Donald Bren School of Information and Computer Sciences

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Donald Bren Hall, one of the buildings on the campus of the Bren School[1]
ICS buildings (center and left) viewed from the top of Bren Hall

The Donald Bren School of Information and Computer Sciences, also known colloquially as UCI's School of ICS or simply the Bren School, is an academic unit of University of California, Irvine (UCI), and the only dedicated school of computer science in the University of California system. Consisting of nearly three thousand students, faculty, and staff,[2] the school maintains three buildings in the South-East section of UCI's undergraduate campus, and maintains student body and research affiliations throughout UCI.[3][4]

The school of ICS consists of three departments: Computer Science, Informatics, and Statistics. The combined groupings focus the school around the fields of computing and processing of information. The departments confer eight undergraduate, eleven masters, and seven doctoral degrees in total, with some degree programs cooperating with affiliated schools.[5]


Beginning in 1968, three years after UCI's founding, the Department of Information and Computer Science was created as an independent department, not belonging to any school. In 2002, the 35-year-old department was elevated to the status of a school, and its faculty were partitioned into two departments, the Department of Computer Science and the Department of Informatics. The Department of Statistics, founded earlier in 2002, was included as a third department in the newly created school.[3]

During 2004, the school received a $20 million anonymous donation. The donation was later revealed to be from Donald Bren, a wealthy real estate developer and head of the Irvine Company. The school was renamed in his honor. The donation is primarily being used to seek out and seed prestigious researchers.[6]


The school of ICS is one of less than fifty independent computer science schools in the United States, and the only one in the University of California system.[3]

The US News and World Report ranks Bren School as 29th in the United States for Computer Science as of 2016,[7] and 14th in public university programs. Among some ICS subareas, the school is ranked 4th in human-computer interaction, 9th in software engineering, and 8th in databases.[2]


The school possesses 8 undergraduate majors, ranging from lower level hardware to high level social computing, each providing a bachelor of science degree (notably, Computer Engineering is not part of ICS, and resides in the Henry Samueli School of Engineering). Out of the 8 undergraduate majors in the Donald Bren School, 3 are unique interdisciplinary studies shared between the Paul Merage School of Business, the Henry Samueli School of Engineering, and the School of Biological Sciences. The majors that are available include Biomedical Computing, Business Information Management, Computer Game Science, Computer Science, Computer Science & Engineering, Informatics, Information and Computer Science, and Software Engineering.

Non-interdisciplinary majors are:

  • The school's primary major is Information and Computer Science, focused on computer science theory and software engineering. In contrast to engineering majors, additional natural sciences (such as physics) are not required to complete the major. Two upper division theoretical mathematics courses are required, along with basic calculus, linear algebra, statistics, and discrete mathematics. The program allows students more freedom to pursue a selected field in computer science. Though not required for a degree, the school certifies specializations within the major:[5]
  • The second most popular major within the school is Computer Science, similar in composition to ICS. Though more limiting in electives, the major was formed around the recommended courses set by ACM and IEEE, and features a more classical computer science curriculum.[5]
  • Informatics, a major unique in the UC system.[8] The higher level of social abstraction prepares students in such fields as software analysis, management, design, and interfaces.[5]

Undergraduate interdisciplinary majors are:

  • Computer Science and Engineering - hosted jointly by The Henry Samueli School of Engineering and The Donald Bren School of Information and Computer Science.[9]
  • Business Information Management (BIM) is administered by the Donald Bren School of Information and Computer Sciences as an interdisciplinary degree program with The Paul Merage School of Business.
  • Biomedical Computing (BMC)


ICS provides 11 master's level and 7 doctorate level graduate programs. Since computing is a part of many other fields (which use or interact with computing technology), ICS collaborates with other schools in many of its programs.[10]

The Department of Computer Science offers a general major to those who have no specialized field, and is awarded as Information and Computer Science (M.S.). Computer Science (M.S.,Ph.D.) allows for a wide range of fields, similar to the general degree; however, doctoral degrees require a particular research interest within the field, unlike the general degree. Embedded Systems (M.S.) more narrowly focuses students on the implementation of specialized computer systems. Knowledge Discovery and Data (M.S.) applies to informatics fields like information processing and to computer science fields such as artificial intelligence.[10]

The Department of Informatics offers its own general degree Informatics Track in General Informatics (M.S.,Ph.D.), however doctoral candidates must have a specific research interest. Informatics Track in Interactive and Collaborative Technology (M.S.,Ph.D.) narrows its general degree to the field of human–computer interaction, with end parties as wholly human or man and machine. Software engineering is researched under the Informatics Track in Software (M.S.,Ph.D.) degree, as software development processes are directly related to human interaction and information systems.[10]

