Category Archives: Mathematics

Student Case Study:  College of Engineering, Mathematics and Physical Sciences

Name of Student:  Keith Harrison

Degree Subject:   MSci Computer Science and Mathematics

Job Title: Research Assistant (A2I)

Company Name: College of Engineering, Mathematics and Physical Sciences

Type of Internship: Student Campus Partnerships (SCPs) , Access to Internships (A2I)

What were your key duties and responsibilities during your internship?

My role was to decrease the amount of time taken to run code given to me by the supervisor which had to do with modelling clouds (geophysical modelling). To do this I implemented OpenMP alongside different compiler flags in order to achieve time reduction. We would have near daily meetings to discuss progress and what methods we could implement next and also to discuss what issues I had as this internship was also to inform my supervisor on using this library and how to speed up code execution.

What outputs and outcomes did you deliver for your employer?  

At the end of the internship I had spreadsheets showing numerous tests of the effect of making different subroutines parallel in their code, a research log of learning how to use OpenMP and some challenges I came across, how I solved them and what I would do in the future with what I have learnt, Altered .f90 files for the subroutines made parallel which achieves this time reduction, Multiple performance analyses of the code showing how long the code takes divided into subroutines and a quick guide to using OpenMP to help my supervisor learn OpenMP and improve the ~30% reduction in time I achieved.

What was your biggest achievement on your internship?

At the end of the third week I had reached another dead-end as I could not make any meaningful reductions in execution time past my usage of performance analyses. To remedy this I decided to go back to the document describing OpenMP and came across another type of construct !$OMP PARALLEL DO which combines two separate constructs into one. This would grant a major time save and changing just a singular Do loop to a Parallel Do loop took my time reduction from 9.6% to 16.1% for the resolution I was working at. However, the use of Parallel Do also came with issues to do with memory location access to further research had to be done to decide which variables had specific properties to ensure that errors did not occur. And in the end it allowed me to achieve a time reduction when implemented into the other subroutines of up to its max of 36%.

What did not go so well on your internship? How did you overcome any challenges?

For the first week I had issues using Fortran alongside OpenMP. I found this was because this library is not well supported for windows so I switched to a virtual machine to run Linux as it was more up to date for that operating system. Also I was wanting to test my code on better machines but as campus was shut I was not able to access them, until i thought of using the VPN to access the machines from home to be able to test my code on. Towards the end of the second week I found that I was not getting any major reductions in time, and then after talking to my supervisor he informed me of performance analysis for Apple computers, from this I researched if any existed for Fortran specifically, luckily I found one and it allowed me to properly target the subroutines which would grant me the biggest reductions in time when made parallel. When making my code parallel I found that OpenMP did not like dealing with Global variables and after communicating with my supervisor I came up with the idea of using dummy variables.

Skills Learnt: 

  • Ability to Work Under Pressure
  • Organisation
  • Time and Work Load Management
  • Strategic Planning
  • Focus on Goals and Outcomes

Attributes Developed:

  • Logical thinking
  • Creative thinking
  • Independence
  • Work Ethic
  • Professionalism

Your message to other students considering a similar job role, organisation or sector?

“It was a great experience working with an academic in research as I could see the tangible evidence of what I was taught in lectures. Was also great to see how my knowledge in computer science could be used in other subjects. The remote working also helped tremendously with practicing good communication and work ethic as I was not working on campus or in an office but from my room.”

 

Student Case Study:  College of Life and Environmental Sciences

Name of Student:  Ben Fisher

Degree Subject: BSC Biological Sciences

Job Title:  Mini Module Research Intern

Company Name:  College of Life and Environmental Sciences

Type of Internship: Student Campus Partnerships (SCPs)

What were your key duties and responsibilities during your internship?

Researching the current teaching provisions for maths across the Biosciences programmes. Assessing the mathematical ability of incoming A-level entrants and then using these two data sets to identify learning gaps. I then developed new interactive module content to help teach the concepts identified as being part of the learning gap, and finally presented all my work to the education committee at departmental level.

What outputs and outcomes did you deliver for your employer?

Outputs: Analysed data sets, reports on learning tools, reports on current teaching provisions, new online teaching material.

Outcomes: Yet to be seen, hopefully an increased awareness of the importance of maths skills for teaching staff to consider and an increased understanding of key statistical concepts for first year students through using the new teaching tools.

What was your biggest achievement on your internship?

Initially I was employed as a research intern, to examine the data sets that were available and analyse those for where future development could occur. I decided that my research would only be valuable if there was a physical output from the research that would aid students. Through discussions with my supervisor I identified both a platform on which these new teaching tools could be developed fairly easily and identified the subject themes which would have the greatest impact (least understood topics). This resulted in the full development of 2 interactive learning tools for statistical concepts with a 3rd tool partially developed. These are new to Biosciences and take a form that hasn’t been done before, combining content delivery with continuous assessment in research based teaching scenarios.

