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The Faculty of Computer Science was created with the goal of becoming one of the world’s leading faculties for developers and researchers in data analysis, machine learning, big data, theoretical computer science, bioinformatics, system and software engineering, system programming, and distributed computing. In cooperation with major companies like Yandex, Sberbank, SAS, Samsung, 1C, and many others, the Faculty provides both deep theoretical knowledge and hands-on practical experience in many branches of contemporary computer science.
The second meeting of the Board of Trustees of the HSE University’s Faculty of Computer Science took place on March 12. Deputy Chair of the Board, CEO of Yandex Elena Bunina presided over the meeting. Prior to the meeting, the participants were given a tour of the new Pokrovsky Bulvar campus building, including the library, classrooms, and the historic Durasov’s mansion.
The meeting began with HSE University Rector Yaroslav Kuzminov’s welcome address. He talked about the University’s long-term plans – development strategy up to 2030, Digital University model, and business education modernisation. Professor Kuzminov also stressed the vital need for industry support in these fields.
In her welcome address, Deputy Chair noted that the Board of Trustees has intensified the interaction with multiple companies in such areas as students’ projects. She also pointed out the outstanding results of the 2019 admission campaign. Last summer more than 750 students enrolled in the Faculty of Computer Science. Large-scale IT projects were suggested by Ms Bunina as a possible direction of further academic-industrial cooperation.
Faculty of Computer Science’s Dean Ivan Arzhantsev informed the Board of the Faculty’s rise in QS WUR Computer Science & Information Systems Rankings (group 151-200), and new Pokrovsky Bulvar headquarters. He also revealed the plans to host multiple conferences as well as to recruit foreign professors and facilitate student mobility programmes in order to boost international awareness of the Faculty.
Board of Trustees’ Executive Secretary and Deputy Dean for Development, Finance and Administration Irina Plisetskaya presented the Board’s achievements in 2019. She noted that the companies have actively participated in education and research, and collaborated on several Faculty’s projects.
For instance, the number of Yandex professors at the Faculty increased from 70 to 85 in a year. The company participates actively in vocational education programmes of the Faculty. In 2019, Centre for Lifelong Education in collaboration with Yandex has implemented Data Scientist and Data Analyst educational programmes. Furthermore, a new online Master of Data Science programme was made available through Coursera with Yandex as an industry partner.
Master programme Financial Technologies and Data Analysis, a collaboration of HSE University and Sberbank is gaining popularity. Forty-three students enrolled in this programme last year, thirty of whom had their tuition fee covered by Sberbank. Data Analysis on SAS Platform elective course has become available throughout the University and to non-HSE students. JetBrains’ Kotlin elective course remains popular with students. 1C, which became the Faculty’s partner in 2019, offers Metaprogramming and Programming Technologies courses.
Understanding the vital need for equipment, the companies continue to sponsor the Faculty, with JetBrains making software available pro bono, and SAS and 1C acquiring two computer classrooms with sixty-five computers in total.
The number of scholarships increases every year. At present, five scholarships are available at the Faculty of Computer Science, with four of the paid by the companies. In 2019 two new scholarships were initiated – Yandex competitive programming scholarship and 1C:Scholarship for successful project work. Moreover, JetBrains support fifteen teaching assistants.
With Yandex sponsorship, three Faculty’s laboratories have won the Russian Science Foundation grant for applications of probabilistic artificial neural generative models to the development of digital twin technology for non-linear stochastic systems. In collaboration with Sberbank, Laboratory of Financial Data Analysis was founded. On January 24, 2020, Yandex Laboratory was created for research in such areas as computer vision, natural language processing, crowdsourcing, information retrieval, and recommender systems.
The Board of Trustees was actively engaged in Faculty’s events. With Yandex and Sberbank support, the second International Data Analysis Olympiad (IDAO) took place in 2019. SAS and HSE University collaborated on SAS Data Hack Platypus hackathon. Summer schools, conferences, and Days of Computer Science also got support.
Through the technological investor contribution, the Faculty of Computer Science has become the first HSE faculty to have its endowment for computer science research and education support. The fund may be supplemented by individuals as well as companies.
In the end, the plans for further collaboration and the Faculty’s challenges were discussed. Ms Plisetskaya remarked that the Faculty of Computer Science needs the Board’s support for research and education development, international cooperation, alumni interaction, and entrepreneurship development.
Participants of the meeting then discussed the development of business and soft skills among the students, along with international awareness of the Faculty.
First Vice Rector Valery Katkalo talked about the need to create an advanced business school based in HSE University and to develop professional education as a part of the lifelong learning programme. He also ensured the participants of the University’s readiness to develop business and soft skills at the Faculty of Computer Science.
Technological investor Elena Ivashentseva offered to help organise several workshops by the founders of technology companies to popularise technological entrepreneurship among the students.
Executive director Nina Yanykina, head of Sberbank academic partnership centre offered students to participate in Sberbank accelerator.
CEO of 1C Boris Nuraliev presented his vision of programming teaching development at the Faculty of Computer Science, discussing technologies and programming languages that are useful for students.
Participants of the meeting evaluated 2019 as a very successful year and expressed their sincere hope that the collaboration of the Faculty with the IT industry will grow yet further.
Board of Trustees’ members
• Elena Bunina, Deputy Chair of the Board, CEO of Yandex
• Elena Ivashentseva, technological investor
• Boris Nuraliev, CEO of 1C
• Yaroslav Kuzminov, Rector of HSE University
• Valery Katkalo, First Vice Rector
• Ivan Arzantsev, Dean of the Faculty of Computer Science
• Irina Plisetskaya, Deputy Dean for Development, Finance and Administration, Executive Secretary of the Board of Trustees
• Nikita Starichkov, HSE collaboration manager, 1C
• Nina Yanykina, executive director, head of Sberbank academic partnership centre