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Computational Science (joint degree UvA/VU)
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MSc student Merlijn Wajer

'I wanted to do more of a scientific master. I first started the master's programme System and Network Engineering, but I changed to Computational Science. I missed the scientific part, it was all very practical and I knew a lot already. Computational Science has a lot of new topics for me.'

Merlijn Wajer

What does Computational Science offer you in addition to your BSc?

'Computational Science offers mathematical insights and why and how you could use optimisations. There was this course on linear algebra where they discussed lots of nice ways how to split up matrixes faster and calculate things faster. It gave nice insights. In Computer Science there was not much of background of what we had to program. Of course you can dive in very deep in how you could program something. In Computational Science programming is just a way to get something done. In the bachelor it was more a goal at it’s self.'

What is the most challenging of the master?

'Definitely the mathematical aspect is the most challenging for me. Compared to my fellow students, who did for example the BSc Physics, they are definitely better in math then I am. There is a lot more math compared to Computer Science.'

Is it easier for students of other programs, like physics or math?

'I don’t think so, because they have to learn how to program. For every assignment we so far had, we had to program something. Even for the math course we had some practical assignment. It can be quite challenging I think. For the physics student in my class it took most of the time to program.'

What do you like most about Computational Science?

'I like the shear amount of information we had about different problems and the ways to solve problems. It’s nice if you get a course on statistics for example if they provide also a lot of examples on how they solved problems. And then you can do it yourself as well. On the hand of examples, doing the research yourself and try to solve the problem.

I also like the fact that you’re very close to the research group and the PhD students. Every Friday there is a presentation where you all attend and afterword you have a talk with the people. It’s nice if you want to learn more about the research. You can get an idea of what they are doing. It’s surprisingly nice, I guess.'