I completed my undergraduate degree, MSci Joint Maths and Computer Science (`JMC') at Imperial in 2007. Four years of exposure to the exciting real-world problems facing us as computer scientists led me to the realisation that I wanted to be one of the people at the forefront of finding the solutions. The obvious choice was thus to embark on a Ph. D., which I am currently completing here in Imperial's Department of Computing.
The original key attraction for me of Imperial was that it offers a proper joint mathematics and computer science course. Most of the other top universities will force you to `make up your mind' after a year or so, which I found to be a concerning attitude given that mathematics underpins such a large cross-section of theoretical computer science. Imperial's JMC degree manages to provide a solid grounding in the fundamentals of both mathematics and computer science, creating a new breed of graduate able to bridge the gaps between the two disciplines, to their mutual benefit. Furthermore, Imperial's outstanding reputation, facilities and position in the centre of London served to make the decision a no-brainer for me.
I had a very successful undergraduate experience, thanks in no small part to the research opportunities the Department offers to motivated undergraduates, something not encountered in many other universities. If you are willing to put the work in, you may well graduate with experiences, knowledge and skills normally only obtained by studying for a higher research degree, talk about value for money! For example, my third-year group project work led to a paper in an international conference and a trip to Canada to present it. The Department also goes above and beyond the call of duty in supporting recognition of students' work at the national level. In my final year, the Department nominated me for the prestigious Science, Engineering and Technology Computational Science Student of the Year Award, which I subsequently went on to win based on my undergraduate dissertation.
Who knows what the future will hold, but I can't imagine a better possible foundation for a career built around solving some of the most interesting problems facing us today!
Name: Richard Hayden
Job: PhD Student
Company: Imperial College London
Graduated: MSci Joint Maths and Computer Science