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Computer Sciecne Graduate and Developer

Tom Clarke

[Website W.I.P.]

Hello There

I'm Tom, currently working in industry and graduated from the University of Birmingham with a 1st in Computer Science. As well as the programs and projects I do inside of my degree, I also enjoy working on things outside of my course, which is what I want to show here!

Many of these projects are hackathon based, but there are others, such as my dissertation project which was based around natural language processing (see ScienceIE).

Enjoy the summary below of some skills I have developed since starting my degree and some of the fun projects I've been involved in. Checkout my LinkedIn/other social media links to find out more and connect. Thank you for visiting!

My Skills

Strong Academic Background

I have graduated from the Unviersity of Birmingham with a 1st Class Honours degree in Computer Science with Industrial Year in 2018.

Industry Experience

I have worked various projects in industry, from a multi-million pound project for CGI to data visualisations for Majestic.

Programming

I have academic and industrial experience in a range of programming languages, including Java, C/C++, functional langauges, web technologies and more.

Software

As well as making programs, I am familiar with a range of developer oriented applications, including various database software, Java extensions, development tools and environments (operating systems), and version control systems.

Public Facing Skills

I have experience working directly with customers (commercial and technical), responding to issues in support environments and public speaking.

Team Work

I pride myself on working well in teams to achieve goals to their heights standards, proven through various academic projects, personal projects and industrial projects.

My Projects

Here is a selection of projects I have completed throughout university or otherwise, right from when I first became an undergraduate.

Intelligent Robotics - Personal Item Protection System

Intelligent Robotics Team

For the main exercise in Intelligent Robotics, our team decided to create the Personal Item Protection System. The robot is able to navigate it's environment, recognise and talk to people, detect changes through RGB image change and depth change and use its sensors to also chase thieves of items from a table.

To ensure development was smooth, we used the ZenHub plugin for GitHub to manage jobs. The result was a fantastic MVP which impressed at the demo.

BrumHack 6 - Safe Space as a Service

Tom Clarke, Ben Durrans

For BrumHack 6 I worked with Ben Durrans to create a hackathon which entered the running for 'hack harassment' - an MLH motive to try to build projects which help deal with online harassment in one way or another.

The project comprised of two components – a web service and a Chrome extension.

The web service allows a user to submit sentences and received the sentences back after being processed. The processing included submitting each sentence to IBM Watson's tone analyser to investigate various attributes about how the sentence was written. If the sentence had a high likelihood (defined by thresholds we set) of features such as anger or disgust, it would be seen as 'bad'. Once the whole text was processed, it would be returned. We also allowed the user to submit URLs to pictures, where we used Watson's image analyser to get tags about what was in the picture and then put those tags through the same process as the text to decide if the picture was 'bad'.

'Bad' texts were replaced with random kitten facts and 'bad' pictures were replaced with pictures of kittens.

The Chrome extension we built alongside this automatically ran all text and images on the user’s web page through our service and replaced changed text and pictures. The Chrome extension also supported turning off the automatic processing of pages and allowed the user to specify custom thresholds for general attributes.

In terms of technology, we used Node.js to support the web service (hosted on AWS), 'Let’s Encrypt' to secure our site with HTTPS (so the extension could use AJAX on secure sites) and, as described above, IBM's Watson.

Our presentation went very well with the audience enjoying our entertaining way of handling nasty things on the web. For this we won MLH's #HackHarassment prize.

BrumHack 5 - Brainy Bird

Tom Clarke, Ben Durrans, Kyle Allen-Taylor, Vlad-Marian Toncu

BrumHack 5.0 was a fantastic opportunity to try some new things as the hardware lab supplied by MLH was the most accessible yet and we had a wide range of sponsors at the event with exciting technologies to offer.

For this hackathon, I worked with Ben Durrans, Kyle Allen-Taylor and Vlad-Marian Toncu. We got our hands on a Muse headband which monitors alpha wave activity coming from your brain (connected to a mobile device over Bluetooth). We struggled to create reliable brain wave activity input, so eventually went on facial movements/expressions as detectable input. From this simple input we decided to create an Android application based on playing a ‘flappy bird’ clone with your mind (face).

Having never used Android studio before, I worked with Ben who had some experience on building the ‘flappy bird’ style app and connecting to and getting data from the headset. The others began work on a backend for a leader board system. The leader board system was a SQL database sitting on an Amazon Web Server (AWS), with a PHP ‘interface’. The ‘interface’ was unusual as we used one of the sponsors, Twilio, APIs to have connections over SMS. Given we were on an Android mobile device, we could text (what we chose to be) XML to the web server which stored it in the database and texted a result back to the user (for example if it was a new high score). We also set up a way for the user to text a friend’s number to the system, and the system would reply with a comparison of the friend and the user’s scores. Given I have some experience with the PHP/SQL that was used I also helped out with this area of the project.

