A summa cum laude honours degree graduate has lauded UKZN’s Computer Science staff describing them as incredible leaders and lecturers.
‘They are assets to the University and their courses stand out in my mind,’ said Mr Alexander Goudemond. ‘I am proud to have completed my degree at UKZN. There was a fantastic amount of support offered that greatly assisted me in getting to where I am now. Services like Hot Seats, Supplemental Instruction (SI), student support counselling, Academic Development Officers (ADOs) and online tools such as Zoom, Microsoft Teams and Github, all helped me collaborate during the COVID-19 lockdown.’
His Computer Science Honours project titled: Segmentation Techniques for Tracking Moving Cells in Time-Lapse Video Sequences, explored techniques to draw boundaries around biological cells.
Goudemond explained further: ‘For example, a picture containing 10 blobs (microscopic cells) would need 10 boundaries/outlines drawn over the picture. What we value here is the boundary itself – not the inside details or outside details of the picture. This means that colour, food and other particles are ignored – only the boundary is desirable.’
Goudemond was inspired by his COMP702 lecturer, Professor Serestina Viriri. ‘The work we were doing in image processing was an incredible combination of mathematics, programming and imagery which I was excited about, as I have a history of both digital and film photography,’ he said. ‘Learning how to apply the knowledge and see first-hand how applications like Photoshop are developed led me to choose the kind of research topic that I did.
‘Being able to combine the research further with Artificial Intelligence was a great opportunity.’
Goudemond said the relevance of his research was that he was trying to identify generic or broad-level techniques to segment any picture of a cell – not just one dataset. ‘This was challenging as each dataset has a varying size, texture, light and quantity of images. The application of the research may contribute to developing software for the segmentation of any pictures – not just cells. There is also the potential of segmenting a mixed dataset, with varying dimensions, light and texture. It is also relevant as more and more research is going into Artificial Intelligence and techniques to train a generic model is a hot topic!’
Goudemond is currently pursuing a career in Full Stack Software Development in the Computer Science industry. Landing a job in February 2023, he was relieved to discover that many of the skills gained from his degree were transferable to industry.
‘Going forward, I am interested in learning as much as I can and contributing to computer software,’ he said. ‘I would be thrilled if there was an opportunity to train or teach as I go, but my primary plan is to learn and upgrade my university knowledge to become a good software developer.’
He paid tribute to his parents as well as several of his lecturers, including Mrs Rosanne Els, Dr Jean Vincent Fonou-Dombeu, Dr Mandlenkosi Gwetu and Viriri.
Goudemond enjoys programming and video games when he wants to relax – although he is also a good cook, and likes to spend time in nature.
Words: Sally Frost
Photograph: Abhi Indrarajan