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9 | Technology 7 | Harcharan Singh 2012 21 | Professors’ Interviews


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the editorial THE TEAM

President Talk

Computer Engineering Club

Computer Engineering Club President Anoosha Chivukula, otherwise well known for her long and powerful orations, talks candidly about the direction the club will take, and the issues it will address in this academic year. This year, in addition to the usual set of events, we have a whole lot more planned for all SCE students. We have earmarked certain topics that will be our main focus areas. One of them is our social responsibility. In an effort to increase our reach, and to take the SCE brand beyond the boundaries of NTU, we have certain plans in place to collaborate with external charitable organisations to give something back to the society. We have various other events, both old and new, lined up which will cater to all the various kinds of needs of an average SCE student. We have movie screenings at one end of the spectrum and TechFest and Corporate Talks at the other. Sports won’t be ignored either. After the most successful Harcharan Singh in recent years, we are now aiming to have a very strong ensemble squad for the upcoming Inter-School Games. Year after year, plans have come up to renovate the Students’ Computer Room, but this year, it looks like this revamp is imminent and we shall all reap benefits as a joint family. Innovation has always had deep roots in SCE and we are taking it seriously ourselves with some our events and our upcoming CEC mobile apps and continuation of the SCEne in its new digital form. SCE’s rank have been soaring in recent years and we have ourselves, the students, to thank. As a fellow SCEian, I encourage all of us to keep innovating, in whatever way possible, big or small.

Find us on Facebook at

www.facebook.com/cec.ntu

Tweet us

@NTU_CEC

president anoosha chivukula vice-president yan an glenn zeng zhaosong honorary general secretary lim kang qi financial controller andree wijaya assistant financial controller yonas stephen academic welfare and archive lv deen liu xiao business managers leonard lee ng yew kiang it (technical) david sinjaya it (media) arnav kumar logistics ambarish sridhar prakash media & publications liu xiao shi qing sports and recreation wang zeguo li weihao social secretary chetna goyal liaison officer (corporate outreach) dhruv bindal liaison officer (social outreach) xu yi events lim guan chern shan ni

Or check out our website at clubs.ntu.edu.sg/cec/


scene | We’re a student magazine, so we want to provide exactly that - student news, features, and something for you to read when you’re standing in a lunch queue, in the MRT, or in the toilet. For the first time, SCEne is entirely online. Why? Because we’re cool. That’s why.

Conte

nts

3 Commitee Speak Have an opinion about something related to school, SCE, or just university life? Email us : sceclub@ntu.edu.sg

5 News and Other Developments 7 Photo Feature - Harcharan Singh 2012 9 Technology - Windows 8 and iPad mini 17

event watch - exam welfare package date - 12th november venue - outside SCE GO time - 10am - 3pm

Student Opinions

19 Graduates’ Spot 21 Know Your Professors Look through our lenses at the latest events! Watch out for our photographers at coming CEC events; having your face here is almost as good as on Time Magazine. Really.

CONTENT | Adarsh Kanodia, Vrinda Khanna, Sruthi Vishwanathuni, Rohit Menon, Ruan Pingcheng, Xu Chong, Xu Zhengzi, Abha Apte, Shahbaaz Sabharwal, Arnav Kumar PHOTOS | School Of Computer Engineering, Dropbox, Microsoft, Apple, CEC Media & Publication, Adarsh Kanodia, Benny Hoh, Flickr Commons DESIGN | Shi Qing, Liu Xiao, Arnav Kumar VIDEO | Tan Chung Sang

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We take care of the physical health of students by making them run around!

Liaision officers by day. Mafia overlords by night.

They help to get the money in. Usually by legal means.

When they are into the sunset, over everyone e

Computer Eng

13th managem

Clockwise from bottom-right : Financial Controllers, IT Officer and IT (M Managers,Vice - Presidents, Logistics Officer, Events Directors, Social Sec

The IT officers are very skilled. At IT stuff and at the Anoosha pose!

Once the money is in, we hold on to it like we are holding each other here.


not too busy gazing , they vice-preside else!

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Everything CEC has belongs to him!

We, as Events Directors, direct events.

Movie screenings, bonding sessions, oppa gangnam style!

gineering Club

ment committee

Media) Officer, Sports and Recreation Secretaries, Liaison Officers, Business cretary, Media and Publication Officers, Academic Officers.

