History

A Generation in the Making

Computer and computing education at Georgia Tech dates back more than a generation, to 1964 and the establishment of the Information Science program and a master's degree program in Information Science - the first graduate degree of its kind in the country.

By 1970, the program had grown in size and prestige enough to become a school in its own right, the School of Information and Computer Science (ICS), and began awarding doctorates in ICS and bachelor's degrees in information science.

Computing scored another first in 1988 when Georgia Tech became the first public university in the nation to raise the discipline to college status.

Since then, the College of Computing has maintained a leadership role by expanding its academic programs and initiatives, developing new facilities, and supporting research in an increasing array of computing and computing-related areas. In 2007, the College elevated two divisions to become the School of Computer Science and the School of Interactive Computing.

Milestones

1963

Dr. Vladimir Slamecka overhears Dorothy Crosland, Tech's longtime director of libraries, say "I know nothing about these computers, but I have a feeling they are going to be important for us and I know we have to do something."

Realizing the emerging technology's implications for other fields, she enlists the help of three like-minded faculty members: Dr. Vernon Crawford, physics professor and later chancellor of the University System of Georgia; Dr. Nordiar Waldemar Ziegler, chemical engineering professor; and Dr. William Atchison, professor of mathematics and director of the Rich Electronic Computer Center of Georgia Tech.

The group drafts a proposal for a master's degree program in information science, which is then endorsed by the Tech administration. 

1964

At a salary of $18,000 per year, Dr. Vladimir Slamecka accepts the position of director of the new information science program at Georgia Tech, the first such program in the world.

Financially supported largely by the three-year National Science Foundation grant, The School of Information Science opens for business in a single room in the Electrical Engineering building. Slamecka has a secretary, but no full-time faculty besides himself.

Five students enroll in the program—all Georgia Tech employees.

1965

A research engineer and a specialist in hardware architecture and design, Alton P. "Pete" Jensen installs the first e-mail system at Tech. Jensen is credited with single-handedly establishing and operating the school's first computer laboratory.

1966

Joanne Butterworth becomes Tech's first recipient of a master's degree in information science.

The school receives $1.3 million from the National Science Foundation to establish computer labs and an Information Science Research Center—one of the first two recipients under the new NSF program to develop university "research centers of excellence." The award not only permits Information Science to become the first school at Tech with its own computer, but also provides research scholarships for almost every graduate student.

1968

Pete Jensen formally joins the Information Science faculty.

One of the major developments taking place when Jensen joined the information science school was the concept of single-function computers, devices designed to perform specific tasks.

"These were small-scale computers, digital equipment, PDP/8-type machines costing $50,000 as contrasted with the larger multi-tasking machines that cost $10 million," he recalls.

1969

Dr. Lucio Chiaraviglio, a logician and mathematician, joins the school to oversee the Ph.D. program. Chiaraviglio taught the formal aspects of the program such as discrete mathematics and logic. He was later in charge of the undergraduate program, and served as interim director of the school and worked as assistant director in charge of education programs.

1970

The School of Information Science is changed to the School of Information and Computer Science (ICS) to better reflect its broad orientation and an Institute-wide graduate "minor" in information and computer science is established.

1972

ICS opens an undergraduate degree program in the discipline and a joint graduate degree program in Biomedical Information and Computer Science is developed with Emory University's School of Medicine. This collaboration is unique for its time, and presages further cooperation between the two institutions in this and other areas in the years to come.

1973

Dr. Al Badre joins the ICS faculty and whose expertise in the empirical methodologies of the behavioral sciences and the design approaches of computing sciences will later help him found the M.S. in Human Computer Interaction at Georgia Tech.

1975

Dr. Philip Enslow joins the School of Information and Computer Science (ICS) faculty.

1978

Dr. Richard LeBlanc joins Tech and works closely with Enslow in the development of distributed-systems research.

1979

Dr. Vladimir Slamecka retires after 15 years as director of the School of Information and Computer Science (ICS).

