CS Student at Google in London

By Sam Ames

Wednesday of last week I took a trip to Google’s new Covent Garden offices; this was for their yearly technical challenge event. I met around twenty Google engineers and some other management staff from the Belgrave House office that I visited back in 2011, and again in September. Among these highly knowledgeable and happy people was the event sponsor – head of Google UK engineering, with whom I discussed the cutting-edge WebRTC specification. I really appreciated his humble manner, and expect it is rare among individuals with such senior roles.

The highlight of the day, for me, were the two competitions. The former was a competition, where each group of six were tasked with devising a novel use for search engine data. My group won, with our idea of tracking intentional relations via search engine submissions. The latter competition was a JavaScript challenge, we had to work in pairs and use only JS and HTML to create a dynamic “people search”. I quickly realised that there must be an API for this, we found it and implemented it with dynamic updates (thanks to JSONP) and pagination, leading us to a draw with another pair, meaning that we beat approximately 26 other Computer Science students.

Lillian Tang’s Artificial intelligence module came in very useful when I was able to explain that when building a ‘priority inbox’, I would initially consider the idea of using three different classifiers and researching their accuracy, before applying a weighting and subsequently finding an average.

I am very thankful for the opportunity and look forward to Andrew Walker’s return to Surrey, in the new year. We have received confirmation, but no date as yet.

See below a picture taken by Google’s photographer after we won the javascript coding challenge.