Birkbeck MSc CS Prize

Man, I just keep surprising myself:

——– Original Message ——–
Subject: MSc CS project prize
Date: Fri, 04 May 2007 11:59:01 +0100
From: Szabolcs

As you may know, each year we choose the best MSc CS project.
This year, your projects were shortlisted.
Well done to all of you and congratulations to David for the win.
David, could you please send me your current address so that
I can send you the prize (a cheque for £100).
Hopefully, you will find the comments below useful.
Regards, Szabolcs

> I’ve now had the opportunity to read each of the three M.Sc. Project
> Reports which you kindly sent me. As in previous years, these were
> extensive, well presented, and covered an interesting range of topics.
> In judging which should receive the prize, I evaluated each of the
> reports on four critieria:
> – importance of the problem addressed
> – quality and originality of the project work,
> – discussion of related research and development work, and
> – results achieved.
> Once again, competition was close but a clear winner emerged. I would
> therefore like announce _David Keen_ as the overall winner, and
> congratulate him warmly on his achievement.
> Each of the finalists had included useful background information and
> bibliography. However, it was disappointing find that little effort
> had been made to give an effective context for each project by
> reviewing related work and examples of comparable existing
> implementations. Simple Google searches revealed the existence of
> numerous similar implementations which might usefully have been
> discussed. Since awareness of the “competitive” environment is
> essential both in commercial projects and in the research world, and
> usually improves the value of the work done, this should be an
> essential element of any project report.
> Attached are brief comments on each of the projects, for distribution
> to their authors. I will arrange for the documents to be returned to
> you in due course.
> Sincere regards,
> Dr Geoff Sharman FBCS CITP
> Visiting Professor in Computer Science, Birkbeck College, London


> _David Keen, “A Mobile Phone Instrument Tuner”_
> The idea of a mobile telephone providing the functions of a hand-held
> metronome/instrument tuner seems stunningly obvious (in
> retrospect), and has clear relevance to musicians who frequently play
> away from home. But it appears to be an original idea since I was
> able to find only one reference to a similar implementation on a
> mobile phone:
> there are a number implementations available for use on a PC). This
> clearly has less functionality than the implementation described in
> this project, which would seem to meet the needs of most musicians.
> The author has provided a very useful summary of musical notation, its
> relationship to harmonic waveforms, and the Fourier Transform method
> of analysing waveforms which is used to detect pitch. This enables a
> clear understanding of how the proposed function is intended to work,
> and is coupled with a description of the MMAPI services of J2ME which
> formed the basis of the implementation. The approach taken is also
> clearly described, together with the design for the Instrument Tuner
> which enables the frequency spectrum of the sampled sound to be
> displayed on the mobile phone handset. There is also a very useful
> description of the challenges encountered in testing this function on
> a range of mobile hardware emulators.
> I was unable to test the function provided but I am satisfied that the
> objectives of this project have been achieved in almost all respects.
> (It might be useful to provide a URL giving access to a simulation of
> the function, together with the opportunity to download the function
> to a mobile phone for those who wish to evaluate it in detail.) The
> resulting functionality is not only useful but potentially has
> commercial value and I would strongly advise the author to seek
> intellectual property protection for his invention, if he has not done
> so already.

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