Skills Learnt

  • Ability to Work Under Pressure
  • Organisation
  • Strategic Planning
  • Time and Work Load Management
  • Focus on Goals and Outcomes 

Attributes Developed

  • Commercial Awareness
  • Confidence
  • Initiative
  • Perseverance
  • Motivation

Your message to other students considering a similar job role, organisation or sector?

“From the interview through to regular supervision meetings, my placement replicated a real working environment. This gave me a valuable insight in to what a research focused career could look like which will be especially useful for future career planning. I particularly enjoyed being able to discuss my work with members of staff in a professional forum who were passionate about my research area. I felt that my work was valued and my contributions and opinions would be taken on board, which was a key motivator for my throughout my placement.”

Student Intern – University of Exeter CLES

What were your main roles and responsibilities during the course of your internship?

Looking through historical sea fisheries data and extract statistics surrounding Cornwall. These documents included annual reports dating back to 1886. I catalogued these statistics into several spreadsheets according to their category (e.g. fish landings). I was also responsible for taking notes and being involved with a 3 day workshop about historic marine ecosystem services. This workshop was arranged for several academics in interdisciplinary fields of research to brainstorm ideas for starting a paper about the historical and cultural use of marine ecosystem services.

What would you say was your biggest achievement over the course of your internship?

I made new professional relationships while at the workshop. The workshop also gave me an insight into how to brainstorm relevant ideas for your research topic.

What benefits did your internship bring to your employer?

I managed to catalogue data between the years 1886 and 1946, which hopefully will relieve some of the workload from other interns and my line manager.

What skills were you able to develop through the internship?

Time and workload management, IT, marine biology – conservation management

What attributes were you able to develop through the internship?

Commercial awareness, confidence, logical thinking

Finance Assistant – Liverpool Victoria Friendly Society

What were your main roles and responsibilities during the course of your internship?

As part of the finance team, I took on any extra work required. This included work such as composing a review on specific products, which comprised of an overview of the product and analysis of particular cash flows in order to determine the most profitable as well as providing insight to the performance of the product. Another responsibility I undertook as part of the internship was compiling account balances then data mapping these in order to create trial balances of various subsidiary accounts. I also verified bank reconciliations.

What would you say was your biggest achievement over the course of your internship?

Over the course of the internship, I taught myself how to efficiently data map and use Excel in a more exceeding manner, which will be beneficial in any finance position.

What benefits did your internship bring to your employer?

Any part of the finance department would give me work that they were unsure how to do (usually on excel) or if they needed any support doing tasks. This would have helped provide the company work more efficiently than otherwise.

What skills were you able to develop through the internship?

Communication, problem solving, networking

What attributes were you able to develop through the internship?

Confidence, motivation, logical thinking

Data Analyst Intern – Central South Consortium Joint Education Service

market

What were your main roles and responsibilities during the course of your internship?

I had to compile various data sources such as PLASC and NDC to create a database. This database explored the characteristics and factors impacting attainment, including number of additional movements between schools and eligibility for Free School Meals over varying periods of time. I also had to check data packs before publication.

What would you say was your biggest achievement over the course of your internship?

I created a fully functional database to compare and contrast pupil characteristics with attainment, as well as exploring new impacts on pupil attainment.

What benefits did your internship bring to your employer?

I checked all the data packs which freed up team members to work on other aspects of the data packs and other tasks. My findings when exploring impacts on attainment have given the team an insight into the avenues  worth following up.

Economic Development Project Assistant – Devon County Council

data

What were your main roles and responsibilities during the course of your internship?

My main role in this internship involved analysing the date of project reports  to provide support to programme management and also for marketing projects. This data analysis was done on both excel and arcGIS. I also assisted with answering enquiries from the public, often involving detailed investigation of their issues. Alongside this, I was involved in updating the programme mapping.

What would you say was your biggest achievement over the course of your internship?

During a weekly project management meeting with the project managers of CDS, BT and Openreach I suggested an idea which would help bring faster internet than planned to some rural communities by making a certain process more efficient. This idea was adopted with enthusiasm by Openreach and has now been used across 5 projects.

What benefits did your internship bring to your employer?

I provided much needed support in a very busy programme. Having an additional resource has helped in the programme’s delivery and allowed communication to be given regularly to members of the public.

Did you encounter any problems during the course of your internship and if so, how did you overcome them?

I had a really slow PC, which made working on large spreadsheets really quite frustrating. I eventually managed to get a slight PC upgrade which improved things. It was a case of waiting on the IT department and so there wasn’t a great deal I could do to speed things up. However, I did learn how to use excel in the most efficient way possible (using quicker types of formulas etc) which meant my processes took 2 hours instead of 8!

Mathematics Module Development Assistant – University of Exeter (CEMPS)

calculator-scientific

What were your main duties and responsibilities during the course of your internship?

