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Build tomorrow’s technology

Computer Science

Big Data Engineering

Build technology for the information society

The Master’s in Computer Science covers this fascinating and hyper-relevant discipline from multiple angles. The technical side of Computer Science deals with computer operations, like system software, computer networks and programming environments. The theoretical foundations cover the limits of what can be computed, computational efficiency, correctness, and the intricacies of concurrent execution. Software engineering studies construction and maintenance of large and often mission-critical software systems that need to be maintained by large teams of people. Because of its prominent role in everyday life, non-functional aspects of information technology are gaining importance in Computer Science, most notably the energy efficiency of data centres and the security of computer systems.

The start dates of this programme are September 1st and February 1st.

Note: the track Computer Systems and Security will no longer be available as part of this master’s programme from September 2021 onwards. We will start a new Master’s programme focussed on computer security. More information will be soon available at www.vu.nl/pdcs

Tracks

The Master's in Computer Science is a two-year programme that currently offers six distinct tracks: 

  • Big Data Engineering
  • Computer Systems Security*
  • Foundations of Computing and Concurrency
  • Internet and Web Technology
  • Parallel Computing Systems
  • Software Engineering and Green IT 

Each track comprises five mandatory core courses – relating to Computer Science in general and your track specifically – plus certain restricted choices and electives. You’ll also carry out your Master’s project and write your thesis in the second half of your second year.

*The track Computer Systems and Security will no longer be available as part of this master’s programme from September 2021 onwards. We will start a new Master’s programme focussed on computer security. More information will be soon available at www.vu.nl/pdcs

Summary

Study the technology of data infrastructure

In the internet era, data plays centre stage. We all continuously communicate via social networks; we expect all information to be accessible online; and world economies thrive on data-processing services where revenue is created by generating insights from raw data. These developments are enabled by a global data processing infrastructure, connecting the full range from small company computer clusters to data centres run by the world-leading IT giants.

In the Big Data Engineering track, you’ll study the technology behind these infrastructures, allowing you to design and operate solutions for processing, analysing and managing large quantities of data. This track is part of the joint Master’s in Computer Science, in which renowned researchers from both VU and UvA contribute their varied expertise in one of the strongest Computer Science programmes available in Europe.

See also the study guide for a complete overview of the study programme. Or download the year schedule directly. 

Summary

Defend computers under attack!

In this track, you’ll focus on system and security issues related to operating systems, hardware and applications – topics like hacking, malware, reverse engineering and vulnerabilities. On graduating from the programme, you’ll have knowledge of security issues in system-level software, including weaknesses and defences; static and dynamic analysis techniques for software (benign and malicious); modern scalable computer and network architecture; and secure software development for modern, highly parallel computer systems. The emphasis on system-related issues is what sets this track apart from other Master’s programmes on security, which tend to focus on formal methods or the mathematics behind cryptography.

This track is part of the joint Master’s in Computer Science, in which you’ll be taught by leading researchers in the field of computer security. Plus, many of the courses are very hands-on, meaning you’ll get practical experience in security as well.

See also the study guide for a complete overview of the study programme. Or download the year schedule directly. 

Summary

Explore formal methods for system design

Computing is a fundamental phenomenon in computer science. Concurrency naturally occurs in the specification of distributed systems; their analysis, verification and implementation require a systematic approach, aided by formal methods. In the Foundations of Computing and Concurrency track, you’ll take courses ranging from distributed algorithms to protocol validation, and from term rewriting to logical verification, as well as some general courses in logic and mathematics.

This track is part of the joint Master’s in Computer Science, aimed at students with an interest in computing and concurrency, and the application of formal methods for system design.

See also the study guide for a complete overview of the study programme. Or download the year schedule directly. 

Summary

Work in a complex, dynamic and distributed environment

The internet plays a central role in our society, and has changed the way software systems are engineered and provisioned. Recent advances in virtualisation techniques as well as the emergence of Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) and cloud-based paradigms have enabled new ways of providing and exploiting computing and IT resources over the internet.

The Internet and Web Technology track is part of the joint Master’s in Computer Science, aiming specifically to prepare you to work in such a complex, dynamic and distributed environment. It both offers in-depth understanding of the key components in developing distributed software-based and service-based systems over the internet, and equips you with technical and critical-thinking skills for the design and performance evaluation of such systems.

See also the study guide for a complete overview of the study programme. Or download the year schedule directly. 

