Carnegie Mellon’s School of Computer Science (SCS) is one of the world’s premier institutions for computer science research and education. From the beginnings of “thinking computers” through today’s intelligent tutors, our award-winning faculty, researchers and students are internationally known for consistently developing new methods and technologies that have an enduring impact on academic, scientific and commercial endeavors. Innovations such as speech recognition software, Internet search engines and the precursor of the Mac OS-X operating system can trace their roots to the interdisciplinary and collaborative environment of SCS and the technologically advanced Carnegie Mellon campus.
The educational experience available at SCS is unparalleled. Our undergraduate program prepares students to be industry and academic leaders who can apply technology and computer science principles across a wide variety of fields. Our Ph.D. program is currently ranked number one by U.S. News and World Report.
Additional opportunities for an SCS education are available outside Pittsburgh as well. The Carnegie Mellon Silicon Valley campus offers an industry-focused master’s programs in software engineering and management. Internationally, students can earn an SCS undergraduate degree at the Carnegie Mellon Qatar campus, a master’s degree in Entertainment Technology in Melbourne, Australia or a master’s degree in human-computer interaction in collaboration with the University of Madeira in Portugal.
SCS is unique in the breadth of computer science research that it encompasses. Within our seven departments, researchers and theorists are working on tomorrow’s problems today. They are designing reconfigurable nanotechnology, deciphering the language of proteins, automating discovery of the defects that lead to disease, harnessing human computation, investigating the intersection of privacy, security and public policy and creating robots of every shape and size.
Who We Are
The School of Computer Science follows the theme set by our founding fathers, Allen Newell, Herbert Simon, and Alan Perlis, that the field of computer science covers the theory and design of computers, as well as all phenomena associated with them. Its research and educational programs span a range of disciplines, including the hardware and software that make up computers, the theory behind them, applications such as robotics, natural language understanding, and computational biology, and the impact computers have on people and organizations. Its educational offerings include undergraduate programs in computer science and human-computer interaction, research-oriented and professional masters programs, and multiple PhD programs.
The School is organized as seven academic units, each with its own faculty and degree programs: the Computer Science Department, the Human-Computer Interaction Institute, the Institute for Software Research, the Lane Center for Computational Biology, the Language Technologies Institute, the Machine Learning Department, and the Robotics Institute. It also maintains active collaborations with many other parts of the university, as well as with industry and other universities.
The School of Computer Science has a long history of groundbreaking innovations. These include: the first program to use artificial intelligence (1956), the first large-scale computer built from commodity processors (1972), the first use of the smiley emoticon :-) (1982), the first symbolic model checker (1987), and the first academic department devoted to machine learning (2006).
In the 1950's, the "electronic computer" emerged capturing the minds of researchers across all disciplines. At Carnegie Mellon this group included faculty such as Allen Newell, Herbert Simon, and Alan J. Perlis, as well as faculty in the Graduate School of Industrial Administration, staff from the newly formed Computation Center, and key administrators. These visionaries set in motion research and educational programs that would transform not just Carnegie Mellon (then known as Carnegie Institute of Technology), but also the entire world.
The Department of Computer Science, one of the first such departments in the nation, was officially formed in July 1965. The intent was simple: to cultivate a course of study leading to the Ph.D. degree in Computer Science, a program that would exploit the new technology and assist in firmly establishing a discipline of computer science. The educational program, formally accepted in October 1965, drew its first graduate students from several existing academic disciplines: mathematics, electrical engineering, psychology, and the interdisciplinary Systems and Communications Sciences program in the Graduate School of Industrial Administration. The Department housed itself within the Mellon College of Science, as part of the natural sciences.
By 1985, new areas within computer science were commanding attention with enough vigor that the Department of Computer Science began a carefully thought out process to become a school. Buttressed with the strong commitment of Allen Newell, Herbert Simon, Nico Habermann, Provost Angel Jordan and President Richard Cyert, the Department of Computer Science began a two-year status as a "floating" department in the early months of 1986. No longer embedded within the traditional confines of the Mellon College of Science, the Department began to stretch its scientific and fiscal wings, to see how it would evolve in a larger, more "open" organization. In 1988 the Department was officially elevated to the status of a School of Computer Science, among the first such schools in the country.