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Computer science ‘cheats’ exposed at second Scottish university

Software analyses 'their' work

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A bunch of student cheats has been exposed thanks to a computer programme developed by boffins at Glasgow University. This is the second time this summer that a Scottish university has used software to detect academic trickery among its protégés The programme analysed the work of over 200 computing science students at Glasgow University. After thorough testing, which involved 26,000 comparisons between course work, it found that 59 students appeared to have been copying answers, Saturday’s Guardian newspaper reports. The university, which had previously warned all 230 fresher students on the course that the new programme would track down any cheating, let 11 of those accused off the hook. But 25 had their marks downgraded, and a further unlucky 16 were reported to the Senate to be disciplined (i.e. sent to the headmaster’s office for a good thrashing). These first year students were caught out by a programme which is based on software that hunts for similarities in genes and DNA. The programme is able to spot offenders by rooting out deliberate differences made in plagiarised work. Rob Irving, who developed the fraudster-finding technology, said his programme had alerted lecturers to similarities. Coursework was then checked by hand. Dr Irving now plans to make a fortune out of students who prefer to use their afternoons getting lager down their necks instead of getting their heads down in the library. He wants to sell his Big Brother IT masterpiece to other universities.®

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