Posted on June 6, 2016 by orbital

Tomorrow, Min (@knmnyn on Slack) will cover Machine Learning for Newbies for fun.  As the basic foundation in the 4A workshop, he will cover what machine learning is about, and have you enrol into Kaggle, a machine learning global competition system, in which you’ll try your hand at submitting an entry into the Facebook check-in competition, using some really simple settings (often called “the baseline”).  We’ll review some fundamentals in machine learning and give you some intuition on they work, with the hope of getting these things working in 4B.

Min won’t be going over the algorithms used in machine learning, but rather introducing you to the real-world context of applying those algorithms onto data sets.  In the 4B workshop, we’ll apply some of the machine learning techniques on the FB dataset and learn how to do training, and testing, and will submit a better entry to the Kaggle Facebook competition.

Ready?  MC4 documents (still not ready, Min is never quite ready for lessons until lessons start :-S ):


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!

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

[Summary: Go to to fill in your slot availability if you want to interview for 2016 Orbital staff]

Congratulations again to all of the Orbital 2015 graduates.  It’s now your turn to go beyond Earth orbit and be a part of the team to help the next 2016 Orbital cohort accomplish their project goals.

We are currently starting our recruitment drive for Advisers and Tutors, the two roles that you as Orbital alumni are eminently qualified for

  • Advisers acts as peer assessors and cheerleaders for teams taking
    Orbital — you all had the experience of being under their wing this
    past summer.  Here’s your chance to shine and contribute back to your
  • Tutors act as the primary instructor for a mission control session
    or a Liftoff session.  This means you are in control of teaching a
    particular subject for about an hour.  If you wanted to level up on
    public speaking and technical tutorials, this is your opportunity.
    You don’t have to be an expert to teach — anyone can do it if they’re committed, and you can always answer the tough questions offline.We are going to be holding interviews primarily during recess week and
    the weeks directly after.  If you wish to be interviewed for either / both positions, please visit the Doodle form and sign up for an interview slot and indicate which role(s) you want to try for.Looking forward to hearing from you!

    – Min
    (for Orbital staff)

    – I’m going on NOC, can I participate?
    – I’m planning to take a full-time internship, can I participate?
    – I’m not going to be around SG this coming summer, can I participate?

    The answer to these three questions is all the same: Yes for advisers, please apply.  You may know that some advisers were not local during your cohort as well.  The job can be done entirely remotely from NUS.  That said, applicants who are local and who do physically participate in the activities will generally bond better with their teams (unsurprisingly).

    – How much money can I expect to earn as a staff member?

    The monetary remuneration for doing either job is small, but the
    bragging rights and the additional job you can list on your CV/resume
    will hopefully make it worthwhile (aside from the intrinsic goodness
    of helping your fellow SoCian!).

Welcome to the very last Mission Control!  Our very own NUS Greyhats will be guiding participants in the dangers of putting your applications on the web, and how to secure yourselves from them.  Come and support your very own seniors and learn from their wisdom!

Space WEBponization: Attacking and Defending Your Webcraft

Protecting your web application is like protecting your spacecraft. If one does not do a good job, it may go out with a bang. This presentation looks at how adversaries can attack your web application and how you could mitigate these attacks. In particular, we will be focusing on Cross-site scripting and SQL injection attacks.

Presenter:  Tan Jun Hao, Yeo Quan Yang (NUS Greyhats)
Venue: SoC SR3
Time: 18:00-20:00
Date: 29 Jul 2015

Posted on July 20, 2015 by orbital

In this Mission Control, we learn how to build a game from the ground up in Python (which you already know!), with a focus on setting up the basic infrastructure of a game.  This workshop will be interactive, so please bring your laptops, and try to get PyGame installed and working in your laptops before the session (Setting up PyGame can be a bit of a pain, but it is a one-time thing).