1980

Dr. Ray Miller, IBM's Assistant Director of Mathematical Sciences, becomes the new ICS director. Miller's administration marks a trend away from information science and toward computer science.

Janet Kolodner, a Yale graduate with a background in artificial intelligence and cognitive science, is hired as an assistant professor and becomes Tech's first full-fledged computer scientist.

1981

Dr. Al Badre sponsors a workshop on the relationship between humans and computers, resulting in a book titled Directions in Human-Computer Interaction.

Pete Jensen is awarded tenure and promoted to professor in the School of Information and Computer Science (ICS). Jensen participates in the local and international development of the computing industry and is principal investigator on numerous research and development projects involving computing in education, issues of instruction delivery systems and the paperless classroom

1982

A survey by the Conference Board of Associated Research Councils ranks the ICS school as "most improved" among the 57 computer-science departments examined.

1984

Pete Jensen retires after 28 years at Georgia Tech, but continues to teach, conduct research under the sponsorship of the U.S. Army, and expand his consulting and advisory relationships in the public and private sectors.

1987

Dr. Ray Miller resigns as director, leaving an ICS school that had grown to include 25 faculty members and highly respected graduate and undergraduate programs.

Pete Jensen suspends his retirement and returns to campus as director of the School of Information and Computer Science. Jensen serves as chairman of the restructuring committee charged with the challenge of defining Georgia Tech's longterm role in computer science. He later oversees the school's transition to a College of Computing.

1988

Georgia Tech President John Patrick Crecine initiates the most thorough academic reorganization at Georgia Tech in 40 years. The restructuring is approved unanimously by the Board of Regents the following year.

1990

On July 1, Georgia Tech officially opens the College of Computing, with Dr. Peter Freeman as inaugural dean. At the time, only one other university (Carnegie Mellon) has organized computer science with an interdisciplinary focus at the college level. The College of Computing includes 37 academic faculty and four research faculty, 100 students each in the master's and Ph.D. programs, and 500 undergraduates. Its programs include software engineering, cognitive science, artificial intelligence, distributed systems and databases, graphics and visualization, telecommunications and networking, parallel architectures, computational science, and information systems analysis and design.

1991

Dr. Lucio Chiaraviglio retires after 22 years overseeing education programs in the College of Computing and its organizational predecessors.

The Graphics, Visualization and Usability (GVU) Center is founded under the direction of College of Computing Professor Jim Foley.

1992

The College of Computing goes "online" with its first website.

1993

The first multi-disciplinary program is started at the College of Computing—Cognitive Science.

1994

The College of Computing hosts the 16th Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society.

1996

The GVU Center is ranked #1 by U.S. News and World Report for graduate computer science work in graphic and user interaction.

1998

College of Computing Dean Peter Freeman chairs the Sam Nunn NationsBank Policy Forum on Information Security which leads to the creation of the Georgia Tech Information Security Center (GTISC), one of the first comprehensive centers in the country focused on information security.

The College of Computing hosts the 3rd International Conference on the Learning Sciences.

1999

College of Computing faculty Amy Bruckman and Thad Starner, as well as Alumni Chris Klaus are celebrated as the "Top 100 Young Innovators" by MIT's Technology Review.

Forty-two College of Computing students worked more than 9,000 hours over six academic quarters to develop a Probate Court website so Georgians can make fewer trips to court for activities related to descendents and establishing guardianships of minors or incapacitated adults.

Classroom 2000 is developed by College of Computing and GVU researchers using existing technology in order to increase student participation. Exact details of classroom lectures are captured on audio, video and writing; and then students can access and review the notes later via the Web.

The Georgia Tech Information Security Center (GTISC) names Dr. Blaine Burnham as director. Burnham served as program manager for the National Security Agency (NSA) at Ft. Meade, Maryland.

Georgia Tech establishes the iXL Center for Electronic Commerce. The interdisciplinary center sponsors state-of-the-art research and education in the emerging field of E-commerce, drawing on College of Computing resources.

