University of Birmingham Waste Heat Transfer Bridge [Photos]

New bridge by Uni station takes waste heat from our energy generating plant to heat Medical School. Will save us 2000 tonnes of CO2 per year

Had seen this under various states of construction over the past few weeks of walks along the Worcester & Birmingham Canal which now passes by my house in Selly Oak on a newly created aqueduct.

We’d decided a while ago that the construction work, just south of the road bridge near University station, was not related to the construction of the nearby Selly Oak relief road and associated landscaping which includes a a new aqueduct and train bridge in the place of a former embankment.

On my last walk down the canal the main section of the new bridge was suspended parallel to the road bridge using the newly installed central support. I stopped for a while with my friend whilst we tried to work out what it was! We concluded it was some form of bridge, much too narrow to drive a car down but also probably not for pedestrians since a perfectly good footpaths lies just a couple of metres away on the existing road bridge over the canal and because of height differences on either side of the canal and train line. It is a strange and very shiny metallic contraption – pretty big if it is just going to contain a pipe. It must be transferring a lot of heat!


Last week’s photos:

Start of the central support, previously this was a big hole!
Brick bridge in distance carries road and pedestrians to campus

The tow-path under the bridge has been blocked off by the construction of the central supporting tower so you are now required to walk on water! Well on this boom floating on the canal:

Boom under the bridge

This week’s photos:

Central support viewed from under road bridge
Waste Transfer Bridge - Computer Science
Computer Science is the red building to the right of the bridge!
The structure is very shiny as can be seen in this reflection

Guild Elections

Yesterday was the start of the Guild of Students election campaigning period. You can always tell this time of year because on the way into University you are greeted by a multitude of candidates wearing ridiculous costumes. There is normally a tenuous but not in the slightest bit amusing connection between the name of the person standing and the seemingly random character they dress up as or have on their banners.

When you get closer you will hear shouts of “Vote ABC for some position” from the candidates and their minions.

I haven’t heard anything of policies though. It’s like this every year and it is becoming an obstacle course to get to lectures. After only two days I have heard a lot of other people expressing their dislike for the way these elections are run – perhaps because we are now third years so the novelty has now worn off for everyone.

On a normally peaceful walk through the leafy campus to lectures you are met with “Vote XYZ” signs littered across campus. They look hideous.

There are 43 candidates standing. Voting doesn’t even open until next Monday AND it lasts a week. I imagine I will get far more annoyed even as I do my best to ignore them all. Imagine if a serious political party ran their campaign in this way.

Apparently the turnout last year was 18%. And I voted (for the least annoying candidates!). The two candidates standing for president (only two!?) are apparently called Rachael ‘Super Rae’ Twumasi and Mark Harrop ‘Potter’. That about says it all.

Guild Election time at UoB...can't walk anywhere without someone throwing a flyer in your face! I like the free stuff though ūüôā

Just had lecture shouts from 5 of the sab candidates in a single lecture, not too sure how happy the lecturer was... #guildelections11

I woke up today thinking I was oh so popular on here and facebook - then realised it's guild election time so everyone's adding, grr

@unibirmingham Why are Guild election candidates allowed to litter on campus?

Computer Science Careers

Three careers/work related points regarding this week at the University of Birmingham School of Computer Science.

Tuesday:  Alumni Dinner

On Tuesday the department held an Alumni dinner where around 20 or so students who had previously graduated from the University returned and spoke to around 50 current students about what they have done since.

Surprisingly the event wasn’t as biased towards larger companies as University careers events normally seem to be. That said there were people from Ernst & Young, Accenture Goldman Sachs and a company called Google who do Internet related things.

I guess the over-representation of large names normally occurs because the big companies are the ones who will take on multiple graduates a year, can afford to attend and therefore are the ones for whom it is most worthwhile to make the trip up (a large majority seem to be London or South-East based).

Smaller companies present included a provider of services to local non-profits and Chris Unitt from digital media company Meshed Media.

Found the evening quite interesting and it was good to see what previous students are doing know but don’t think I really gained anything in particular by attending.

Wednesday: Careers Cuts

Funding for the role of Student Employment Officer apparently ends next week. First I’d heard of this.

This with last years statistics showing Computer Science incredibly had the lowest national graduate employment rate. Apparently doing a degree in something where you have 2 lectures a week will serve you better. According to the same source UoB’s graduate employment rate is also lower than that of The University of Wolverhampton.

Seems strange that this is the area they would cut with the higher tuition fees coming in soon as well! Surely they would want to justify the higher fees by showing how well they prepare people for business.  If the redbrick Universities all rush to up their fees to the maximum allowable I expect there will be a large swing away from them to cheaper alternatives.

Thursday: American Internet Holdings

Noah from American Internet Holdings gave a 25 minute presentation to those taking the Intelligent Data Analysis module about their American stationery supplies website SuppliesGuys (there are also European sites). He very briefly outlined their dynamic customer retention and product recommendation system whereby they try to sell as much as possible to existing customers. He also talked a bit about trying to work out what their target CPA for various keywords and products should be in Adwords based on previous customer profiles so as to ensure profitability from repeat business. Quite interesting to see that they would obtain a customer at an initial loss if they had a good bet of making that money back from future orders, an Adwords investment if you will. Makes sense. Noah said they spend more than $1 million on Adwords a year, would be interesting to know their SEO spend.

Some of my friends seemed genuinely surprised at the amount of money people spend to obtain a single click through Google Adwords and Google’s goldmine (a couple of examples were at about $10 a click). Perhaps this will help justify why I want to work in SEO!

Time for a well deserved break!

Today I finished and submitted the last University assignment I need to do before Christmas.  Even though I think I planned things pretty well the last two weeks have been very busy.  Because of how the calendar panned out (late Easter?) I break up tomorrow so only have a week off before Christmas.

Had my final year project inspection where we demonstrate our project to a non-supervisor staff member and it went okay – possibly picked up some ideas I can use. ¬†Don’t think I have blogged about my project so will do a post on it later – in short terms it is a tool which analyses the inbound links pointing to a particular website.

Hope it doesn’t snow too much because I want to get home!

When I do get home the Uni has decided, for the first time in 3 years, to set me a C assignment, an essay and I will need to keep up work on my project to keep in running on time. ¬†Fun. ¬†Suppose it is my final year and isn’t meant to be easy but I liked work free holidays!

On the mess in London

These clueless rioters bore me now.

“Student protests” pretty much summed up by the question of a BBC reporter to a ‘protester’ earlier today: “Can you tell us why you’re here” Response: ¬†“Umm… ¬† No”

Mildly amusing comment earlier by a BBC guest opposed to fees/cuts who clearly thinks that we should continue to spend more than we can ever pay back: ¬†“Concrete breeze blocks aren’t¬†particularly¬†constructive”. ¬†Tell that to someone in the building trade.

Yes the maximum amount Universities will be able to charge is much higher but to be honest I don’t really see why there has been so much fuss. ¬†Not all Universities will charge the top fees. ¬†Students already pay fees. ¬†The new system means that you don’t have to start paying them until you are earning ¬£6,000 more than currently. ¬†If you don’t pay them off in full they get written off after 30 years. ¬† Pretty good deal if you don’t actually make good use of your time at University and if you do well it shouldn’t be a problem.