BUFFALO, N.Y.-- In 1967, the University at Buffalo took a bold
step, creating one of the nation's first departments in the
emerging discipline of computer science.
Now, after producing 6,000 graduates, many of who are some of
the field's most renowned innovators, the Department of Computer
Science and Engineering will mark its 40th anniversary with a
two-day program to be held April 13 and 14.
The department's Graduate Student Association will showcase
graduate student research during a conference from 8:30 a.m. to
5:15 p.m. April 13 in the Center for Tomorrow, North Campus.
Scheduled to speak at the conference are Hongyi Wu, M.S. '00, Ph.D.
'02, assistant professor at the Center for Advanced Computer
Studies, University of Louisiana at Lafayette; Michael Kurdziel,
B.S. '86, M.S. '88, Ph.D. '01, information security specialist at
Harris Corp.; James Geller, B.S. '79, M.S. '84, Ph.D. '88,
professor of computer science at the New Jersey Institute of
Technology; and Kulbir Arora, M.S. '85, technology fellow and
managing director, Goldman Sachs..
On April 14, the program will move to the Ramada Hotel and
Conference Center, 2402 North Forest Road, Getzville, and will
feature invited talks and panel discussions about the past and
future of the discipline and the challenges that lie ahead.
Speakers will include many of the UB department's distinguished
alumni, including C.L. Max Nikias, M.S. '80, Ph.D. '82, provost at
the University of Southern California, who will discuss "How
Timeless Values Generate Timely Innovation," and Bruce Shriver,
Ph.D. '71, UB's first doctoral graduate, now of Genesis 2 Inc. and
professor at large at the University of Tromso, Norway, who will
discuss "The Increasing Diversity of Computer Architectures."
Other distinguished alumni speakers include Deepak Kumar, M.S.
'88, Ph.D. '94, professor and chair of computer science at Bryn
Mawr College, who will discuss new directions in computer science
education. Former UB faculty member John Case, now professor in the
Department of Computer and Information Sciences at the University
of Delaware, will speak on computational learning.
The founding chair of the department, Anthony Ralson, UB
professor emeritus, will address the conference, as will Satish K.
Tripathi, UB provost, executive vice president for academic affairs
and professor of computer science and engineering; Harvey G.
Stenger Jr., dean of the School of Engineering and Applied
Sciences; Bharat Jayaraman, professor and chair of the Department
of Computer Science and Engineering; and Stuart C. Shapiro,
professor and former chair of the UB department.
The conference and 40th anniversary celebration will provide
alumni, students and faculty with an opportunity to reflect on how
far the department and the discipline have come and to project
where the opportunities lie, both for the department and its future
graduates, said Jayaraman.
In the past 30 years, he said, the field has gone from
mainframes in the 1970s to PCs and desktop workstations in the
1980s to the Internet in the 1990s to palmtops and wireless
"Computing devices keep getting smaller and are now becoming
part of our environment," he said. "The end is nowhere in
In fact, he said, growth in the department is slated to be in
the exciting new area called "smart environments," one of the major
initiatives within the UB 2020 strategic strength of information
and computing technology.
He described a smart environment as one in which sensors and
computing and communication devices are embedded into everyday
objects, providing a seamless and natural way for humans to
interact with computers and get things done.
"This agenda makes a lot of sense for UB and the Department of
Computer Science and Engineering," he said, "as we have expertise
in several of the core technologies, such as sensors, networking,
intelligent systems and user interfaces."
According to Jayaraman, some of UB's most distinguished alumni
have spent their careers working in industry and that makes sense,
given the department's strong orientation toward application.
"Applied research has always been our strong suit, so industry
is a very natural fit for our graduates," said Jayaraman. "We place
a good 80 percent of our doctoral graduates in industry."
He noted that the department's Alumni Speaker Series this year
featured graduates who are working at Google, AT&T Bell Labs
and other technology leaders.
The department and the discipline are seeking new ways to make
the field attractive to prospective students, he said.
"Many students come out of high school thinking that computer
science is just programming," he pointed out. "We need to do a
better job of introducing our field in more interesting ways and
communicating to students the great intellectual challenges that
face computer scientists in the new, rapidly changing computing
Now that the dot-com "bust" is over, he said, the number of
computer science majors is once again on the rise, totaling 450
"Projections are very good for computer science and engineering
graduates," said Jayaraman. "Leading companies such as Microsoft,
Intel, Google and others are eager to hire computer science and
engineering graduates as these companies are presently unable to
fill all their openings. The Bureau of Labor Statistics also
projects a very good job market for computing graduates for the
Members of the UB community, alumni and the general public are
welcome to attend the department's anniversary celebration.
Information can be found at http://aluminum.cse.buffalo.edu/40/html/index.html.