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Computer Science

Virtually all your courses will be a research experience within the lab-based curriculum. You will learn in a department that keeps up with the evolution of computer science yet provides a foundation in its underlying principles: mathematics, logic and language.

Computer science is the study of how information is organized and processed and addresses the design, analysis, implementation, efficiency and application of algorithms and data structures. The question at the root of computer science is – what can be automated? Hamilton students explore that question through hands-on courses and research that are – like the field itself – constantly evolving. The department regularly revises every course and introduces new ones to examine emerging theories and technologies.

Students focus on both the experimental and theoretical sides of computer science, but they also consider the growing place computing has in the modern world. What are the ethical and social risks and benefits of such technology, and how do we manage them?

Katherine Droppa, center, flanked by Bridget Lewis '16, left, and Lily Johnston '16.
Katherine Droppa, center, flanked by Bridget Lewis '16, left, and Lily Johnston '16.

A student’s research: coding from start to finish

During a summer immersed in computer science through a Clare Boothe Luce Undergraduate Research Award, Katherine Droppa ’16 discovered what it might be like to work in the industry. “I had often worried beforehand that I wouldn't like the sort of routine of coming in every day working on the same thing. However, through this summer experience I realized that I really enjoy coding a project start to finish, dealing with the initial issue, then debugging, and then tweaking the code to allow for any potential or future issues,” says Droppa, who double-majors in computer science and art.

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Amelia Mattern '12 and the English class she worked with during her Fulbright teaching assistantship in Vietnam.

A graduate’s progress: A Fulbright and a master’s

In high school, when her big brother told her she would love computer science, Amelia Mattern ’12 refused to believe him. Still, at Hamilton College she heeded her friends when they extolled their intro computer science course. She signed up. “Well, after about one week I was hooked. We would have weekly lab assignments that I would go home and code up in one afternoon, completely ignoring my other assignments because I was so addicted,” Mattern says.

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