CEC’s own modern day Picasso and Da Vinci

Contrary to popular belief, we have nothing to do with your examination scores.

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#SpaceRace #Growth #UseOfSocialMedia

U

nless you have been off social media, and havent had any communication with normal students in the last few weeks, you probably know what Droxbox SpaceRace is. Back in 2008, little did Drew Houston and Arash Ferdowski know that their petproject would evolve into something so huge that it became almost

indespensible for large parts of the netizens of the world. With the SpaceRace initiative, they have made sure that they would be a part of the lives of most students around the world. So what was the SpaceRace? Breeding a competitve feeling amongst students by offering upto 25GB of space for two years was a smart move. Stu-

dents got more space. Dropbox got more signups. Everyone ended up happy. All we students had to do was to login in to our Dropbox account and on the SpaceRace page enter our .edu email. Depending on how much space the School earns, we get extra space for 2 years. We at NTU got our full quota of 25GB. The time between SpaceRace went live and we reached 25GB was very special. With the true power of social media coupled with word of mouth, the news spread like the proverbial wildfire. Every other person was sharing their customised link to the SpaceRace page, there were tweets about it, some of us even got emails from friends asking us to join the race. Everyone was united in one cause, to get more space (and to get NTU to the top). Dropbox, a startup founded in 2008, has come a long way and has made itself a part of our lives. This just goes to show you how much one can achieve with innovative ideas and perseverance (the power of social media of course). While this was essentially aimed at publicity, it was pulled off well. It even had MIT students breaking their heads trying to get the better of the system.

PHOTOS | Dropbox


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PHOTO | School of Computer Engineering

Breaking Trails, Setting Tracks

#NTURankingsSoar

I

n the QS World University Rankings (WUR) 2012 published in September 2012, NTU has risen to the 47th position, up from 58th position last year. NTU has been ranked 26 in the world for its Computer department according to the QS World University Rankings by Subject for Engineering and Technology. The 2012 QS World University Subject-wise Ranking for Computer Science and Information Systems lists the best universities in the world to study in the particular discipline areas of Information Technology. NTU’s overall score was 77.9, and its divisional scores were 69.9, 87.5 and 78.9 for Academic reputation, Employer reputation, and Citations per faculty, respectively. In a separate ranking, NTU came in 4th in the world for its Computer Science department in the Higher Education Evaluation and Accreditation Council of Taiwan’s (HEEACT) 2011 university ranking. The HEEACT ranking is a measure of research productivity, impact and excellence, mainly based on scientific papers. NTU’s School of Computer Engineering was only ranked behind Massachusetts University, University of California – Berkley and Stanford University’s computer departments. The School of Computer Engineering is a research intensive School

which provides both Undergraduate and Graduate study Programmes. The latest ranking not only asserts SCE’s leadership in research and development, but also indicates that the department is continuously growing and improving. In recent news, SCE along with Toshiba and the Energy Research Institute @ NTU (ERI@N) will soon start a research and lead a new pilot programm which aims to generate close to 77 million kWh (kilowatt per hour) of energy reduction in the next three years. In the recent ACM SIGPTIAL GIS 2012 conference, SCE emerged in first place in the ACM SIGPATIAL Cup 2012. These technological initiatives and awards are a recognition of the brilliance and expertise of the SCE community. Since its establishment, SCE has produced exceptional engineers who not only possess remarkable skills and competencies, but also have a thirst to constantly innovate and develop. Currently, over 2000 graduate and undergraduate students are gaining technical expertise in Computer Engineering, Computer Science and other related courses. Incidentally, in the latest Graduate Employment Survey (GES) conducted by the Ministry of Education, SCE’s Undergraduates emerged the top earners in NTU. SCE not only aspires to conduct

cutting-edge research and foster an innovative community, it also prepares its students for lifelong learning by providing them state of the art infrastructure and excellent teaching. SCE has successfully managed to raise its profile internationally, and continues to do so by constantly updating its curriculum, revising course structures and re-aligning internal departments. The recent positive accreditation has given SCE’s staff as well as students much to boast about. Not only has it boosted the morale of students and alumni, but has also increased their sense of belonging and sense of pride in being a part of the School. As a Computer Engineering student, Surabhita Tripathi declares, “Good rankings mean a lot to me as a student of SCE. It makes me proud and gives me an incentive to work harder, and perform better”. SCE’s mission is “To achieve teaching excellence, world-class research and leadership development in computer engineering.” Taking into consideration its current position amongst the leaders in the Computer Science field, it appears that SCE can proudly declare: “Mission Accomplished.” Well not really. This is just the start!


