The MSc in Mathematics and Foundations of Computer Science, run jointly by the Mathematical Institute and the Department of Computer Science, focuses on the interface between pure mathematics and theoretical computer science.
The mathematical side concentrates on areas where computers are used, or which are relevant to computer science, namely algebra, general topology, number theory, combinatorics and logic. Examples from the computing side include computational complexity, concurrency, and quantum computing. Students take a minimum of five options and write a dissertation.
The course is suitable for those who wish to pursue research in pure mathematics (especially algebra, number theory, combinatorics, general topology and their computational aspects), mathematical logic, or theoretical computer science. It is also suitable for students wishing to enter industry with an understanding of the mathematical and logical design and concurrency.
The course will consist of examined lecture courses and a written dissertation. The lecture courses will be divided into two sections:
Each section shall be divided into schedule I (basic) and schedule II (advanced). Students will be required to satisfy the examiners in at least two courses taken from section B and in at least two courses taken from schedule II. The majority of these courses should be given in the first two terms.
During Trinity term and over the summer students should complete a dissertation on an agreed topic. The dissertation must bear regard to course material from section A or section B, and it must demonstrate relevance to some area of science, engineering, industry or commerce.
It is intended that a major feature of this course is that candidates should show a broad knowledge and understanding over a wide range of material. Consequently, each lecture course taken will receive an assessment upon its completion by means of a test based on written work. Students will be required to pass five courses, that include two courses from section B and two at the schedule II level - these need not be distinct - and the dissertation.
The course runs from the beginning of October through to the end of September, including the dissertation.
Established 25 years ago, the Laboratory for Foundations of Computer Science (LFCS) continues to lead the way in the development of mathematical models, theories and tools that probe the possibilities of computation and communication.
Our students benefit from being part of one of the largest and strongest groups of theoretical computer scientists in the world.
Our research is aimed at establishing deep understanding of computation in its many forms. Using advanced mathematical principles, we create theories and software tools allowing fundamental capabilities of computation to be explored, as well as designing languages that can be used to construct safe and effective programs.
Areas of interest within LFCS include verification, semantics, concurrency, process algebra, algorithms, logic and complexity.
While the results of our research can be applied to any one of a large number of diverse fields, biological modelling is of particular interest. Advances in experimental techniques mean that cell biologists need innovative tools and software to understand the vast quantities of data that are being generated.
Other areas where our research is applied include:
As a research student at LFCS, you will have access to our highly respected academic staff community, which includes Fellows of the Royal Society and a winner of a Blaise Pascal medal. Our students regularly receive ‘best paper’ awards at conferences.
You will carry out your research within a research group under the guidance of a supervisor. You will be expected to attend seminars and meetings of relevant research groups and may also attend lectures that are relevant to your research topic. Periodic reviews of your progress will be conducted to assist with research planning.
A programme of transferable skills courses facilitates broader professional development in a wide range of topics, from writing and presentation skills to entrepreneurship and career strategies.
The School of Informatics holds a Silver Athena SWAN award, in recognition of our commitment to advance the representation of women in science, mathematics, engineering and technology. The School is deploying a range of strategies to help female staff and students of all stages in their careers and we seek regular feedback from our research community on our performance.
The award-winning Informatics Forum is an international research facility for computing and related areas. It houses more than 400 research staff and students, providing office, meeting and social spaces.
It also contains two robotics labs, an instrumented multimedia room, eye-tracking and motion capture systems, and a full recording studio amongst other research facilities. Its spectacular atrium plays host to many events, from industry showcases and student hackathons to major research conferences.
Nearby teaching facilities include computer and teaching labs with more than 250 machines, 24-hour access to IT facilities for students, and comprehensive support provided by dedicated computing staff.
Among our entrepreneurial initiatives is Informatics Ventures, set up to support globally ambitious software companies in Scotland and nurture a technology cluster to rival Boston, Pittsburgh, Kyoto and Silicon Valley.
Our graduates are in high demand for postdoctoral academic roles. In addition, the skills you will graduate with can be applied to roles in industry, particularly finance, software development and consultancy.