The College of Computing's continuing education program launches a new series of certificate programs in E-Commerce Technology. These programs are designed to meet the exploding demand for skilled professionals to build electronic business.

Georgia Tech is one of the 37 universities to have access to the high performance network called "Internet2," an Abilene Project and the most advanced research and education network in the U.S.

2000

The College of Computing is ranked 13th in the nation by U.S. News & World Report.

College of Computing Dean Peter Freeman is named Fellow by the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) for his achievements in computer science and information technology.

College of Computing Professor Richard Lipton is named the first holder of the Frederick G. Storey Chair in Computing. Well known for his seminal work in computer science theory, cryptography and DNA computing, Lipton strengthens the College's leadership in computer science research.

College of Computing Professor Mostafa Ammar is the principal investigator of the BellSouth supported effort to enable significant improvements over the quality of existing Internet services and the creation of future innovative services.

The College of Computing co-hosts the nations largest educational-technology conference (NECC) where more than 12,000 educators from all over the world convened in Atlanta to learn strategies and practical solutions for integrating technology into the classroom.

The Georgia Tech Information Security Center (GTISC) partners with PricewaterhouseCoopers to create an Information Security Technology Testbed Laboratory. The lab is non-profit, vendor-neutral, and designed to serve as an example of the academia-industry partnership required to address information security as a business enabler in the IT age.

Former College of Computing student Christopher Klaus, the 26- year old Founder and CTO of Internet Security Systems (ISS) gives $15 million for the construction of the Advanced Computing Technology (ACT) Building, the most extensive construction endeavor in Tech's history.

2001

College of Computing student James Ozment wins the prestigious British Marshall Scholarship. He is only the second Georgia Tech student in 20 years to win the scholarship and is pursuing a Master's in Information Security.

The College of Computing's Continuing Education program launches a new Information Security course for managers. The "Blueprint for Information Security" gives a foundation for building and implementing an information risk management environment.

The Georgia Tech Information Security Center (GTISC) begins its inaugural Distinguished Lecture Series with a visit by Dr. Michael Rabin, Thomas J. Watson Sr. Professor of Computer Science at Harvard University. Rabin speaks on "Hyper-Encryption and Ever Lasting Secrets."

Danielle L. Dees, a sophomore in computer science in the College of Computing receives the distinguished Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship Award. Dees, 20, intends to pursue a Ph.D. in computer science. Her career goals include performing DNA computing research and teaching at the university level.

2002

Georgia Tech names Dr. Richard A. DeMillo Distinguished Professor of Computing and Director of the Georgia Tech Information Security Center (GTISC). DeMillo will direct the applied research, education and outreach activities of GTISC, which was named a National Security Agency (NSA) Center of Excellence in Information Assurance Education last year.

The College of Computing at Georgia Tech graduate program is ranked 12th in the nation by U.S. News and World Report. By specialty, the College ranks 8th for Computer Systems, 12th for Artificial Intelligence, and 16th for Theory.

The Continuing Education Program at the College of Computing begins offering a certificate for Managing Information Security. The full certificate also will cover the common body of knowledge elements for the Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP) certification.

After twelve years as Dean, Peter Freeman leaves the College of Computing to assume a position with the National Science Foundation (NSF) in Washington as assistant director for Computer & Information Science & Engineering (CISE). Freeman will remain a member of the Georgia Tech faculty, on assignment to the NSF.

Georgia Tech Provost names associate professor of computing and assistant Dean of facilities planning Dr. Ellen Zegura to the position of interim Dean of the College of Computing. Zegura will serve as College of Computing Dean while a search committee looks for a replacement.

Georgia Tech graduates its first student with a Master of Science in Information Security. Michael E. Torrey started graduate school working towards an M.S. in Computer Science with a concentration in information security, but once the new Information Security program was approved he decided to pursue the new degree.

