Need a guide?  Courtesy: akunamatata @ Flickr

Get some help from the industry experts and senior students who have volunteered their time to discuss your project with you!

Mentors come in many forms: from both industry, recent alumni, as well as even current students (many who took Orbital in the past years). See which matches your temperament and your idea. Do note that as in past years, some mentors are more popular than others, so be open-minded about whom you might want to work with if you are interested in getting a mentor.

Again, if you do want to try for mentorship, you need to let us know via a Slack DM or email telling us the names of the mentors you don’t mind having.

Do note that as in past years, some mentors are more popular than others, so be open-minded about whom you might want to work with if you are interested in getting a mentor.  We will acknowledge all requests so you know that your preferences are noted and currently in the processing pipeline.

We need this as soon as possible, as we wish to finalize mentorship links this week (by 13 May, Friday).  Mentorship is a two way street, and details on the program are on the website.

(Some of the mentor profiles have been recently updated today!).

Currently, we have bids by the following 20 teams:

0xDEAD BEEF, 1064, 1080, 1173, 1182, 1192, Ant Inc., Copyleft, Foodies, Help, JFK, MusicMakers, No Break, No Brake, Ohm, OrderFirst, Panata, TAC, Team Rocket!, Travellin, bottMother and insertnamehere.

Not on this list, and wanting mentorship?  Please DM @knmnyn on Slack, with your mentor preference list ASAP.  Thanks!

Lobby of Google’s SG office downtown at Asia Square.

The headliner (if there could be said to have one) at Orbital this year will be Google’s two sessions.  We wanted to give you a lowdown for what is going to happen in both.

9 May 15:30-16:30
Speaker: David Zhu, Charlotte Park and others
15:30-16:00 General Intro about Google NBU Office by David
16:00-16:30 Mini Panel by all
David Zhu transferred to Google Singapore from MTV and joined NBU (Next Billion Users) team as senior engineering manager this year. He joined Google’s Android Enterprise team as part of the Google acquisition of Divide, a company he co-founded and served as chief technology officer.  Divide provided a secure virtual workspace on employee’s personal phones and tablets along with a cloud based management platform to enable enterprises to fully embrace mobile first and join the BYOD revolution. Prior to Divide, David was the Director of Engineering at Smule, where he created the initial Sonic Network, which powered many of the company’s #1 hits on the Apple App Store including Ocarina, I Am T-Pain, and Magic Piano. Over the years, David has also held technical roles at companies such as Morgan Stanley, Jarna, and HP.  David enjoys mobile hacking and has worked on many major platforms including Android, iPhone, BlackBerry, Windows Mobile, PalmOS, and Symbian.

10 May 09:00-10:00

Speaker: Charlotte Park, Google Recruiters
9:00-9:30: How we hire – the myths behind of resume screening and interviews
9:30-10:00: Q & A by all of you
Charlotte Park is Google’s University Programs Specialist in the APAC area and has been with Google since 2013.  She’ll be spearheading the presentation and the Q and A (featuring all of you) on what G and the other tech giants are looking for in their incoming talent pools.
So with that, you all know what you need to do if you want to have a shot at getting hired — ask lots of great questions during the two sessions.
<plug> But of course, if MNCs are not your thing, we have plenty of mentors from current SoC, and recent alumni who can tell you all about the land of start-ups and other great places to employ your computing know-how (at the mentor match-up, late on 9 May). </plug>

As you know, we’ll be having 300+ students in Orbital Liftoff, and dealing with all your peers may be a bit difficult logistically.

1) Just in case you weren’t sure, lunch is on your own.  And we’re all breaking for lunch at the same time.  As such you may find that that the trek back and forth from I3 to Biz / Arts canteen or other places nearby for the short, 1 hour lunch break is really too short.  For those who can pack a lunch to bring, this might be a better alternative (I know I will).

2) If all of us whip out your laptop and plug them in, the building will go dark (just kidding).  Bring freshly charged laptops to the venue and alternate with your partner so you both can just use one (You heard of pair programming, right?  Now try paired down programming…)  Fully charged power banks are good if you are using a mobile device too.

3) Wi-fi: same here.  Wi-fi is know to be spotty in COM1 and last year in I3 we didn’t have any problems with Wi-fi, but … if we can all be considerate and turn off the ‘net on devices that you don’t need it for, we’ll all have a better chance of trying some of the hands-on online.

4) There will likely be some materials circulated by presenters earlier to help you deal with installation of the necessary software; and in some intrepid cases, even lecture notes.  This is the first year we may get to doing these materials (Orbital is still very much a dynamic module with constant design changes), so please bear with us on this.  Do look out for these being circulated on Slack.

5) Many of the workshop presenters will be your fellow peer SoCians, who have volunteered to make Orbital great (some of them are also Orbitee students!)  Please acknowledge their help and give them a big up for tackling this mad task of teaching at Orbital.


