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Computer Science

  • The IB DP computer science course requires an understanding of the fundamental concepts of computational thinking as well as knowledge of how computers and other digital devices operate.
  • The course, underpinned by conceptual thinking, draws on a wide spectrum of knowledge, and enables and empowers innovation, exploration and the acquisition of further knowledge.
  • Students study how computer science interacts with and influences cultures, society and how individuals and societies behave, and the ethical issues involved.
  • During the course the student will develop computational solutions.
  • Provide opportunities for study and creativity within a global contextthat will stimulate and challenge students developing the skills necessary for independent and lifelong learning
  • Provide a body of knowledge, methods and techniques that characterize computer science
  • Enable students to apply and use a body of knowledge, methodsand techniques that characterize computer science
  • Demonstrate initiative in applying thinking skills critically to identify and resolve complex problems
  • Engender an awareness of the need for, and the value of, effective collaboration and communication in resolving complex problems
  • Develop logical and critical thinking as well as experimental, investigative and problem-solving skills
  • Develop and apply the students’ information and communication technology skills in the study of computer science to communicate information confidently and effectively
  • Raise awareness of the moral, ethical, social, economic and environmental implications of using science and technology
  • Develop an appreciation of the possibilities and limitations associated with continued developments in IT systems and computer science
  • Encourage an understanding of the relationships between scientific disciplines and the overarching nature of the scientific method

SL/HL Core
Topic 1: System fundamentals
Topic 2: Computer organization
Topic 3: Networks
Topic 4: Computational thinking, problem-solving and programming

HL extension
Topic 5: Abstract data structures
Topic 6: Resource management
Topic 7: Control

Case study

Option A: Databases
Option B: Modelling and simulation
Option C: Web science
Option D: Object-oriented programming (OOP)


    • What is the difference between data, information, knowledge and wisdom? To what extent can computers store and impart data, information, knowledge and wisdom?
    • How does a computer language differ from a natural language
    • What are the challenges of creating a computer model of some aspect of the world?
    • A chess machine can beat the top human chess players. Does a machine therefore “know” how to play chess?
    • To what extent does computational thinking challenge conventional concepts of reasoning?
    • How do we know if other humans feel emotions? Can a machine ever feel an emotion? How would we know?
    • What do we mean by “holistic” and “reductionist” approaches to knowledge? What are the strengths and weaknesses of each approach?
    • To what extent is it possible to capture the richness of concepts such as “intelligence” or “judgment” via a reductionist approach?
    • If we attach a camera or microphone to a computer, it can receive data from the world. Does this mean that a computer can “perceive the world”? To what extent might human perception be a similar process?

    Paper 1
    Section A consists of several compulsory short answer questions.
    Section B consists of five compulsory structured questions.

    Paper 2
    An examination paper of between three and seven compulsory question;

    linked to the option studied

    Paper 3
    An examination paper consisting of four compulsory questions based on a
    pre-seen case study

    Written Commentary
    A report of the development of a computational solution.

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