Computer Science Summer School - Debate Chamber

Computer Science Summer School

‘Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.’  

This is classic sci-fi writer Arthur C. Clarke’s famous third law, and few phrases better sum up how the outsider must view the remarkable progress being made in the domain of computer science. From artificially intelligent cars, to translator software capable of creating its own intermediary language, the technology we interact with every day is increasing in complexity at astonishing speed.

It is likely already impossible for any one person to understand it all, but at the heart of every one of these developments one can find the core fundamentals of computer science. Once mastered, these open the gateways to a field which is, without a doubt, going to be one of the most significant drivers of our future.

The Computer Science Summer School is a chance for students to venture further into this world, and in particular to explore some topics that they may not have encountered at school. We will do this, as is only appropriate, by respecting one more piece of sci-fi prescience, Clarke’s second law: “The only way of discovering the limits of the possible is to venture a little way past them into the impossible.”

As part of this course, students will explore both the foundations of computer science, and its potential to produce transformative innovations. It should be noted that this is neither a software engineering course, nor a strictly theoretical one. The subject will be explored in a holistic manner: with theory informing practice; and practice, in turn, targeting our theoretical efforts. Most days will explore a theoretical topic in the morning, followed by a practical project in the afternoon.

Sessions take place in small classes (typically 14 students) led in a seminar-style by an expert tutor. Theoretical sessions will place emphasis on student-led group discussion, and practical sessions on engaging with others to explore new ideas, and solve problems.

Amongst other things, topics for the week will include: The history, future, and social implications of the computer; object-oriented programming; computer music; logic; quantum computing; algorithms; computer ethics; software analysis and design; artificial intelligence; and machine learning.

‘I fell in love with computer science when I discovered the satisfaction of being able to sit anywhere, with a computer, and create. The realisation of theory in programming offered a creative outlet other subjects couldn’t match. What has made me stay is the infinite variety within the discipline – there truly is something for everyone, it’s impossible to become bored! For the problem solvers there are algorithms; for the creative there is design; for the hands-on there is hardware and programming; for the hands-off there is logic and ethics.

What gives computer science the edge, however, is the knowledge that you are working in the most influential, and fastest evolving discipline today. Every day, computer science drives the world, both technologically and socially, farther into a future previously only dreamt of. From artificially intelligent personal assistants to self-driving cars – computer scientists are changing the way we live. Best of all, more than ever before, anyone can become a part of it.’

Alec Howells, Computer Science Tutor

Practical Details

The Computer Science Summer School is open to students aged 15 – 18 who have completed a full GCSE in Computer Science, or at least one year of a Computer Science A-Level.

For 2020, this course will take place 27th – 31st July.

Interested in Computer Science but not currently studying it at school? See here for detailed requirements for the course. Students with a sufficient level of independent study are welcome to apply.

The venue for this course is Student Central, University of London, Bloomsbury Campus, Central London – you can see more venue and travel details herePlease note that accommodation is not included, and must be arranged independently if required.

The cost of the five day Computer Science Summer School is £520 per student. To reserve your place you will need to pay a 25% non-refundable deposit, with the balance of the payment due eight weeks in advance of the course start date.

Please note that we will have a number of partial (up to 90%) fees bursaries available for students who would otherwise have financial difficulty in attending – see more details here. Where necessary, laptops will be provided for students in receipt of a fees bursary for the course.

To ensure that your computer is capable of running the necessary software we recommend the following minimum specifications:

  • Microsoft Windows 7/8/10 (32- or 64-bit) or Mac OS X 10.10 (Yosemite) or higher
  • i5 Processor
  • 4GB Ram minimum

To express your interest in the Computer Science Summer School, or if you have any further questions, simply call us on 0800 810 1058, email us on info@debatechamber.com, or book online.

Debate Chamber offers a limited number of full and partial bursaries to students who could not otherwise afford to attend. If you are applying for a bursary please do not complete this form, but instead complete the ‘Bursary Application Form’ here.