Three multi-discipline fields exist, spread across more than one school. Networked Systems (M.S.,Ph.D.) involves both the School of Engineering and the school of ICS. The research area covers high and low levels of telecommunications and computer networks. Arts Computation Engineering (M.S.), as its name suggests, covers both the School of Engineering and the Claire Trevor School of the Arts in addition to ICS. The field relies heavily on high level informatics principles, applying science to the arts. Informatics in Biology & Medicine (M.S.,Ph.D.), requires classes within the wide fields of Biology. Research may range from microscopic systems, such as proteins, or macro-level systems, such as populations.[10]

Though the Department of Statistics currently has no undergraduate degrees, it offers one graduate program: Statistics (M.S.,Ph.D.). The graduate program may help model many different problems, and is highly applicable to researchers in other fields such as economics and biology.[10]


The current Dean of the Bren School is Marios Papaefthymiou. Papaefthymiou is a professor of computer science and, as dean, he holds the Ted and Janice Smith Family Foundation endowed chair in ICS.

Noteworthy alumni have graduated from the school, including: Roy Fielding, co-creator of Hypertext Transfer Protocol and the Apache HTTP Server;[11] Patrick Hanratty, CAD pioneer;[12] Paul Mockapetris, creator of Domain Name System and the first Simple Mail Transfer Protocol server;[13] Steven Joe, CEO of D-Link North America.[14]


The school currently has three associated buildings operational, providing over 100,000 square feet (10,000 m2) of space. Labs are located in each building, with over 500 administered computers total. All buildings are positioned adjacent to the School of Engineering at the South-East side of UCI's undergraduate campus.[15][16]

Computer lab, ICS364, with server room in the very back behind glass windows

The Information and Computer Science building (ICS), previously named the Computer Science building, is the primary facility for undergraduate instruction, consisting 24,416 square feet (2,268 m2) on 4 floors, opposite to the Engineering Tower (ET). The bottom (and first) floor links physically to ET's bottom floor, while the second floor shares the same plaza with the ET. The bottom floor consists of three instructional labs, CS183, CS189, and CS192—each lab contains 45 Microsoft Windows Server machines, used primarily as desktops for first year undergraduates. Lab CS193 is used for business related software projects for upper division undergraduates, and holds 24 Windows machines. Both the first and second floors contain instruction halls and classrooms, while the third and fourth primarily contain meeting and faculty offices, except for CS364.[17]

The building also has the largest computer lab, ICS364, containing 117 Windows, 12 OS X, 12 Solaris Java boxes, and 11 Linux Network Stations. Each Network Station includes 4 Dell PC with Linux operation systems, 4 Cisco routers, and 4 Netgear Ethernet Hubs. The lab is also located next to the air conditioned server room, visible to each other through a large window.[17][18]

Information and Computer Science 2 (ICS2), is a narrow computing facility surrounding the South-East side of the ICS tower. ICS2 houses graduate offices in 9,731 square feet (904 m2) of space. It is also home to the Human Computer Interaction lab.[19]

Donald Bren Hall is the latest addition to the school, completed in early 2007. It consists of 87,000 square feet (8,100 m2), making it the largest building in the ICS family. It houses offices for many ICS faculty and staff, in addition to the 4 lecture halls and 10 classrooms.[20]

Two former buildings, the Frank Gehry-designed ICS Engineering Research Facility (IERF, a 9,954-square-foot (925 m2) laboratory facility, with an added instruction hall and classroom) and Computer Science/Engineering (CS/E, a 6,681-square-foot (621 m2) office and facility building near Bren Hall and IERF) were demolished in January 2007.[21]

Associated bodies[edit]

Research organizations[edit]

ICS helped found the Ada Byron Research Center (ABRC), which helps minorities in the field of Computer Science. Named in honor of the 19th century female mathematician Ada Lovelace, ABRC aims at not only increases minority researchers, but closing the digital divide. The current director is the Dean Richardson of ICS.[22]

The California Institute for Telecommunications and Information Technology (Calit2), is a multidisciplinary research organization within the University of California. UC Irvine and UC San Diego currently house the two Calit2 buildings. Space at Irvine's Calit2 building is provided to any collaborative project that fits within Calit2's goals.[23][24]

LUCI, the Laboratory for Ubiquitous Computing and Interaction, is a computing research center.

