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CS News Fall 2011

CS News:
Message from the Chair

The move to the Rice Hall Information Technology Engineering Building marks the beginning of a new era for the Department of Computer Science. It will enable us to maximize the considerable strengths of our faculty and to develop those strengths even further.

For the first time in decades, the entire department — graduate students, faculty and staff — with all of its facilities — offices, laboratories, seminar rooms and lecture halls — is housed in a single building, along with our colleagues in computer engineering. This kind of proximity can only promote greater creativity. Our compiler and computer architecture groups, for instance, can now interact spontaneously with collaborators in computer engineering.

Our move to Rice Hall also makes it clear that we have the critical mass and the facilities to compete for large, center-scale projects. These are important considerations for funding agencies. And certainly, the tempo of activity here has increased, as our faculty members for the first time have the opportunity to take full advantage of dedicated lab space in areas like cyber-physical systems and cryptography.

Rice Hall gives us added visibility in other important ways. It will enable us to attract the most promising students and faculty and increase the representation of women and minorities in our field. In a sense, we have accomplished what Thomas Jefferson hoped for in creating the University. He wrote that he wished to establish a “University on a plan so broad & liberal & modern, as to be … a temptation to the youth … to come and drink of the cup of knowledge & fraternize with us.”

Speaking for all the new residents of Rice Hall, I would like to express our gratitude to Paul and Gina Rice and our other donors for their generosity and to the Engineering School for making this project a priority. It is tremendously exciting to be working and learning in a building of this caliber.

Best Wishes,

Mary Lou Soffa
Owen R Cheatham Professor and Chair