Computer Science (CS) at Yale is better positioned than ever to take on emerging challenges. – sciencesprings (2023)

From The Yale School of Engineering and Applied Science: “Explosive growth of faculty and courses and research signal new era for Computer Science atYale”

Yale SEAS

From The Yale School of Engineering and Applied Science

at

Yale University

Computer Science (CS) at Yale is better positioned than ever to take on emerging challenges. – sciencesprings (3)
Departments: Computer Science

08/02/2022

With numerous new courses, new faculty members, and a wider range of research fields, Computer Science (CS) at Yale is better positioned than ever to take on emerging challenges, and to meet the needs of students, interdisciplinary research on campus, and industry.

The CS department has recently hired nine tenure track faculty members and four teaching track lecturers to its ranks. These hires are in addition to an earlier round of 11 new tenure track faculty members and two lecturers hired in the last few years. The boost in hiring accomplishes a number of long-term goals, including expanding the department’s areas of expertise. Also, as Computer Science has emerged as the second-most popular major (just behind economics) at Yale, it will go a long way toward meeting students’ curriculum needs.

Computer Science (CS) at Yale is better positioned than ever to take on emerging challenges. – sciencesprings (4)
Artificial Intelligence. Credit: The Yale School of Engineering and Applied Science.

“Our new faculty members were chosen for the excellence of their research, as well as for their fields that they represent, all of which have been in high demand by both our students and faculty on campus as well as the industry,” said Zhong Shao, the Thomas L. Kempner Professor of Computer Science and department chair. “The range of their expertise addresses some of the most critical challenges that we face today.”

SEAS Dean Jeffrey Brock said the new faculty will be critical to realizing the ambitious goals set out in SEAS’ Strategic Vision, particularly in the areas of artificial intelligence and robotics, while building in key areas like cybersecurity and distributed computing.

“This exciting cohort of new faculty stands to transform our CS department,” Brock said. “During our recruiting season, they sensed Yale’s momentum in CS and in engineering, ultimately turning down excellent offers at other top schools to join our faculty. Their presence will allow Yale CS to expand their course offerings, as well as to establish critical mass in core and cutting-edge research areas.”

Many of the new faculty members, like Fan Zhang, cited the department’s “fast growth in recent years.” Others said that they were drawn by the collaborative environment at Yale, especially considering that Yale is ranked at or near the top in numerous research areas. Daniel Rakita, for instance, said he’s looking forward to working with the Yale Medical School to see how his lab’s robotics research can assist in hospital or home care settings, as well as working with the Wu Tsai Institute on Brain-Machine Interface technologies.

“Many people I spoke with indicated that there are no boundaries between departments at Yale, and interdisciplinary research is not just encouraged here, but is a ‘way of life,'” Rakita said. Many of the new faculty have already engaged with key academic leaders around the campus, from medicine, to economics, to quantum computing.

As part of this boost in hiring, the department strategically targeted certain research areas, including artificial intelligence, trustworthy computing, robotics, quantum computing, and modeling.

The nine new tenure-track faculty hires, and their areas of research are below.

[We spoke to these new faculty members about their research, their motivations, potential collaborations, and much more. Click here to learn more about each of our latest faculty]

Arman Cohan: Research at the intersection of machine learning and natural language processing
Ben Fisch: Privacy and verifiability on the internet, with applications to blockchains such as Bitcoin
Tesca Fitzgerald: Developing algorithms to enable robots to adapt to task variations (such as novel tools, goals, or constraints) that they have not been trained to address
Daniel Rakita: Developing algorithms that allow robot manipulators to move in real-world environments
Katerina Sotiraki: Cryptography and its evolution in anticipation of quantum computers. Specifically, this involves advancing cryptography against quantum attacks
Alex Wong: Providing perception to enable autonomous tasks
Rex Ying: Graph learning applications, which include social network analysis, protein networks, and drug discovery
Manolis Zampetakis: Foundations of machine learning (ML), statistics, and data science, including statistical analysis from biased data
Fan Zhang: Computer security, with a focus on the science of blockchains

The four new teaching-track lecturer hires, and their areas of research are:

Ozan Erat: Computer vision
Dylan McKay: Theory of computation
Sohee Park: Multimedia, machine learning
Alan Weide: Programming languages

This hiring season marks the first since the changes in structure that made SEAS more independent, granting more faculty lines for growth.