Late in the year, Georgia Tech names Richard A. DeMillo as the John P. Imlay, Jr. Dean of the College of Computing. DeMillo, one of the most visible figures in the computing industry in recent years, was the first Chief Technology Officer for computer giant Hewlett-Packard Company before joining Georgia Tech, and continues to be a leader in making national policy in information technology.

2003

The College of Computing at Georgia Tech has announced plans to form a committee with the task of developing a new Ph.D. program in Human-Centric Computing (HCC). The committee will be chaired by Jim Foley, professor and Stephen Fleming Chair in Telecommunications, and Nancy Nersessian, professor in the College of Computing and the School of Public Policy.

Richard DeMillo, Imlay Dean and Distinguished Professor of Computing at Georgia Tech and Director of the Georgia Tech Information Security Center, is the keynote speaker at the first annual Atlanta SecureWorld Expo. Security professionals throughout the Southeast will gather to promote the ideals of fostering communication between security professionals and technology leaders, to discuss best practices, and to bind that body of thought in a public/private partnership with government.

College of Computing Professor Richard Fujimoto leads Georgia Tech researchers in creating the fastest detailed computer simulations of computer networks ever constructed—simulating networks containing more than 5 million network elements. This work will lead to improved speed, reliability and security of future networks such as the Internet.

The College of Computing offers a course that forever changes the landscape for non-CS majors. College of Computing Associate Professor Mark Guzdial created and teaches the course titled "Introduction to Media Computation," and is overwhelmed by its success.

The College of Computing announces Dr. Ralph Merkle, an inventor of the encryption technology that allows secure transactions over the Internet, is the new director of the Georgia Tech Information Security Center (GTISC). Merkle is known for his seminal contributions to information security and nanotechnology.

2004

Four College of Computing faculty: Mostafa Ammar, Rich DeMillo, Mary Jean Harrold and Ramesh Jain are named Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) Fellows for their contributions in computer science and information technology. They join a distinguished list of colleagues from leading universities, corporations and research labs throughout the world to provide guidance and leadership.

Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue visits the Aware Home to experience hands-on demonstrations of the GVU Center Aware Home. The Research Initiative's latest technologies are designed to promote independent and healthy aging.

College of Computing undergraduates Trayton Otto and Topraj Gurung and graduate student Ryan Wilson are one of only 25 North American teams scheduled to compete in the World Finals of the Annual ACM international Collegiate Programming Contest (ACM-ICPC) in Prague, Czech Republic. It is the most prestigious programming competition for the world's universities and colleges.

The College of Computing conducts a Virtual Ground Breaking ceremony featuring the new Christopher W. Klaus Advanced Computing Building. Innovative augmented reality technology developed by College of Computing faculty and Georgia Tech's Interactive Media Technology Center (IMTC) virtually construct the new building on the 3D site along with a fly-through of the new facility.

In a unique joint effort, the College of Computing and the School of Literature, Communication and Culture created a new degree designed to attract undergraduates with an interest in both the computational and creative side of new media, such as film, web, television, and games. The new Bachelor of Science in Computational Media provides solid computing and programming skills with a strong understanding of new media design.

The College of Computing announces a cutting-edge Ph.D. program in Human-Centered Computing (HCC), recently approved by the Board of Regents. The new degree meets industrial and societal needs for education and research in humanizing computer technology, while attracting the best and brightest from around the world.

The Georgia Department of Education (DOE), the State partners with the College of Computing in an aggressive approach to strengthen the technology skills of current and future Advanced Placement (AP) computer science teachers, across the state. The goal is to better prepare Georgia's students for an increasingly computer-dependent workplace.

The National Security Agency and the Department of Homeland Security announced that the Georgia Tech Information Security Center (GTISC) will remain among the National Centers of Academic Excellence in Information Assurance Education. Designation as a Center is good for three academic years, after which a university must reapply. GTISC was initially designated as a Center in 2001, reapplied and was successfully evaluated against strengthened criteria.

