Jacobie Mouton received the Faculty of Science's Van der Walt-medal as the best final year student in Computer Science in 2019.
Mrs Nettie van der Walt (83), widow of the mathematician and computer scientist, the late Prof Andries van der Walt, presented her with the medal during a special awards function on 12 March 2020. Jacobie also received a money prize from the software company Entersekt.
The other prizewinners were Brendan Watling (best first year student), Caleb Zeeman (best second year student) and Johannes Coetzee (best BScHons-student). Three BScHons students also received prize money for their projects: David Baker Effendi (best honours project), Heinrich Cilliers (best data science project) and Ryan Lang (best machine learning project). Their prizes were sponsored by technology companies Techairos, Epi-Use Labs, Alphawave and Praelexis and Capitec Bank.
Jacobie says she decided to register for a BSc in Mathematical Sciences with computer science as main subject without any previous exposure to computer science or coding: “It was a bit of a shot in the dark. I suppose I was attracted to the idea of solving problems in a creative and mathematical way."
For her BScHons project she will be working on a problem in the field of computer vision and image processing, building an identification system to distinguish leopards from each other, based on photos of their spots.
Notwithstanding her good performance, she admits that she is still a bit intimidated by this field and the large amount of underlying knowledge associated with it: “With each new problem or project, it usually takes me a few days to figure out where to start," she adds.
In 2016 Jacobie was the top performing learner in her school, and third in the Western Cape. She was also the best second year student in applied mathematics in 2018, with an average of 99.5%.