Student organizations[edit]

The ICS Student Council is the official student government of the school. The student council also acts as an umbrella organization for the other ICS organizations. It hosts regular social events, professional development events, networking events, and project teams. It coordinates the largest ICS event of the year, ICS Day, and also is involved in Corporate Outreach for the school.[25]

The ICS House is a 2-story on-campus house located within UCI's Arroyo Vista housing community. ICS House accepts a limited number (approx. 16) of students from the school of ICS or outstanding applicant, based upon an application process.[26]

UC Irvine ACM (ACM) is UCI's student chapter of the Association for Computing Machinery.[27]

Women in Computer Science (WICS) is a student run organization to help and encourage women in the fields related to computer science.[28]

Cyber at UCI (Cyber@UCI) is a student run cyber security group to help everyone get involved with security. [29]

Management Information Student Society (MAISS) is a student-run organization for students interested in technology and business.


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  4. ^ "Headcounts by Academic Unit and Level, Fall 2006" (PDF). UC Irvine. Archived from the original (PDF) on January 15, 2009. Retrieved February 15, 2010.
  5. ^ a b c d Bren School, Undergraduate degrees, 12 March 2012. URL accessed June 8, 2011.
  6. ^
  7. ^
  8. ^ "Undergraduate degree in Informatics". Retrieved 13 April 2012.
  9. ^ UC Irvine, Undergraduate Major in Computer Science and Engineering, 2006. URL accessed December 10, 2006.
  10. ^ a b c d e Bren School, Graduate Studies, Information on all the degrees offered by the school, 20 October 2006. URL accessed December 14, 2006.
  11. ^ Fielding, Roy T., Roy T. Fielding, Fielding's ICS homepage, 8 December 2003. URL accessed December 10, 2006.
  12. ^ Dalton-Taggart, Rachael, Gentleman Genius: Patrick Hanratty Archived February 4, 2007, at the Wayback Machine, History of CAD and Hanratty's contributions, November 2004. URL accessed December 10, 2006.
  13. ^ Nominum, Paul Mockapetris Chairman and Chief Scientist Archived November 13, 2006, at the Wayback Machine, Company biography of Paul Mockapetris, 2006. URL accessed December 10, 2006.
  14. ^ D-Link,D-LINK SYSTEMS' STEVEN JOE NAMED 'CEO OF THE YEAR' BY ORANGE COUNTY AMERICAN ELECTRONICS ASSOCIATION Archived January 3, 2007, at the Wayback Machine, 24 May 2004. URL accessed December 10, 2006.
  15. ^ Bren School, Facts and figures Archived January 27, 2012, at Archive-It, 2006. URL accessed December 10, 2006.
  16. ^ UC Irvine, Map of UCI Archived April 18, 2007, at Archive-It, 2006. URL accessed December 10, 2006.
  17. ^ a b Bren School, ICS building floor plan Archived December 5, 2004, at, 2006. URL accessed December 10, 2006.
  18. ^ Bren School, ICS Lab Hardware, 2006. URL accessed December 10, 2006.
  19. ^ Bren School, ICS 2 building floor plan Archived December 5, 2004, at, 2006. URL accessed December 10, 2006.
  20. ^ Bren School, Bren Hall, 2006. URL accessed December 10, 2006.
  21. ^ Bren School, IERF building floor plan Archived December 17, 2006, at the Wayback Machine , 2006. URL accessed December 10, 2006. Bren School, CSE building floor plan Archived December 6, 2006, at the Wayback Machine , 2006. URL accessed December 10, 2006. UC Irvine destroys Frank Gehry building Archived January 27, 2007, at the Wayback Machine, Associated Press, January 23, 2007.
  22. ^ Williams, Michelle, New UCI center promotes diversity in technology fields, 8 January 2004. URL accessed December 10, 2006.
  23. ^ Calit2, About Us Overview , Calit2's official summary page, 2006. URL accessed December 10, 2006.
  24. ^ Cheung, Jonathan, About Us Overview [permanent dead link], Calit2's official summary page, 2006. URL accessed December 10, 2006.
  25. ^
  26. ^ "Arroyo Vista Academic Theme Houses For 2009". UCI Student Affairs. 2007-11-05. Archived from the original on 2012-01-28. Retrieved 2008-10-31.
  27. ^ "Welcome to ACM @ UCIrvine". UC Irvine ACM. 2011. Retrieved 2011-11-17.
  28. ^ Eramya, Ellen (2007). "WICS 2006/2007 - About WICS". UC Irvine. Retrieved 2007-04-16.
  29. ^

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 33°38′36″N 117°50′31″W / 33.6432°N 117.842°W / 33.6432; -117.842