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sights

s

und o s d an

Harcharan S

wall of [Street Soccer] WINNERS Le Hoang Trung Nguxen Ouy Tung Vu Ngoc Linh Tran Anh Cuong Hoang Hong Nant Vo Duc Van RUNNERS-UP Tang Youze Xiao Shijie Hai Zhen YuanYuan Yin Jian Xiong Chua Wei Khong Xu Xingpeng

[Basketball] WINNERS Jin Yi Chao Zhang Wei Wen Xie Tian Chen Peng RUNNERS-UP Xu Feng Lu Deen Li Weihao Chen Meng Xuan

[Pool] WINNERS Yuen Kai Him Ze Guo Weihao & Ze Guo RUNNERS-UP Dong Yu Bo Xiao Xuan Cui Yan & Xiao Xuan


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Singh 2012

f fame [Badminton] WINNERS Tran Anh Cuong Siak Huey Xhin Robin & Huang Yu Jia RUNNERS-UP Ngo Hung Son Huang Yujia Ang Yu Kun & Siak Huey Xhin

[Table Tennis] WINNERS Tan Yong Chuen Siak Huey Xhin RUNNERS-UP Leonard Tanvi Gupta

[International Chess] WINNERS Le Nhu Thong RUNNERS-UP Alvin Yunardy Tay

[Chinese Chess] WINNERS Huy Duc RUNNERS-UP Zhang Weiwen

[Scrabble] WINNERS Cynthia Lin Zhao’en RUNNERS-UP Tan Kang Zhuang

[Uno Stacko] WINNERS Liu Xiao RUNNERS-UP Lin Jun

#SCESportsCarnival #gallery #winners

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After its initial announcement in 2011, Windows 8 is finally upon us. It has had contrasting responses around the world. Here we look at opinions from each camp.


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for some, it’s the best thing ever... A breath of fresh air

Change is a powerful thing. Change is what turned primordial slime into humanity, and change is what keeps pulling us to our totality. But it is a difficult thing and the more revolutionary the change, the more the required courage for its implementation. Windows. The central pillar of Microsoft and the modern computing world has been, for the past several years, passingly easy to take for granted. Windows 8 marks a major move from this strong rooted belief. This is the first time that you will have to re-learn how to use Windows on a basic level since 1992. So what really is this change?

Design

Windows 8 provides an intersection of PC and tablet interface. In Windows 8, Microsoft hasn’t just made a gamble on its ‘Modern UI’ catching on; it’s introduced a whole new set of variables to an overwhelming frontrunner. It is a huge change, but only if you want it to be. The old desktop is still there, with its taskbar and folders and windows. It’s still there, but now there’s a new layer of the OS that’s built around information and visually driven “live tiles” that display nuggets of information. It is designed to be touch-friendly, but it exists in the PC version because Microsoft has merged its tablet and PC operating systems. Even if you’re dead-set on changing absolutely no part of your Windows day-to-day while using Windows 8, Metro remakes all of your windows. Instead of the glassy, transparent, rounded look of Windows 7 (Aero Glass), the new windows are sharp, with solid colors and cleaner lines. The change, though superficial, affects the entire visual makeup of the desktop. Things feel solid. Like they fit together. Like they’re not just haphazardly pieced together chunks of

pixels and code. And the uniformly coloured window panels that fade to gray when they are not selected do an excellent job of drawing your focus to the task at hand. It’s an extremely sophisticated boost to the user experience. Windows explorer got a remake, giving it a very – Microsoft Office look, with the ribbon menu on top. Even the task manager got a UI refresh to make it blend with the Modern feel. The Charms bar is another brand new feature. It appears when you swipe your finger in from the righthand edge of the screen. Those with a mouse can point the cursor to the top- or bottom-right corner of the screen (these are two of the new ‘hot’ corners in Windows 8). From the top, you have Search, Share, Start, Devices and Settings.

hassle, and without needing to buy any new hardware such as Microsoft’s Touch Mouse.

