Netherlands, Amsterdam

Big Ideas in Computer Science: Understanding the Digitized World

when 28 July 2018 - 11 August 2018
language English
duration 2 weeks
credits 3 ECTS
fee EUR 1150

“Computer science is no more about computers than astronomy is about telescopes.” – Edgar W. Dijkstra.

Interaction with computers has become a big part of our daily life, but they do much more than help us with practicalities. They are tools for understanding the fundamentals of information, processes and human thinking. The insights they have brought us are some of the most important in human history, with far-reaching consequences for society. In this course you learn to look with the eyes of a computer scientist, to understand the potential and limitations of computing and to apply these insights to such topics as social networks, biological processes, language and consciousness.

Specific subjects we investigate are:

• The science of algorithms, their power, universality and limits. This includes some programming, but for the most part you explore algorithmics away from the computer.
• The science of data: encoding, compression and pattern recognition.
• Taming complexity: dividing the problem, the search as a general heuristic and quantum computing.
• Computing and philosophy: the ethics of big data and AI, free will and consciousness.

Course leader

Ellen Maassen MSc

Target group

Any student or professional who feels that computing is so important in today’s world that they should know its basics and understand its implications for science and society. No programming or mathematical knowledge is assumed. It may also be informative for those with a programming background, but covers material they will already be familiar with. Our courses are multi-disciplinary and therefore are open to students and professionals with a wide variety of backgrounds.

Course aim

Learning objectives:
• You understand the possibilities – and limitations – of computing, and how they shape our world, our organizations and our thinking.
• You can apply computational thinking in a range of areas, even ones apparently unrelated to computing.
• You can interact knowledgeably with programmers and other IT specialists.

Credits info

3 ECTS
Contact Hours: 45
If you want to earn more credits you can take courses in our other sessions to create a 4 or 6 week programme.

Fee info

EUR 1150: The tuition fee includes:
• Airport pick-up service
• Welcome goodie bag
• Orientation programme
• Course excursions
• On-site support
• Emergency assistance
• Transcript of records after completion of the course

An early bird discount of €150 is available for students who apply and pay before 15 March, and students from VU Amsterdam as well as from exchange partner universities will receive a €250 discount. You apply for the discount simply by indicating that you are currently a student at VU Amsterdam or at a partner university in the online application.

There are also discounts for students who attend multiple sessions, combine 2 courses and receive a €200 discount and combine 3 to receive a €300 discount. All courses include excursions. We will also organize trips and excursions as part of our social programme, which is a great way to get to know your fellow students and learn more about Amsterdam and the Netherlands. The social programme is not included in the tuition fee.

Furnished accommodation is available. Various housing options will be offered.

Scholarships

The VU Amsterdam Summer School offers ten scholarships that cover the full tuition and housing fees of one course. Information about how to apply for the scholarship will be posted on the VU Amsterdam Summer School website.

Register for this course
on course website