College of Computing Professor Janet Kolodner is named Regents' Professor. Kolodner's research addresses issues in learning, memory and problem solving, both in computers and in people. She was the founding director of Georgia Tech's EduTech Institute, whose mission is to use knowledge about cognition to inform the design of educational technology and learning environments.

2005

The College of Computing is ranked 12th in graduate programs in the nation by U.S. News & World Report.

The College of Computing creates a new Computational Science and Engineering division (CSE). Modeled after the college's renowned Interactive & Intelligent Computing (IIC) and Computing Science & Systems (CSS) divisions, College of Computing carved out a separate academic division around CSE in order to create a specific identity and provide a certain level of autonomy essential for its success.

Dr. Ellen Zegura is named Chair of the Computing Science and Systems (CSS) division, formerly known as the Core Computing Division. CSS will define and develop the new computing paradigms that form the basis for computational systems, as well as bring computing to bear on real world problem areas such as healthcare, infrastructure for developing countries and information security.

Mr. Alton P. ("Pete") Jensen, Professor Emeritus of the College of Computing at Georgia Tech, passes away peacefully at home on Sunday, February 6th, at age 79.

College of Computing Associate Professor Leo Mark and Sr. Research Scientist Spencer Rugaber are involved in creating the Information Technology Innovation Center (ITIC). This public-private-university partnership will foster the development of innovative equipment, processes and technologies for Georgia businesses handling vast amounts of information. The ITIC has four member companies—Aflac, BellSouth, Synovus and TSYS.

Merrick Furst, Associate Dean of Undergraduate Programs for the College of Computing, is named Georgia Institute of Technology's "Distinguished Professor of Computing." This new academic designation at Georgia Tech recognizes and honors exceptional faculty members in strategic fields.

James Foley, College of Computing professor and Stephen Fleming Chair in Telecommunications is awarded the distinction of AAAS Fellow. Foley wins the distinctive honor in the Information, Computing, and Communication section, for early contributions to the fields of computer graphics and user interfaces.

2006

The College of Computing introduces Threads™, a groundbreaking curriculum in which students map their course along eight distinct, logical perspectives and gain an integrated, collaborative and interdisciplinary education.

The new 412,000-square-foot Christopher W. Klaus Advanced Computing Building officially opens. Former GT student Christopher Klaus donated $15 million toward the building, which features some of the most advanced computing labs and innovative educational technology in the world.

The College of Computing at Georgia Tech is designated as the first Sony-Toshiba-IBM Center of Competence to build a community of programmers and broaden industry support for the Cell Broadband Engine microprocessor.

2007

In an article published in Communications of the ACM, the College of Computing is ranked fourth in the nation for graduate programs and third in the nation for software engineering. The same article names NSF ADVANCE Professor of Computing Mary Jean Harrold as the number one software engineering scholar in the world.

The Academic Rankings of World Universities (ARWU) ranks Georgia Tech computer science program seventh in the world. ARWU rankings in engineering, technology and computer science are based on academic and research performance.

College of Computing formed the School of Computer Science and the School of Interactive Computing. This marks the first time a college-level computing program has delineated the field into distinct but related bodies of study.

U.S. News & World Report ranks the College’s Theory program ninth in the nation.

2008

U.S. News & World Report ranks Georgia Tech eighth in the world for engineering and information technology programs.

The Christopher W. Klaus Advanced Computing Building wins a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold certification for its green building practices and many energy- and water-saving features.

John P. Imlay Dean Richard DeMillo announces his resignation and intention to return to the faculty as a professor effective July 1. Under his leadership, the College grew to include the Schools of Computer Science and Interactive Computing and the Computational Science and Engineering division. During DeMillo’s six years as dean, the computing faculty increased 40 percent and research increased 60 percent. The College, which in 2002 was ranked 13th in the nation by U.S. News & World Report, also rose to 9th place during that time. Interactive Computing Professor James D. Foley, Stephen Fleming Chair in Telecommunications, is named interim dean.