The Start Screen

Verdict

The Windows 8 start screen can be best thought of as a full-screen Start menu, since there’s no longer any such menu, even on the traditional desktop. Confusing at first, it takes a few minutes (only) to get used to it and see how things work. It is well designed and conveys much more information than it first appears. Some of the ‘tiles’ display live information, so you can see the current weather, news headlines, emails, share prices and much more without as much as a single tap or click. Tiles are movable and resizable according to your preference and ease of use. These new tiles get created as you install apps. You can also add tiles as shortcuts for desktop apps. When using the interface with a standard scroll mouse, the scroll wheel will default to horizontal scrolling until you click on a vertical pane of information, such as a list of emails or on a web page. Then it switches to scrolling vertically. It means you can get around the Modern UI without too much

Performance

Windows 8 in general is a fast OS compared to Windows 7 on the same hardware. The whole interface is responsive, apps load quickly and, crucially, it’s much fast to boot up and shut down. On an old Sony Vaio with a Core 2 Duo processor and 3GB of RAM, Windows 8 boots in only 21 seconds, and shuts down in 20. That’s a vast improvement on a relatively recent and uncluttered install of Windows 7 which took 56 and 43 seconds respectively. It also has cloud services and Windows Defender (an anti-virus) built right in and those are a welcome improvement to the user experience. The new Windows 8, provides an innovative interface and features that will take a little getting used to, yet it’s noticeably faster than Windows 7, without increments in its hardware requirements making it run fine even on older machines. Not only does it start up and shut down quicker, but also it’s also faster at copying files and loading web pages. More than ever before it is hardware accelerated, so even something as basic as word processing is slicker and more responsive. It’s important to remember that Windows 8 is effectively a brand new operating system. Yes, it will run your old Windows programs, but as far as Modern UI apps are concerned (and Windows RT tablets), this is just the beginning. Combining the interface, performance, security and new features, Windows 8 leaves us impressed. It’s a no-brainer upgrade from Windows XP or Vista, and even for Windows 7 users, it’s a worthwhile purchase.


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... for some, politely put, it’s not. Alternate OS Syndrome.

Windows 8, Microsoft’s biggest and bravest attempt to get back up there on the innovation scale. Well, at least they come close. Windows 8, comes oh-so-close to breaking the alternate OS jinx. Windows 98 was great, Windows ME, not so. Windows XP was revolutionary, Windows Vista, forgettable. Windows 7 was the closest Microsoft came to the perfect operating system. Next up is Windows 8, and its almost not terrible.

The Metro UI, or at least the UI formerly known as Metro.

There are many things wrong with Microsoft’s latest bite at the Operating System cherry. First of all, the new interface, formerly known as the “Metro UI” (let’s just call it Metro for the purposes of this review). It effectively marks the end of the “Start” button that has been in all forms of Windows for as long as most of us can remember. Over the years, the “Start” button has become more and more important, it was the go-to thing to do in order to, well, start things. Metro is an attempt to drastically make the “start” experience better. It even makes sense to do so. When someone presses the “start” button, he needs to break his workflow and focus on the start menu. People even wondered why the start menu wasn’t full screen earlier; now it is, and its very badly done. Once you are in the Metro thing, you are essentially in a new Operating System. You get access to some Metro Apps and you can navigate to the “All Application” but will get lost in the plethora of unorganised applications present there. You can of course start typing the name of the thing you want, but more often that not, you won’t find it, because things like “Printers and Hardware” or “Device Manager” can only be accessed after navigating to the Control Panel first. The workaround is to use the “extra options” but that still involves more work. The best thing about Windows 7 was its quick search built into the Start Menu, the worst thing Microsoft could do to itself is to severely mute that feature.

The “desktop” is an App on the Metro UI, with Apps inside it. Wait, WHAT?! Yes, exactly.

The traditional “Desktop” appears as a standalone app on Metro and one can’t navigate to the applications open on the Desktop. And if you open an app, say Internet Explorer on the Metro, and then navigate to the Desktop, it is not there, you need to open another IE window there. And that will be different from the one on metro. Yes, it is that confusing. Also in Metro, the Tab Bar is hidden and you need to navigate to the top of the screen and right click to temporarily reveal it. Everyone likes more clicks

and mouse movement for switching tabs right.

