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Young Software Engineer of the Year 2018 shortlist announced

ScotlandIS, the digital trade body for Scotland, has announced the shortlist of finalists for the Young Software Engineer of the Year Awards.

The scheme recognises the country’s top undergraduate talent in computer science and software engineering. Entrants are nominated by their universities and judged blind (with judges not aware of names, gender or university) on criteria including innovation, relevance and technical difficulty.

The projects from this year’s nominees cover areas as diverse as facial recognition, detection of early-stage dementia and biometric identification using ECG data.

The winner of the award will be announced at the closing event of ScotSoft, Scotland’s leading tech conference, which this year takes place on Thursday 27th September at the Edinburgh International Conference Centre.

Last year’s winner, Gala Malbasic from The University of St Andrews, won with  a project using sensors to replace complex keyboard sequences with gestures. For Gala, winning the award provided an incredible launchpad for her entry into the world of work:

“I believe that [winning] fostered an additional level of trust in my work from colleagues and peers very early in my career, and it is definitely a fantastic conversation starter on my CV! The press coverage was lovely, and I was particularly thankful to be able to speak to the BBC radio team about what this win means for women in technology in the UK. The award ceremony itself was an incredible networking opportunity, and I can’t deny there weren’t a fair few job offers floating around at the venue and on my LinkedIn after the event! Most importantly, the award validated my most significant and challenging work (my thesis) and gave me the confidence to start my graduate job with a spring in my step.

Polly Purvis, chief executive of ScotlandIS, said:

“Supporting young talent is absolutely vital to the success of Scotland’s technology industry – and every year – for three decades now – the Young Software Engineer of the Year award has underlined just how impressive that talent is. The programmes and projects the students are working on show the ambition and vision of Scotland’s next generation of tech leaders.”

This year’s shortlisted students are Jack Neilson (The Robert Gordon University) for a project using facial recognition to gather social media intelligence; Can Gafuroglu (University of Dundee) for prediction and classification of brain image evolution with applications for early dementia diagnosis and  Robert John Matthews (University of Stirling) with a tool for supporting attendance and engagement monitoring procedures.

Also shortlisted are; Francisco Javier Chiyah Garcia from Heriot-Watt University for his work on explainable autonomy through natural language interaction; Kade McArthur from the University of the West of Scotland for work on optical character recognition and workflow automation; David Haughton (University of Glasgow) for an automatic credibility checker for Twitter.

Jonathan Robson (Abertay University) is nominated for work on evaluation of applications of visibility buffer rendering techniques in transparent geometry rendering, while Desmond Henaghen (University of Strathclyde) is nominated for work on assessing the emotions of Scotland via Twitter users.

Radostin Stoyanov (University of Aberdeen) is nominated for work around the efficient live migration of Linux Containers with Nikita Samarin (University of Edinburgh) recognised for work on biometric identification via ECG signals. Keno Schwalb (University of St Andrews) is nominated for IDS test comparison of intrusion detection systems using malware samples and Carla McIntyre (Glasgow Caledonian University) is nominated for a project  comparing native and multi-platform approaches used in smartphone development.

Double Olympic Champion Lizzy Yarnold OBE will be the guest speaker at the evening’s dinner, sharing her fast and furious experiences of life on the edge as one of the world’s elite athletes.  

ScotSoft2018 is on Thursday 27th September 2018 at the EICC in Edinburgh. To find out more or book tickets, visit

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