Apple Worldwide Developers Conference Student Scholarship

An Information Engineering final year students Mr. Shi Ruichao and a post-graduate student Mr. Johnny Yeung awarded the Apple Worldwide Developers Conference Student Scholarship 2009. They were sponsored to attend the Apple Worldwide Developers Conference 2009 in San Francisco this June 8-12, 2009

The theme of the Apple Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) was “One Year Later. Light-Years Ahead”. It provided developers and IT professionals with in-depth technical information and hands-on learning about the powerful technologies in iPhone OS and Mac OS X from the Apple engineers who created them. The Conference was the premier technical event for developers and IT professionals innovating with Apple platforms. Over 1,000 Apple engineers were at Moscone West to present the latest Apple technologies. Mr. Shi and Mr. Yeung learned how to harness the power of iPhone OS, Mac OS X Snow Leopard, and Mac OS X Server Snow Leopard in the most efficient and sophisticated way.

The project supervisors of Mr. Shi Ruichao and Mr. Johnny Yeung are Dr. Wilton Fok and Dr. Edmund Lam respectively and their co-supervisors are Dr. K.S. Lui and Dr. Vincent Tam respectively.

From left: Dr. Wilton Fok, Mr. Shi Ruichao with Apple Worldwide Developers Conference Student Scholarship and Dr. K.S. Lui

Mr. Shi Ruichao in the Conference Site of the Apple Worldwide Developers Conference 2009

Conference report from Mr. Shi Ruichao

Under the mentorship of Dr. Wilton Fok and Dr. K.S. Lui, I was honored to win the student scholarship for attending the annual Apple Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) in San Francisco this June. The experience was very precious for me during the end of my college days.

WWDC is a premier technical event for IT professionals especially Apple-platform developers. The WWDC 2009 Student Scholarship Program offers students from all over the world a great opportunity to learn directly from Apple Inc. engineers, to meet fellow Apple Inc. developers, and to find opportunities for their careers.

Besides the most eye-catching keynote speech on the first day of the conference, there were hundreds of sessions, labs and special events held during the whole inspiring week. In the keynote, the CEO of Apple Inc Steve Jobs, was absent unfortunately due to his personal working leave. However, the exciting thing was that new products, the iPhone 3G S and Mac OS X Snow Leopard, will enter the market in mid-June with competitive pricing and will be much more user-friendly than ever. Furthermore, Apple released lots of new APIs for the new products. As always, Apple was giving us great surprises as expected.

Daily sessions were lectures and talks that focused on specific topics. They were classified by topics, e.g., iPhone OS, Mac OS, IT and also by levels of difficulty, e.g. beginner, intermediate and expert. For those who have experience in writing codes or who have specific problems with coding, they could attend specific labs to interact with 1000 Apple on-site engineers and to consult them on professional issues. I have attended various kinds of sessions, which focused on iPhone OS and Mac OS, like “Core Animation Techniques for iPhone and Mac”, “In-App Purchase on iPhone”, “Introduction to OpenCL”, etc. During the technical-oriented sessions, I learned a lot of hands-on knowledge as well as presentation skills. Personally I am very interested in OpenCL, the brand new computing standard proposed by Apple which taps both the power of CPU and GPU and the GCD (Grand Central Dispatch) which fundamentally unlocks the power of multi-core processors. I will definitely dig into further details in the near future when I have the opportunity.

What also interested me a lot were the special events arranged by Apple. There was a student job affair, an Apple Design Award Presentation and a special gathering event for developers from all over the world. Also there were three guest talks. Two were from developers that established successful companies based on iPhone applications, and the third was held by scientists that are devoted to restoring the sound and images taken 40 years ago by NASA during the first moon visit by mankind in history. What Apple Inc demonstrated in the special events were the endless possibilities in technology innovations, commercial and market success, the efforts devoted to scientific research, and the willingness to share experience with the rest of the world. Apart from the intense week-long conference, I visited many places of interest around the city at weekends, e.g. the Fisherman’s Wharf, the Gold Gate Bridge, Stanford University, etc. It was also an enjoyable experience.