“Our independence and ability to be opportunistic were key elements in our ability to realize this transformational growth of Computer Science at Yale,” Brock said. “As CS plays such a critical role in an increasingly broad range of disciplines, the size and breadth of CS is critical to our strategy for SEAS. I’m thrilled to be able to take the first step in realizing that vision for a SEAS that is well integrated within its host University and aligned with its mission.”

SEAS became independent from the Faculty of Arts and Sciences in July of 2022.

A curriculum to meet the needs of students and industry

Increasing the department’s curriculum has also been in the planning stages for a while, a goal made possible by the recent hires of new faculty and lecturers. Shao said there was a concerted effort to meet the high demand in areas such as artificial intelligence, blockchain, machine learning, introductory programming and CS courses for non-majors.

“This has been on the to-do list for the department for many years, but we just didn’t have the manpower,” Shao said. “And finally, with the new faculty hires, we can actually offer these courses.”

Ben Fisch, for instance, will be teaching a new course on blockchains for both graduate students and advanced undergraduates in computer science. Tesca Fitzgerald will introduce a new graduate-level seminar on Interactive Robot Learning. And Katerina Sotiraki will teach classes in theoretical and applied cryptography, at both the undergraduate and graduate level. These are just a few of the new courses that will be available.

Responding to industry needs, the department has also added courses focused on what’s known as full stack web programming – that is, the set of skills needed to develop the interface as well as the coding behind building a complete web application. One of the department’s most popular courses, on software engineering, will now be offered for both semesters of the year, instead of one. Both, Shao said, are specifically aimed at the needs of industry and students.

“As new challenges emerge, Computer Science at Yale will continue to adapt,” Shao said. “We’re excited about the future of our department, and these new additions to our faculty and our curriculum are going to be a major part of it.”

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Computer Science (CS) at Yale is better positioned than ever to take on emerging challenges. – sciencesprings (7) Yale School of Engineering and Applied Science Daniel L Malone Engineering Center
The Yale School of Engineering & Applied Science is the engineering school of Yale University. When the first professor of civil engineering was hired in 1852, a Yale School of Engineering was established within the Yale Scientific School, and in 1932 the engineering faculty organized as a separate, constituent school of the university. The school currently offers undergraduate and graduate classes and degrees in electrical engineering, chemical engineering, computer science, applied physics, environmental engineering, biomedical engineering, and mechanical engineering and materials science.

Yale University is a private Ivy League research university in New Haven, Connecticut. Founded in 1701 as the Collegiate School, it is the third-oldest institution of higher education in the United States and one of the nine Colonial Colleges chartered before the American Revolution. The Collegiate School was renamed Yale College in 1718 to honor the school’s largest private benefactor for the first century of its existence, Elihu Yale. Yale University is consistently ranked as one of the top universities and is considered one of the most prestigious in the nation.

Chartered by Connecticut Colony, the Collegiate School was established in 1701 by clergy to educate Congregational ministers before moving to New Haven in 1716. Originally restricted to theology and sacred languages, the curriculum began to incorporate humanities and sciences by the time of the American Revolution. In the 19th century, the college expanded into graduate and professional instruction, awarding the first PhD in the United States in 1861 and organizing as a university in 1887. Yale’s faculty and student populations grew after 1890 with rapid expansion of the physical campus and scientific research.

Yale is organized into fourteen constituent schools: the original undergraduate college, the Yale Graduate School of Arts and Sciences and twelve professional schools. While the university is governed by the Yale Corporation, each school’s faculty oversees its curriculum and degree programs. In addition to a central campus in downtown New Haven, the university owns athletic facilities in western New Haven, a campus in West Haven, Connecticut, and forests and nature preserves throughout New England. As of June 2020, the university’s endowment was valued at $31.1 billion, the second largest of any educational institution. The Yale University Library, serving all constituent schools, holds more than 15 million volumes and is the third-largest academic library in the United States. Students compete in intercollegiate sports as the Yale Bulldogs in the NCAA Division I – Ivy League.