The College of Computing jumps into the Top 10 in the rankings of graduate computer science programs by U.S. News & World Report with a new ranking of ninth in the nation overall. In specialty areas, the College moved up in Artificial Intelligence to seventh and in Systems to 10th.

The Colleges of Computing, Engineering, and Sciences announce the creation of a new doctoral degree in Computational Science and Engineering (CSE), a cooperative, interdisciplinary effort spearheaded by the Computational Science and Engineering division in the College of Computing.

The Colleges of Computing and Engineering at Georgia Tech create the nation’s first truly interdisciplinary doctoral degree in robotics. The program was developed through Georgia Tech’s Center for Robotics and Intelligent Machines (RIM@Georgia Tech).

The contract for the Sony Group-Toshiba-IBM Center of Competence is renewed based on Georgia Tech’s exceptional work in research for the Cell Broadband Engine™ technology.

The College of Computing launches its “Computing for Good” (C4G) concept, which includes a specially designed course. C4G combines technology and activism and is part of a growing national movement to use technology to solve urgent social, political, environmental and health problems around the world.

2009

Undergraduate Roger Pincombe wins the $5,000 individual award in Georgia Tech’s inaugural InVenture Prize competition for “DialPrice,” which allows shoppers to compare prices by entering a product code number into any phone.

The College receives a $2.5 million grant from the National Science Foundation for Operation Reboot, with the goal of transforming laid-off IT workers in Georgia into high school computing teachers.

Georgia Computes!, a College-led statewide program aimed at expanding the pipeline of computer science students and teachers at all education levels in Georgia, receives a $1.4 million grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to extend the program for two more years.

Georgia Tech is announced as the lead institution for a five-year, $12 million, Track 2 award from the National Science Foundation's Office of Cyberinfrastructure to lead a partnership of academic, industry and government experts in the development and deployment of an innovative and experimental high-performance computing (HPC) system. Joint Professor Jeffrey Vetter (CSE, Oak Ridge National Lab) will head up the project.

The College announces a new Master of Science in Information Security in a distance learning format. Georgia Tech becomes the only university of its class certified by the National Security Agency (NSA) and the Department of Homeland Security as a Center of Academic Excellence in Information Assurance Education that offers the degree in an online format.

Professor David Bader (CSE), executive director of high performance computing at Georgia Tech, is named a Class of 2010 Fellow by IEEE, the world's leading professional association for the advancement of technology. Georgia Tech is one of just six U.S. universities to have five faculty named as fellows in the class.

2010

Georgia Tech creates the Institute for Data & High Performance Computing to advance and coordinate institute research and education activities in this area. Regents’ Professor Richard Fujimoto, chair of Computational Science & Engineering, will serve as the institute’s interim director.

The College of Computing forms the School of Computational Science & Engineering, chaired by Regents’ Professor Richard Fujimoto, in partnership with the Colleges of Engineering and Sciences. The new school joins the School of Computer Science and the School of Interactive Computing as operating units of the College.

The College of Computing welcomes its third dean, Dr. Zvi Galil, in July 2010. Dr. Galil's research areas have spanned the design and analysis of algorithms, complexity, cryptography and experimental design. He served as the chair of the Computer Science Department at Columbia University from 1989-1994 and as dean of The Fu Foundation School of Engineering & Applied Science from 1995-2007. In 2007 Galil became president of Tel Aviv University and served until 2009. Dr. Galil is a fellow of the ACM and the AAAS, and a member of the National Academy of Engineering.

The College of Computing has two Class of 2011 Fellows named by IEEE, the world's leading professional association for the advancement of technology. Ellen Zegura (CS), professor and chair of the School of Computer Science earned Fellow “for contributions to disruption-tolerant networking,” and Mary Jean Harrold (CS), professor in the School of Computer Science earned Fellow “for contributions to software systems.”

Georgia Tech creates Center for 21st Century Universities directed by former Georgia Tech College of Computing Dean Rich DeMillo. The center is based in the College of Computing and will allow Georgia Tech to be a leader in examining how disruptive technology will revolutionize undergraduate education.