Computer Science News
UCL-NII joint project
The third International Software Engineering (ISE) event has successfully been completed by UCL Computer Science (UCLCS) in partnership with TopSE from the National Institute of Informatics (NII), Tokyo.
This year teams of students, drawn from both institutions, focused on project management. UCLCS students, taking the COMP3001 module, initially undertook five weeks of study to explore the project management techniques needed for success in IT projects. Graham Collins, one of the module lecturers, set a study into the project management of Big Data projects as coursework for the UCL-CS students.
Then in November 2013, immediately following Reading Week, six NII TopSE students, accompanied by Dr Tanabe Yoshinori, travelled to UCL and worked as team members in a number of project groups with the UCL students. The groups were set the objective of developing a proposal and project plan for a Big Data project to use patient monitor data to improve early diagnosis of problems in neo-natal or acute care units of a hospital. A core requirement was to analyze data captured from patient monitors in a hospital, both existing monitors and other monitors they might propose.
Six out of the eight groups contained a participant from NII, who worked as an integral part of the group. The NII participants returned to Japan after a few days working intensively at UCL and, from then on, worked collaboratively with their UCLCS colleagues using collaboration tools, including email, social media and desktop videoconferencing.
The groups had to deliver a final proposal and video presentation, along with progress reports every week, to emulate what is expected of project teams in business.
Completion of the projects saw each team producing excellent deliverables in what was a very short time, considering the other demands on their time of lectures, lab work and coursework, including further lectures on project management.
Graham Collins comments: “I particularly appreciated Dr Dean Mohamedally's suggestion for a Big Data project involving NII students, allowing me to incorporate my main interest in Big Data, streaming analytics, and using a variation of the SEMAT method used by numerous companies, especially in Japan. This kept both the students and staff very busy. It has proved useful in increasing visibility of the each student group's progress and provided evidence that this contributed to a steady development of their final report and video as well as improvement in the process. Every aspect of the work set for groups was completed ahead of the deadlines set.
"Teams provided progress reports covering their interaction with stakeholders, the increased understanding of goals and the architecture, so that staff could provide regular feedback on their evolving system and proposal. This cadence, akin to an agile development project, provided an opportunity for the groups to see they were developing an appropriate solution, incorporate suggestions and view what grades they were achieving as they progressed.
“I was particularly impressed by the videos achieved in such a short time, and issues in the proposals that experienced IT hospital managers (who are implementing such projects) do not always consider. At some point I would like to publish something about this learning process to make available for colleagues within the faculty as well as an academic paper, jointly with our team or others who wish to comment on this learning and assessment process and ways to improve it further.”
The first ISE event was a software development project where a team of UCL students travelled to Tokyo and were given an intensive one week project to construct a robotics solution using full software engineering methodologies with mixed teams from UCL-CS and NII Tokyo. The second event was held at UCL and mixed teams of UCL-CS and NII students carried out a Validation and Verification project.
In the 2014-15 academic year, we hope to greatly increase the scope and duration of this collaborative research to take place over a full term. We also
aim to further develop the Big Data Project Management Framework, based on lessons learned from this year’s project, but also to incorporate the actual development of analytical software.
Project videos are here:
Group 2: http://youtu.be/8Uo469W7Pik