120 high school students from 30 secondary schools in Qatar participated in Carnegie Mellon University in Qatar’s 5th annual CS4Qatar workshop organized by the university’s School of Computer Science this weekend. The workshop is part of Carnegie Mellon’s mission to introduce the youth in Qatar to the many opportunities in the field of computer science.
“CS4Qatar is an outreach program aimed to increase awareness and knowledge in the ever-expanding and broad-reaching field of computer science. We teach students computer science and technological basics and through this we hope that the younger generation’s interest and motivation in these crucial areas of knowledge continues to grow” said Khaled Harras, Ph.D., computer science professor at Carnegie Mellon Qatar.
The participants were exposed to a variety of subjects in the field of computer science while engaging in discussions related to the exercises and the field as a whole. The two-day development workshop, held at the Carnegie Mellon building in Education City, was designed to teach high school students about computer science and how it is applied to both academic and professional life.
The CS4Qatar workshop consisted of three rotating sessions. The first session focused on computer science-related puzzles, helping the students to practice basic problem solving skills and develop computational thinking skills. The students were introduced to the concepts of data structures and algorithms which helped them to analyze and creatively solve computer science-related puzzles.
The second session focused on programming using a graphical robots package to present Java programming in an interactive and visual way. Students were introduced to fundamental programming and object-oriented concepts using simulated robots in a hands-on approach, allowing students to grasp concepts quickly and see immediate and graphical results of their work.
The final session focused on robotics, introducing the students to the latest cutting-edge artificial intelligence concepts and robotics technology. The students were given the chance to program a robot to complete a complex task. Participants received a certificate of participation at the conclusion of the workshop.
“This is the second time I have attended the CS4Qatar workshop. It is really exciting and I find it fascinating to find out how robots work. My programming and computer skills have really improved and I would like to study computer science at Carnegie Mellon University in Qatar after I finish school” said Shoug Shaheen from Al Wakra Independent Secondary School.
Participating schools in CS4Qatar included: Academic Bridge Program, Ahmed Bin Mohammed Secondary School, Al Andalus Independent Secondary School, Al Bayan Independent Secondary School, Al Leman Independent Secondary School, Al Jazeera Academy, Al Resala Independent Secondary School, Al Shahhaniya Independent Secondary School, Al Wakra Independent Secondary School, American School of Doha, Amna Bint Wahab Independent Secondary School, Cambridge International School for Girls, Doha College, DPS – Modern Indian School, English Modern School, Global Academy International, Gulf English School, Ideal Indian School, International School of Choueifat, Khalifa Independent Secondary School, Lebanese School of Qatar, M.E.S, Middle East International School, Muhammad Bin Abd al Wahhab Secondary School, Omar Bin Al-Khattab Independent Secondary School, Qatar Academy, Qatar International School, Qatar Technical Independent School, Rabaa Independent Secondary School, Tareq Abn Zeyad Independent Secondary School.
CS4Qatar is a series of computer science workshops designed by Carnegie Mellon Qatar for both computer science educators as well as high school students in Qatar. Carnegie Mellon structures these programs based on current global themes and issues, helping students and educators to apply skills learned to real-world problems, contributing to human development in line with the Qatar National Vision 2030.
Carnegie Mellon’s School of Computer Science is a premier institution for computer science research and education. The Carnegie Mellon School of Computer Science offers a number of programs to reach out to youth in Qatar and encourage interest in the computer science field, including the upcoming Botball robotics tournament and the high school programming competition. To find out more about these events please visit http://www.qatar.cmu.edu/3061/programs-for-secondary-students .