Overall, it was a fantastic hackathon. I enjoyed and learnt from being able to experience several new technologies, and the project even won an award for our use of AWS. The team worked well together and we’re looking forward to the next BrumHack!

Team Project - FSA Generator

Team Project at Unviersity

In the second year of University, myself and a team of five others under took the module 'Team Project'. Worth 20 credits, this was massively important to complete to a high standard.

The task was to 'create a visualisation of an algorithm'. Taking inspiration from the first few weeks of the same semester in models of computation, we created a program in Java that generates automata from regular expression, determinises it and also allows the user to test a string in it.

We used JavaFX for the GUI and visualisation, where me and another team member, Owen Pemberton, were the main programmers. The extensive project took 10 weeks, including creating a full set of documentation and tests for our program.

In the end, after a well recieved presentation of our project, we achieved an overall 73% for this module, which forms 20 credits of this year of study.

Majestic Summer Internship 2015

Tom Clarke, Misha Wagner, Rowan Cole at Majestic

Myself, Misha Wagner and Rowan Cole worked as a team at Majestic to create interesting data visualisations using D3.js. Majestic also hired a journalist, Pupul Chatterjee, to write blogs about what we created. Through out the 10 weeks, we used HTML, CSS, PHP, Java, MySQL, JavaScript with D3 and, of course, the Majestic API.

We three developers worked closely together on development on all projects; communicating ideas, solving problems and using Git well between us. While fairly informal, we worked with an agile style of development, presenting a project, getting feedback and iterating on the feedback (generally every day or so).

While at Majestic our best project used data on 50,000 Twitter accounts and displayed them in a sunburst diagram and I also worked on integrating Twitter into the project. The project was received excellently, and they used their trade mark ‘Social Explorer’ on it as well as pushing it out as a headline on their blog and newsletters. It caused a fair amount more traffic to the Majestic site and a few of Majestic's friends said they were impressed.

I was also given the opportunity to go to Leeds Hack to represent Majestic as a sponsor, where I introduced Majestic to the attendees, was on hand to set hackers up with Majestic accounts, act as technical support and have discussions with them about what they could do as projects, and was responsible for selecting winner for our prizes and awarding them.

After we left Majestic, we were contacted by the Information is Beautiful organisation. The Majestic Universe had been nominated as a contender to win the Kantar Information is Beautiful Awards 2015, and we are through to the long list. We were all very excited to get this news, and are pleased to see how the Majestic Universe has been recieved.

HackKings 2015 - Realtime Browsing

Tom Clarke, Ben Durrans, Theo Styles

To finish off the academic year, me, Theo Styles and Ben Durrans attended HackKings at King's College London. After a series of presentations, we decided to use Pusher's service.

Inspired by atom-pair, we made a Chrome Extension which allows a user to share their current web page with friends/colleges. The client can input a key (supplied by the host) and will receive all of the HTML in currently in the host's browser. Then, actions performed by the host are sent to the client, such as scrolling or clicking a link. The client can also select links to go to.

After our first presentation, we were placed in the top 10 of 23 projects. We presented once again, and were awarded best hack by Pusher, and was placed runners up by HackKings overall out of everyone. We are very pleased with our project and the success it brought us, and are currently working to release it as a fully developed Chrome Extension.

BrumHack 4.0 - EggHack

Tom Clarke, Cameron Angus

BrumHack 4.0 came with less direction for us due to less sponsors offering APIs to play with. I felt this was actually a nice change as all of the projects we saw were more varied and exciting as it allowed more people to do whatever they want. For me, Rowan Cole and Cameron Angus it was an easter egg web hunt, known as EggHack.

We made a website/chrome plug-in which allowed users to log in (so their progress can be tracked) which, when the user is on a page we decided to put an egg on, would swap one random picture in the webpage to an easter egg. When the user finds it, they are congratulated, given some points (depending upon the difficulty of finding it) and given a riddle (or two) pointing them to the next egg. It was quite a fun game which could be aimed at a wide range of people.

Cameron worked largely on front end, I worked largely on back end, and Rowan on visualising progress. Rowan made a tree in D3.js showing user progress, but unfortunately his contributions were not presented in the final presentation due to him having to leave early, and the rest of us not being able to link his part reliably. I wrote the backend in MySQL and PHP, making it the largest system (at least for time) that I have written with those technologies so far.

Further improvements could include a leaderboard (the SQL for which has been written) and general polish on the project with expansion of the egg hunt.