All in all, I would definitely recommend HKU students to attend WWDC in the future. Most importantly, I would like to express my sincere thanks again to both of my supervisors, Dr. Wilton Fok and Dr. K.S. Lui, for their kindness, patience, inspiration, and guidance. I would like to express my gratitude to The Department of Electronic and Electrical Engineering for providing subsidy to cover part of my travel expenses. It was truly a meaningful and unforgettable journey for me.

Shi Ruichao in WWDC

Conference report from Mr. Johnny Yeung

Thanks to the endless guidance and support from Dr. Vincent Tam, Dr. Edmund Lam and the department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering, I was honored and grateful to receive the WWDC student scholarship and have the opportunity to attend the annual Apple Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC). This experience really opened my eye to the technology world.

WWDC 2009 is an annual technical event that took place from June 8 to June 12 at Moscone West, San Francisco. The conference aims at providing a chance to gather the MAC and iPhone developers to share their ideas and works within the previous year and provide deep information to developers on the advanced and useful technologies that are not easily notified by us.

This year, the slogan of Apple’s World Wide Developers conference is “One year later. Light-years ahead”. Although they do not have a clear clarification on this line, it is obvious that it is a reference to the success in the App Store launched last year that boasted 45,000+ apps and over 1 billion downloads. It is really not an easy task to achieve such a success and it was truly amazing when the team of Apple executives, led by Phillip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing, showed some of the successful applications on the event keynote and the major achievements in the past years.

During these five days, Apple gave us lots of information on the new MAC OX and IPHONE OS by demonstrating how the users and developers could both make good use of the new hardware and software. To me, attending this conference was a useful and valuable experience for three reasons.

First, in this period of time, I have learnt a lot and gained many new experiences in application development. Throughout the whole conference, I attended more than 20 sessions, as well as a few technical labs. Each session was focused on a specific technology regarding Mac, iPhone or a general topic on IT. In each session, the experienced application developer team members of Apple did not only share their experience in using such technology on stage, they also explained the general difficulties and problems that we may face and provided efficient solutions to tackle them one by one, making the sessions all very fruitful. Attending the sessions could really help you to become an effective developer as the experts giving the talk raised some of the problems that you would seldom notice in development works everyday. Besides, the experts also provided alternative ways to build applications using the tools provided by Apple with less effort and coding and also less time to complete.

In the wide range of sessions that the conference provided, I mainly focused on attending the sessions regarding iPhone OS development. This particular field caught my interest since I already had some previous experience in OS and web development. iPhone is however something new to me, especially with the new iPhone 3.0 released, and so these sessions allowed me to learn how the OS and web development techniques could be applied in iPhone. It also gave me the opportunity to explore the different developments that OS and web development techniques could lead to.

In addition, the conference also organized a number of special sessions where some company managers shared their successful experience on working with MAC technology in their careers. They did not only explain why people should choose the technologies provided by Apple, but also how they could use such technologies in working out their own successful applications, and how they could begin with nothing to everything.

Another reason is because the conference was also a large meeting place where people could share their expert knowledge when attending the labs, or even during lunch and break time. There were always some experienced technical people around you anytime and no matter if you are experienced or not, you could always have a chance to share your thoughts or problems with them and they would give you some useful feedbacks. This allowed me to gain hands-on experience in developing and deploying applications on Mac or iPhone from the technical people at the conference.

Last but not least, by attending the conference, I had the great opportunity to learn the most updated techniques developed this year. Among these updated techniques, the new published snow leopard and iPhone OS 3.0 impressed me the most with its user friendliness.

Overall, I think that the people at the conference were very willing and happy to share their thoughts. In particular, I enjoyed the band show that the conference organized on the second last day. The experience in these five days was already very much inspiring and meaningful to me. I am looking forward very much to the WWDC next year and I think that it will be a good thing to develop long term collaboration with Apple Inc.

Mr. Johnny Yeung