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It's that time of year again: BrainAcademy is back. This is the now-regular competition where A-level students and others compete for a fees-paid place at Queen Mary's University, London. However, the organisers have for the first time opened the competition to include post-graduates, and not just those from computer science backgrounds.

Dr. Paul Curzon, from the computer science department at Queen Mary's University says that the idea is to keep making the competition bigger and better each year, and that one of the main aims this year is to attract a more diverse field of entries.

Prizes this year include that place on an undergraduate computer science degree course at the College, starting in 2006 with all tuition fees paid; postgraduate degree bursaries; study abroad; and fast-track interviews for Microsoft's Student Internship and Graduate programme. For the postgraduate entrants, there are two places on Computer Science masters courses, one for computer science graduates, and one for those from other disciplines.

"The competition as a whole is about career opportunities," Curzon told El Reg. "It make sense to offer prizes to people whatever stage of their career they are at."

Curzon adds that he is keen to see applications from people with a background in psychology, or in performing arts: "Computer science is a wide subject, it is about more than just computers. It is about people and creativity, and about designing the technology of the future, and technology that will focus our society," he concludes.

As usual, the competition will start with a set of 12 questions which entrants can answer as many times as they like. Once this stage of the contest is successfully completed, the wannabe computer scientists can register for the programming challenge. The best of the bunch at this stage will proceed to final interviews.

Find out more here. ®

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