Computer Science with High Performance Computing (BSc)

Please note that this course is currently under review. Therefore the information shown is subject to change and indicative only. The review is expected to be completed by February 2017. This page will be updated after that date and will then represent the basis on which the University intends to deliver the course

The exciting and dynamic world of computer science is at the heart of many aspects of modern life, and the BSc Computer Science will give you both the theoretical and practical knowledge needed to become a part of that world.

Computer science lab 4

The BSc Computer Science with High Performance Computing degree aims to give you a dynamic, theory-based and practical understanding of computer science with a strong emphasis on the techniques and technologies that can tackle the most computationally demanding tasks in science and business.

Students on this course will develop transferable technical, analytical and professional skills, supported by a broad awareness of current technology trends, particularly in the field of High Performance Computing. The course covers a mixture of core techniques and concepts and evolving, technology-based subject matter.

Increasing volumes of data and transactions to be processed by businesses and scientific projects alike has meant that specialised tools, techniques and technologies are needed to complete tasks within the required time. This course studies and applies some of the principles of parallel and distributed computation and explores the nature of cloud-based computing.

Graduates with the ability to solve computationally demanding tasks, often on a large scale, are valuable to a wide range of employers.

Distinctive features

The course does not require any prior knowledge or experience of computer science. You begin your studies with a month-long module which establishes core concepts and competencies and supports the transition to studying at a university. You will develop your understanding of computer science through project work and module options. Dedicated cluster, cloud and graphics processing facilities are available to support teaching and project work.

The School has a long and successful history of High Performance Computing research applied to scientific and business problems. It is this research and our experienced research staff that inform the teaching across a number of specialised modules.
 

The facilities at Cardiff are outstanding and all staff are tremendously helpful. The relationship between students and staff means you know who to approach at any point in your university career, whether it be for an academic or personal issue. We have 17 libraries across campus and in the department specifically, there is 24/7 access to IT labs in addition to a host of other learning spaces in the Students' Union.

Elliot Howells, Undergraduate Student

Key facts

UCAS CodeGLGK
Next intakeSeptember 2017
Duration3 years
ModeFull time
Typical places availableThe School typically has around 120 places available.
Typical applications receivedThe School typically receives around 1,000 applications.
Typical A level offerABB-AAB from three A Levels.
Typical Welsh Baccalaureate offerWBQ core will be accepted in lieu of one A-level (at the grades specified above), excluding Mathematics where required.
Typical International Baccalaureate offer33 points.
Other qualificationsApplications from those offering alternative qualifications are welcome. Specific admissions and selection criteria for this degree programme can be found online. Detailed alternative entry requirements are available for this course
Admissions tutor(s)

This three-year course begins by introducing basic computing skills and concepts which will underpin the degree. Short projects in year one are followed by a substantial team project in year two, when you use new skills and knowledge to design and implement a software system. In year three, you will focus on emerging technologies and research-led options, and undertake an individual project themed around High Performance Computing. Your understanding of High Performance Computing will be demonstrated by completing an individual project.

The modules shown are an example of the typical curriculum and will be reviewed prior to the 2017/18 academic year. The final modules will be published by July 2017.

Year one

Modules taught in the first two semesters will introduce fundamental computing skills and concepts that form the basis of your degree. This includes the programming of algorithms using languages such as Python and Java™, an understanding of Internet and web technologies, computer architecture and operating systems, software engineering principles and mathematics for computer science. You will be expected to develop new technical and professional skills, and to demonstrate individual creativity and originality throughout the year.

Module titleModule codeCredits
Architecture and Operating SystemsCM120510 credits
Computational ThinkingCM110120 credits
Developing Quality SoftwareCM120220 credits
Maths for Computer ScienceCM120810 credits
Web ApplicationsCM110220 credits
Professional SkillsCM120110 credits
Problem Solving With PythonCM110320 credits
Object Oriented Java ProgrammingCM120910 credits

Year two

Core modules taught in year two introduce advanced topics; some choice is introduced into the degree through optional modules. The structure and processing of data is further explored and simple algorithms are expanded into applications that are able to communicate via networks. Skills developed so far are applied during a team project to professionally design and implement a software system with a High Performance Computing element.

Module titleModule codeCredits
Algorithms and Data StructuresCM230320 credits
Database SystemsCM210210 credits
Group ProjectCM230520 credits
Communication Networks and Pervasive ComputingCM230220 credits
Human Computer InteractionCM210110 credits
Object Oriented ApplicationsCM220110 credits
Module titleModule codeCredits
InformaticsCM220310 credits
Data Processing and VisualisationCM210510 credits
Computational MathematicsCM210410 credits
Scientific ComputingCM220810 credits
Introduction to the Theory of ComputationCM220710 credits

Year three

In year three you will focus on emerging technologies and advanced topics which are often informed by the School’s research. There are a number of optional modules to choose from depending on your specific interests. You will develop applications which demonstrate performance and efficiency with the potential to scale to larger problems and gain first-hand knowledge at lectures delivered by researchers in the field of High Performance Computing.

