Computer Science Merges with Engineering

With computing being one of the fastest growing sectors in the U.S., the Shiley-Marcos School of Engineering (SMSE) is proud to announce that starting Fall 2016, the USD computer science program (CS) will move from the College of Arts and Sciences to the school of engineering.

When SMSE introduced the addition of a general engineering degree with an embedded software engineering emphasis to the program - along with the new Master’s program in cyber security engineering that launched early 2016 - it was a logical progression for computer science to join forces with engineering.

Having all computing programs together will help with marketing our range of technology offerings to prospective and current students,” explains John Glick, PhD, chair and professor of computer science and general engineering. “It will also be easier to design the software programs so as to better coordinate what engineering offers and to maximize the cross listing of courses between programs.“

“There is an exploding demand for embedded systems software,” reports David Mayhew, PhD software engineering professor of practice. “Embedded processors are expected to go into billions of new devices. All these processors will need programmers to make them usable. 21st century engineers will need to have the ability to create this code and/or effectively communicate with those that do.“

"There are natural synergies between computer science and engineering systems that have embedded processors - devices like smart thermostats, wearable devices, and industrial robots,” says Rick Olson, PhD associate dean of SMSE.  “The engineers who develop these devices and rely on techniques from computer science to make them ‘talk’ to each other.”

Computer science and engineering majors will also benefit from having computer science students participating in the integrated senior design projects that are already part of the engineering programs.

Ultimately, the goal is to allow CS majors to complete an emphasis within the major by completing two or three classes in one area of computer science.

"With all software programs in the same department, the computer science program will be able to more easily introduce emphases in embedded software engineering and in cyber security," Glick confirms.

An additional benefit to the merging of the departments is the prospect of increased internship opportunities for the computer science majors. Because the school of engineering has strong ties to industry, the computer science department would be able to align themselves with those industry partners.

After merging the computer science faculty from the College of Arts and Sciences with softare engineering faculty, and adding two new faculty members in Januray, there will be a total of seven computing faculty by Spring 2017.

“Having the expertise of seven faculty members to draw on will strengthen all of our software programs,” emphasizes Glick. “I think that all of the computer science faculty are excited by the prospects of enhancing the computer science major with this move to engineering.”