CompSoc: Student Computing Society at Surrey

by Michael Hough

Surrey CompSoc is the Computing Society at Surrey. It exists to develop on what is learned in lectures to have fun with computers. We work with both the department and the Students’ Union to provide guest lectures, trips, events and projects.

Anyone with even the remotest interest in computing is welcome. We’re investigating other regions of the industry to what is covered in the Computing course, and some programming knowledge could come in useful if you’d like to take a role in coding for us, but other aspects of our work don’t have that requirement.

As for what we do, we’ve got a number of activities running or in development at the moment, including:

Mindstorms Robot construction: The Computing department have been kind enough to allow us to use a pair of Lego Mindstorms robots, which we’re using to build and program machines. We’re using both Lego’s flowchart-based software and the Java-based LeJOS platform to do this, so programming knowledge isn’t essential.

Android App Development: The Android SDK is a free download from Google’s website, and we’re working on producing a number of apps for Android phones. What’s great news for us is that Android development is done mainly in Java, which is taught by lecturers in the Computing department, so we don’t have to learn a new language. We’re going right from the bottom rungs of making a “hello world” app to fully fledged applications for the Android Market.

Web Development: We’re in touch with Surrey Entrepreneurs, who are giving us web development projects to create. These are real websites for real clients, and can be a great addition to any portfolio.

Guest Lecturers: We’re contacting big names in the industry to get talks in from staff about what the company is doing in the industry. So far, we’ve had a talk from Lionhead, who previewed an upcoming game, and one from Google is scheduled.

Trips: We’re going out to places, both to witness a bit of Computing history and to participate in competitions. We’ve got a trip to Bletchley Park in the works, where the WW2 codebreaking effort was based, and which now includes a Computing museum.  And we’re looking at competitions to participate in, both within the University and beyond.

So, in short, we’re looking to learn more about Computing, and get some great stuff for the future, but to have fun while we’re at it. We’d love to see more people taking part!