Module titleModule codeCredits
Emerging TechnologiesCM320220 credits
One Semester Individual Project - 40CM320340 credits
High Performance ComputingCM310320 credits
Module titleModule codeCredits
Large-Scale DatabasesCM310420 credits
Knowledge ManagementCM310720 credits
Artificial IntelligenceCM311210 credits
Combinatorial OptimisationCM310910 credits
The University is committed to providing a wide range of module options where possible, but please be aware that whilst every effort is made to offer choice this may be limited in certain circumstances. This is due to the fact that some modules have limited numbers of places available, which are allocated on a first-come, first-served basis, while others have minimum student numbers required before they will run, to ensure that an appropriate quality of education can be delivered; some modules require students to have already taken particular subjects, and others are core or required on the programme you are taking. Modules may also be limited due to timetable clashes, and although the University works to minimise disruption to choice, we advise you to seek advice from the relevant School on the module choices available.

How will I be taught?

The School of Computer Science & Informatics has a strong and active research culture, which informs and directs our teaching. We are committed to providing teaching of the highest standard. We received an excellent report in the most recent Quality Assurance Agency (QAA) review and BCS, the Chartered Institute for IT, regularly reviews our undergraduate degree courses.


Key skills such as programming are taught through a combination of lectures and lab-based practical sessions. Further support mechanisms are used to help digest material. These include example classes, tutorials and help sessions, amounting to a total of between 15-20 formal contact hours a week in year one.

Teaching delivery in years two and three mirrors that of year one, but there are fewer formal contact hours as you will have acquired the skills needed to take control of your own learning by these latter stages of the course.

Project

You will undertake project work throughout the course, with the opportunity to exercise increasing independence at each level.

In year one, you will participate in short team project work. The tasks are well defined and enable you to put into practice knowledge and skills acquired earlier in the academic year.

In year two, you will undertake a group project fostering systems design, interpersonal and presentation skills. Each group is monitored by a supervisor with whom the group must keep in regular contact.

Year three individual projects give you the chance to demonstrate your ability to build upon and exploit knowledge and skills gained in earlier years and will be based around the theme of High Performance Computing.

How will I be supported?

The course makes use of Cardiff University’s Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) Learning Central to provide course materials, and additional information is provided online.

The School prides itself on offering a comprehensive support structure to ensure positive student/staff relationships. You will be assigned a member of staff to act as your personal tutor, who will serve as a point of contact to advise on both academic and personal matters in an informal and confidential manner.

You will see your personal tutor on average once a month during your first year of study. During years two and three there is a reduced schedule of contact sessions, which takes into account the increasing academic and time demands as you progress. Outside scheduled tutor sessions, senior personal tutors run an open door policy and will be available to advise and respond to any personal matters.

How will I be assessed?

Progress in each module will be assessed during or at the end of the semester in which it is taught. All modules include assessments, including written examinations or assessed coursework, or a combination of both. The format of the assessments depends on the learning outcomes of each specific module.

Most modules include coursework elements for assessment. The importance of good referencing, use of libraries and web-based information retrieval as a prelude to critical, independent study is developed. Assessed essays and reports are used to encourage knowledge and understanding, critical analysis, development of reasoned argument and synthesis of conclusions.

Practical assignments assess programming and design skills. These typically address small, well-defined problems at the start of the course, and become progressively open-ended. Tests are also used to assess knowledge, skills and techniques, which a professional may be expected to use in a time-constrained situation. You can also be assessed by poster presentation. 

Feedback:

Feedback on assessed work will normally be made available no later than four working weeks after the assessment deadline. We recognise the importance not only of assessing the quality of the work submitted, but also of giving useful feedback which will help you in your understanding of the subject being assessed. Feedback is used to identify what has been done well, why a particular mark was given, and what can be done to improve in the future. Feedback is given in a variety of ways including oral feedback given by staff on an informal, ongoing basis; written feedback on individual submissions, and written or oral feedback given to students as a group in tutorials, discussion classes and problems classes.

What skills will I practise and develop?

You will acquire both discipline specific skills and important employability skills. These include:

  • information literacy skills;
  • career development planning and lifelong learning;
  • ability to study independently.

Skilled computer scientists are in extremely high demand. This means the employment prospects for graduates in the computing and ICT industry are very strong. You will be equipped with transferrable skills that open doors to careers in many sectors.

In recent years, approximately 90% of the School’s graduates were in employment or engaged in further study within six months of graduation.

Recent statistics show that the vast majority of our graduates are following their chosen career paths in roles such as Software Engineer, Web Developer, Computer Programmer, Associate Software Developer, Business Analyst and Systems Development Officer. They go on to work for  companies including Airbus Group, Amazon, BBC, BT, Cardiff University, Capgemini, Confused.com, GCHQ, IBM, Lloyds Banking Group, MoD, Morgan Stanley, Sky, South Wales Police and Thomson Reuters. Others have chosen further study or research at Cardiff or other top universities.

Tuition fees

UK and EU students (2017/18)

Please see our fee amounts page for the latest information.

Students from outside the EU (2017/18)

Please see our fee amounts page for the latest information.


Key Information Sets (KIS) make it easy for prospective students to compare information about full or part time undergraduate courses, and are available on the Unistats website.