WPI Computer Science Department

Computer Science Department

Department History: 1967-1999

In 1968 WPI appointed its first professor of Computer Science. In September 1969 the graduate program (MS) in Computer Science began. Graduate students were admitted first, closely followed by undergraduates. The department's 25th anniversary in September 1995 celebrated those events.

The department's facilities have changed dramatically over the years, from initially having no computer of its own, to its current situation of owning and operating over 100 computers. Most of these are linked via a campus-wide network, and all offices have access to more than one machine.

From the original FORTRAN, we've moved to a wide variety of software that's available to students and faculty. We now use several different operating systems to create a diversified environment. All popular languages are supported, including Java, LISP, Prolog, C, C++, FORTRAN, Scheme, and COBOL. There are many word processing/desk-top publishing utilities. The department operates several high-quality printers connected to our machines to produce graphical technical documents -- not very much folded Line Printer paper to be seen on campus any more!

The emphasis in the department over the last 15 years has gradually changed from teaching alone to a healthy blend of teaching and research. This is consistent with the increase in the number of graduate students, and the fact that the department now offers the Ph.D. degree. The faculty's research has been supported from a variety of sources, including NASA, the National Science Foundation, IBM, DEC, and Wyman Gordon.

In early 1990 the department moved to its new home in Fuller Labs. This building is specially designed to house the department and all other information processing activities. This move marked the beginning of a period of increased excellence in Computer Science education and scholarship at WPI.

The current state of the department is described in the most recent Annual Report, and in the latest Significant Bits newsletter. Other CS web pages complete the picture.

Departmental Milestones

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webmaster@cs.wpi.edu / Tue Aug 3 15:44:25 EDT 2004