The University of Southampton
Mathematical Sciences

Andrea Sipka BSc Maths with Computer Science

Software Release Lead at IBM

Andrea Sipka's Photo

Hi, I'm Andrea Sipka and I studied BSc Maths with Computer Science within Mathematical Sciences at the University of Southampton.

I believe that to be truly innovative and make a difference in technology, one needs to understand how the system works to its core and Maths is the core of... well, everything.

What do you like about University of Southampton?

What I like the most is that my lecturers and professors always have their door open if I want to learn something new or different. I have fairly quirky interests within Maths that aren't part of my curriculum (intelligent algorithms and genetic programming, for example) but they have always done everything they could to help me learn what I want to learn.

Why did you choose to study Maths at the University?

I do Maths with Computer Science, and I chose to do this because I love technology and always wanted to do something technology related. I believe that to be truly innovative and make a difference in technology, one needs to understand how the system works to its core and Maths is the core of... well, everything.

What is it like studying Maths at the University?

It is very different to A level maths and very versatile. I have some super abstract modules where I haven't seen a single number in months, as well as some very applied, where we solve complex real life problems.

What societies or additional activities are you part of and how has this helped your experience of university life?

This year, I got really involved in our Students' Union, SUSU. I am a councillor and sit on some committees which run the union, and I am a course representative for Maths, so I work with my colleagues to make sure that voices of my course-mates are heard and everything runs smoothly. I wish I had done it sooner, as I have learnt so much about working with people, dealing with tricky situations, working on massive projects and campaigns. It is great because there are so many different things you can do, so everyone can definitely find something fun to do, from making TV or writing articles, to taking care of student welfare, or nightlife, or elections.

What was the topic of your research project and what did it aim to achieve?

Our research project was on Google PageRank algorithms, which is at the core of the way Google gets your search results and its great success. We firstly did some research on the Algorithm itself, but then we also decided to apply it in a slightly different way - on Twitter. We have taken a sample of Twitter users, and translated the algorithm in a way that ranks users and their tweets, rather than web pages. So our project resulted in discussions of different ways to see who is interesting and important on Twitter.

What have you been able to achieve as a result of studying Maths?

Because I studied Maths, I found it quite easy to go into field I am interested in - computer science and software development. I got a very good job that I will start as soon as I graduate and I am really excited. I think studying maths has given me some really great skills that are useful to everyone - for example, how to analyse complex systems and situations or solve difficult problems.

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