Right clicking reveals the context menu. At the bottom of the screen. Because logic is too mainstream.

In the Metro, anytime you right click on anything, a contextual menu appears at the bottom of the screen. This makes you move more a bazillion times more than the few pixels you had to move earlier to click on an option. How this got past quality testing is a mystery none has been able to solve.

In Metro, scrolling down scrolls the thing to the right. You can’t make this stuff up.

Since the natural swiping direction on tablets is horizontal and the natural scrolling direction using a mouse is vertical, Metro scrolling is a mess. Scrolling down using a mouse navigates sideways, but if there is a vertical scrollable tile, and the cursor hovers over it, the horizontal scrolling stops and vertical scrolling within the tile starts. This stems from the fact that Windows 8 at times appears unsure of what it is, a PC OS, or a tablet OS, because its definitely not both. There is one word for this. Actually, no, this is indescribable.

Splitscreen. Sort of.

Windows 7 gave us split screen arrangement. You could drag an open window to either side of the screen and the window magically aligned itself to occupy had the screen on that side. That was one of the most appreciated features of Windows 7. This is seemingly deemed unreasonable in Metro, and split screens are not even 50-50 splits but uneven splits were app is relegated to acting like a malnourished side bar.

The Good.

Having said all this, the desktop of Windows 8 is really well thought out and clean. From the new explorer to the new blue screen of death, Microsoft has thought a lot about it. Microsoft’s attempt to sticking two UIs together, and aiming at both tablets and desktops could either be a master plan, or an epic fail. One would want them to do well. They have tried really hard. In fact, they want you to stay hooked onto your machine. So much so that it requires 4 mouse clicks to shutdown. (Alt + F4 works from the desktop, thankfully.)

Parting Words

Overall, even though it has frustrated a lot of people, it has the potential to be a great recreational operating system, but not one where a lot of productivity is sustained.

PHOTOS | Microsoft


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the good E

very one knew the iPad mini was coming. The hard-core Apple believers almost didn’t want it to come given the circumstances surrounding its release. All that, and the rumours associated with it are now a part of the past. The iPad mini is here, and it is gorgeous. concentration, not reduction As Apple puts it, the term ‘mini’ is misleading. This iPad is not a reduction but a concentration of the iPad2. Except the size, nothing about it is less than anything found on the iPad 2. The screen resolution is the same, but the screen size is reduced and this results in a higher density of pixels and though PPI (pixels per inch) isn’t high enough to qualify as a retina, it is still super sharp and incorporates all the positives from the iPhone 5’s screen. With dimensions of 200 x 134.7 x 7.2 mm and weighing in at 312g, this gives your average notepads a run for their money in terms of its size and weight. The processor inside is the Apple A5 chip, which, even though 2 generations old, is still very powerful compared to the market. It is the same one that drove the iPad 2. for the readers, and for education This device is aimed at the reader and the internet surfer in you. Not as much for the movie buff or the hardcore gamer. The big iPad is made for everyone, the iPad mini will choose its own customers and its going to make the folks who were holding off the iPad owing to its cost very happy. With Apple’s all out push to infiltrate the education field and make the iPad the go-to text book of sorts, with iBooks 3 and the new iBook Author with portrait only books, this device sits at a very crucial position. It is almost like a soccer playmaker, who on his day, could take Apple to insurmountable heights, or, on failing can open a huge gap up for Amazon to fill with the inexpensive and relatively powerless Kindles. Google would deserve a mention if it had aimed at education, but there aren’t any strong signals of that yet. new product, new identity Apple has clearly stated that this is neither a shrunken iPad 2 nor an oversized iPod Touch, but a brand new product with a ground up design, and with reason. The product design is new and well thought out. It doesn’t resemble

