24th Global Software Contest

Are you looking to take the next leap for your ideas and passion in the footsteps of global software stars like Bill Gates and Steve Jobs?

Global Software Contest is a developer audition open to students, individuals and companies in Korea and worldwide, aiming to discover and foster the software stars of the future.

Marking its 24th year in 2012, the Global Software Contest is the oldest and most prestigious software competition in Korea, and includes prizes from the President, Prime Minister and Minister of Knowledge Economy. The contest attracts outstanding entries each year, leading the development of Korean software and boosting the country's position as a global IT powerhouse.

Are you the global software star who will change the world?

For details download the Global Software Contest leaflet (129).

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PhD Fellowship at York Funded by DSTL

A fully-funded PhD fellowship for four years starting in October 2012 is available in the area of

Identifying Human Activities from Video Sequences

under the supervision of Dr. Adrian G. Bors of the Department of Computer Science, University of York, UK.

The successful applicant will be part of a research group in a top-rated department in the UK, which is well known internationally.

The PhD fellowship is funded by DSTL (Defence Science and Technology Laboratory) and will provide a salary for up to four years while covering university fees.

The PhD candidate will be expected to develop and implement new methodologies for processing and analysing video sequences showing various human activities. He/ she will be required to develop computational methods for extracting characteristic features, and to detect and track human motion. At the higher processing level, the PhD candidate will develop methods for classifying and detecting human activities from image sequences. The PhD project will require writing research reports and scientific papers as well as communicating and presenting research results to DSTL and to the scientific community at large.

This PhD fellowship is available only to citizens of EU countries. You will be expected to have an MSc or a good first degree in one of the fields Computer Science, Electrical and Electronics Engineering, Mathematics and Applied Mathematics or Physics and have a strong interest in scientific research. You should have knowledge or a strong willingness to quickly acquire the following:

  • Programming skills in Matlab and C
  • Good knowledge and understanding of algorithms and of the mathematics behind them
  • Good knowledge of written and spoken English
  • Ability to write scientific papers and reports as well as to present and demonstrate research results.

It would be expected that your MSc or final year BSc project was in an area related to Computer Vision, Pattern Recognition, Image Processing or Computational Intelligence.

Knowledge and experience with the following would be highly desirable:

  • Processing and analysing images and image sequences
  • Applied statistics and mathematics
  • Graph representation of data
  • Numerical assessment and analysis of experimental results.

If you are an EU citizen and consider yourself a suitable candidate for this DSTL-funded PhD fellowship you should send the following by email to adrian.bors@york.ac.uk:

  1. Your CV
  2. Short statement of your interest and how you would approach this research topic
  3. Short description of your final year or MSc project
  4. Transcripts with marks achieved during your previous study
  5. List of scientific papers published or submitted, if any
  6. Other relevant major achievements
  7. Names of two academic persons who can provide references for you if requested.

 

PhD funding available: 4 years
Start date: October 2012
Location: Dept. of Computer Science, University of York, York, UK
Contact: Dr. Adrian G. Bors (e-mail, web page)

All candidates will be considered for a preliminary selection and those with the strongest profiles will be contacted.

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New Funding Opportunities from the European Union

On 10 July 2012 the European Union issued a new set of calls for research funding. These are the last calls under the FP7 programme. For the next 18 months there will be no more calls as this will be the transition phase to the new framework programme called Horizon 2020.

If you're a researcher or company working in the media computing and communication field, these calls may be of special interest.

Small and medium enterprises (SMEs) seeking support and advice in applying for any of these (especially the last one) are invited to contact us.

FP7 Cooperation programme including "Smart Cities and Communities", "Factories of the Future", "ICT for Green Cars" and "Future Internet".

FP7 Ideas programme including Starting Grants, Advanced Grants and Proof of Concept Grants.

FP7 People programme including Marie Curie schemes for researcher career development and international exchange.

FP7 Capacities programme featuring research for the benefit of SMEs.

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EMC2 Hosts First EC Meeting of European Accelerators

An accelerator is a private or public organisation that speeds and supports the development of entrepreneurial businesses by providing needed resources and services, such as funding and mentoring.

Last Friday 29th June, EMC2 hosted the European Commission’s first meeting of European accelerators. Chaired by Isidro Laso Ballesteros, representing the Commission, the meeting at Queen Mary, University of London provided a forum for exchanging ideas and experiences on supporting web-based innovation across Europe.

Participants in this initiative include Tech All Stars, springboard, f6s, PwC’s Accelerator, Startup Weekend Europe, Accelerator Academy, seedcamp, Startup Bootcamp, White Horse Capital, Bethnal Green Ventures, Microsoft BizSpark, Social Innovation Camp and Wayra -- among them some of the largest technology startup accelerators in the European Union.

