Summer 2012 Summer UROPss

With Robert Harle

The Undergraduate Research Opportunities Programme (UROP) provides opportunities for undergraduates to undertake research-related projects over the summer. provided they have one or more years left to study in Cambridge The DTG is looking for approximately 7 UROP students this summer. The exact dates are not yet set, but will run for 8-10 weeks in July and August. Successful applicants will need to arrange their own accommodation for the period, but we pay you a stipend to cover these costs. Usually the student's own college is able to offer accommodation. UROP students will work together in the Computer Laboratory, William Gates Building.

All students will be responsible for delivering a clearly-defined project (or sub-project where relevant) and all the students work together in the Intel Teaching room over the summer. In previous years, there has been a great team atmosphere amongst the students, and we're confident the same will also be true this year. Robert will be around to offer support, help and advice. You can see a list of the previous projects run on this scheme here and many of them are available to try on the Android Marketplace.

If you would like to apply please send an email to Robert Harle. Make sure you:

  • let us know which project(s) you are interested in working on;
  • and include a copy of your CV.

Robert will contact you to arrange a time for a 15-minute chat. This helps to match students to projects. The projects we hope to explore this year are shown below.


Project: Dead Reckoning with a Smartphone

Prerequisites: Confidence in at least one programming language (Java is fine) and basic data analysis. No prior experience with smartphone programming is required.

The DTG has been developing systems that can track smartphone users around the building. Part of the solution includes the use of dead reckoning techniques based solely on smartphone sensors. Many techniques have been proposed to do this, but few have been tested with any rigour. We are looking for a capable student to:

  • Collect traces from a wide variety of people walking using smartphone sensors (accelerometers, gyros, magnetometers, barometer).
  • Implement the pedometer algorithms in a language of their choice.
  • Provide an analysis of the algorithms using their collected data.

This project will suit any student interested in data analysis. The results would be of interest to the research community and likely to form the basis of an academic paper.

Project: A WiFi Fingerprinting Database for the Computer Lab

Prerequisites: Java programming to a standard of completing Workbook 7 of the Programming in Java course; No prior experience with Google Android or mobile phones is required.

We are looking for a student to create a WiFi fingerprinting map for the building to allow smartphone users to position themselves. The project will involve:

  • Collecting WiFi fingerprints
  • Evaluating a few straightforward fingerprinting algorithms
  • Implementing an Android application that uses the database to provide graphical tracking of themselves and their colleagues.

Once a map is created, the project has a lot of flexibility to look at optimisations for it or mobile apps that use it.

Project: Exploring the Raspberry Pi platform

Prerequisites: Familiarity with a mainstream programming language (abilities equivalent to Workbook 7 of the IA CST Programming in Java course would be sufficient). No familiarity with the Raspberry Pi will be assumed.

The Raspberry Pi boards are credit-card sized computers with the aim of encouraging exploration of computers and computer science in schools. At less than 25 GBP, the hardware is flying off the shelves. The key to its success in education is now the educational materials available for it. The Computer Laboratory is looking for five or more students to create new educational materials for the Raspberry Pi. It is intended that each student has a specific project that they are involved in developing. Possible directions might include:

  • Rewriting classic arcade games for the platform, providing tutroials that students could follow.
  • Developing hardware hacks that make use of the board's connectivity
  • Interfacing with android
  • Writing custom bootloaders to teach the fundamentals of OS

The scope is great, and we would be very happy to have students suggest specific projects that they believe would boost the educational potential of the Raspberry Pi.