This was a very fun project, and for our use of Amazon Web Services we recieved a prize from MLH.

AstonHack - Misconstrue

Tom Clarke, Misha Wagner, Rowan Cole

For the first ever AstonHack, myself, Rowan Cole and Misha Wagner decided to make a fun app for instant messaging with your friends - Misconstrue.

The app took your sentence, used IBM's Watson translator to translate it between five different languages and returning it in English, and sending that 'sentence' to the receiver. To make the app even more fun, we allowed the user to give URLs leading to images, and Watson would find what was in the image (tags) and we would get the first image from Google Images from searching the tags and send that to the receiver.

Of course, this was meant to be a fun app, but I was able to learn a large amount from completing the project. The main things for me was using Meteor JS, which allowed us to write JavaScript code to display in browser, and as iOS and Android apps. Being brand new to me, I enjoyed learning about how it structured its views and how I could use the environment to improve the GUI. Furthermore, this was my first major projects using Sockets, and we wrote a Java based server to connect the instances of the app together.

This was a good fun experience, and the best hack I've attended to date.

Hinckley Homeless Group Website

Tom Clarke, for charity

As charity work, I have created a new website for Hinckley Homeless Group. With their previous website becoming outdated, I went into discussions with them about an upgrade. Working in close contact with the manager, I put together this new website which offered more functionality and mobile compatibility.

I enjoyed work on this, including the new ways I learned to build up webpages using PHP and jQuery, and enjoyed trying to include some social media integration (which worked well combining their news with Facebook). The website was viewed by the management committee on 13/10/2015 and was accepted.

BrumHack 3 - Elucidate

Tom Clarke, Sebastian Dică, Cameron Angus and Kyle Allen-Taylor

Myself, Sebastian Dica, Cameron Angus and Kyle Allen-Taylor worked on a system where you could submit an image, we would use image recognition software to understand what was in it, query Wikipedia for details and display the results in an interactive D3 visualisation. The result shown above is from submitting a picture of Old Joe (the clock tower at the University of Birmingham).

The vision API was supplied by the gold sponsors; Clarifai. While slightly awkward to get going (we ended up making a Java Maven project) we could query the API for an image, and get back tags (and probabilities that the tag is correct) about things in the image. We then forwarded this information to the Wikipedia API and found information about the word and a picture associated. With my D3 knowledge, I created a page where bubbles appeared, one per tag, showing the image as the background of the circle (if one could be found) and if you clicked on it the description was displayed with a link to the full Wikipedia article.

This BrumHack went very well in my opinion. We split up tasks well and worked well to each complete our jobs and tie them together later on. For me, it was another great hack where I picked up even more skills and enjoyed myself.

UoB Games Dev. Society 2015/16 - Game Jam 1: Hell Bullet

Tom Clarke, Ben Durrans

Me and my friend Ben Durrans worked on a game called 'Hell Bullet' for the first game jam hosted by the current Games Development Society. We were inspired by similar games where you were mean to run from enemies but could shoot them to get rid of them.

Having only 1 week to complete the project, we managed to get the base game where you could move and the enemies chased you. We managed to include shooting, a invincible mode when you took damage, and a timer so you and friends could compare times. The final feature to implement was a score board (1 for each game difficulty) and put the game online so you can compare yourself to everyone.

This short project was good fun and let me and Ben work together well, practising web development (the entire thing was written in HTML5 and Canvas). There is plenty of ways to improve it, and the security of the leader board is fairly low, but for the week we had, the team was happy with the game and it was received well when we presented it at the game jam review scoring us 3rd out of all of the entries.

BrumHack 2.0 - WebFite

Tom Clarke, Rowan Cole, Cameron Angus and Sebastian Dică

Myself, Rowan Cole, Cameron Angus and Sebastian Dică as a team completed our first 24-hour hackathon - BrumHack 2.0. This is where me, Rowan and Misha first met Majestic and got a chance to use their data to do whatever we wanted. So, my team decided to make a fighting game with player attributes decided by website statistics determined from Majestic's data.

We finally settled on a list of websites the player could chose from, and attributes like strength and speed we determined by their various scores on Majestic (for example Trust Flow). We built our game in Unity and C# (which I was lead programmer in), but to deal with the web modules of C# not being supported by Unity we created separate C# programs to use the connectors supplied by Majestic to query the Majestic API. Once we had the data, two players could battle their chosen websites until a winner was decided.

This experience was fantastic for me, as I learnt a lot of new things about programming, obviously with a focus on C# and game design, met Majestic who I kept in contact with and eventually completed a very successful summer internship with, and was introduced to 'hackathons'. What I learnt at the event has helped in many ways and made me want to do many more hacks in the future.