The meeting began with a presentation by Isidro Laso about the Commission’s prioritisation of web entrepreneurship (Isidro Laso: (112)). Entrepreneurs, he explained, are crucial to Europe’s economy because they create the most jobs, and web-based businesses have the additional benefits of comparatively small start-up costs and potential for rapid growth.

Emphasising the need to act at EU level, Mr Laso outlined the EC’s comprehensive strategy and actions for encouraging and supporting web entrepreneurship in Europe. The actions include developing local entrepreneurial hubs, increasing the visibility of public and private resources for new companies, providing tax incentives for investors and entrepreneurs, fostering ‘crowdfunding’, opening up public data to web startups, improving technology education and culturally reinforcing the entrepreneurial ‘mind-set’.

He outlined new EU support for technology entrepreneurs, including funding for those seeking to apply Future Internet technologies developed within EU programmes, support for network building (mentors, entrepreneurs, investors, students) and finance for web innovation in areas of public interest.

A wide-ranging brainstorming session ensued, during which participants discussed specific ideas for encouraging and supporting web start-ups and enumerated current barriers to web entrepreneurship in Europe. These include a lack of role models at EU level, the need for skills development, under-involvement of large corporations in the startup ‘ecosystem’, and inflexibility of employment and immigration laws. The group considered ways in which the Commission might work with accelerators to strengthen the environment for web entrepreneurs.

Participants with experience of both US and European contexts were able to make interesting comparisons between the two. It was said, for example, that whilst Europe has “great technology”, the US is “way ahead” in management, investment, sales and marketing. The lack of a common, Europe-wide legal/ business framework was also cited as a significant barrier to investment, growth and cooperation.

Some argued a need for much more support activity for would-be entrepreneurs -- startup weekends, innovation camps, also social networking events connecting entrepreneurs with potential mentors and backers. Another highlighted need was for stronger linkage between technology industry and academia.

The meeting was very well received by participants, who broadly agreed that this could be the basis of a permanent forum for sharing ideas and experiences, for identifying the needs of European accelerators and web entrepreneurs, and for establishing clear channels of communication between accelerators and the Commission.

Mr Laso suggested that, as a first step, each participant submit a 2-page outline of thoughts and suggestions, considering especially the needs of web entrepreneurs in Europe and how the Commission might best address them.

A follow-up meeting has been scheduled for October 2012.

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Pora Ora: Numeracy and Literacy in 3D Worlds

Pora Ora is a free online 3D universe comprised of two themed worlds -- Samura Valley and Urba Roma. Each contains games, quests and puzzles designed to make children’s learning of mathematics, language and literacy, ICT and geography stimulating and fun.

In technical terms, Pora Ora is a highly-moderated educational MMORPG (massively multi-player online role-playing game). Aimed at children in the 5-12 age range, it is the collaborative product of a team of artists and designers, game developers, animators, parents and professional educators.

Spellfire

On first entering Pora Ora, the child is invited to fashion his/ her own 3D avatar and is given a virtual pet, or ‘Pora Pal’, to look after. To keep it happy and healthy, the pet’s owner must complete various educational ‘quests’ and puzzles.

Though learning activities focus mainly on numeracy and literacy, children are also encouraged to exercise their creativity, for example by decorating their ‘Pora Pads’ (homes) or designing new Pora Pals. They can also grow virtual garden produce for sale at the virtual market, which is one way of obtaining ‘roobles’, the in-game currency. In this universe children learn the life lesson of having to earn their roobles before spending them!

Numberbugs

Pora Ora's educational content is mapped to the UK educational curriculum and is individually adjusted to challenge each child. Importantly, parents can monitor academic progress via detailed reports outlining the child's strengths and weaknesses.

The game also offers a full set of social features. Children can make friends, send mail and gifts, visit and rate each other's homes and compete in multi-player games. All social features are subject to real-time moderation and a high level of parental control over who their child can interact with.

'Pora Pals' currently under development

Neil Gallagher, founder of Caped Koala Studios, the London based producer of Pora Ora, believes that well-designed, game-like 3D applications will become a major component of future children’s learning. He says of his latest creation:

Pora Ora uses the tools of the modern age to instill a love of learning in children, allowing them to progress at their own pace and practice until mastery without pressure or fear of failure. Motivational rewards ensure that the child keeps engaging with the educational content – these rewards take a variety of forms from in-game currency to opportunities to unlock new worlds or collect new pets (‘Pora Pals’).

Whether they're improving their multiplication skills on Leap Frog, mapping their geography skills on Globe Trotters, or testing their spelling in Spellfire, children are able to learn in an exciting, motivational and stimulating way.

Pora Ora has already built up an international community of thousands of young learners, and has received some glowing endorsements from parents and teachers. Now Neil Gallagher and his talented team are looking to take it to the next level of development.

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