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Toby

Computer Science

I joined Jesus in 2011 to read Computer Science. At school I had done a lot of mathematics, so the theoretical nature of the Cambridge course appealed to me. As well as a strong theoretical grounding, however, the course gives a thorough introduction to many practical aspects early on, such as chip design and a variety of programming languages. There are plenty of opportunities later in the course to expand on these, and the result is an education that is both wide ranging and in depth.

I took a particular interest in artificial intelligence early on, and this led me to continue to Part III of the course. I graduated in 2015 and have begun my PhD in Machine Learning this year. It is a source of continual surprise to me how obscure corners of the course (regarding which the sceptical student might ask 'Why are they teaching this?') very often come up in unrelated areas, academic and practical. It is perhaps one of the particular merits of the course here that where other courses might spend a lot of time preparing their students to use specific technologies, Cambridge instead teaches underlying concepts, so that students will be able rapidly to apply their knowledge to new technologies and even invent their own.

I feel that Jesus strikes a rare balance between enabling and encouraging success in its students, and permitting fulfilled extracurricular existences. When I joined the College I also became a choral scholar, singing four services per week with the choir here, as well as recording CDs, performing concerts, and attending international tours (highlights so far include Ukraine, the USA, India, and Sri Lanka). I continue to sing in the choir four years on.

It has occurred to me that another of the great successes of places like Cambridge is that although students have plenty of contact with others studying their subjects, they live in Colleges where they get to know people studying other things too. This is something that I think Jesus has judged very well; with approximately 150 students in each of the three years of most undergraduate courses, the community is a good size to allow cross fertilisation of ideas. Too many students and the subject groups are large enough that students don't need to look elsewhere for interaction, too few and the range of experience is limited.

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