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St Andrews student wins Young Software Engineer of the Year Award 2020

St Andrews University student, Ryan Wilson, has been named Young Software Engineer of the Year 2020, having developed a tool that helps check a parallel program for flaws when running on a system with so-called weak memory consistency. The tool is applicable to almost all modern computers and can analyse and check critical systems for flaws, such as those running nuclear power plants, making them much safer.

Second place was won by Daniella Ivanova from University of Glasgow, for her AI deep learning programme which can be applied to the restoration of films. Her project tackles the problem of analogue film restoration and presents a proof-of-concept solution for automated image repair by employing two deep convolutional neural networks. As a result, much of the manual labour involved in film restoration could be removed.

Konrad Dryja, from Aberdeen University, has also been recognized for developing a decentralised blockchain authentication framework. Konrad won first prize for his exceptionally innovative project to improve the authentication and accountability of blockchain ledger, which are the backbone of crypto currencies, such as Bitcoin.

The Best Engineering Project Award went to Craig Pirie from Robert Gordon University, for his project on using AI vision to identify corrosion in underwater images for inspection engineering applications. Corrosion is a major issue for offshore energy projects, with significant costs associated with monitoring and repair. Craig’s dissertation recognised that engineers could save significant time if artificially intelligent machines can be trained to carry out the brunt of the workload by automatically detecting corrosion in images using computer vision.

The Young Software Engineer of the Year Awards are given to the best undergraduate software projects, drawn from across all students studying computing science and software engineering in Scotland. Each university submits the best final year undergraduate software engineering project from amongst their students. Prizes this year were sponsored by Sopra Steria, Edge Testing, BCS and Leidos.

The Awards, running for over 30 years, are organised by ScotlandIS, the membership body for the digital technologies industry and were presented at the ScotlandIS CmdR ScotSoft 2020 conference.

Find out more about all of our Young Software Engineer of the Year nominees and past winners here.

Jane Morrison-Ross, CEO of ScotlandIS said:

“This year’s Young Software Engineer entries have been a showcase for Scotland’s digital talent. All of this year’s Young Software Engineer winners and runners up have demonstrated not only great ability to develop novel ideas, but they are also applicable in the real world, bringing tangible benefits to many industries in the future.”

Chris Cummins who gained his PhD at the University of Edinburgh has also been awarded the coveted SICSA PhD Award for Best Dissertation in Scotland 2019-2020, sponsored by Amazon Development Centre Scotland at this year’s SICSA Conference which was collocated with the ScotlandIS event, for his pioneering work on deep learning in compilers.

Professor Stuart Anderson, SICSA Interim Director said:

“Chris’s research into deep learning and neural networks is outstanding. We received a range of exceptional submissions for this year’s Best Dissertation in Scotland Award, once again demonstrating the calibre of students, research and industry collaboration in Scotland.”

Thank you to our sponsors and supporters of CmdR ScotSoft2020

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