Informatics bronze for SA team
A UCT lecturer and two students helped the South African team to a bronze medal at the 15th International Olympiad in Informatics (IOI), held at the University of Wisconsin in the United States in late August.
The team of four - UCT students Shen Tian and Harry Wiggins, as well as Linsen Loots (Parel Vallei High School) and Christiaan Scheepers (University of Pretoria) - went up against some 270 contestants from 68 countries at the event. Wiggins, taking part in his second IOI, was the most experienced member of the South African squad.
According to team coach, UCT computer science lecturer Donald Cook, the questions posed to students were tough, but also a good test of contestants' abilities.
Twenty-four gold medals, 45 silver and 63 bronze were awarded at the competition.
Knight Rider up for big award
Knight Rider, a business plan to safely ferry students to and from entertainment venues in Cape Town, is in line to win a major national entrepreneurship award.
Conceived by a group of UCT students and graduates, Knight Rider was recently nominated as one of three entrants for the Most Promising Business Plan Award (Western Cape) in the EnterPrize Business Plan Competition, run by the National Business Initiative (NBI) and McKinsey's Management Consultants. The contest aims to inspire South Africans to develop new ideas and concepts, and to provide access to commercial financing for promising and viable business plans.
Knight Rider organisers plan to fill a gap in the sparse transport market by providing otherwise-stranded students with safe (no inebriated buddies) and affordable (taxis are way too pricey for the average student) options, shuttling them to and from nightclubs in the Cape Town area. The project will - funding forthcoming - kick off in 2004.
With its recent EnterPrize nomination, the venture now qualifies for the final round of the competition where winners will be selected in five categories, each guaranteed prize money worth R30 000. More than R500 000 is up for grabs in the competition.
The candidates elected in the 2004 Student Representative Council campaign reflect some heartening changes in the quest for equity among UCT's communities.
Phandle Phandle is the first blind student to have been elected. This followed the recent week-long SRC elections and the marathon 36 hours of vote-counting.
Further good news is that seven of the 15 elected students are women, more than double the number last year (three women were elected in 2003).
Neil Kruger, the "topless" candidate, ranked ninth among the 15. However, he has described himself as a "hoax candidate" and says he does not plan to accept a place on the SRC.
Dom Pitot, 2 524 votes; Matshepiso Dlamini, 1 888; Valerie Carmichal, 1 621; Phandle Phandle, 1 621;Sicelo Mbambo, 1 618; Brandon Trew, 1 572; Katy Hindle, 1 547; Jared Licina, 1 507; Neil Kruger, 1 266; Bandisiwe Cabangana, 1 207; Zwelethu Nkosi, 1 143; Fulu Mudau, 1 099; Nomsa Mazwai, 1 022; James Wilkinson, 953; Anthony Mpati, 845.