Although the OxNet Easter Conferences were unable to go ahead due to circumstances arising from the global COVID-19 pandemic, our STEM participants were still able to put their seminar learning into practice and gain invaluable experience in programming and robotics from home. This is thanks to Dr Louise Dennis, lecturer in Autonomy and Verification Laboratory at the University of Liverpool. Over two days, Dr Dennis guided students through the basics of coding and machine learning using the programme Python in a series of online seminars. Here is what two of our students learnt from the experience:
Dr. Hauser's seminar on the optimisation of machine learning was brilliant background into understanding the theory behind machine learning. In addition to that, with Dr. Dennis and this course, we were able to actually write our own machine learning algorithms. The course took us from basic control of our pi2go robots to using a learning rate to gradually move our programs from exploring behaviours to exploiting its learning by selecting the best actions. Step by step, chapter by chapter we gradually learnt to use the robot's sensors and lights, then gained flexibility with the use of lists, dictionaries, and functions until finally we were programming the learning rate of this amazing little robot on our screens.
- Rama Aowidah
Over the course of two days, we were given tasks that involved learning to code a virtual ROV. It began with some basics on python programming and using the virtual machine. The work then moved towards machine learning algorithms for line following and obstacle avoidance. The work was challenging however rewarding. It was a great taster in what machine learning is.
- George Coop