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Cristina Pascalau

MEng Computer Science with Artificial Intelligence with a year in industry spent at Amadeus UK


How many engineers does it take to bake a cake?

Wednesday 28th November 2012

Hello!

I promised I will update you on the progress, slow as it might be, of my project. I haven’t started on the Web Servers fun, but I did start struggling with Microsoft Visual C++ Forms… After days of trying to make Qt work, I decided to give up and give Windows Forms a chance. The only reason I had to give up on Qt was because my program wanted to compile with Visual Studio and I do not have a licence for it, I was using a trial version and I am currently using the Express edition for c++, and I didn't want to ask the company to purchase one for me. I preferred to find another way to solving my problems. And I did.
Windows Forms are great fun, but in the end I managed to make it work and I connected it to my program! Now I have a Form with a text fields and everything! I also have a button that doesn't do anything at the moment, but that button needs to connect to a database.
That’s about it on my progress…

On a sweeter note, today, it was the birthday of another intern and we just had an amazing chocolate cake. Another benefit of working in a big company is that you get lots of birthdays and with that comes cakes, I get an email almost every week about someone’s birthday and where can I find the cake.

Speaking of birthdays, yesterday together with the other interns met at my place and baked a cake! The question of how many engineers does it take to bake a cake was answered. And our answer was 4 (give or take 2), plus a manager. Amazingly enough, the cake turned out to be quite good (at least it looks good, don’t know yet about the taste, but that’s a good start). We will have a birthday party tonight and the cake will be put to a test (taste). I will let you know next time if our attempt was successful or not.

Bye!

So we have Kinect and London

Wednesday 21st November 2012

Hello!
I’m Cristina and I’m going to try and give you a taste of how your life is going to be if you are going to be on a placement. I started my internship at Amadeus in July 2012, and time flies so fast when you are working.

Don’t be under the impression that Amadeus only deals with ‘baggage loading, check-in, flight management’ and so on, because you couldn't be further away from the truth! I should start telling you about my project. Well, the full title is ‘Check-in Motion, Body gestures integration in self-service check-in’, sounds a bit fancy. To be fair, I picked it because I thought it had a cool name, and it seemed to involve some bits of AI. And guess what, it does.Sounds very exciting and fun, and trust me it is, but it also gives you some lovely headaches. If you are a 2nd year student and you would be interested in something like this, PAY ATTENTION (sorry for the capitalised letters, I felt the need to emphasise those words in a virtual way) to the VIGR classes.
At first it was all confusing and a lot of ‘How’ questions were being made, mostly to myself and my Uni supervisor who was incredible and answered my questions. So do make sure you email your lectures and supervisors if you get stuck.

I am developing the program in C++, even though initially I was jumping from C++ to Java; I decided to stick with C++. There are these amazing libraries: OpenNI and OpenCV that lets you do amazing things. OpenNI is the library used to interact with Kinect while OpenCV is one of the most used libraries for vision and graphics and image manipulation. One of the (many) advantages of OpenCV is that it has some Machine Learning Classes which helped me a lot during the last months.

The working environment is great and my team is amazing, I am the only girl and I'm seen as the one who likes to put xoxo’s at the end of their messages within the team. It makes everything so much funnier. I am part of INT(Integration) Team but I am working on my project alone (I forgot to mention that bit, but it’s not that horrible!), I do have however a mentor that helps me whenever I get stuck. If he can help that is…if he can’t…well Google is our friend.

How is life in London apart from work? It's amazing. You never get bored and you can attend a lot of events, career events or just networking ones. I attended a Google Event called: CodeF, and this was dedicated for women in Computer Science. It was a full day of activities and challenges, including a technical challenge that amazingly enough went well! We had to build a 'Google Plus Search Engine' it was fun. Next year if you would be interested in attending the event, and you are of course a woman, please get in touch with me for more details. I am happy to help. Apart from that, I am going to attend Young Women in Engineering Awards on the 6th, this is hosted by the IET. It will be a great opportunity to network and build connections. If you are going to be placed in London, please attend as many events as possible, to make sure you take the most of your year.

That would be it for today. Hopefully by the next time, I will have an interface for my program and web servers will make some sense.

Bye!