any of the current products and rightly so. Like any new product, it deserves its own space and its own identity. This has been engineered to fit just nicely on your palm. Now, unless you have giant Hagrid palms, gripping the device horizontally across the back won’t be the most comfortable experience, but you can hold it in one hand from the bottom bezel. no retina, no problem, for now After all the recent iPhones, iPods Touch, iPads, and even laptops, this is Apple’s first product without a retina display. (Pardon the Hitchhikers’ Reference) This has made a lot of people very angry and has been widely regarded as a bad move. At 163 PPI, the display doesn’t qualify as a retina display where at optimal distance, and average human eye can not distinguish between the pixels on the screen. Though it significantly weakens one aspect of the product (the appeal of its screen), it significantly strengthens another aspect. al the hundreds of thousands of iPad or Universal Apps that are present in the App Store are all ready for this iPad and at launch, an iPad mini user has access to each and every one of them. This significantly lessens the load on developers who are probably still busy optimising their apps for the elongated screen of the iPhone 5. Mind you, the retina display is a killer feature, and you can bet significant chunks of wealth that the next generation of the iPad mini will boast a retina screen. By then the developer community will already be ready to serve their apps at a new resolution. So, from Apple’s perspective, it is a very smart move to capture the market and make people fall in love with yet another device. parting words This device is highly recommended for readers who were looking to get a cheap iOS tablet. It is a better option than the iPad 2 which is currently the cheapest Apple has to offer. Starting at S$448, this is a great purchase. With a retina display, this will be a killer device which leaves its competitors so far behind they appear like the proverbial dot. For anyone who already has an iOS device, you might want to hold off this one till it gets a retina upgrade (next generation). Oh, and the black iPad mini with the slate back is beautiful. Just saying.


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our take


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PHOTOS | Apple Inc.


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... and the bad T

he iPad mini. Apple’s not-so-secret secret product and the latest member of the iOS device family has already been pencilled in to be a resounding success. For the more pragmatic, there are major doubts, not on its potential to sell, but on its build. a ‘tweener, without retina. REALLY?! While the make of the product and its “ ‘tweener “ size is perfect to take over the small tablet market, after Apple’s push for retina displays, a non retina display on their latest product is baffling. Year after year, since the iPhone 4 launch, Apple has been championing its bid as the company which makes products with the best screens in the industry. The reason given was to maintain the same dimensions as that of the iPad2 so that the developers didn’t have to release their apps in a new resolution. Surprise, surprise, that is exactly what happened with the increased size of the iPhone 5. In that case, even the form factor changed from 4:3 to 16:9. Where was the concern about the developers then? Again, it must be emphasised that the problem is not with the new length of the iPhone 5, it is with the lack of a retina display on the iPad mini. We are all consumers, and as consumers, we would like a retina display. For any first time iPad users, this will not be an issue. But for any one who has used a retina display, this is going to be horrible. a sign of things to come? maybe. This is largely a first world problem, but after introducing the world to retina display and to upgrade all their products, from phones to laptops to use retina, to real ease a non retina product is quite a baffling decision. It shows haste to conquer the small tablet market and to start shipping the iPad mini as soon as possible. This shows how Apple’s future under Tim Cook will be shaped. Apple has come a long way from the time it was in the dumps and Steve Jobs was initially ousted

and then brought back. With one hit product after another, we were all mesmerised by the balding man standing on stage introducing new products or product updates and making us believe that Apple had world beaters ready and gave us reasons to buy Apple products. With Tim Cook, the market has already been captured, and it is now about reaching out to all and defending its stranglehold over out desires. Tim Cook is an excellent businessman and most probably has a master plan in place and as lovers of technology, lets hope he succeeds. depending on the brand value The iPad mini has been released in response to the 7-inch tablets that Steve Jobs famously labelled “’tweeners” during his time. This is the first time Apple, earlier known for innovative products, is doing so. Even then, releasing something without its best features, like the screen, and at a high entry price (S$448) compared to the relatively inexpensive Nexus 7 or the Kindle’s, is a major gamble that Apple is taking. The only difference is that the iPad is such a strong brand that the mini will well by virtue of being “every inch an iPad”. Knowing Apple, there will soon be retina iPad mini’s and those will make these look like worthless pieces of junk like the iPhone 4 did to the 3GS and the 3rd generation iPad did to the iPad 2. not all that bad The only reason this looks like such a let down is because Apple has set the bar so high that anything that doesn’t raise the bar is simply just not good enough. We live in a world where the only company really competing with Apple is Apple itself, and with the iPad mini, Apple has put itself in a vulnerable position. They are risking cannibalising iPad (big) sales and losing an ounce of customer satisfaction. Hopefully that won’t be the case, but no Apple lover wants another Apple Mapsesque fiasco now, do they?