Presenter: Oh Shunhao (NUS Games Development Group)
Venue: SoC SR3
Time: 18:00-20:00
Date: 22 Jul 2015

PyGame Setup instructions

Windows: Python 2.7 – download binary here []

Python 3.4 – download binary here []

Mac: Follow instructions here []

(From what I hear, it seems to be easier to setup for python 2.7. Also recommend installing brew first)

Unix: Haven’t really tried. Try looking here []

To verify that PyGame is working correctly, run this script in python:


Same as below:

# If the test works, you should see a blue circle moving around the screen.
import pygame
screen = pygame.display.set_mode((480,360))
x = 0
y = 0
while True:
    x = (x + 10) % 480
    y = (y + 10) % 360    
    screen.fill((0,0,0)), (0, 127, 255), (x, y), 25)

Posted on July 13, 2015 by orbital

Photo credits: Andy Mangold @ Flickr

Attention all teams!  It’s only about 1 month to Splashdown! Aside from getting your project all together, you’ll have to showcase it as well.  That got you nervous?

Well, don’t worry.  The famous Dr Damith of our own SoC will be giving his popular lecture on design, which can help you improve your Orbital project’s UI and the crucial Splashdown presentation.  Ace your poster presentation by attending his lecture in person during Mission Control #9 this week on Wednesday, right here in our own SoC SR3!

Presenter: Dr Damith Rajapakse
Venue: SoC SR3
Time: 18:00-20:00
Date: 15 Jul 2015

Posted on July 6, 2015 by orbital

Having trouble navigating the payments landscape?  Or perhaps just interested to learn about payments for your next big thing? Well, this lecture will clear whatever doubts you have about payments in general.

It’s one you don’t want to miss.  Why?  1) It’ll be at a special venue at Paypal, thanks to our mentor alumnus Laurence!  Cool digs!  2) Orbital Alumus and tutor, Yos Riady, will be guest starring in this MC. 3) saving the very best for last — food (Pizza!) will be served.    See you there!

Presenter: PayPal Staff
Date: Wednesday, 8 July 2015
Venue: 5 Temasek Blvd, #07-01 Suntec Tower Five, S(038985)

Time: 18.00 – 20.00

Posted on June 20, 2015 by orbital

[Hope you had a great time with our Mission Control sessions so far!  Support your Orbital alumni and learn and network with them!]

During Liftoff did you want to attend the Droid tutorial, but didn’t get a chance to go?  Ever wanted to program a phone application on the most open and popular install base? Never fear, NUS Orbital’s Jun Wen is back, featuring his hands-on tutorial for Android Programming, coming right your way for free.

You’ll get a hands on introduction to the Android environment, and develop a useful app as part of the hands-on demonstration.

To get the most out of this tutorial you should have downloaded and installed Android Studio prior to the session. This workshop is part of the NUS SoC Orbital Summer Programme.

Presenter: Tsang Jun Wen, NUS
Date: Wednesday, 24 Jun 2015
Time: 18.00 – 21.00

Posted on June 12, 2015 by orbital

PyCon Singapore, the premier conference on Python in Singapore, will be held at NUS next week (June 18 – 19).  We are fortunate to get two free tickets to raffle off to two lucky students.    Who are the lucky students?  It could be you. All you need to do is to send an email to Gaoxiang (Eric) Wang (email posted in Slack) with a short message about why you should be given the free ticket.  Deadline for entry submissions will be on the 15th (next Monday) More creative entries will prevail!

Each ticket is valued at S$240; with even the student tickets valued at S$80.  So why not do a little bit of work to try to get yourself a free ticket?

PyCon SG is a conference about the programming language Python. It is a community effort driven by the members of the Python User Group Singapore. Grab the chance to see how Python is used in real life by others and you may apply the skills you learn in your Orbital Project. 

There will be tutorials and EDU Summit happening on June 17th, while the actual conference talks will be on June 18th and 19th. For schedule details, please refer to and For pricing details, pleaser refer to