As of October 2020, 65 Nobel laureates, five Fields Medalists, four Abel Prize laureates, and three Turing award winners have been affiliated with Yale University. In addition, Yale has graduated many notable alumni, including five U.S. Presidents, 19 U.S. Supreme Court Justices, 31 living billionaires, and many heads of state. Hundreds of members of Congress and many U.S. diplomats, 78 MacArthur Fellows, 252 Rhodes Scholars, 123 Marshall Scholars, and nine Mitchell Scholars have been affiliated with the university.

Research

Yale is a member of the Association of American Universities (AAU) and is classified among “R1: Doctoral Universities – Very high research activity”. According to the National Science Foundation, Yale spent $990 million on research and development in 2018, ranking it 15th in the nation.

Yale’s faculty include 61 members of the National Academy of Sciences , 7 members of the National Academy of Engineering and 49 members of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. The college is, after normalization for institution size, the tenth-largest baccalaureate source of doctoral degree recipients in the United States, and the largest such source within the Ivy League.

Yale’s English and Comparative Literature departments were part of the New Criticism movement. Of the New Critics, Robert Penn Warren, W.K. Wimsatt, and Cleanth Brooks were all Yale faculty. Later, the Yale Comparative literature department became a center of American deconstruction. Jacques Derrida, the father of deconstruction, taught at the Department of Comparative Literature from the late seventies to mid-1980s. Several other Yale faculty members were also associated with deconstruction, forming the so-called “Yale School”. These included Paul de Man who taught in the Departments of Comparative Literature and French, J. Hillis Miller, Geoffrey Hartman (both taught in the Departments of English and Comparative Literature), and Harold Bloom (English), whose theoretical position was always somewhat specific, and who ultimately took a very different path from the rest of this group. Yale’s history department has also originated important intellectual trends. Historians C. Vann Woodward and David Brion Davis are credited with beginning in the 1960s and 1970s an important stream of southern historians; likewise, David Montgomery, a labor historian, advised many of the current generation of labor historians in the country. Yale’s Music School and Department fostered the growth of Music Theory in the latter half of the 20th century. The Journal of Music Theory was founded there in 1957; Allen Forte and David Lewin were influential teachers and scholars.

In addition to eminent faculty members, Yale research relies heavily on the presence of roughly 1200 Postdocs from various national and international origin working in the multiple laboratories in the sciences, social sciences, humanities, and professional schools of the university. The university progressively recognized this working force with the recent creation of the Office for Postdoctoral Affairs and the Yale Postdoctoral Association.

Notable alumni

Over its history, Yale has produced many distinguished alumni in a variety of fields, ranging from the public to private sector. According to 2020 data, around 71% of undergraduates join the workforce, while the next largest majority of 16.6% go on to attend graduate or professional schools. Yale graduates have been recipients of 252 Rhodes Scholarships, 123 Marshall Scholarships, 67 Truman Scholarships, 21 Churchill Scholarships, and 9 Mitchell Scholarships. The university is also the second largest producer of Fulbright Scholars, with a total of 1,199 in its history and has produced 89 MacArthur Fellows. The U.S. Department of State Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs ranked Yale fifth among research institutions producing the most 2020–2021 Fulbright Scholars. Additionally, 31 living billionaires are Yale alumni.

At Yale, one of the most popular undergraduate majors among Juniors and Seniors is political science, with many students going on to serve careers in government and politics. Former presidents who attended Yale for undergrad include William Howard Taft, George H. W. Bush, and George W. Bush while former presidents Gerald Ford and Bill Clinton attended Yale Law School. Former vice-president and influential antebellum era politician John C. Calhoun also graduated from Yale. Former world leaders include Italian prime minister Mario Monti, Turkish prime minister Tansu Çiller, Mexican president Ernesto Zedillo, German president Karl Carstens, Philippine president José Paciano Laurel, Latvian president Valdis Zatlers, Taiwanese premier Jiang Yi-huah, and Malawian president Peter Mutharika, among others. Prominent royals who graduated are Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden, and Olympia Bonaparte, Princess Napoléon.