Posted on May 6, 2016 by orbital

Hope your exams have gone well!   It’s time to start to look forward to Liftoff, the mandatory 2 day workshop on 9 and 10 May.  Join your 300+ other Orbitees on our unified summer quest to learn something new and interesting for yourselves.

The venue for our workshop will be at I3, down past SoC and Biz.  We’ll be in primarily in the I3 Auditorium although an alternate track will be held in the I3 Seminar Room and some activities down the hall in NUS Enterprise’s fully loaded Hangar.

If you’re not sure how to get there, please check out the instructions here, or better yet, give a shout out on Slack.

The schedule has been updated on the Orbital calendar (available on the website and through Google’s public calendar service), so check it out.  We’ll post some more details about it soon, as well as some of the prerequisite things you may / will need to do before attending on Monday.

If you can’t make it to Liftoff, please let your evaluation group leader know if you are part of a team (use Slack!); if you are a singleton a.k.a. “partner challenged”, just let Min know by email <> or Slack <@knmnyn>.  Groups must have at least one member present to do the duties during the workshop (yes, you have to do some work!).  Exceptions to these two conditions will be approved on a case-by-case basis.

Posted on April 8, 2016 by orbital

STS 114 going to the launchpad.  Courtesy Wikipedia.

[This post needs action by you — yes, you the prospective student — in most cases!]

We’ve moved a great number of you over to the official student role for Orbital 2016!  If you log into Skylab using your NUSNET credentials, and we’ve been able to detect that you fulfil the eligibility criteria*, you’ve been added to student list for Orbital 2016.  How do you tell?  If you’ve been moved to the official cohort, when you login to Skylab, you should see a role of “View as Student” available to you.

If you were already part of a team, you should see your automatically assigned team number as a blue button.  If you click on your team name, you’ll get a view that shows your teammate’s name, and your advisor’s name.  From here, you can click blue “Edit Team” button to rename your team to something a lot cooler than a serially generated number.  In the edit screen, you can also recalibrate your expected level of achievement that you’re currently aiming for (you can change this setting anytime — just try to make sure it’s up to date).  Don’t forget to save!

If you’re not yet part of a team, no worries about finding a partner — likely during Reading Week we’ll be having a short function to have you meet up with each other face to face at the School of Computing.  If you can form at team then with at least one member being a part of the School of Computing, you’ll be all set for Orbital, and we’ll ensure that your team gets into the cohort.

Regardless of whether you’re already part of a team or not, you should also take this time to better set up your Skylab account.  Clicking on the gear menu in the upper right top reveals the User Settings page.  Do try to add some of the links for content that you have (especially, which email address you expect to read email notifications from Skylab, and your programme of study*).  Once you finish that, join the Orbital Slack group via, which we will also be using for group chat and communication.  We recommend installing a client one for your mobile phone and turning the notifications on.

Looking forward to seeing you all soon at the mandatory Liftoff workshops on 9-10 May!

Missed any of that?  Check the bold text excerpts! (: 

* Didn’t get in yet?  No worries, mate — for many, it’s just because we haven’t yet been able to check your affiliation to SoC.  We need this information that you can provide in Skylab’s User Settings to be correct in order to check your eligibility; if you didn’t set the programme of study field correctly, it’s difficult for us to gauge whether you can be a part of the cohort.  If you are an SoC student, please choose your programme of study (CS, IS, CEG, InfoSec, BZA, Others).  If you have some affiliation with the School of Computing through DDP, CDP or a minor, you should also choose “Others”, and specify your relation in the self-introduction field below.
For those of you whom are not associated with SoC by some means, we will be admitting you to the cohort on a more stringent basis; this is because we need to block enough seats for our own students first before allowing more cross-faculty registrations.  Stay tuned for more, but if you get too nervous, just drop us an email and we’ll check on your status.

SoC Entrpreneurship and NUS Enterprise have teamed up to get two fascinating (and famous) start-up speakers to come and give talks on campus, at one of the newest venues for all things start-up.

It promises to be a great talk about the test of failure and how it leads to success.

C’mon, we’re sure you need some time off from your projects and homework assignments (and get some caffeine).  Join us at the Hangar next Monday, 18 Apr 2016 at 18:30!  Do RSVP at so that they can manage the catering.

Kopi Chat is a series of talks for the start-up community, served specially by NUS Enterprise alongside a good fresh brew of local coffee.
In this session of Kopi Chat, Dave McClure and Kamran Elahian will be sharing on the lessons learned from start-up failures. Join us on this series of Kopi Chat.[ Bio of the speakers ]Dave McClure
The founding partner of 500 Startups, a venture capital firm and startup incubator in Silicon Valley founded by PayPal and Google alumni, with over $250M under management; he has been an investor in hundreds of companies around the world such as Viki, and SlideShare, among others.Kamran Elahian
Kamran has co-founded 10 companies, which 3 of them failed, 6 of them produced a total market cap of over $8B. Many of these companies went on to be acquired or IPO for multi-million dollar or billion dollar valuations. Kamran is also a co-founder and Chairman of Global Catalyst Partners with investments in the U.S., Japan, China, India and Israel.

