The Computer Science Committee, a thriving new student club

By École Polytechnique

École Polytechnique

Projects, workshops, networking, competitions, brainstorming, team-work, discussions, invited speakers, new technologies, future careers, are few of the things the Computer Science Committee is about!

The Bachelor of Science at École Polytechnique is still in its youth, which means each class is crucial to the shaping of the student life here. This academic year is going to be remembered for the formation of the Computer Science student club, or as we call it CS Committee, and the very high bar set by its activities for future generations.

My name is Gorazd Dimitrov and I am the acting president of the CSC and one of the three people that founded it. At the beginning of this year (my second year as a Bachelor student), I set a personal goal to get more involved in extracurricular activities, and surprisingly a chance to succeed in my plans came really quickly after a friend of mine (Lazar Milikic, BX22 student) proposed the idea of forming the committee. Our first goal was to define the mission and purpose of the club we intended to build.

In the roots of the CSC lies the idea of bringing Bachelor students closer to each other through their mutual interest in all fields of computer science, but also offer a chance to fall in love with Computer Science to people who had no prior contact with this field of science. Organizing workshops, a collective working on projects, competing with each other, following lectures and doing homework together, brainstorming about ideas and discussing new technologies, as well as improving our CVs and advancing our future careers, are some of the ways we, as the CSC, reach those goals. Our events broaden the perspective of the Bachelor students outside of what is offered in the academic curriculum, while also taking care of improving the social life on campus.

However, we are more than those fancy words, in the past few months we have definitely proven ourselves in action.

The first official event of the committee was an invited-speakers talk on the topic of “Getting Internships in Big Tech Companies”, where we successfully gathered past and current students with experience interring or working in some of the biggest tech giants such as Google, Amazon, Samsung, Microsoft, and Facebook. The speakers gave tips and tricks on getting chosen by those companies, but also presented their experience working there. This event gathered more than 30% of the whole Bachelor student body, making it one of the biggest committee events until then.

Soon after, we organized “The first Bachelor coding competition”; two rounds, two categories, six tempting prizes (PC screens, HQ Headphones…), and a lot of challenging problems. As a consequence of the division between beginners and advanced participants, this competition allowed a lot of first-year students with almost no experience in competitive programming to join, and even win prizes. Afterward, we discovered that this exact event would be the motivation for some students to reconsider their double majors and take more Computer Science courses than they planned.

École Polytechnique

Next on our agenda came the collaboration with the Google Developer Student Club of École Polytechnique. In this short period together, we have managed to: organize a workshop on Google Cloud technologies, learn about the Google community around the world, and form a few Bachelor teams for the upcoming Google Solution Challenge.

However, one thing I am personally most proud of is our “Project Clustering” initiative. This idea came to us after realizing how many Bachelor students were working on personal projects but were getting stuck because of the lack of help, support, resources, motivation, etc. The goal of this initiative is to help those people and in doing so help many more. The process is simple, we welcome everyone’s ideas with open hands, they tell us their needs and we try to meet them. However, according to people that have used the “Project Clustering”, the material and technical resources are not the main gain of the initiative, but rather the connections that it offers for the projects. This is because we promote every project publicly, so the creators of the project are able to search for new team members to help them accomplish their goal, but also, students with no specific idea in mind get to browse through the offered projects and get involved in the ones that look interesting to them. The “BX+”, an all-in-one Bachelor mobile application, and “Rate my class” are just a few success stories from this project, and we are sure that many more will come.

Finally, I can’t end this article without mentioning our most ambitious project in planning, the École Polytechnique Hackathon. Under our organization and with the support of two more student clubs we are in the final stages of a 72-hour event, involving not only Bachelor students but some from the other programs of École Polytechnique, and most surprisingly organized in-person in those difficult times of a pandemic, by respecting all sanitary measures and restrictions. When organized, this is going to be the biggest event organized by Bachelor students which is open to non-Bachelor students too.

With the vast networking opportunity of the Hackathon, with other students, mentors, professionals from academic and industry environment, we are going to mark the accomplishment of all the goals set for our term and I’d say even more than expected. That would close one successful cycle for the CSC and pass over this fantastic new tradition and now crucial part of the Bachelor society to the next board, and to their imagination to make it greater.

Gorazd Dimitrov, BX22 student

PS. Reach out to the Computer Science Committee on Instagram.

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