Overseas Trips
5th June 2015

Computing, PyCon APAC 2015, Taiwan

For the second year running, Computing students from Dunman High School presented their projects at PyCon APAC (Python Conference Asia Pacific) 2015 held in Academia Sinica, the highest academic research institution in Taipei, Taiwan from 5 – 7 June 2015. They shared with an international audience how they have applied Computing knowledge and skills learned within and beyond the classroom to benefit the greater community, and also learned and networked with a diverse global community of developers from both academia and the industry. On 8 June 2015, the students also attended PyCon Sprint, a series of fast-paced Python programming language-related technical workshops led by academia and industry professionals from MIT and Google. On 9 June 2015, a specially arranged industry visit was made to Pinkoi, Asia’s largest design e-commerce portal, to study how Python technologies are employed as its backend infrastructure. Ms Mosky Liu, Python Charmer at Pinkoi, shared not only insights about the fast growing startup and its creative culture, but also her personal journey into open source development and software engineering. Throughout the overseas learning journey, the students also interacted with and forged friendship with fellow attendees, had abundant opportunities to converse in Chinese with the locals, and experienced the Taiwanese performing arts and night market culture.

The student representatives with their projects are:

RPyScan (Raspberry Pi and Python powered DIY 3D scanner for the commoners)
Foo Maw Qing Melvin

Ching Hannie

Tan Le Xuan

Network Security and Analysis with Python (A research study on improving network communication protocols security)
Lee Yang Peng

Students’ Reflections

Foo Maw Qing Melvin

“I met a lot of liked-minded people and the Taiwanese people I met were really friendly. I also networked with important people such as an MIT professor, a Google employee and a Singaporean startup Carousell’s lead engineer (who was very kind to answer all my startup questions). The conference itself was a mixed bag, as the talks were sometimes too high level and/or too short for high school students. It did serve as a good introductory lesson for the various topics and made me realised there is so much more that I do not know. There were also a handful of useful and practical talks that are immediately applicable to my life, such as the Pelican talk, a Python library used to create static blogs. The Python sprint session was also useful as this is my first time learning Julia, an emerging Python-compatible programming language. During this trip, I often found myself in uncomfortable territory by using a lot of Mandarin to communicate more than I ever had to in a typical day in Singapore. I learned that Mandarin and the Chinese culture can actually be rather cool and nice to converse in. Even though I am of ethnic Chinese descent, I am rather westernised and so this discovery came as a surprise. l also learned that Mandarin is really very important, especially in the technology industry with the many Chinese corporations, and most importantly it made me realise that the language is not as difficult as I thought. I want to pursue relearning Chinese.

During the trip, I also noticed how Taiwan was exemplar in its use of bicycles as a mode of daily commute. There is a renting station every few hundred meters and the use of bicycles is fully integrated with their public transport system. Their convenience stores can also serve as e-commerce pickup points to self-collect online purchases, and one can even pay for online purchases using cash at the covenience. I could feel Taiwan’s unique culture in their bubble tea, scooters, ramen, and the people’s gracious behaviour. Their night markets are also very very clean.”

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