Computer Science Courses at EPFL in Switzerland

by George Popescu

EPFL, or the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne, is renowned by its highly selective Bachelor, Masters and PhD programs. The faculty of Computer Science or in particular, is one of the best in Europe and in the world. Not only that EPFL attracts very capable and bright students but the university also trains them to become experts in the field of Networking, Security, Theoretical Computer Science, Algorithms, Image Science, among others.

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Courses at EPFL

The courses offered in Computer Science at EPFL are grouped by year. By selecting the most recent year one can easily browse through courses offered each semester, such as: Linear Algebra, Analysis, Discrete Structures, Information Sciences for the first semester of Bachelor. Besides these “basic” courses, EPFL students have the option of choosing more advanced ones that correspond to their degree of knowledge and self-orientation, for instance: “Advanced computer graphics”, “Automatic speech processing”, “Concurrent algorithms”, “Intelligent agents”, etc.

The faculty makes all of these options publicly available so that prospective students can follow the educational path they want. The name of the teacher is also available as well as the number of ECTS credit points, type and period of evaluation.

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Computer science specialisations for Master students

There are also few specializations offered for Master students in Computer Science. The first option is supervised by Prof. M. Odersky and is titled: “Foundations of software”. This contains courses that allow students to develop more their coding skills while working on hands-on projects intensively. The main courses in this group are: “Advanced algorithms” (one of the most difficult course to follow at the IC Faculty), “Distributed algorithms”, “Foundations of software”, “Middleware” and “Advanced compiler construction”.

The second group is entitled: “Signal, images and interfaces” and is managed by Prof. R. Hersch and Prof. M. Vetterli. Students choosing this section will learn about signal and image processing, colours, vision and virtual reality, among many others. Main courses include: “Advanced computer graphics”, “Biomedical signal processing”, “Colour reproduction”, “Computer vision” and “Fourier and wavelet signal processing”.

A third example is “Internet computing” lead by Prof. B. Faltings and Prof. K. Aberer. Students learn about the latest technologies for the Internet, distributed information and algorithms, e-business and artificial intelligence. Some representative courses are: “Advanced databases”, “Cryptography and security”, “Mobile networks”, “Performance evaluation” and “Computational linguistics”.

Other specialization packages include: “Industrial informatics” (Prof. H. Kirrman), “Computer engineering” (Prof. P. Ienne), “Service science” (Prof. Wegmann) and “Software systems” (Prof. G. Candea).

Learning resources at EPFL

All the details about course selection, registration, organisation and exams are available here. This well-written document synthesizes all the information that a student needs to know for the up-coming year. Structured by year of study this document contains the syllabus of all courses, including: objectives, contents, type of teaching and form of examination together with a list of bibliographic references.

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Additionally, another useful resource is the research section of the EPFL website. Each group of sciences contains links to different research groups and coordinator professors enabling students to have a look at previous work in the field in order to get familiar with their (new) professor’s expertise.

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