School of Engineering


Mr Ross Holder.

Ross Holder Graduates with a Computer Engineering Master’s Degree Cum Laude

High achiever, Mr Ross Holder, has done the Discipline of Electrical, Electronic And Computer Engineering proud by completing his master’s degree cum laude at the University of KwaZulu-Natal.

Holder’s research focused on Facial Expression Recognition (FER) for crowd monitoring.  ‘By identifying the emotion of individuals in a crowd from their facial expression, I was able to create an algorithm that recognised when groups of individuals within the crowd started to become aggressive and posed a threat to public safety. Security officials could then be alerted to this threat and remove the aggressors from the crowd as soon as possible; greatly improving public safety at mainstream events,’ said Holder.

Holder is currently employed by the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) in Pretoria and hopes to contribute to projects at the CSIR that will improve the lives of South Africans.  However, he also intends on pursuing his PhD through the CSIR.  ‘Although challenging at times, studying at UKZN was an insightful and invaluable experience that taught me many skills, like the importance of time management and project planning, which I have already put to use in the workplace,’ said Holder.

He was grateful to his parents, lecturers and Master of Science supervisor Professor Jules Tapamo, for their motivation and support.

During his spare time, Holder enjoys spending time outdoors and playing tennis.

‘Although pursuing any degree may seem daunting at first, I would encourage anyone with a passion for learning and strong work ethic to pursue a degree in Engineering. There is a huge feeling of self-accomplishment on completion of an Engineering degree. At UKZN, there are numerous resources that are available to you to help you achieve this. Having a degree in Engineering will open a world of new and exciting possibilities for you in the future, whether in the form of furthering your studies or joining the workplace,’ said Holder to other aspiring students.

Words: Prashina Budree