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18 Engineering Faculty students bring global acclaim for Motherland:

Moratuwa University: Top of the world

In a signal honour for Sri Lanka’s tertiary education, the University of Moratuwa has been placed as the best University worldwide at the Google Summer of Code 2008 (GSoC 2008) competition.

Sri Lanka has emerged first where it competed with the other nine giants among the first ten- the United States, France Germany, India, China, Canada, Brazil, Hungary and Poland.


University of Moratuwa

The top ten universities which participated in the competition have been: University of Moratuwa, Sri Lanka, the Wroklaw University in Poland, University of Campinas in Brazil, Graduate School of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, China, the prestigious Indian Institute of Technology of Karagpur, India, The Budapest University of Technology and Economics, Hungary, the University of Toronto in Canada, the Michigan University of USA, the Carleton University of Canada and Poland’s Warsaw University.

Landmark

This is indeed a landmark for Sri Lanka’s tertiary education. This is extremely noteworthy as the dominance was both in terms of the number of creative proposals submitted by students and the number of awards received among all participating Universities worldwide, an elated Moratuwa University Vice Chancellor Prof. Malik Ranasinghe told the Daily News.

Prof. Ranasinghe who is also the first Engineering Graduate of the Moratuwa University to rise to the office of Vice Chancellor of the same University, explained that despite total number seem farfetched due to the small population of University students in ICT, Sri Lanka still managed to be in the top ten in 2008 with respect to the number of submission of innovative and creative proposals.

Performance

The most noteworthy feature was that although the USA, India and China secured the first three positions in respect of the total number of proposals submitted to GSoC 2008, none of the Universities in those countries or in any other country for that matter could record 93 as the number of proposal submitted from one single University, which the University of Moratuwa achieved surpassing every other University worldwide by a large margin.

The University of Campinas, Brazil with 29 applicants was the closest institution in terms of the number of proposals submitted. This demonstrates high level of creativity and innovation of the students in the fields of Computer Science and Information Technology at the University of Moratuwa when compared with the rest of the world, Prof Ranasinghe said.

The GSoC programme is a global software development competition organised by the open-source software promoting and search engine giant Google. Students from Universities all over the world are invited to apply for the competition, where successful applicants are awarded stipends of US$ 4500 each to write code for various open source software projects of renowned organisations.

Google, in collaboration with several free and open source software and technology-related groups, identifies and funds projects over a three- month period. Since its inception in 2005, the GSoC programme has brought together over 1,500 students from all parts of the world with over 130 open source projects to create millions of lines of code. Since its inception in 2005, countries such as USA, India, Canada, China and Germany, which are in the pinnacle of programming expertise, have been key players in the GSoC programme.

Awards

There were 1,125 proposals accepted from University students worldwide in 2008 with awards of US$ 4500 each to write code for various open source software projects of renowned organisations.

The USA, India and Germany secured the first three positions of the total number of awards from GSoC 2008, while Sri Lanka was again placed ninth with 29 awards.

With 24 awards, University of Moratuwa had a large majority over the Wroclaw University of Technology, Poland and University of Campinas, Brazil who shared second place with 10 accepted proposals each. The University of Michigan, USA, University of Toronto and Carleton University of Canada with 7 accepted awards were the highest in the USA and Canada.

The 29 students from Sri Lanka, and the 24 students from the University of Moratuwa who had their proposals accepted at the GSoC 2008, have every reason to be proud of themselves, as it is their creativity, innovation, courage and undying passion for technology and Open Source that earned the credit for themselves, their University as well as their country.

A praiseworthy fact is that 18 students from the Department of Computer Science and Engineering from the Faculty of Engineering, University of Moratuwa were award winners. The University of Moratuwa took part in the first GSoC competition which kicked-off in 2005 with the participation of four students from the Department of Computer Science and Engineering.

Knowledge

With this performance, it is evident that the University of Moratuwa and the Faculty of Engineering is a fountain for opportunity, knowledge and professionalism. Over the years since its inception, University of Moratuwa has produced world-class graduates who could compete, challenge and beat the best in the world.

It is praiseworthy that the contribution of the Department of Computer Science & Engineering of the Faculty of Engineering to the open source community has been remarkable and many students have turned out to be key personalities in the Free and Open Source arena like Apache Committers.

The promotion of Open Source development has provided ample opportunities for the students to gain valuable experience for innovation, creativity and global exposure. Furthermore, it is statistically shown that Sri Lanka is the country with the highest Open Source contribution per contributor ratio in the whole world, and students of the Department of Computer Science and Engineering make up a considerable proportion of it.

The success at the GSoC 2008 programme has affirmed the fact that the University of Moratuwa and the Faculty of Engineering is the trendsetter for its innovative approach to undergraduate education which is aimed at producing not merely employable, but globally competitive graduates.

Its efforts in maintaining excellent standards in academic activities while placing much emphasis on the leadership, entrepreneurial and soft skills development, has resulted in University of Moratuwa producing ‘world class graduates’ who are academically sound, self confident, flexible, internationally recognised, and able to ‘hit the ground running’ from day one.

Prof Ranasinghe said that what was not realized by most is that the University of Moratuwa produced a highly employable “world class” quality graduate in engineering, architecture, quantity surveying, design, town and country planning and information technology at a cost of less than US$ 5000, which is less than the annual salary of most of our new graduates.

The commitment and the ‘can do’ spirit of the dynamic staff and the students of the University of Moratuwa assure that this is the beginning of many more world’s firsts to be expected from the best University in Sri Lanka, he said.

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