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Brier Dudley's blog

Brier Dudley offers a critical look at technology and business issues affecting the Northwest.

October 30, 2007 at 2:47 PM

UW: New computer science progams, lab

Growth and new programs are happening at the University of Washington’s Computer Science & Engineering Department, Chairman Hank Levy said this morning at the annual “industrial affiliates” meeting with tech companies, investors and school supporters.

Starting in 2008, the department will try a new five-year program that will give graduates both bachelor’s and master’s degrees.

Levy said the goal is to have 30 students a year in the “industrially focused” program that’s geared toward preparing students for jobs at companies such as Microsoft and Google. “These students will be really productive and sought-after and interesting,” he said.

Similar programs combining undergrad and graduate engineering are in place at schools such as MIT and even my alma mater, Whitman College in Walla Walla.

There for the update, and research presentations by students, were representatives of Microsoft, Apple, Google, Yahoo, Cray, Sony, Madrona Venture Group, Amazon.com, DreamBox Learning and other companies.

Levy isn’t just pitching to the private sector. The school’s also seeking legislative support for the five-year Master’s program.

Another initiative Levy outlined is already under way: a new “Experimental Computer Engineering Lab” created as a partnership of the computer science and electrical engineering departments.

Six new faculty positions, three from each side, are allocated to the effort, including two now being filled.

Computer science is also taking more Ph.D. students and overall, Levy’s planning for “25 percent growth across the board” in the department.

Altogether it’s getting 10 new professors, including two through the Experimental Computer Engineering Lab.

Ed Lazowska, former department head, now Bill and Melinda Gates CSE chair, paticipated after returning from a summer back surgery with a body reinforced by titanium bits.

Lazowska pointed out that CSE graduates should have no problem finding jobs, based on strong IT workforce projections by the state and federal governments.

“There’s plenty of opportunity in this field,” he said.

We’ll see what the current situation is like tomorrow, when the affiliates meeting morphs into a daylong recruiting event at the school’s Paul G. Allen Center.

Comments | More in | Topics: Education, Public policy

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