Student profile - Embedded Systems Engineering

Matthew, MEng Computer Science with Embedded Systems Engineering, 2013

Embedded Systems Engineering student Matthew, in Computer Science

Matthew chose to study Computer Science at university, as he had enjoyed science and Maths at A-level, and wanted to enter a science with a strong experimental emphasis. He felt Computer Science complemented that approach by pulling ideas from other disciplines, such as Physics and Chemistry, as well as being rooted in Maths and containing elements of Electronics. He was also attracted by new breakthroughs happening all the time in the subject - and how this developing discipline affects paradigms across the field.

So, how have the past four years been at the University of York?

Learning Computer Science

"I have always been more interested in the architectures and underlying system designs that make computation possible. The Embedded Systems Engineering specialism catered for this by not only providing in depth coverage of low level architectures on how computational systems work and how this relates to higher level constructs, but it also introduced me to specifics, such as power consumption minimisation, hardware acceleration and falut tolerance, and gave me methods to approach such problems.

"The latest research in this area, such as Network on Chip, is also presentated and discussed, giving us ideas and breakthroughs from the cutting edge of embedded systems. The module Chips to Systems was the chance to build a system from digital logic chips and was one of my favourite modules in the course. It was very hands on, providing a solid consolidation of the digital electronics and architecture teaching from the first year, whilst also being technically challenging and requiring creative solutions to a tough problem.

"I found practicals engaging and interesting, with lots of relevance to the lectured material. My individual project was a chance to do some work on a substantial research project of my interests with good support from my supervisor. It was a good indication of what PhD study would be like.

"Other modules offered a very good view into the research directions and problems being studied - and were taught with plenty of reference to the research being carried out at York and was taught by the researchers themselves.

The Department of Computer Science at York

"York is one of the few Computer Science departments that still teaches hardware as a fundamental part of the wider course. It's one of the reasons I chose to come to York, though I was also drawn by the expertise in real-time systems and the non-standard computation research going on here.

"Heslington East [where the Department is based] has flourished, with the Ron Cooke Hub next door providing an excellent place for discussion, thinking or just relaxing. The labs in the Department are modern and well equipped with the latest equipment.

"Administration and IT support staff are very friendly and efficient. The hardware support staff are really supportive of student work."

What did you think to York itself?

"York is a beautiful city, with a relaxed and pleasant atmosphere at all times of the year."

What comes next after York?

"I'm working for the European Space Agency at the European Space Research and Technology Centre in the Netherlands.

"The challenges and research ideas introduced to me by the embedded systems aspects of the course led me to actively seek a career in this field. My experience with digital circuitry and relevant techniques, and the embedded systems ideas and techniques that I got from my course really helped me at interview."

So would you recommend York to others?

"Yes I would! The course provides a comprehensive and detailed coverage of Computer Science and in particular, embedded systems are taught by experts in the field with no hesitation in engaging you with the research they are working on and how it relates to the wider challenges in the field."

We wish Matthew all the best in his new career at the European Space Agency!