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dback

sahil bajaj

fee

Hi SCEians, we love hearing from you. So much so that in every had a lot of events this semester and with more on the horizon n fellow SCEians about their views on the Past Year Papers. We a rything! If you have any opinions or feedback, or want to be feat

PYPs are quite useful. Not only for practice but also for revision of concepts and pattern questions. They help us prepare for the exams right in the end when we need the most help

shahbaaz sabharwal

Though the PYP solutions are good indicators of answers to provide for exams, it would be a great help if multiple students are allowed to write answers. This would curtail the number of wrong answers and also, increase the quality.

mario hartanto

PYP has been very useful to do a self-check on how prepared I am for the exam.


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issue, we’ll feature some of your questions here every month. It can be about anything, really. We have next semester, any comments on what you liked or disliked will be appreciated. The SCEne team surveyed also have some feedback on other issues. And oh look, they all got featured here. With a photo and eveatured in the next issue, write in to us at sceclub@ntu.edu.sg.

lee mei ying

muhammad hafiz

I always look forward to the exam package. There is always a surprise. Every year is unique.

Many PYP solutions are not properly done and evidently there is no vetting process. There have been numerous solutions with extrememly basic errors, and some in which the provider simply responded with “I have no idea how to do this”. Seems like before every exam people are cursing shoddy solutions outside the exam venue.

tan chung sang

It helps me a lot! I have to say the tutorials actually don’t help much. The solutions given are in steps, and basically the steps given in answering questions are concise and clear.


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s m e g rad

g

xu zhiqiang I

majored in Mathematics at Wuhan University. After graduation I worked in the IT sector in the field of image processing. That got me interested in the IT sector and I chose to further my academics in the IT field. A junior from my time at Wuhan University recommended Nanyang Technological University as a great place to pursue academics and introduced me to my supervising professor. When I finally decided that I was going back to studies, I chose to come here and I haven’t looked

We undergraduates aren’t the only students at SCE. There are a l their works. The SCEne Team recently caught up with a few of th

... on life as a postgraduate

back since. I am working in the field of Graph Clustering. Due to my experience in the IT industry prior to postgraduate studies, I have not faced much difficulty switching streams from Math to Computer Science. I have been here for three years and gradually, the course workload has increased and a lot of my time is spent in front of computer screens. Slowly, but surely, I have gotten used to that and to graduate life in general. When I have free time, I enjoy watching lots of movies. Postgraduate life is

such that it is very rare for multiple people to be working on the same field. You are basically the one with the most knowledge in your field and sometimes, you don’t have references to reply on, like you did during undergraduate. After completing my PhD, I am hoping to get back in the working field and look to get employed in the IT industry once more and apply my newly gained knowledge in my new job.


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lot of postgraduates working very hard in their research to make sure humanity as a whole benefits from hem to get a feel of what it is like in that field. Here are the excerpts.

doyen sahoo A

fter my third year, I interned in a hedge fund in the field of quantitative research. Most job openings in this area need an MS or a PhD. Further, I was doing well and enjoying this area of Computer Science. That is why, to pursue my interests, I am back as a postgraduate. At the end of my second undergraduate year, I started considering further studies as my next step. In course of time, PhD within SCE materialised, and here I am. PhD in comparison to undergraduate studies is more intensive, and much more

... on the comparision between undergraduate and postgraduate studies

independent. You set your own deadlines and choose how you want to work to achieve these deadlines. Your supervising professor is your guide and not your boss. You are expected to be smart enough to know what you are doing and do enough to reach your goal. I like this more because having seen the corporate side of things; I enjoy the freedom and chance to play by my own rules. That makes you enjoy what you are doing, and though the hours are long and arduous, you get the satisfaction of doing something that you want to do. Coursework is

a small yet crucial component but research is what takes most of the time up. In fact the courses you take are usually to supplement and enhance domain knowledge for your research. The whole point of this is to add to the knowledge present in the world. It is like how, during undergraduate, at the end of every project we add a section called “scope for the future�, PhD is about that future and taking the work forward. We identify potential problems, propose solutions in the process hopefully discover or invent something useful for everyone in society.