Summary

Discover systems that drive the world we live in

From laptops and mobile phones to global-scale infrastructures, parallel computing systems drive the world we live in. Only software explicitly dedicated to parallel architectures can fully exploit today's hardware potential and benefit from future gains in hardware performance. Only software engineers who are true experts in parallel computing systems can make an impact on future software.

This track covers the entire range of parallel computing systems, from laptops to compute servers, GPU accelerators, heterogeneous systems and large-scale, high-performance compute infrastructures. You’ll carry out practical work that uses a unique, world-class infrastructure, the Distributed ASCI Supercomputer (DAS). You’ll also benefit from the local SURFsara supercomputing centre and the Netherlands eScience Center, both involved in numerous real-world applications.

This track is part of the joint Master’s in Computer Science, in which leading research groups in the areas of parallel systems architecture, programming parallel systems, and performance optimisation team up to educate the future experts of the many-core age.

See also the study guide for a complete overview of the study programme. Or download the year schedule directly. 

Summary

Build green software systems

Software engineering applies a systematic and quantifiable approach to the development, execution and maintenance of complex software. Green IT is the study and practice of environmentally sustainable computing. The combination of Software Engineering and Green IT gives you the tools needed for a holistic understanding of large-scale complex software systems. This will enable you to manage their evolution, assess their quality and environmental impact, quantify their value and sustainability potential, and organise their development in different local and distributed contexts. 

Software engineering and green IT is a broad and comprehensive field, in which engineering plays an important role in parallel with social, economic and environmental priorities. The field continually evolves, influenced by development paradigms like outsourcing, global software development, service orientation, smart and pervasive computing, and energy-aware software engineering.

This track is part of the joint Master’s in Computer Science, and is a combination that’s unique in the Netherlands.

See also the study guide for a complete overview of the study programme. Or download the year schedule directly. 

Summary

International track: Global Software Engineering European Master

The Global Software Engineering European Master (GSEEM) is an international double degree Master’s programme for students in Computer Science, specialising in Software Engineering. The GSEEM focuses on domains that are strategically important for software-intensive products and services, helping you develop the skills needed to work in companies active in global software engineering. You’ll spend one academic year at the VU Amsterdam and one academic year at the University of L’Aquila in Italy.

Each partner university awards a double degree to all students who are regularly enrolled and have obtained at least 60 ECTS in Master’s modules at both universities (including 30 ECTS for the Master’s thesis in the second year). In addition, students visiting VU Amsterdam must be regularly enrolled at the moment the degree is granted. The degree granted by VU Amsterdam is the Master’s in Computer Science specialising in Software Engineering and Green IT. 

See also the study guide for a complete overview of the study programme. Or download the year schedule directly. 

  • Big Data Engineering

    Summary

    Study the technology of data infrastructure

    In the internet era, data plays centre stage. We all continuously communicate via social networks; we expect all information to be accessible online; and world economies thrive on data-processing services where revenue is created by generating insights from raw data. These developments are enabled by a global data processing infrastructure, connecting the full range from small company computer clusters to data centres run by the world-leading IT giants.

    In the Big Data Engineering track, you’ll study the technology behind these infrastructures, allowing you to design and operate solutions for processing, analysing and managing large quantities of data. This track is part of the joint Master’s in Computer Science, in which renowned researchers from both VU and UvA contribute their varied expertise in one of the strongest Computer Science programmes available in Europe.

    See also the study guide for a complete overview of the study programme. Or download the year schedule directly. 

  • Computer Systems Security

    Summary

    Defend computers under attack!

    In this track, you’ll focus on system and security issues related to operating systems, hardware and applications – topics like hacking, malware, reverse engineering and vulnerabilities. On graduating from the programme, you’ll have knowledge of security issues in system-level software, including weaknesses and defences; static and dynamic analysis techniques for software (benign and malicious); modern scalable computer and network architecture; and secure software development for modern, highly parallel computer systems. The emphasis on system-related issues is what sets this track apart from other Master’s programmes on security, which tend to focus on formal methods or the mathematics behind cryptography.

    This track is part of the joint Master’s in Computer Science, in which you’ll be taught by leading researchers in the field of computer security. Plus, many of the courses are very hands-on, meaning you’ll get practical experience in security as well.

    See also the study guide for a complete overview of the study programme. Or download the year schedule directly. 

  • Foundations of Computing and Concurrency

    Summary

    Explore formal methods for system design

    Computing is a fundamental phenomenon in computer science. Concurrency naturally occurs in the specification of distributed systems; their analysis, verification and implementation require a systematic approach, aided by formal methods. In the Foundations of Computing and Concurrency track, you’ll take courses ranging from distributed algorithms to protocol validation, and from term rewriting to logical verification, as well as some general courses in logic and mathematics.

