My work experience at EPCC

Author: Guest blogger
Posted: 21 Nov 2016 | 09:59

Connor Walsh is a school pupil who joined us on a work experience placement last week. Here's his report.

I have been "working" at the EPCC offices at Edinburgh University under Eilidh Troup on a project using Python and Pygame to simulate how much an object would sink in water when you change the mass and the volume of the object.

It proved a challenge to get working near the end. We had managed to set up all the calculations required to figure out how much of the object would be above the water, or if it was denser than water it would sink etc. But I wanted to be able to input these variables outside of changing the code itself so I tried to implement a variety of scales to change this, in the end finding a tkinter scale being the easiest (or what seemed the easiest) to implement into the already set up code. However, in hindsight this may not have been the best choice as to actually get the values from the scale to the code you have to close the tkinter window that pops up, which I was able to sneakily fix with a button that says “Import” but actually just closes the window (however for no apparent reason this no longer properly works and ends up crashing the program, so now there is just a label that says to click the X to import). We also ran into problems with the code not working properly, with the variables only being applied to certain bits of the program, which we fixed by doing something usually looked down upon which is using Global variables. However it made it work and it’s still only a prototype so it’s sort of ok. (Yes it’s a very basic program.)

All in all, the week I’ve had here at EPCC has been a great learning experience and I have learneda lot of valuable skills. Also getting experience of an actual workplace and not just learning what you would do at the workplace like in school was a great help. Everyone I’ve met has been extremely friendly and open to explaining what they do and what they’re working on. So a big thanks to the staff at EPCC for letting me get some valuable experience and also to Eilidh especially for setting it all up and helping me through the week. If the people at EPCC want to do more work experience placements in the future, I would highly recommend it to anyone that is interested in computers.

Thank you for the experience. 

The code is available on GitHub at: https://github.com/cwWalshy/Buoyancy.