Current Topics


Here are the current Hopo (internal and external Hopo) listed and a bit described. The description is kept minimal, so that they are interesting for reading. But they are too simple and cannot reflect the whole complexity of a topic. Therefore read with caution and don't use this list alone to form your opinion. If you are interested in more information about a topic, please contact hopo(at) or go to the Hopo-Treff.

Effective 16.12.2019

Master Reform (intern)

At the beginning of the semester, we dealt extensively with the new Master's regulations of the Computer Science Master. As you have already been informed, the new Master's programme comprises 120 credits and the standard period of study is 4 semesters. The main goal of the department is to increase the number of credits while maintaining the same effort, in order to adjust the standard period of study to the average period of study. As a Christmas present, the Master's regulations will be adorned with the new Majors and Minors. Most of the known subject areas will be grouped together so that instead of many specialisations with fewer offerings, there will now be fewer specialisations with a larger selection of subjects. In addition, the Minors should contribute to diversity. The VIS was able to ensure that too many unsuccessful attempts in the major's core subjects did not lead to students being excluded from their studies. The Majors and Minors are listed very simply below. You can only select a minor if it is not derived from the corresponding major. A study guide with the exact requirements and the concrete courses will follow in the FS.


  • Data Management Systems
    • Data management systems
    • Data processing on clusters, data centers, and the cloud
    • Big Data Platforms
    • Implementation and the system architecture of modern data management systems
    • cloud architecture
    • networking
    • operating systems
    • Distributed Systems
  • machine intelligence
    • foundational questions in Machine Learning, i.e., notions of generalization and learnability, statistical and computational complexity
    • computer vision and machine perception
    • statistical learning with computational constraints
    • optimization principles for machine learning with provable guarantees
    • probabilistic artificial intelligence
    • applications in the natural sciences, life sciences and engineering
    • machine learning for medical informatics
  • Secure and Reliable Systems
    • cryptography
    • Formal methods for the analysis and development of systems
    • Programming languages and systems for reliable, secure, and performant software
    • Network security
    • Reliability and Security of Machine Learning
    • Security and software engineering
  • Theoretical Computer Science
    • algorithms, data structures, and their applications
    • theory of combinatorial and geometric algorithms
    • randomized algorithms and probabilistic methods
    • cryptography and information security
    • mathematical foundations of these topics
  • Visual and Interactive Computing
    • Computer Graphics
    • Computer Vision
    • Shape modeling and geometry processing
    • machine perception
    • Motion modeling for animation and robotics


  • Computer Graphics, derived from Visual and Interactive Computing
  • Computer Vision, derived from Machine Intelligence and Visual and Interactive Computing
  • Data Management, derived from Data Management Systems
  • Information Security, derived from Secure and Reliable Systems
  • Machine Learning, derived from Machine Intelligence
  • networking
  • Programming Languages and Software Engineering, derived from Secure and Reliable Systems
  • Systems Software, derived from Data Management Systems
  • Theoretical Computer Science, derived from Theoretical Computer Science

Timetable Reform (extern and intern)

In this semester, the school management has also decided to introduce the timetable reform [1]. It will be here in HS20. The day from 8:00 to 20:00 is divided into blocks of 2 hours each and then the courses are distributed among these blocks. The general lunch hour is omitted and we are replaced by a free 2h block between 10:00 and 16:00 o'clock. You can read the exact rules according to which the schedulers create the timetables by hand (!) here [2]. The main reason for this reform comes from the acute lack of space at ETH Zurich, which the academic services are trying to cope with by making better use of the rooms. We are called upon by the rector to give feedback on the implementation of this reform so that the new timetables can be improved after HS20.

[1] [2]

Most other study associations see this reform as very problematic, as the learning places have not been taken into account in this reform. It is feared that the load on learning places will increase as students have more holes in their timetables. The ETH is aware of this problem and has hired one extra person with the main task of exploring potential learning places everywhere. If you have a suggestion, report it to our HoPo team.

In the VIS, this reform is perceived as less problematic. Since the courses in the computer science are only held in the centre and not on the Höngg and the courses in the first years are given as a package, it is easier to create a more pleasant timetable. The Hopo team has already been able to look at some drafts and they look very reasonable. Higher semesters are more difficult to optimize because of the freer choice of lectures. There it can lead to more holes in the timetables, but this is already the case and is not problematic.

Data Policy (extern and intern)

Over the past 2 semesters, students at VIS have been studying the use of cloud services in lectures. The use of cloud services can contribute greatly to the quality of a lecture. Examples are platforms such as Moodle, Slack or Piazza, which are used to discuss lecture material and exercises as well as their solutions with students online. Other cloud services are used to create interesting tasks such as training a machine learning system, creating an operating system in a VM or much more.

Such services are either provided by ETH itself or can be obtained outside ETH. The problem VIS sees is that some of these third party platforms send a lot of advertising as business models or sell data from users to other companies. Piazza is such a platform. VIS has therefore announced that Piazza and Slack should no longer be used in lectures, as Moodle is a good ETH internal alternative.

This topic has also been brought to the ETH level via the FR, since the same problems have also arisen in other study associations. Now the Department of Teaching Development and Technology (LET), which was made aware of the topic by the students, has developed a draft that should regulate the use of cloud services at ETH. ETH internal platforms are to be preferred. External platforms can be used if they have been reviewed. However, the draft is still under discussion.

ETH wide Basisprüfungssplit (extern)

The pilot project "Basisprüfungssplit" at ETH Zurich has been running for three years now. Now that positive results have been seen at ETH Zurich, the question of whether to carry out this split in all study courses is up for debate.

But not every study association sees this split. Some don't even want it. It is understandable, because in other degree programmes the subject division is completely different, e.g. not all subjects have the same weighting in the examination, or other degree programmes have in all 3 Bachelor years exclusively in the summer examinations. The VSETH generally recommended the split in general, but with strong emphasis that this should be decided department by department and not at ETH level. For the time being, this is also the state of affairs that this will not be imposed on any department.

The VIS clearly takes the side of the VSETH and that this departmental approach should be supported. Furthermore, after long hard work, nothing should and will change in the Department of Computer Science, which is considered positive in the VIS.