University decision



  • I'm a computer geek by nature (read: there is not a geek other than me in sight), and I always wanted to go to MIT. But by time I saw that the popularity of MIT is decreasing to the degree that some people think that it's not one of the best anymore. And add the fucked up American legal system to the mix and the fact that I am from the apparently "wrong" race.

    What I want to study is CS plus Hardware engineering (ICs and such).

    Is MIT still worth it? And what other alternatives is there (preferably non-american)?


    PS: I'm not seeking the degree, I'm seeking the knowledge (I can make money without the degree, don't you be worried). 



  • I can't say much about schools outside the N.A. continent.  I have met a couple MIT grads and have to say that I wasn't nearly as impressed as I imagined I would be.


    But if you're a dedicated self-learner and want access to the course materials (though not the professors), MIT offers a large number of courses online in various forms.   Their Intro to Comp Sci class, for instance, includes PDFs of the text book, lecture notes, "don't panic" guides, and of course the Scheme compiler you'll need to do the work.   They do have hardware classes online as well, though I'm not sure how well those will translate into the "work from home" sort of model.

    In any case, it's pretty interesting and worth checking out.  http://ocw.mit.edu/OcwWeb/index.htm

    -cw



  • Any Canadians here to recommend anything? Englishmen?



  • Well, now Canadian I can do, being one after all :)


    The big name was and still is Waterloo, but I never actually found them to be ALL that different than other programs that I had seen.   I have heard good things about the University of Toronto as well; and I moved from BC to the University of Alberta on the strength of their program (and the fact they had just just spent several million refitting their undergraduate computer labs -- but this was back in the early 90s), though UBC has gotten better I suspect... heck, even the U of Saskatchewan was named the best in canada for the impact of their research.  

    At the undergrad level, most of those schools (and others) are going to give you compable experiences, I would imagine.  (alumni, feel free to correct me :)), but Waterloo definitely has 'the name'.  At MS I work with a surprisingly large number of fellow canadians and Waterloo is clearly the prefered recruiting locale.

    -cw



  • In addition to Waterloo's "name", it appears to have the combination of CS and hardware the OP is looking for, when you take the CS degree with the "Digital Hardware Option"... though I would be surprised if it were the only institution with a choice such as that.



  • At the university of alberta, we had a "Computer Engineering" program that was part of the engineering program (as opposed to comp. sci) but had a lot of cross-over...not sure how the curriculum compares though.

     >g<  And given that I never graduated from either program, maybe I should be careful what I recommend to people :)

    -cw



  • McMaster (www.mcmaster.ca in Hamilton, Ontario) is highly regarded.

    David Parnas is there, although currently on leave at the University of Limerick in Ireland.

     



  • @CapitalT said:

    Any Canadians here to recommend anything? Englishmen?

    UK university courses are very different from US ones, but over here the place to be is probably Imperial College of London. Nice advantage: you never have to use a Windows host for anything. It's horribly expensive for international students... but then, Americans are strangely comfortable with the notion of a university being a horribly expensive place to attend (what's up with that?).

    (Yes, it's my old school. It's still the best, and the department of computing is engineering rather than science)



  • I won't/can't comment on the curriculum because I don't go to school there, but I can tell you one thing: you will meet tons of cool crazy people who love what they are doing. Everyone is unique in some sort of way. If you like to stay around, let's say geeks who you can relate to, then definitely go for MIT. That ambience is not something you would find at a lot of other places (where there will always be history majors whining about how long last week's reading assignment was.. or when you can actually spend the night working on your new supercool fingerprint operated door lock and talk about it during a party without getting strange reactions). And those professors and resources are not easy to come by either.

    That said, MIT on your degree won't earn you a higher salary usually since the average salary of a fresh EECS major is $55k which is not much higher than any other university's. But you're not worried about it anyway.

    Goodluck. 



  • Thank you all for replying, I'll check the universities you mentioned (I have a good feeling about Waterloo).

     

    Thanks again. 



  • @CodeWhisperer said:

    At the university of alberta, we had a "Computer Engineering" program that was part of the engineering program (as opposed to comp. sci) but had a lot of cross-over...not sure how the curriculum compares though.

     >g<  And given that I never graduated from either program, maybe I should be careful what I recommend to people :)

    -cw

     Waterloo has this as well.

    My brother who went to University of Alberta works with a lot of Waterloo grads.  He says that the programs seem to have been VERY similar, just Waterloo students tend to have a more cockier attitude
     



  • Well, Waterloo costs $10K a year, U of A costs $5K.  The extra must go into special cockiness training :)

     -cw



  • @CodeWhisperer said:

    Well, Waterloo costs $10K a year, U of A costs $5K.  The extra must go into special cockiness training :)

    *boggle*

    Well there's no scarcity of cockiness, what with Maclean's and others saying year after year that Waterloo has the best reputation, deserved or not.

    But the real culprit is that in the late 90's, the Ontario government deregulated tuition for certain "professional" and other programs, including CS.  Before then, tuition for CS was the same as for any other program in the Math faculty (CS is in the faculty of Math at Waterloo)... but now: math (no co-op) = $5037, CS (no co-op) = $7574.  Ouch.  Co-op costs more... and engineering (mandatory co-op) costs yet more: $9439.

    You didn't want to *eat* during university, did ya?



  • Sadly, that's nothing compared to a lot of american universities.   I was looking at online classes at Stanford -- online classes, mind you -- and they were coming out to $3K-$5K a piece

    -cw



  • @CodeWhisperer said:

    Sadly, that's nothing compared to a lot of american universities.   I was looking at online classes at Stanford -- online classes, mind you -- and they were coming out to $3K-$5K a piece

    -cw

     I suppose that's just the tuition, before online access fees, books, e-books, Harvard case studies, telephone pole replacement insurance, and assorted other charges.



  • Trinity Hall, University of Cambridge here.

    I can't speak for the Computer Science Tripos very much as I don't do it (I do Natural Sciences). However, I expect it's very much theoretical. You'll also do a physical science as 1/4 of your first year - I strongly recommend Geology.

    As for the Uni itself, it's amazing. Quite the amazing place really, there's nowhere else like it. Not even Oxford; Cambridge is fundamentally closer together.
     



  • @asuffield said:

    @CapitalT said:

    Any Canadians here to recommend anything? Englishmen?

    UK university courses are very different from US ones, but over here the place to be is probably Imperial College of London. Nice advantage: you never have to use a Windows host for anything. It's horribly expensive for international students... but then, Americans are strangely comfortable with the notion of a university being a horribly expensive place to attend (what's up with that?).

    (Yes, it's my old school. It's still the best, and the department of computing is engineering rather than science)

    It's quite understandable when you put it into perspective.  Here in Oregon we often burn hundred dollar bills just to stay warm in the winter.  They also make a great substitute for packing peanuts.


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