Chair's Message

Rising Toward the Next Level of Excellence!

Welcome to the Department of Computer and Information Sciences (CIS) in the College of Science and Technology at Temple University.  CIS is one of the oldest computer science departments in the country with a tradition of providing high-quality education and pursuing exciting research directions. Last year, as we celebrated 50-years of Computer and Information Sciences at Temple University, we had an opportunity to reflect on our proud history and envision our future. Building on our past, our internationally-recognized 24 tenure-track faculty, 22 full-time instructional faculty, our adjuncts and staff, and more than 1,000 undergraduate, masters, and doctoral students, are helping CIS rise towards the next level of excellence in the quality and breadth of our academic programs and research endeavors. 

During the past year, we have received several reminders of the increasing stature of the CIS department in the country and the world. Based on the objective measures of research productivity, the well-respected ARWU Shanghai ranking recently placed Temple’s CIS department among the top 60 computer science departments in the country and the top 150 computer science departments in the World. Another recent ranking by placed our CS undergraduate program among the top 45 in the U.S. Our recent graduating student placement survey revealed that 90% of our undergraduate students have a job offer in the IT field before their graduation and that our doctoral students typically have multiple job offers from the top IT companies before they graduate. Mirroring the growth of CIS, Temple University was recently classified by the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education as “R1: Research Universities (Highest research activity),” which is a group of the 115 most research-oriented universities in the country. 

Building on our momentum, in Fall 2016 CIS is welcoming three new tenure-track and two instructional faculty members. Dr. Xubin He is a Full Professor joining us from the Virginia Commonwealth University. His research interests are in networked storage, big data management, storage cache and disk I/O, high availability and reliable computing. His expertise greatly complements our current strengths in computer systems, networking, and big data. Drs. Jamie Payton and Richard Souvenir are both Associate Professors joining us from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. Dr. Payton’s research focuses on the design of pervasive and wearable computing systems. As the director of the multi-million dollar STARS Computing Corps alliance, she is also actively engaged in broadening participation in computer science. Dr. Souvenir’s expertise is in computer vision, machine learning, biomedical image analysis, and human motion analysis, thus complementing the existing CIS strengths in data science. Dr. Andrew Rosen arrived at CIS from Georgia State University as an Assistant Professor of Instruction and his research expertise is in peer-to-peer networks and fault-tolerant systems. David Dobor, our new instructor, is currently on a leave of absence from his Ph.D. program at Temple University, where he has been conducting research in computer vision. With these new additions to the department, we hope to enrich the already vibrant learning community established here by bringing students and scholars together.

For Fall 2016, CIS is excited to introduce several new undergraduate and graduate programs. We have two new programs in data science. The Undergraduate Certificate in Data Science is catering to mathematically and technically oriented students who would like to learn the fundamentals of the budding field of data science. The new M.S. in Computational Data Science was designed as an innovative program that provides students with depth and breadth in computer systems, algorithmic, computational, and statistical thinking, and in machine learning and knowledge discovery, that will make them highly competitive for a range of lucrative industry jobs in data science. CIS is also introducing a new Professional Master of Science in Cyber Defense and Information Assurance, aimed at giving our students practical and workable knowledge about detection and prevention of security breaches. CIS is also introducing a new interdisciplinary B.S. degree in Computer Science and Physics, aimed at talented and ambitious students who are interested in bridging the areas of computing and physical sciences. 

Our faculty and students have been deeply involved in research. Direct expenditures from externally funded grants for research in CIS during the 2015/16 academic year were $3.3 million. We have experienced a steady increase in external research funding over the previous few years. Significant new funding for research was received by our faculty: Zoran Obradovic, Jie Wu, Krishna Kant, Slobodan Vucetic, James Du, Eduard Dragut, Chiu Tan, Yuhong Guo, Richard Souvenir, and Pei Wang, The funding has come from prestigious sources such as NSF, DARPA, NIH, DoD, JPL, and Google. The vast majority (18/24) of our tenure-track faculty have research funding, advise graduate and undergraduate students, publish papers at prestigious computer science conferences and journals, and are actively involved in service to the research community. We are proud to say that during the previous year our faculty, Jie Wu, Bo Ji, and Richard Souvenir with their students and collaborators obtained 5 best paper awards at highly regarded computer science conferences. 

CIS organized a very successful colloquium series last year, including a distinguished lecture series with presentations by Jim Kurose (NSF), Marc Snir (UIUC), J. J. Garcia-Luna-Aceves (UCSC), and Turing Award Winner Barbara Liskov (MIT).  In Fall 2016, we are continuing our colloquium series and are proud to host many highly regarded guests, including distinguished talks by Ian F. Akyildiz (Georgia Tech), Leandros Tassiulas (Yale), Arvind (MIT),  and Divesh Srivastava (AT&T).

With our increasing student enrollment and new faculty additions, a growing research and academic vigor, and being comfortably situated in the beautiful new Science Education and Research Center (SERC) building, CIS is looking forward to another great year and its continued transformation into a major center of excellence in the field of computer and information sciences. I wish our current and prospective students, alumni, faculty, visitors, collaborators, staff, and all our CIS friends a successful academic 2016/17 year.  Please do not hesitate to contact me with any news, questions, and suggestions. 

Best regards,

Slobodan Vucetic
Associate Professor and Chair
Department of Computer and Information Science
Temple University