Extended Project Qualification - Time Table O'Matic

From before joining Birmingham University

For my EPQ, while completing my final year of A-Levels, I created an Android App - the Time Table O'Matic. Inspiration for this can from my IT teacher (who made the objective-o-matic for my school)designed to help keep track of student progress. After speaking with them, I came up with this app to hold students' time table and target grades.

As I had never done any major programming project before this, and I knew I wanted to make an app, I was recommended the M.I.T. App Inventor (version 1 at the time I did the project). The learning experience was good as I learnt more about how programming worked from previous, generally informal knowledge with focus on app development. While I will not be using this again as I can program to a decent level, I appreciated what I learnt as I understood how to do some things and got a basic hold on Android Development (from the research that came with the project). Some parts of the programming was difficult due to the environment, and others due to me being new to it and doing the project independently, but I was able to manage the project effectively (and create the full report on it for the EPQ submission) and created an app that was received well by peers.

The app had over 200 installs since it's release on 15th of November 2013.

Education and Employment

1st Class Hons BSc Computer Science with Industrial Year

3rd Year Modules: Final Year Project in Natural Langauge Processing, Networks, Network Security, Intelligent Data Analysis, Intelligent Robotics, Distributed and Parallel Computing (CUDA), Computer-Aided Verification

Industrail placement was at CGI, developing the BSL/DCCA (scroll right to see more).

2nd Year Modules: Software Systems Components, Functional Programming (in Haskell), Professional Computing, Mathematical Techniques for Computer Science, Computational Vision, Models of Computation, Team Project, Computer Systems and Architecture, C/C++ and Computer Security

1st Year: Software Engineering, Software Workshop Java, Language and Logic, Web Programming, Foundations of Computer Science (with functional programming in OCaml), Artificial Intelligence, Information Engineering and Multimedia Data

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University of Birmingham 2014 - 2018

A Levels: A* in Mathematics, A in I.T. and Physics, A in an EPQ.

GCSEs: 3 A*s, 6 As, 1 B and OCR Level 2 National Double Award in ICT (Distinction).

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John Cleveland College 2010 - 2014

This was my industrial placement for my course at University of Birmingham. Based in Birmingham, I worked on two technical projects. Initially, I built prototype mobile multi-platform mobile applications with PhoneGap. I later moved on to work on CGI's BSL and DCCA project which were writing software for 5 of the big 6 energy suppliers in a multi-million pound contract. Their software was builto to run on JBoss EAP and I achieved strong experiences in both front end (which used Spring) and back end development. When competent, I developed the majority of a new extension to the project - Diagnostics. This was an excellent challenge as it tested my learned skills and gave me a high amount of responsibility as I frequently interacted with many important managers and directors about the product as it was developed, which covered development, testing and deployment for reliable use.

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CGI | Industrial Placement July 2016 - July 2017

Using various web technologies and utilising D3.js, myself and a team of 2 other developers used the Majestic API to create innovative data visualisations. This was a fantastic experience which allowed me to develop technical skills ad work ethic, in a fun and productive environment. We also had a blogger working with us to promote our work, who continuously wrote about the artefacts that were being created, and can be found on Majestic's blog. I was also given the opportunity to go to Leeds Hack (leedshack.org) to represent Majestic as a sponsor, where I introduced Majestic to the attendees, was on hand to set hackers up with Majestic accounts, act as technical support and have discussions with them about what they could do as projects, and was responsible for selecting winner for our prizes and awarding them.

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Majestic | Intern Developer July 2015 - September 2015

I created a new website for Hinckley Homeless Group to replace their original one using an agile approach to development.

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Hinckley Homeless Group | Web Designer September 2015

As supervisor responsibilities include supervising sales assistants, opening and setting up the shop, handling money, maintaining some important systems the shop operated under and handling more customer queries. This is on top of sales assistant which I was promoted from (March 2015), where I served customers, operated the tills and maintained the shop interior.

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Spar | Store Supervisor (promoted from sales assistant March 2015) October 2014 - March 2016

Responsibilities involved exploring and testing a range of products to identify faults or problems and reporting them to the software engineer for revision. The main project was black box testing the company's new software product IQVu on an Android based device.

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Crane-Electronics | Product Tester Summer 2014

Helping support an after school class in GCSE level Computing and mentoring two students in GCSE and AS-Level Mathematics.

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John Cleveland College | Tutor Autumn 2012, Autumn 2013 - Summer 2014

I helped built new computers for the production lines and deploy them.

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Aston Martin | IT Support July 2011

Connect with Me

Here are a few links to social media sites you can find me on, as well as a link to my CV for extra info!

www.000webhost.com