National Computer Science School

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The National Computer Science School (NCSS) is an annual computer science summer school, organised by the School of Information Technologies at the University of Sydney, Australia, which has taken place annually since 1999 over a five- to ten-day period in the January school holidays.[1] Attending students participate in an intensive course in computer programming with Python. Prior to 2010, the main project of the week was the development of a website and its backend software for presentation to a nominated charity. The School also incorporates a number of social activities, competitions and outings.[2]


Each year NCSS is open to all students in Australia and New Zealand entering their final year of high school, but also considers applications from particularly gifted students from previous years. The NCSS assumes no previous programming or web design experience, and is designed to suit a wide range of abilities and experience. Some students who have participated in the program are invited back the following year and are known internally as "returners".

2012 saw the first student from the Northern Territory.

2015 saw the first student siblings.


Students attending NCSS are split into eight groups. Four groups develop a website using Python and other web technologies, while the other four groups experiment with the BBC MIcro:Bit, flashed with MicroPython firmware. These are referred to as the 'web' and 'embedded' streams, respectively.


Prior to 2010, the main NCSS project required (re)designing the web site and building a search engine for a charitable organisation. In the past, these have included-

As of 2010, the charity angle was dropped and the project was changed to build a social networking application.

Social Activities[edit]

To make things more interesting and engaging for the students attending the school, a number of interesting games and activities are carried out.[5] These may include-

  • Trivia Night
  • Treasure Hunt
  • Cryptography Challenge
  • Programming Challenge
  • Simulation (where teams compete to act out various algorithms)[6]
  • Afternoon Outing

There are other, more interesting activities, which are disclosed only to attendees.

External links[edit]


  1. ^ About
  2. ^ Program
  3. ^ NCSS 2008 Archived January 20, 2008, at the Wayback Machine.
  4. ^ Posting at 5am (NCSS 2007) Archived August 30, 2007, at the Wayback Machine.
  5. ^ Program
  6. ^ Racism is not economically viable