About The Department
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Since our inception in 1979, the Computer Science Department at Brown has forged a path of innovative information technology research and teaching at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. From our modest beginnings as an interest group within the Divisions of Applied Mathematics and Engineering in the 1960s to its current stature as one of the nation's leading computer science program, the Computer Science Department has continuously produced prominent contributors in the field, at both the undergraduate and graduate levels.
We are a diverse community of scholars engaged in all aspects of research, teaching and mentoring in computer science and its related interdisciplinary disciplines. Realizing the importance of computing and algorithmic thinking in so many scientific, social and technological endeavors, we collaborate extensively with colleagues in archaeology, applied mathematics, biology, cognitive and linguistic sciences, economics, engineering, mathematics, medicine, physics and neuroscience.
Our undergraduate offerings reflect the department's multidisciplinary orientations, with joint concentrations in mathematics, applied mathematics, computational biology and economics. We have strong undergraduate research groups in graphics, neuroscience and robotics as well as a long history of involving undergraduates in projects that span disciplinary boundaries. Graduate students find it easy to tailor their education to meet the challenges of multidisciplinary research and commonly have advisors in two or more departments.
Research in the department crosses traditional boundaries and projects spring from shared interests more than from established groups. Faculty work with post-doctoral students, graduate students and undergraduates. Ideas and expertise are drawn from other disciplines and departments at the University. A long tradition of combining theory and practice is as strong and relevant today as it ever was. Research areas the department participates in include: algorithms; cloud computing; computational biology; computational geometry; computational neuroscience; computational photography; computer graphics; computer networks; computer vision; cryptography; data management; distributed systems; educational technology; electronic commerce; information visualization; intelligent agents; machine learning; mobile and ubiquitous computing; nanocomputing; natural language processing; operating systems; optimization; parallel computing; programming languages; robotics; scientific visualization and modeling; security and privacy; sensor networks; software engineering; user interfaces; theory of computation; verification and reliable systems; virtual reality.
Excellence in teaching and mentoring is highly prized in our department. Our faculty is encouraged to develop new, more effective ways of teaching computer science and to lead in the development of new curricula and materials for teaching. For example, our introductory courses are subject to constant revision to keep the content fresh and exciting. Junior and senior faculty alike teach undergraduate courses; the teaching load distributed so that junior faculty can spend more time getting their research on track.
Graduate students work closely with faculty and with one another and are supported through a variety of university, government and corporate grants and fellowships. The research facilities available to graduate students are state of the art, and their offices, intermingled with the faculty offices, are comfortable and spacious. Open areas for socializing and working are also intermingled, and well-equipped kitchens and common areas provide an inviting environment for impromptu brainstorming and collaborative research.
We have a long history of involving undergraduates in research and education. Encouraging undergraduates to do research was novel when we began, more than 25 years ago, and we remain unique in the extent to which undergraduates create and take part in research programs and coauthor research papers. We expect that most of our undergraduate concentrators will participate in research during their time at Brown, and we make sure that they have ample opportunity to exercise their interests.
In our extensive undergraduate teaching assistant (UTA) program, qualified undergraduates participate in all aspects of course development and instruction and play an important peer-teaching and mentoring role in all our undergraduate courses. Having UTAs run study sections and explain computing concepts to their peers appropriately blurs the line between teaching and learning and encourages all students to take an active part in their education. This early teaching experience positions students to become leaders and prepares them for the many computing careers in which team-based, collaborative problem solving is the norm. Our UTA program is frequently cited by our graduates, their employers and their graduate advisors as an important contributing factor to the high quality of our graduates and goes far to account for the large number of our graduates who become leaders in academia and industry.
Center for Computational Molecular Biology
The Center for Computational Molecular Biology (CCMB) at Brown was founded in September 2003 with the aim of establishing a world-class center for research and scholarship in this new discipline. The CCMB's central mission is to make breakthrough discoveries in the life sciences at the molecular and cellular level through the creative application of existing data analytic methods, and the development of novel computational, mathematical, and statistical technologies required exploit the opportunities emerging from advances in genomics and proteomics. Computer Science is one of several departments at Brown which is affiliated with the CCMB.
Industrial Partners Program
Our Industrial Partners Program (IPP) exists to provide interaction between the academic and corporate information technology communities and allows us to offer corporations exceptional opportunities for productive collaboration with a leading academic research institution. We are committed to progress in research and the transfer of state-of-the-art technologies beyond the campus. We are also committed to informing our students and faculty about the career opportunities in industry and keeping them current on the technical problems that drive industrial research and development. Strong, mutually beneficial links with leaders in computer-related industries will advance these goals.
Paris C. Kanellakis Memorial Lecture
Each year, the department hosts a Paris C. Kanellakis Memorial Lecture. This lecture series honors Paris Kanellakis, a distinguished computer scientist who was an esteemed and beloved member of the Brown Computer Science department. Paris joined the Computer Science Department in 1981 and became a full professor in 1990. His research area was theoretical computer science, with emphasis on the principles of database systems, logic in computer science, the principles of distributed computing and combinatorial optimization. He died in an airplane crash on December 20, 1995, along with his wife, Maria Teresa Otoya, and their two young children, Alexandra and Stephanos Kanellakis.
The Artemis Project is a free, five-week summer day camp for rising 9th grade girls in the Providence area who are interested in learning about science and technology. Traditionally, it has been run by four undergraduate women from Brown University in connection with Brown's Computer Science Department. By teaching students computer skills, programming, and computer science concepts through engaging activities, the Artemis Project encourages young women to join the field of computer science.
Located on the top three floors of Brown's Center for Information Technology, members of the computer science community enjoy large open-plan spaces designed to support collaborative research and facilitate social and intellectual interaction. The department's computing infrastructure is separate from the rest of the university and supports all our administrative, research and educational needs. In particular, we maintain several state-of-the-art classrooms and computing labs with high-performance computing clusters and graphics workstations. The Center for Computation and Visualization hosts multiple parallel high-performance computer clusters and an Immersive Virtual Reality Cave which are used for both research and teaching.