TUT’s Physics Department hosts national summer school on coding and machine learning

7 March 2023

The Tshwane University of Technology’s Department of Physics in the Faculty of Science started the year on a high note by hosting a chapter of the National Python Coding and Machine Learning Summer School from 31 January – 10 February 2023.

Over 600 students from all 28 universities in the country and some universities in the African continent attended the Summer School, which was streamlined live on Zoom. 

TUT took part in this initiative for the very first time, all thanks to Prof Mandla Msimanga, Professor at the Department of Physics, who has been spearheading the project and making certain that the University becomes a member of the National Institute for Theoretical and Computational Sciences (NITheCS).  

“It is worth noting that not only physics students attended the summer school, but a few other postgraduates from the faculty of Engineering and the Built Environment, as well as from external institutions such as the Agricultural Research Council (ARC)t,” explained Prof Msimanga.

Prof Msimanga further indicated that the Summer School offered a basic programming course to introduce students to the high-level Python programming language and to the Linux (Ubuntu) command line and bash scripting. He said these are essential high-tech tools for students and researchers in the physical, mathematical and engineering sciences.

Students were given daily tutorials, and quizzes and were challenged to actively solve problems and learn on their own.

One of Prof Msimanga’s postgraduate students, Keletso Lebesana, stationed at iThemba LABS, lifted the TUT flag high by being one of the top three students nationally. When asked about her achievement, Keletso had this to say: “I am very excited about this! As I continue with my self-development journey, this achievement makes me think that not even the sky will limit what I can do or achieve.”

Dr Nangamso Nyangiwe, who was the coordinator of the Summer School said that the initiative was a great platform for our postgraduate students to learn coding from experts, and also an opportunity for our students to benchmark with peers from other institutions.

He added: “Having a TUT student receive the third prize nationally out of over 600 students means we are producing quality students who are future-ready.

Looking into the future, Prof Msimanga added that the TUT Physics Department aims to actively promote NITheCS activities within the institution in line with the national 4IR mantra. 

Some of the participants at the two-week summer school.

For more information on the Tshwane University of Technology, please contact Phaphama Tshisikhawe, Corporate Affairs and Marketing.
Tel: +27 12 382 4711  Email: tshisikhawerpt@tut.ac.za