21 | scene

know

s f o r p your

We are so used to them in the Academic context that we forget throats. The SCEne team caught up with some of the beloved p the climate here.

prof vitali zagorodnov What are your topics of academic interest? I am interested in the field of Signal Processing and its implications on Medical Imaging. You are from Russia, and studied in the US. Why did you choose to settle down here? My wife is a Singaporean. I met her in Princeton. Her major is in architecture. After graduation in 2003, I accompanied her back to Singapore and started my family. I have been there for ten years. Now I have two daughters. I am quite satisfied here.

#signalProcessing #CPE106 #CE2004 #medicalImaging

How do you find life here in Singapore? I am Russian and came to Singapore in 2003. The climate here is very different from the one in my hometown back in Russia. I have been here for 10 years now and thus have adapted and am no fully acclimatised. Now I have no problems with the tropical climate here. Singapore has very distinguishable levels of efficiency and hospitality. The society here is very organised. Having said that, the live here, in comparison to that in America and Russia, is very stressed. It is also pretty crowded, but that is expected given the nature of the place.

How do you feel about SCE students in NTU? Teaching students anywhere is a great challenge because the levels of students vary. The trick is to find a balance that caters to the abilities of all the students. In a batch there are some students who have a faster rate of understanding that the others. The standards cannot be too high otherwise many students might find it difficult and get left behind. The scoring criteria must also be chosen wisely so that the abilities of the students are represented fairly and gives everyone equal opportunities. I motivate my students to explore on their own and look for advanced knowledge.


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t that they are normal people just like us, and not academic powerhouses shoving knowledge down our professors for a candid information session. And we got everything, from Hawaiian shirts to adapting to

prof chang kuiyu Academically, what interests you and why? Are there any interesting projects that you are currently involved in? I am currently working on a social networking monitoring system. The system monitors forums, Twitter and other microblogs for sentiments based on keywords specified by the user. Based on the keywords, the system scours for related words, tweets and other forms of data to analyse This is to create a system to help people with the analysis of sentiments online. One example of this would be restaurant reviews - by searching for a related keyword or topic, people can learn what others are talking

#softwareEngineering #informationRetrieval #openSourceChampion #CSC303

about regarding it. Respecting a user’s privacy, the system only looks at publicly available data. 2. Hobbies: What do you do outside of work? Any hobbies or special interests? I try to promote and contribute to Open Source software. eg. Latex and Libre Office. I am also involved with the NTU Open Source Society. I insist on my students (PhD) to use Libre Office. I also like using Linux and have been using it since 1995. Furthermore, I also managed to launch an elective course on Open Source Technologies CE9005 with Harish Pillai from Red Hat.

3. What? You are known to wear peculiar outfits, particularly Hawaiian shirts. Any reason for that? I don’t like to be constrained by rules and regulations. I have been wearing Hawaiian shirts for quite some time now. Couple of years ago, I used to wear T-shirts and shorts to work and that upset a few of my colleagues. I look at it as a nice thing to have and as a way to liberate oneself from the otherwise serious and stressful environment. Besides, when I was a student at the University of Hawaii, my professors used to wear them all the time.


HOW YOU KNOW YOU’RE DOING IT

G N O WR

1

You know more about the intricacies of WhatsApp rather than that of your project’s source code.

2

You know the McDonald’s menu better than your exam timetable.

3

You can recite dialogues from Friends, but don’t have dialogues with friends.

4

Your cover letter reads, “Hi, hire me. Bye.”

5

If you had a nickel for every point in your GPA, you’d be broke.

6

Your DDP mouse has fur, a tail, and name.

7

Your weight is more than your exam score.

8

You spend more time inviting people to Dropbox than on edveNTUre.

9

You are convinced that Garbage Collector refers to the cleaning aunty.

10

You know why the chicken crossed the road, but can’t find the bug in your code.

11

You SSH into the Operating Systems lab from Movie theatres to eat NachOS.

scene computer engineering club school of computer engineering

SCEne  

SCEne is the semesterly publication of the Computer Engineering Club of Nanyang Technological University, Singapore. This edition is the se...