Venue: The Hangar (i3 Building, Level 1. 21 Heng Mui Keng Terrace, Singapore 119613)

Food & Beverages: Served

Courtesy Wikimedia.

We made it in record time!  We are now at almost full capacity for applications to Orbital – we have currently 300 students who’ve filled a registration of interest.  Our staff will be going through all of the applications to Orbital and promoting those registrations of interest into official registrations for the upcoming summer term soon.

Again, all teams who have a least one student who is from SoC (either in a SoC degree programme or minoring in an SoC area (e.g., Computer Science) are automatically eligible for Orbital.

Once we fill the cohort to max capacity (around 350) we will be closing registration to Orbital, due to logistic constraints of the venue (we use I3 Auditorium for Liftoff, and there’s a maximum capacity of about 350 there).

Thank you for your support so far, and we are really excited to see what cool ideas you are going to build from idea to reality in 100 days of summer 2016!

Remember, you can do any type of project related to computing as you wish, but it must result in a product.  These can include relevant projects out of your own interest, something to help you get a better understanding of your programme of study (i.e., merging public datasets from and analysing them for business analytics; securing an existing software project for information security), preparation for a hackathon entry, and also mentor-proposed projects.

Those of you who have yet to find a partner, no worries!  We’ll be conducting an optional meet-up for individual Orbitee registrations in April (we know it’s busy but it will be helpful for you) so that you can meet each other and jointly find a useful project that you might want to do together.

Posted on February 29, 2016 by orbital

Registration now open
Dear 2016 Orbitees:

The countdown has begun!  You may now register your interest to join the Orbital programme.  After registering, you’ll be placed on the email list for the summer programme that we will use to keep in contact with you and you’ll be assigned an advisor who will give you more details on the summer course as it progresses.  Just click the link below to register yourself (and a teammate if you already know whom you want to work with).  For instructions in navigating the registration process, watch the You Tube video:

We know you are wondering about some questions, so here are some answers that may help you clear your doubts:

Q1) Is there any obligation by filling out this registration form?
A1) Nope, it just allows us to know who you are and to establish contact with you.  You can decide not to participate in Orbital even after you register, with no risk to yourself.

Q2) After I fill in the registration form, am I “officially” in?
A2) If you are a current Year 1 SoC student, yes!  Congratulations, you’re done!  (Yezzz! High five!)

If you belong to other faculty, are doing a minor, are in a different year than year 1, or external to NUS, you will be placed on a list for vacancies that will be approved from time to time.  Unfortunately, we can’t exactly tell you when you’ll know when you’ll be allowed to join, but we will endeavour to start turning away students once vacancies are filled in short order, so you can make alternative plans.

Q3) Is there a deadline for filling out this registration form?
A3) Yes. You can register as late as the end of Reading Week, the 22 April 2016.  However, the sooner the better for the administrative staff, as we can better estimate the interest from all of you potential first year SoC students.  Since there’s no risk (see Q1), why don’t you register? (hint, hint)

Q4) Is there a briefing to help students learn more about Orbital?
A4) Sure there is.  9 March 2016 1600-1715 at SR1.  See you there (see the previous post!)

* Attendance at the Liftoff workshop on 9-10 May is mandatory, but students who want to participate in Orbital who cannot make the workshop dates need to let Orbital staff know in advance.

Stop the presses!  I’m ready to register!

(or use the top navbar to go to Skylab and click on the login menu, if that doesn’t work for you)

Posted on February 29, 2016 by orbital

Photo credit: Jake Christensen

Next Wednesday afternoon will be the one and only pre-Liftoff briefing about Orbital, for all prospective students.  We hope to get you fired up about the upcoming summer programme and look forward to your questions, concerns and general discussion.

See you!

Edit – The briefing is over.  Did you miss it?  There’s a recording of it now on YouTube.  You can also jump to a particular part of the briefing.

24:44 Details on Mentorship
29:42 Quick overview on Registration
31:13 NOC Introduction by Josephine
40:01 Li Mingyang on NCSV
48:53 Choo Yan Sheng on NCNY

You’ve got questions, we’ve got answers.  Actually, no.  We have answers and perhaps you have the questions.  Anyways, if you’re wondering about Orbital, please take a look through some of the questions that have surfaced in previous cohorts about the eligibility, time frame, partner matching, levels of achievement and other topics, in the comments (i.e., click the link below the post that shows the number of comments).  You can also ask additional questions here or on our Facebook page.

Do note that registration is not yet open. We plan to open registration after the Chinese New Year break in February. There will be a briefing about Orbital and likely another event to help match prospective partners with each other in a face to face meet-up. We’ll be announcing more details as we go forward through your CS 1010, 1020, 2020, 2010 (and variants) lecturers.