Department of Computer Science, University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign

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Department of Computer Science - University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
A photo of the Thomas M. Siebel Center for Computer Science at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Established1964 (1949 as the Digital Computer Laboratory) (1964 (1949 as the Digital Computer Laboratory))
Department HeadVikram Adve (interim),[1]
Nancy Amato starting January 2019[2][3]
Location, ,
Colors     Illinois Blue[4]
     Illinois Orange[4]

The Department of Computer Science (CS) at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign has consistently been ranked as a top computer science program in the world. As of 2018, U.S. News & World Report rank UIUC's Computer Science as a Top 5 CS Graduate School program in the nation,[5] and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign is ranked as one of the Top 5 Undergraduate Schools in Computer Engineering.[6] Since its reorganization in 1964,[7] the Department of Computer Science has produced a myriad of publications and research that have advanced the field of Computer Science. In addition, many faculty and alumni have been leads with modern-day applications such as Mosaic (web browser), PayPal, and YouTube.


In 1949, the University of Illinois created the Digital Computer Laboratory following the joint funding between the University and the U.S. Army to create the ORDVAC and ILLIAC I computers under the direction of physicist Ralph Meagher.[8] The ORDVAC and ILLIAC computers the two earliest von-Neumann architecture machines to be constructed. Once completed in 1952, the ILLIAC I inspired machines such as the MISTIC, MUSASINO-1, SILLIAC, and CYCLONE, as well as providing the impetus for the university to continue its research in computing through the ILLIAC II project. Yet despite such advances in high-performance computing, faculty at the Digital Computer Laboratory continued to conduct research in other fields of computing as well, such as in Human-Computer Interaction through the PLATO project, the first computer music (the ILLIAC Suite), computational numerical methods through the work of Donald B. Gillies, and James E. Robertson, the 'R' co-inventor of the SRT division algorithm, to name a few. Given this explosion in research in computing, in 1964, the University of Illinois reorganized the Digital Computer Laboratory into the Department of Computer Science, and by 1967, the department awarded its first PhD and master's degrees in Computer Science. In 1982, UIUC physicist Larry Smarr wrote a blistering critique of America's supercomputing resources,[9] and as a result the National Science Foundation established the UIUC's National Center for Supercomputing Applications in 1985. NCSA was one of the first places in industry or academia to develop software for the 3 major operating systems at the time - Macintosh, PC, and UNIX. NCSA in 1986 released NCSA Telnet and in 1993 it released the Mosaic web browser. In 2004, the Department of Computer Science moved out of the Digital Computer Laboratory building into the Thomas M. Siebel Center for Computer Science following a gift from alumnus Thomas Siebel.[10]


As of the 2017-2018 academic year, there are a total of 2702 students in the department. (1787 Undergraduate, 915 Graduate).[11]

The average salary reported by 2016-2017 graduates was $96,518.[11]

There are 85 full-time faculty members,[12] in the fields of:[13]

  • Architecture, Compilers and Parallel Computing
  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Bioinformatics and Computational Biology
  • Computers and Education
  • Database and Information Systems
  • Graphics, Visualization, and HCI
  • Programming Languages, Formal Systems, and Software Engineering
  • Systems and Networking
  • Scientific Computing
  • Theory and Algorithms

Degrees and programs[edit]


The department offers nine undergraduate degree programs, all leading to Bachelor of Science degrees, through four different colleges:

The department also sponsors a Minor in Computer Science available to all UIUC students.

The department also offers two 5-year bachelors/masters programs through the College of Engineering: Bachelor of Science/Master of Science (B.S./M.S.) in Computer Science and Bachelors of Science/Masters of Computer Science(B.S./M.C.S.).


Notable faculty[edit]

Notable alumni[edit]

In popular culture[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Vikram Adve named Interim Head of CS @ Illinois". Retrieved 27 May 2017.
  2. ^ a b "Nancy Amato Named Next Department Head of Computer Science". Retrieved 13 Jul 2018.
  3. ^ a b "Robotics expert to be first woman to lead UI computer-science department". Retrieved 13 Jul 2018.
  4. ^ a b "Illinois Identity Standards: Logos and Colors". Retrieved 18 July 2018.
  5. ^ "Best Computer Science Programs | Top Computer Science Schools | US News Best Graduate Schools". Retrieved 18 July 2018.
  6. ^ "Computer | Rankings | US News Best Colleges". Retrieved 18 July 2018.
  7. ^ "History Timeline | Department of Computer Science at Illinois".
  8. ^ "CS History Timeline | Department of Computer Science at Illinois". Archived from the original on 29 December 2015. Retrieved 18 June 2016.
  9. ^ Smarr, Larry (1982). P. D. Lax, ed. "The supercomputer famine in american universities". The Report of the Panel on Large Scale Computing in Science and Engineering.
  10. ^ "About the Siebel Center | Department of Computer Science at Illinois". Archived from the original on 28 May 2016. Retrieved 18 June 2016.
  11. ^ a b "Statistics". Department of Computer Science, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Retrieved 18 July 2018.
  12. ^ "Department Faculty". Retrieved 18 July 2018.
  13. ^ "Research Areas | Department of Computer Science at Illinois". Retrieved 18 July 2018.
  14. ^ "Head of UI's computer-science department leaving for Pitt". Retrieved 27 May 2017.