    This track is part of the joint Master’s in Computer Science, aimed at students with an interest in computing and concurrency, and the application of formal methods for system design.

    See also the study guide for a complete overview of the study programme. Or download the year schedule directly. 

  • Internet & Web Technology

    Summary

    Work in a complex, dynamic and distributed environment

    The internet plays a central role in our society, and has changed the way software systems are engineered and provisioned. Recent advances in virtualisation techniques as well as the emergence of Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) and cloud-based paradigms have enabled new ways of providing and exploiting computing and IT resources over the internet.

    The Internet and Web Technology track is part of the joint Master’s in Computer Science, aiming specifically to prepare you to work in such a complex, dynamic and distributed environment. It both offers in-depth understanding of the key components in developing distributed software-based and service-based systems over the internet, and equips you with technical and critical-thinking skills for the design and performance evaluation of such systems.

    See also the study guide for a complete overview of the study programme. Or download the year schedule directly. 

  • Parallel Computing Systems

    Summary

    Discover systems that drive the world we live in

    From laptops and mobile phones to global-scale infrastructures, parallel computing systems drive the world we live in. Only software explicitly dedicated to parallel architectures can fully exploit today's hardware potential and benefit from future gains in hardware performance. Only software engineers who are true experts in parallel computing systems can make an impact on future software.

    This track covers the entire range of parallel computing systems, from laptops to compute servers, GPU accelerators, heterogeneous systems and large-scale, high-performance compute infrastructures. You’ll carry out practical work that uses a unique, world-class infrastructure, the Distributed ASCI Supercomputer (DAS). You’ll also benefit from the local SURFsara supercomputing centre and the Netherlands eScience Center, both involved in numerous real-world applications.

    This track is part of the joint Master’s in Computer Science, in which leading research groups in the areas of parallel systems architecture, programming parallel systems, and performance optimisation team up to educate the future experts of the many-core age.

    See also the study guide for a complete overview of the study programme. Or download the year schedule directly. 

  • Software Engineering and Green IT

    Summary

    Build green software systems

    Software engineering applies a systematic and quantifiable approach to the development, execution and maintenance of complex software. Green IT is the study and practice of environmentally sustainable computing. The combination of Software Engineering and Green IT gives you the tools needed for a holistic understanding of large-scale complex software systems. This will enable you to manage their evolution, assess their quality and environmental impact, quantify their value and sustainability potential, and organise their development in different local and distributed contexts. 

    Software engineering and green IT is a broad and comprehensive field, in which engineering plays an important role in parallel with social, economic and environmental priorities. The field continually evolves, influenced by development paradigms like outsourcing, global software development, service orientation, smart and pervasive computing, and energy-aware software engineering.

    This track is part of the joint Master’s in Computer Science, and is a combination that’s unique in the Netherlands.

    See also the study guide for a complete overview of the study programme. Or download the year schedule directly. 

  • International track: Global Software Engineering European Master

    Summary

    International track: Global Software Engineering European Master

    The Global Software Engineering European Master (GSEEM) is an international double degree Master’s programme for students in Computer Science, specialising in Software Engineering. The GSEEM focuses on domains that are strategically important for software-intensive products and services, helping you develop the skills needed to work in companies active in global software engineering. You’ll spend one academic year at the VU Amsterdam and one academic year at the University of L’Aquila in Italy.

    Each partner university awards a double degree to all students who are regularly enrolled and have obtained at least 60 ECTS in Master’s modules at both universities (including 30 ECTS for the Master’s thesis in the second year). In addition, students visiting VU Amsterdam must be regularly enrolled at the moment the degree is granted. The degree granted by VU Amsterdam is the Master’s in Computer Science specialising in Software Engineering and Green IT. 

    See also the study guide for a complete overview of the study programme. Or download the year schedule directly. 

Fellowships and internships

A limited number of fellowships are available for (partial) funding of this Master’s through the VU Fellowship Programme. The application deadline for the VU Fellowship Programme is 1 February. More information can be found here

Master’s project internship vacancies are posted on the internship platform: VU Fresh Heroes.

Change your future with the Computer Science programme

Change your future with the Computer Science programme

On completing this Master’s programme, you can choose from a variety of careers, ranging from software development to system design, at organisations spanning from local companies up to the big multi-national players. As a graduate in Computer Science, you could also found your own startup company and monetise your product idea, or continue your academic career and apply for a PhD position.

Explore your future prospects
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