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Vic student wins $25,000 NetLink scholarship

Victoria University student Stuart Marshall, 24, has won a $25,000 NetLink scholarship to help him complete his PhD in computer science.

Stuart’s research will help computer programmers reuse code that has been created in the past. He is developing techniques of representing code visually and helping programmers "pluck out" and execute fragments of code instead of having to run a whole program.

"I’m developing tools that will help stop programmers ‘reinventing the wheel,’" says Stuart. "It’s important that we capitalise on the hard work put into developing computer programs in the past, instead of starting from scratch all the time."

As well as the $25,000, the scholarship gives Stuart the opportunity to collaborate with NetLink staff and provides access to facilities and funding for travel.

Stuart says he took up computer science before he realised that job prospects in the field were so good. He originally began as a mathematics and physics major, but changed to computer science in his second year at Victoria. He completed his BSc in 1996 and his MSc in 1999.

Stuart says people interested in studying computer science or who would like a career in the area shouldn’t be put off by a lack of experience when they were young. "You don’t need a great background in computers from when you were at school to study it at university," he says. "These days, computer science draws students from a wide range of disciplines."

Victoria University is currently considering offering Computer Science as a major in the Bachelor of Arts degree as well as in the Bachelor of Science.

Stuart is also President of the Victoria University Post-graduate Students’ Association. In this role he wants to improve the social interaction between postgraduate students on campus and increase the representation of postgraduate students on the University Council.

On top of all this, Stuart is a keen sportsman who runs and plays squash.

The NetLink Scholarship continues a long association between NetLink and Victoria University. In 1985 Victoria University's Computer Science Department pioneered New Zealand's first connection to the Internet. They immediately began to market connectivity to other organisations. This commercial development grew into the company that is now NetLink. Victoria University sold NetLink to Telstra in 1999.

NetLink is now New Zealand's premier Internet Service Provider (ISP) to the business, education and Government markets, providing New Zealand businesses with Internet access, website development and hosting, security consulting and IP network design.

Stuart’s PhD is supervised by Dr Robert Biddle and Dr Ewan Tempero of Victoria’s School of Mathematical and Computing Sciences.

ENDS

Issued by the Communications Unit of Victoria University of Wellington.

For further information please contact Stuart Marshall, ph 04 463 7033 or stuart.marshall@vuw.ac.nz, or Quentin Bright, Public Affairs Manager, Telstra, Ph 09 980 8233 . Mobile 029 650 233. Email qbright@telstra.co.nz.


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