriately described by Wired magazine. Richard devised a way of enabling a user to follow their interests in music that quickly became the enabling technology for Last.fm, changing the face of music-listening and discovery for ever.
Perhaps such a huge innovation can only happen once in a generation (or even less), but ideas and technological innovations that are so radical have a lot more going for them than just the technical innovation – they are of their time, and that’s one of the biggest advantages that ECS students have …. Not only is their teaching designed to ensure that they are able to adapt and innovate in a world of rapidly changing technology, but they are part of a community that is fascinated by the possibilities and opportunities offered by the way these technologies can be used.
As we welcome around 500 new students on 22 September – watch this space ….