Computer Science masterclasses for Year 11/12 Kent and London students (starts 12 June)

Olivia Miller
Picture by Pixabay

Kent is hosting a series of four virtual Royal Institution (RI) Computer Science Masterclasses for Year 11 and Year 12 students.

Running from Saturday 12 June to Sunday 10 July, students from Kent and London schools will have the opportunity to explore different areas of computer science to gain a deeper understanding of the scope, creativity, relevance, and potential applications of far-reaching science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) subjects.

The Royal Institution Masterclass programme aims to open young people’s eyes to the diversity of STEM. With no face-to-face in-house Royal Institution Masterclasses running in the 2020-21 Academic Year due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the University of Kent has expanded its Kent school provision to invite students from London schools who would have otherwise missed out. Students participating in the programme have been nominated by their teachers.

Experts from Kent’s School of Computing, School of Engineering and Digital Arts (EDA) and School of Mathematics, Statistics and Actuarial Science (SMSAS) will lead the extra-curricular workshops, providing students with insights into Computer Science applications in today’s world, possible STEM careers and higher education subjects.

The following masterclasses will be held:

3700 years of Computer Science: From Ancient Babylon to Quantum Computing

Dr Carlos Perez Delgado, a Lecturer at the School of Computing, will explore what makes computer science a science. The session will provide students with an understanding of what computer science is, when and where it started, and where it is heading.

Predicting the results of the US presidential elections

Led by Dr Eleni Matechou, Senior Lecturer in Statistics at the School of Mathematics, Statistics and Actuarial Science, this session will teach students how to fit and interpret a model for predicting the outcome of US presidential elections based on the economic growth at the end of the preceding administration.

So what can we do with some electronics and a potato?

Dr Robert Horne, Lecturer in Electronic Systems at the School of Engineering and Digital Arts will host a masterclass about using an online Arduino simulator and common electronic components to explore the power of potatoes.

Computer Science and Social Media

Social media gives people everywhere an opportunity to openly share their thoughts, feelings and experiences in real-time. Ben Doran, Causeway Associate in Computer Science at The Royal Institution, will encourage students to think about how to approach social media posts as raw data and how the tools of computer science can be used to uncover what they tell us about the world.

Dr Rowena Paget, Deputy Director of Kent’s Division of Computing, Engineering and Mathematical Sciences, said: ‘We are delighted to be running Computer Science Masterclasses this year, after many successful years of holding RI Masterclasses for Mathematics. With the sessions taking place virtually, there is more accessibility for students further afield to take part. It is great to be reaching those in London who would have otherwise missed out on the opportunity and experience.’

Professor Peter Rodgers, Head of the School of Computing, said: ‘Computer Science is vital to the UK’s economy and leads to a wide variety of exciting tech career paths. We are looking forward to raising awareness and showcasing the wide range of STEM subjects on offer at Kent.’