To design and create a mathematics online-learning resource for engineering conversion course students as part of a small team. This involved planning and producing a zero-credit module on the ELE platform, selecting mathematical content to include, researching additional content, writing lectures and notes using ELE platform and LaTeX, creating quizzes and problem sheets to test understanding and liaising with academic staff to verify our content was correct.

What would you say was your biggest achievement over the course of your internship?

I learnt how to plan, organise and time-keep a large-scale project. Our employers had no mathematical expertise, which gave us complete responsibility for the project’s quality and validity.

What benefits did your internship bring to your employer?

My employer now has a mathematics e-learning resource that can be used by engineering conversion course students for multiple years to come. This content can also be sent out in file format to explain what the course will entail. In addition, it will be advertised among professors at the university as a learning/revision tool for first and second year students. It is also held by the university’s IT department as a leading example of a high-quality online learning and teaching resource created using the ELE platform.

Did you encounter any problems during the course of your internship and if so, how did you overcome them?

Firstly, I found myself tasked with producing content which I didn’t understand since the courses for mathematics and engineering students differs slightly. I overcame this problem by asking an engineering professor for a relevant textbook from the library and taught myself the content. I then wrote my set of lecture notes and gave it to my fellow colleagues who also had never encountered this content. They questioned bits that didn’t make sense and I made corrections until we all agreed the content was explained well.

Secondly, we had to decide what content to put in the module and how to structure it. Whilst the team had strong ideas of what mathematics we would need (such as Algebra, Calculus, Vectors, etc) none of us were engineering students. Our strategy was to seek advice from an engineering professor who made additional suggestions we hadn’t considered (such as Numerical Methods and Statistical Testing). The professor also offered us her module as a template structure for our content. This was later adapted and changed since we felt the structure could be improved.

“Evan has acted in a professional manner and remained focused on the project objective. As a result of this, he has produced some very high quality resources using a wide range technologies and the tools within ELE” – Line Manager

Trainee Accountants Clerk – Dutton Mander Duffill

Universtiy of Exeter Internships, UoE Internships, SCP, SBP, GBP, A2I

What were your main duties and responsibilities during the course of your internship?

To begin with, I dealt with bookkeeping and data entry; I analysed VAT and posted client data onto the accounting software Sage or Microsoft Excel. Then I moved on to accounts preparation using another piece of software, Iris, and also Excel to produce draft ‘year-end accounts’ for different companies and partnerships.

What would you say was your biggest achievement over the course of your internship?

Working at Dutton Mander Duffill has helped me to further my knowledge of accounting and finance, as well as the practicalities of working in an office environment. It has provided me with a chance to assess my time management and prioritisation, and has greatly improved my computer skills; all of which I could apply to countless professions. Above all, it has increased my confidence and independence, through fellow colleagues and their supportive atmosphere. This experience befitted me personally and professionally, and will surely aid me in any future career.

“Natasha worked very hard during her time at DMD and we were extremely happy with not only the quality of her work but also the volume of work that Natasha was able to get through” – Line Manager

Assistant Manufacturing Engineer – Tods Aerospace and Defence Ltd

Universtiy of Exeter Internships, UoE Internships, SCP, SBP, GBP, A2I

What were your main duties and responsibilities during the course of your internship?

My role was to create and amend manufacturing documents in accordance with TQ requests and to create MIS or MISP jobs under supervision.

What would you say was your biggest achievement over the course of your internship?

I really relished the opportunity to learn more about engineering at a leading aerospace and defence company. The skills that I developed particularly during the course of this internship were organisation and time and workload management as the instructions that I helped to create or altered had strict timelines from when they left the manufacturing office to their production and eventual delivery, so being organised was essential.

“Charles showed confidence, intelligence and enthusiasm” – Line Manager

Trainee Research Analyst – Sensian Research

University of Exeter Internships, A2I

What were your main duties and responsibilities during the course of your internship?

Creating a database of products in a specific market, data mining, market research and working with databases.

What would you say was your biggest achievement over the course of your internship?

I have learnt to efficiently manage my time and work under limited supervision while achieving a specific goal. The experience of having a responsibility to someone else but me has prepared me well for future workplace practice, including things such as working towards deadlines and achieving the expected results to the highest possible quality.

What benefits did your internship bring to your employer?

I completed a large project of collecting market information and conducting market research which has saved the company huge amounts of time and effort. Also I believe as a student I brought my excellent research skills.

Did you encounter any problems during the course of your internship and if so, how did you overcome them?

I did find it extremely hard to manage my own time since I have been working remotely and having update meetings with my employer every week. However by the end of internship I believe I have learnt to estimate my abilities and productivity a lot better.

“Jekaterina was valuable as she enabled us to carry out research we would not have otherwise had time to do” – Peter Cooney

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