Yale alumni have had considerable presence in U.S. government in all three branches. On the U.S. Supreme Court, 19 justices have been Yale alumni, including current Associate Justices Sonia Sotomayor, Samuel Alito, Clarence Thomas, and Brett Kavanaugh. Numerous Yale alumni have been U.S. Senators, including current Senators Michael Bennet, Richard Blumenthal, Cory Booker, Sherrod Brown, Chris Coons, Amy Klobuchar, Ben Sasse, and Sheldon Whitehouse. Current and former cabinet members include Secretaries of State John Kerry, Hillary Clinton, Cyrus Vance, and Dean Acheson; U.S. Secretaries of the Treasury Oliver Wolcott, Robert Rubin, Nicholas F. Brady, Steven Mnuchin, and Janet Yellen; U.S. Attorneys General Nicholas Katzenbach, John Ashcroft, and Edward H. Levi; and many others. Peace Corps founder and American diplomat Sargent Shriver and public official and urban planner Robert Moses are Yale alumni.

Yale has produced numerous award-winning authors and influential writers, like Nobel Prize in Literature laureate Sinclair Lewis and Pulitzer Prize winners Stephen Vincent Benét, Thornton Wilder, Doug Wright, and David McCullough. Academy Award winning actors, actresses, and directors include Jodie Foster, Paul Newman, Meryl Streep, Elia Kazan, George Roy Hill, Lupita Nyong’o, Oliver Stone, and Frances McDormand. Alumni from Yale have also made notable contributions to both music and the arts. Leading American composer from the 20th century Charles Ives, Broadway composer Cole Porter, Grammy award winner David Lang, and award-winning jazz pianist and composer Vijay Iyer all hail from Yale. Hugo Boss Prize winner Matthew Barney, famed American sculptor Richard Serra, President Barack Obama presidential portrait painter Kehinde Wiley, MacArthur Fellow and contemporary artist Sarah Sze, Pulitzer Prize winning cartoonist Garry Trudeau, and National Medal of Arts photorealist painter Chuck Close all graduated from Yale. Additional alumni include architect and Presidential Medal of Freedom winner Maya Lin, Pritzker Prize winner Norman Foster, and Gateway Arch designer Eero Saarinen. Journalists and pundits include Dick Cavett, Chris Cuomo, Anderson Cooper, William F. Buckley, Jr., and Fareed Zakaria.

In business, Yale has had numerous alumni and former students go on to become founders of influential business, like William Boeing (Boeing, United Airlines), Briton Hadden and Henry Luce (Time Magazine), Stephen A. Schwarzman (Blackstone Group), Frederick W. Smith (FedEx), Juan Trippe (Pan Am), Harold Stanley (Morgan Stanley), Bing Gordon (Electronic Arts), and Ben Silbermann (Pinterest). Other business people from Yale include former chairman and CEO of Sears Holdings Edward Lampert, former Time Warner president Jeffrey Bewkes, former PepsiCo chairperson and CEO Indra Nooyi, sports agent Donald Dell, and investor/philanthropist Sir John Templeton,

Yale alumni distinguished in academia include literary critic and historian Henry Louis Gates, economists Irving Fischer, Mahbub ul Haq, and Nobel Prize laureate Paul Krugman; Nobel Prize in Physics laureates Ernest Lawrence and Murray Gell-Mann; Fields Medalist John G. Thompson; Human Genome Project leader and National Institutes of Health director Francis S. Collins; brain surgery pioneer Harvey Cushing; pioneering computer scientist Grace Hopper; influential mathematician and chemist Josiah Willard Gibbs; National Women’s Hall of Fame inductee and biochemist Florence B. Seibert; Turing Award recipient Ron Rivest; inventors Samuel F.B. Morse and Eli Whitney; Nobel Prize in Chemistry laureate John B. Goodenough; lexicographer Noah Webster; and theologians Jonathan Edwards and Reinhold Niebuhr.

In the sporting arena, Yale alumni include baseball players Ron Darling and Craig Breslow and baseball executives Theo Epstein and George Weiss; football players Calvin Hill, Gary Fenick, Amos Alonzo Stagg, and “the Father of American Football” Walter Camp; ice hockey players Chris Higgins and Olympian Helen Resor; Olympic figure skaters Sarah Hughes and Nathan Chen; nine-time U.S. Squash men’s champion Julian Illingworth; Olympic swimmer Don Schollander; Olympic rowers Josh West and Rusty Wailes; Olympic sailor Stuart McNay; Olympic runner Frank Shorter; and others.

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