The first-ever IEEE TechFair had a little bit of everything: senior engineering projects, competitions for engineering students and young people—some of them in kindergarten—and a student congress.
More than 350 people from across Pakistan attended IEEE TechFair 2008, held for two days last August at Government College University, in Faisalabad. Organized by the IEEE Lahore Section, TechFair was held in conjunction with the IEEE Pakistan Student Congress.
REALLY BIG “This was the largest technological event for students ever organized in Faisalabad and the biggest IEEE event in Pakistan in 2008,” says IEEE student member Saad Zafar Khan and secretary of TechFair 2008. It took 18 months to organize.
Khan says the event’s main goal was to develop a closer relationship between industry and academia. It did this by giving students a chance to show off their engineering talent in displays of their senior projects and by competing in contests that tested their software, circuit design, dynamic programming, and engineering skills.
The engineering exhibition included a software-defined radio relying on the Python programming language, an industrial data-acquisition process-control system monitored via a Global System for Mobile communications (GSM) station, and a number of microcontroller-based automation projects.
CONTESTS King Codra, a programming competition, involved teams of three students from the same university who were given three hours to solve five real-world problems. One problem was “Sheeda in Trouble,” which involved the owner of a village store who constantly ran out of change for his customers. Contestants had to write a computer program that would tell Sheeda how much change to have on hand by determining the average amount of daily cash transactions and the price of the store’s merchandise.
A multimedia competition evaluated students on the production quality of a video clip they had to create using three-dimensional computer simulation. In the 2Xtreme Contest, preuniversity students grouped in categories of kindergarten to 4th grade, 5th to 8th grade, and 9th to 12th grade were asked to come up with innovative uses for today’s technologies. Ideas included a wireless charger attached to a cellphone that converts signals from the cellphone base station to charge the battery, and a machine for travel directions in which the user enters a destination city and the machine displays directions for how to get there.
A CONGRESS, TOO The student congress, an annual gathering of representatives from the country’s student branches, explained the benefits of joining IEEE to students and how it can benefit their careers. Four Pakistani universities found enough value in the sessions to establish IEEE student branches at their schools, following the fair.