Summa Cum Laude Graduate has Computing in his Blood
Mr Brandon Koekemoer’s passion for computers started at the tender age of four after which he was captivated whenever his father added new hardware to their system.
‘I would sit and stare, trying to figure out how it all worked,’ said Koekemoer. Soon he owned his own computer and there was no looking back after that.
‘It became a dream of mine to fully understand computers and design different software applications that would impress other people,’ said Koekemoer.
Koekemoer registered at UKZN to study a BSc in Computer Science after matriculating from Queensburgh High School and then went on to his Honours degree. ‘The whole idea of working with new technology and exploring something I hadn’t seen before was fascinating,’ he said.
Koekemoer’s Honours research involved exploring path finding algorithms while working with new technologies. The research involved designing and building a lego robot using a Lego Mindstorms Kit. Thereafter the robot had to be programmed to be able to move around and deliver ‘packages’ on a rectangular grid. New packages could arrive while the robot was doing the deliveries, and then the robot would have to go back to the start and pick up the new packages. This required the robot to recalculate the best paths multiple times to save on costs.
The bulk of the research was exploring different path finding algorithms i.e. discovering techniques to find the shortest path to deliver all the packages in a reasonable amount of time. ‘We had briefly discussed the different types of algorithms in lectures before, and finally being able to properly research them was mind blowing,’ he said.
Ms Rosanne Els, a Lecturer in the School of Mathematics, Statistics and Computer Science and Koekemoer’s Honours project supervisor, said: ‘Brandon clearly has a passion for programming. It was a pleasure to supervise him.’
Koekemoer was equally complimentary. ‘Ms Els was incredibly helpful with my Honours project and made it a very enjoyable experience for me.’
Koekemoer also acknowledged his family and friends for their complete support and encouragement throughout his academic years.
Currently Koekemoer is working for ThoroughTec Technologies in Umhlanga. His plan is to gain a few years’ experience before returning to study part-time for his master’s degree. ‘My ultimate goal is to eventually achieve my Doctorate in Computer Science,’ he said.