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Congratulations on getting an offer to study with us! We wanted to give you the chance to find out more about what you can expect at York.

Lilian Blot is a lecturer who teaches programming to all 1st-Year students. Here he talks about his background and work in Computer Science.

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Computer science and Mathematics are natural partners

I took my undergraduate degree in mathematics from the University of Caen, Normandy, but I went on to do a Masters and MPhil in Computer Science. What attracted me to computer science was the mathematical aspects that underlie it. I was also fortunate it was the early days of computer science, so I have grown up with the subject.

I completed my PhD in the UK at the University of Portsmouth and UEA.

Practical applications of computer science

Before I came to York, my research included using computer vision to detect breast cancer. I then moved onto developing training tools which supported consultants in identifying cancer from mammograms. Another completely different area of my research was into traffic control for an autonomous vehicle.

At York, there are many different areas of research. For example, the Human Computer Interaction (HCI) team looks at how blind or disabled people can use computer technology to navigate. GPS can take them to a building, but other tools may be needed to find the entrance.

In your 3rd Year project, you'll get a chance to learn from HCI and other research being carried out here.

I work closely with 1st-Year students

I have had several roles, including outreach coordinator - working with schools and schoolchildren - and Chair of the Board of Examiners, looking at all aspects of student assessment.

I currently teach programming in 1st Year. We cover the basics in the first term. In the second, we teach more complex concepts, such as object-oriented programming, data structures and algorithms. You'll learn Python and Java. We teach you the key concepts, so you can apply them to learning a new language independently.

Aerial view of Launch Complex 39 at Cape Canaveral, by NASA - via Flickr. No known copyright restrictions.

We're proud of what our students achieve

As part of NASA's Space Apps Challenge competition, we helped a group of our PhD students organise a two-day hackathon over a weekend. Space Apps brings together coders, hackers and problem-solvers to tackle real-life issues through practical applications, using open data.

We had teams composed of students from different subject areas, including Physics and The School for Business and Society, as well as entrants from outside the University. A team composed of 1st-Year students from Computer Science, paired with entrants from industry they had never met before, won our local competition. Their project went on to the international competition, and came first in one of the categories.

As a result, they were invited to a rocket launch at Cape Canaveral, Florida, and we covered all their travel expenses. This was quite an impressive achievement for a team of 1st-Year students.

We also sponsored other students who won the UN-ESA World Challenge in 2018 with their Wildfire AWARE app.

We're happy to help

You'll join a vibrant community here, and we hope you'll want to get involved in what's happening. If you have a good idea for a project - a hackathon, group activity, whatever - let us know. We'll do what we can to facilitate it.