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Happy 50th Birthday Cornell Computer Science

Computer Science 50th Anniversary

Cornell’s Computer Science Department is turning 50 in 2015!

When brilliant minds, groundbreaking ideas, and academic disciplines connect, the result is great achievement. For five decades, the faculty and alumni of the Cornell Department of Computer Science have made an indelible impression on the worlds of science, technology, education, and business. Forging the mathematical principles of our field. Developing the search algorithms that made Google, Facebook, and other giants of today's information age possible. Building the software and systems that run in Hollywood, on Wall Street, and in the Cloud. These are just a few of the milestones we have made over the years. This, our 50th anniversary, marks yet another.

For five decades, the faculty and alumni of the Cornell Department of Computer Science have made an indelible impression on the worlds of science, technology, education, and business.

We’ve come a long way in these 50 years, and we have lots to celebrate. In January 2014 we moved into Bill & Melinda Gates Hall, a striking new building designed by Pritzker Prize-winning architect Thom Mayne. And that small department now is a significant presence in the other areas of Computer Science too, with a 35 full-time tenure-track faculty, plus another 5 lecturers. There are 135 PhD students, and last year we awarded 9 PhD degrees, 100 MEng degrees, and 134 Bachelors degrees. The department also has a significant presence at Cornell’s NYC Tech Campus.

It’s quite a distinguished faculty, too. Turing award winners, members of the National Academies, MacArthur Fellows, ACM Fellows, IEEE Fellows, AAAI Fellows, AAAS Fellows, and all manner of other accolades.

Our 50th anniversary celebration event, which took place in October 2014, included the dedication for Gates Hall, with Bill Gates himself presiding. We also hosted a day and a half program of talks by current and former faculty and students, along with plenty of time to socialize with old friends and make new ones. The program featured sessions highlighting the department’s impact on computing education and research in social networks, distributed systems, programming languages, theory, graphics, and more.

To many of you 50 might seem quite old. But 50 is really quite young for a department at a university like Cornell, and it’s young enough for our earliest faculty to still be playing an active role. Even if you missed our celebration, there's still time to come home for a visit – to renew your connections with the past, see for yourself how far we’ve come, and hear where we are heading.

Fred B. Schneider ‘75
CS Department Chair and Samuel B. Eckert Professor of Computer Science