Open Day Presentation: Why I love to be a Computer Scientist

On Saturday April 8 I held a presentation at the Open day for prospective students who are interested in the study program in Computer Science. Remarkably the Johan Bernoulli Institute at the University of Groningen (RUG) attracted over 100 participants filling the lecture hall with pupils and their parents. After the introduction I presented my personal reasons to study Computer Science, introduced what that field has to offer, provided a glimpse into several projects performed at our institution followed by a very recent biomedical hands on example lecture tailored to the audience.

The organizers:

Martijn Luinstra, Emilio Oldenziel, Guus Klinkenberg en Carolien Braams from the promoteam Computing Science organized and held several talks including a general introduction, explanation of courses in the Bachelor program and individual projects.
Martijn is finishing his bachelor degree and gave the introductory lecture and a short presentation about a first years course, namely Program Correctness. This is a unique mathematical course the Rug offers only. Emilio is finishing his bachelor as well and gave a short presentation of a bachelor project about the visualization of the cosmic web. Guus Klinkenberg is a second years master student on the dssc track and gave a short presentation about the second years course “Software Engineering”. Carolien Braams is a second years bachelor student who gave a short presentation about the first year’s course “Introduction to scientific Computing”.

My presentation:

When I was a pupil I knew I wanted to study - I simply did not know what. Many fields like Mathematics, Physic and Biochemistry are interesting and I could not decide. A colleague and friend who studied computer science told me that with this field I could follow all of these interests if I want. Turned out he was right.
Following the arguments by Peter J. Denning I explained how multisided and interdisciplinarity Computer Science really is. It is “science, Art, can surprise and has future” - not to mention the lucrative career opportunities. I gave examples for all those points referring to courses and research projects offered in Groningen and by myself. Finally, I presented a biomedical example lecture of ‘the art of problem solving’ based on computer aided diagnosis of Inborn Disorders using the Learning Vector Quantization algorithm.

As a finishing remark: Computer Science is less about computers, but more about modelling of information processes. Therefore, the Dutch name “Informatica” is much more suitable. I hope to see many people of the audience again - starting the bachelor program at our institute.