HSE and University of California at San Diego Offer New Specialization on Coursera
The Higher School of Economics has teamed up with the University of California at San Diego (ranked 14th on the ARWU ranking, 41st on THE, and 59th on QS) to launch the new Data Structures and Algorithms specialization on Coursera. The specialization is taught completely in English and consists of five interrelated courses. Registration is open until March 7.
This specialization is part of a new practice-oriented course format being offered on Coursera. Each specialization consists of several different short courses that give students the knowledge needed to solve various practical tasks.
‘Only universities that make it through Coursera’s competitive selection process can create their own specialization. We were not initially planning to submit an application to take part in the competition to create the specialization; but our colleagues from the University of California, San Diego suggested that we partner up to create the Data Structures and Algorithms specialization. This is because of the high level of academic research that the HSE Faculty of Computer Science carries out in the field of scalable algorithms for big data processing,’ notes Evgenia Kulik, Director for eLearning at HSE.
One of the specialization’s objectives is to teach students to solve the algorithmic tasks that oftentimes come up at technical interviews for Google, Facebook, Microsoft, Yandex, and other leading IT companies. Upon successfully completing the course, students are not only able to design and evaluate complex algorithms from a theoretical perspective, but they also develop a deep understanding of algorithms and learn how to create data structures suitable for the programming languages that they themselves know and use.
To take the classes, participants need to know at least one of programming languages – C/C++, Java, or Python – and also be familiar with basic mathematical concepts such as mathematical induction and the method of proof by contradiction.
One advantage of the course is the large number of programming tasks that require students to apply the algorithms and data structures that they have learned about. They also become skilled at combining several concepts at once to apply them to their chosen programming language. This is essential in developing a true understanding of the course material.
‘Participants will definitely be putting all of the algorithms and data structures that they cover into practice, as this is the only way you can understand how important all of an algorithm’s characteristics are, even if this seemed obvious at first,’ comments Mikhail Levin, one of the specialization’s creators and an instructor in the HSE Faculty of Computer Science. ‘In addition, throughout the specialization, we will introduce participants to not only classical algorithms and data structures, but also to several advanced topics and contemporary algorithms that are used to process big data,’ Levin notes.
Another unique feature of the specialization is that students are given the opportunity to chose between two Capstone Projects, developed in partnership with industry leaders – the Russian corporation Yandex and the Computer Science Center. Students will learn how to compute the fastest route between New York and Mountain View thousands of times faster than classic algorithms and similar to those used in Google Maps. In the Bioinformatics Capstone, participants learn how to assemble genomes from millions of short pieces and how algorithms have been fuelling recent developments in personalized medicine.
CourseBurg.ru, a Russian platform for course searches, has analyzed mass open online courses. The Higher School of Economics (HSE) was the leader among universities in Russia — our institution had prepared 22% of the courses under review.
A team from the HSE Faculty of Computer Science was one of the top-ranking teams in the semi-finals of a collegiate programming tournament held in St. Petersburg this year. HSE’s team will now compete in the finals of the ACM International Collegiate Programming Contest, which is set to take place in the United States next May.
As of today, HSE offers 46 courses on Coursera, an international online education platform, and one third of them are English-taught. This means that HSE is one of the Top 10 universities by the number of online courses offered on that platform.
On June 30, the world's largest online education platform Coursera is switching to a new website offering a reduced list of available courses. Only those courses that are outdated and which the platform’s partner universities have not decided to renew will be eliminated. Any users who have yet to complete these courses are advised to download the remaining lectures and to self-study.
Bruno Bauwens, an expert in Kolmogorov complexity, is a new recruit at the HSE Faculty of Computer Science. He started in September 2015. Bruno received his PhD from Ghent University in Belgium, after which he held postdoctoral fellowships at Porto University (Portugal), as well as at the University of Montpellier and University of Lorraine.
An important step in integrating the university into the global educational, scientific and research space is the expansion of international recruiting. Since its very first year, the Faculty of Computer Science at the Higher School of Economics has had a foreign professor working on staff. In 2015, four internationally recruited experts teach and conduct research in the faculty.
How Russians think bears little resemblance to Germans’ attention to detail or American cheerfulness. The difference can be explained, at least in part, by looking at linguistic peculiarities. A Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) launched by HSE called ‘Understanding Russians: Contexts of Intercultural Communication’ investigates cases when basic Russian cultural values show up through linguistic choices, which may influence the way people act. The nine-week course was first offered in 2014 and was tremendously successful. It will run for the second time starting October 12, 2015. Mira Bergelson, professor in the Faculty of Humanities at HSE and the author of the course, shared the core principles of making contact with people who don’t smile on the street but who may become your best friends after just a few meetings.
On October 18, 2015 for the first time ever, the Faculty of Computer Science at HSE will host the quarter-finals of the International Collegiate Programming Contest, ACM ICPC along with two other Moscow universities.