Chaitin School
of Software Engineering
an in-person community in london, uk

Values

Cinema is the ultimate pervert art. It doesn’t give you what you desire—it tells you how to desire.
— Slavoj Žižek

Inclusivity

One of the problematic parts of the current state of schools and universities is their exclusivity. Whether it is tuition fees, applications, acceptance criteria, location, or passport, it is a mechanism that prevents people from learning.

We stand against this in practice. We welcome everybody who wants to take part in our activities.

Our only requirement is our Code of Conduct, which we hope is embraced and welcomed by everyone.

Expertise

We view software building not only as an engineering discipline but also as a craft. Crafts are associated with ingredients of art as well as skill.

We value both skill and creativity as things we want to develop. Among others, these require practice, intelligence, consistency, persistence.

Fun

One of the symptoms of an approaching nervous breakdown is the belief that one’s work is terribly important.
— Bertrand Russell

We venture into computers because we see them as fun. This element of amusement is fundamental to our approach.

Why is something funny? Humour is such a unique quality that it’s unexpectedly hard to define. Programmers value it especially, given how we name things as well as our attention to April Fool’s jokes.

Gift economy

I watch how the moon sits in the sky in the dark night
Shining with the light from the sun
And the sun doesn't give light to the moon assuming
The moon's gonna owe it one

— Linkin Park

There are no transactions involved in what we do. We gift as much as we feel comfortable. What usually happens is that people appreciate it and take up an active role too. But this is neither required nor expected.

No formal authorities

Universities work in a model where people usually depend on a professor authority to provide absolution. It is definitely useful to have someone with experience on a matter that knows the answers. However, the innate structural hierarchy of universities means that people have to depend on the opinion of one.

In contrast, we want to create a space where people are not forced to act based on what one says. Knowledge is assessed from its content, regardless of where or whom it came from.

Discovered and undiscovered knowledge

We are interested in the knowledge behind computer science and software engineering. Whether some of it has already been discovered is irrelevant. We are interested in both kinds—and most times, by thinking about what you already know, you discover what you don’t.

Community

Happiness is only real when shared.
— Jon Krakauer

Chaitin School as a project started as the vision of one. However, there is only value to it if it’s shared. That’s one of the hard parts. Thankfully, there are a lot of people to share it with; it’s only hard because it—the community and the projects—are constantly defined and redefined.