Computer Science @ University of St Andrews

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CS1005 Computer Science in Everyday Life

This module introduces key ideas of Computer Science through examination of the working of devices and services which are part of modern everyday life, such as search engines, personal music players, mobile telephones and social networking sites. Students are led to develop an understanding of some fundamentals of Computer Science, as well as gaining transferable skills in critical reading, research in the technical literature and essay writing.


Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this module, the student should:

  • Have gained understanding of selected key principles of Computer Science and their application in everyday devices and services.
  • Have gained research/reading skills, including technical matters such as correct citation procedure.


Topics such as:
  • How Google works - sorting, indexing, massively parallel computing.
  • How mobile phones work - GSM, base stations, tracking, audio encoding.
  • MP3 players - data compression, audio compression, information theory.
  • Online banking - security, cryptography.
  • How the School computing services work.
  • Wireless networking - difference from wired networking, constraints, security.
  • Operating systems - what they do for us and why.
  • E-commerce - databases, how they work and why we need them.
  • Peer-to-peer concepts.

Compulsory Elements

See the School of Computer Science Handbook for general information about compulsory elements.

This module has the following compulsory elements in addition to those common to all modules (tutorials and class tests).

  • Two essays.

Module Delivery