Computer Science - Mimie Liotsiou

Mimie completed the International Baccalaureate Diploma at the Anatolia American College in Thessaloniki, Greece, before coming to St John's. At the IB, she studied Mathematics, Physics, Economics and English at Higher Level, and Modern Greek and Business Management at Standard Level. She is now preparing to start an MSc in Operational Research in the UK in September 2013.

'When applying to study at Cambridge I made an open application, so I felt extremely lucky having been placed at St John's, one of the most famous and iconic Cambridge colleges. John's has beautiful grounds and an excellent location, being very close to the Computer Lab and also to the town centre. Right on John's doorstep, stretching from the John's Forecourt gate to the Magdalene bridge, is one of prettiest and most cosmopolitan streets in town, populated with great cafes and restaurants - a personal favourite. The food in College is great (especially in Hall), and the facilities are top-level and well-kept, with very good accommodation available in all three years. A big highlight every year is the renowned John's May Ball. There is a wide range of societies and events in College, in addition to the University-wide ones, and during my studies I was a member of the College Jazz Society, Film Society, and Photographic Society, as well as the Cambridge Mixtape Society. John's being a big college, you get to meet and become friends with people from a wide range of subjects and backgrounds. All this makes John's a very friendly, comfortable and fun college. Moreover, the Computer Science community at John's is very friendly, organising talks and dinners, while the Directors of Studies and Tutor are always very helpful and supportive.

The Computer Science course at Cambridge is one of the top Computer Science courses globally. It is an intensive three-year course, covering a wide spectrum of topics in great depth. This gives you a solid and thorough grounding in Computer Science, while also offering the freedom to specialise in pretty much any area of Computer Science later on. In the first year, the Natural Sciences component is an interesting element, and you can explore the different available options before you make a final decision. I chose to do Physics, which was an interesting but also quite demanding option, and I found the Natural Sciences Maths B course very enjoyable. The Computer Science courses in the first year teach a wide range of general Computer Science, on which the next two years build with more advanced and more specialised material. From the second year onwards, you will get increasingly more power in tailoring your studies to your interests by choosing which courses to follow. I tended to enjoy a variety of courses, such as Computer Systems Modelling, Artificial Intelligence, Algorithms, Computer Vision, Temporal Logic, and Comparative Architectures, and in fact the material from many of these courses (and from a few others) came in very handy during my third-year dissertation.

One very exciting aspect of the course is the second-year group project competition, where students work in teams to build a piece of software or hardware commissioned by a company. This is a very fun, exciting and valuable real-world experience. Doing a summer internship is another great way of gaining further Computer Science experience, and my Directors of Studies at John's very much encouraged this. In the summer after my first year at Cambridge, I completed an internship at the University of Thessaloniki in Greece, and the following summer I interned at Morgan Stanley in London. Both experiences were very interesting, and quite useful preparation for my final-year dissertation at Cambridge, during which I very much enjoyed collaborating with my supervisor in exploring my chosen topic and conducting research.

In fact, everyone at the Computer Lab is very friendly and active. There are talks and seminars organised at the Lab on a regular basis, and a Computer Science careers fair is held there every year.

Overall, the Cambridge Computer Science course is a very high-level and thoroughly interesting course, and John's is a great college in every way, so I highly recommend applying.'

- Mimie Liotsiou (graduated 2012), March 2013.