Microsoft Technology Club (MSTC) are the student clubs sponsored by Microsoft Research Asia (MSRA) in many universities of China. Usually MSTCs at different universities have slightly different forms or styles. Our MSTC at Zhejiang University is a small club of around 30 active staff members that aims at spreading technology (not limited to Microsoft technology) on campus, as well as providing a platform for the most excellent people to meet and communicate with each other. In the end, we are not a bundle of pure technical geeks, but instead a very healthy club with a family-like culture and attracted many outstanding non-technical people. The figure on the top-right is a brilliant explanation of MSTC.
I was the leader of the Technology Group during 2008~2009, and the president during 2009~2010.
Technology @ MSTCMSTC has many public activities that anyone can come and attend. Representatives include MSTC lectures, C Programming Contest (lower level contest), Coding for Fun (advanced level contest). Besides, for some advanced topics, we have technical salons constitute of only staff members (and sometimes invited speakers). I list some activities that I'm involved here:
- Dec 19, 2007: MSTC Lecture on With&without IDE. To the audience gbb21 introduces the Visual Studio Express IDE while I present the GNU tool chain (gcc, gdb, Emacs, etc.). See the booklet.
- Dec 27, 2007: MSTC POM. I gave a brief introduction to the concept of Aspect Oriented Programming. See the slides.
- Mar 01, 2008: MSTC Lecture on Charming Computer Science. I gave a brief introduction to what computer science is all about.
- May 17, 2008: Technical Salon on Object model of various OO programming languages. Five speakers are invited to talk about the object models of Lisp (binghe), C++ (shifan), Java (gbb21), Ruby (pluskid) and Python (mikeandM). After the presentation, we discussed and compared about all those models. See my blog post about this workshop (slides available there).
- Dec 29, 2008: MSTC Lecture on Inside a Search Engine. Actually, I organized this topic as a series constitute of 4 separate lectures covering crawling (quark), document parsing and analyzing (pluskid), indexing (cerror) and UI frontend (hzqtc). See the booklet of my lecture.
- May 10, 2009: MSTC Coding For Fun 4th. I organized this contest and contributed several problems for the online contest session. Aside from the traditional online contest, I proposed a live session this year. Though the online session is an advanced programming contest that lasts for several weeks, I choose a easy and funny game for the live session so that any people can come and have a try. In this game you'll control a robot with several basic instructions to walk to the destination. For some difficult maps, recursive function calls were needed to finish the task. We hope to introduce the joy of programming to other people with this game. This event turned out to be very successful.
- Nov 29, 2009: MSTC Lecture on Debugging with C. In this lecture, I presented standard techniques of debugging C programs with Visual Studio and GCC/GDB, accompanied with many debugging tricks and true stories. There were about 150 listeners and the 100 booklets we printed were too few that even I didn't get a chance to keep one. Though I tried to keep concise, the content a bit too rich that the lecture lasted two hours (I even omitted several live demonstrations). But I'm glad that almost every listener stayed and finished the whole lecture. See the booklet.
- Dec 13, 2009: C Programming Contest. This contest was supported by the Computer Science Department. MSTC was responsible for publicizing, organizing and technical support. This was a big contest with about 400+ people attending (limited by the space of computer room). I contributed several problems and was the chief judge during the contest.
- Jun 11, 2010: MSTC Lecture on Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning. There were two lecturer in this talk. I gave an introduction to the traditional artificial intelligence and the contemporary research of machine learning as well as related application areas. Then winsty talked about the topic of compressive sensing in details.
- Sep 20, 2010: MSTC Lecture on Charming Computer Science II. After two years, I talked about computer science again. The contents presented were almost completely different, which reflected the change of my own understanding of the field. See the booklet.
- Nov, 2010 ~ Jul, 2011: MSTC Journal (TechCool) Issue 3. I did most of the scheduling & contacting work. I also did all the editing and typesetting issues. The journal can be downloaded from here. See here for versions of alternative PDF compression quality and previous issues.
At the autumn of 2008 when I became the leader of technology group, I was considering a way to maximize the communication among our staff members. Most of them are excellent but usually have different interests, which makes it a bit hard to find a shared topic sometimes. After some thought and discussion, I initiated the Ghost Instrumentality Program (GIP). It is like book reading workshop, but there are some differences. The books are carefully chosen to be general enough that many people would be interested in. Instead of pure discussion, we assign each chapter to one person, who is responsible to give a presentation to the rest before the discussion.
GIP has many benefits. While carefully reading a chapter of a book is generally easy, finishing a whole book is really hard. With the help of GIP, we can read a book collaboratively and the involvement of other members prevent us from giving up before finishing the whole book. It also provide a light-weighted stage for all the members to practice their skill of giving presentations. Being able to illustrate an idea to others is really crucial for one to form a deep understanding of what he is talking about. Though carrying out the plans is not without difficulties, I tried my best to keep this program running and we've finished several books (Introduction to Information Retrieval, Beautiful Code, CLR via C#) now.
Life @ MSTCThe culture activities in MSTC are also very frequent and usually of good quality. We have non-technical workshops, a.k.a. Prior of MSTC (POM), where people sit together to share and discuss about various topics. There have been many interesting topics since we have people from various departments other than computer science, like physics, mathematics, economics, control, chemistry, and even literature.
We'll hold parties on major holidays like New Year's Day. Farewell party are also a tradition when some stuff members graduate each year. See for example New Year Party 2009, Mid-autumn Festival 2009, and New Year Party 2010. Actually, you can invite other members to climb the mountains, walk along the West Lake, or go for some midnight snack at any time. The staff members are usually very good friends of each other and enjoy to be together.
By the way, each year, several of the staff members will have the opportunity to attend a one-week summer camp at Microsoft Research Asia. I've been there in the summer of 2007. It was an exciting experience. See my blog post about that trip.