Endowed Chair Raises Profile of New Department


For the past four years, the faculty and staff in the Department of Computer Science have worked to re-establish the program that was eliminated following Hurricane Katrina. Now, thanks to the return of a prominent endowed chair position, the department anticipates adding a renowned expert to its cohort.

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In 1996, David Filo (E ’88), co-founder of Yahoo!, established the Yahoo! Founder Chair in Computer Science. Prior to Hurricane Katrina, chair holders resided in the Department of Computer Science, but when the department was closed after Katrina, the position was moved to other areas of the school.

“After Katrina, the Yahoo! Founder Chair was redirected,” says Nick Altiero, dean, School of Science and Engineering. “But now it will be moved back to computer science, and the current holder, Yi Ping Chen, will assume the John L. and Mary Wright Ebaugh Chair in Science and Engineering.”

Mike Mislove, chair of the Department of Computer Science, is excited at the prospect of recruiting a prominent faculty member to assume the chair, and feels that it will raise the profile of the growing department.

“The Yahoo! Chair will allow us to recruit an international leader who will give a boost to our program,” says Mislove. “This recruitment is a signal that we are really on the way to building a full-fledged program.”

Since its founding in 2012, the department has recruited five faculty members and currently offers a computer science coordinate major. The coordinate major allows students to apply computer science principles to their current major.

Mislove hopes to dramatically grow the department and eventually establish a Ph.D. program, hopefully over the next two to three years.

“Computer science is a crucial technology that is informing how research is done,” says Mislove. “We have a wonderful opportunity to build a department and hire people who work at the interface between computer science and other areas of engineering, science, the health sciences and even the social sciences.”

The recruitment of the Yahoo! Chair will help the department further its goals of beginning a Ph.D. program and increasing the faculty size.

“I’m very grateful for the Yahoo! Chair and I look forward to recruiting someone who would be a good fit for our program,” says Mislove. “I kind of feel like a kid in a candy store!"

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