University Life - Study

FAQs about Computer Science

Virus and Hacking Lab (A.K.A: The Sandpit)

Virus and Hacking Lab (A.K.A: The Sandpit)

Do you need to be good at Maths to do Masters in Computer Science?

Thankfully you don’t need to be a Maths guru to get into Cardiff’s School of Computer Science! In fact, as long as you can code (in any language), you have a fighting chance! If you can’t code, then you should be reading the blog post of someone doing an MSc in Computing (after having read mine, liked it, shared it and followed me on Twitter).

How much time do we spend coding?

Good question. As an MSc student, you should have a fair amount of technical knowledge anyways, so the content you learn is more theoretical as it is assumed that you’re capable of translating the theory you learn  into code independently.

So wait, we don’t do any programming?

Depending on what modules you take, you could do plenty of programming. However, regardless of the modules you take, there is a compulsory module (Programming Paradigms) in which you’ll learn approximately twenty languages.

Really? Name all the languages!

Apple Macintosh Lab

Apple Macintosh Lab

I haven’t finished that module so I haven’t done all twenty but here’s a taster: Pascal, Java, C, Haskell, Lisp, Scala, Prolog, Ada….. That enough for you?

What about CAML?

Can you refrain from making stuff up or cracking childish jokes? This is a postgraduate blog. Jokes would not be in keeping with the tone of this blog! Next you’ll be sending me pictures of your foot. Some people….

Do you recommend we get a laptop or desktop computer?

So you don’t actually need either as the department provides all the software you could possibly need, however, if you’re planning on getting one, I would HIGHLY recommend a laptop as you will do a lot of group-work and it’s really beneficial being able to code amongst a group.

No seriously, CAML’s an actual language! It has a Wikipedia page

This is probably a good time to mention that given that Cardiff is a world-leading RESEARCH institution therefore you will be required to analyse and summarise peer-reviewed academic papers for most of your coursework. With time and practice, you’ll get much better at that but it can be quite daunting to begin with. So, no, Wikipedia will not be considered a viable source.

Windows Lab

Windows Lab

How much choice do we have in the direction our course takes?

So like with any course there are optional modules that you can pick and choose to tailor the course to suit your needs. However the school strongly encourages you to pick modules that fall into a similar research category. There are three categories, namely, Informatics, Distributed Computing and Visual Computing. You must have all the modules for at least one of these groups and the rest of your modules can be as varied as you want.

OK, here’s a paper on CAML.

FINE! It’s a language! But you will NOT be learning it! And before you ask, the same is true for the language CHILL.

Linux Lab (My personal favourite)

Linux Lab (My personal favourite)

Probably fair to assume the same goes for the Curry programming language?

You there?

Tell me about the dissertation

You can either propose your own topic which can be as varied as the Welsh weather (during the summer) or you pick a topic proposed by a lecturer. If you propose your own topic, you could do something with an X-Box or even create an Android application (like myself). Your limit is your imagination (and the rules of physics).

If I was so impressed/amused/inspired by your blog posts that I wanted to meet you to talk further and meet the real you, what should I do?

I’ll be at the Cardiff University Computer Science stall for the Postgraduate Information Fair (along with some lecturers) on the 23rd of April. Check the website for more details. No pictures please.

On a completely different note, will we learn about the Candle programming language?
Must you rekindle an old flame? I can’t believe I just did that…. I seriously need a holiday…