A THREE-PHASE CHARACTERIZATION OF THE CS DEPARTMENT

Siegfried Treu, Professor Emeritus

In 1966, Dr. Orrin E. Taulbee left Goodyear Aerospace Corporation to join the University of Pittsburgh as chairperson of its newly approved Department of Computer Science. Pitt’s CS Department (CSD) was among the first such departments in the country. In 1996, its faculty, students, and staff proudly celebrated the thirtieth anniversary of its founding.

Following is an historical sketch of the CSD. A review of its development during its first 30 years suggests a history consisting of three successive 10-year phases:

1966-76: The Formative Years

1966-76: The Formative Years

The CSD was initially located on the 8th floor of the Cathedral of Learning. Orrin Taulbee was faced with a number of challenges. Besides having to recruit faculty qualified in CS, at a time when PhD holders in CS were not to be found, he had to provide suitable computing facilities for both faculty and ...
1976-86: The Enrollment Crunch

1976-86: The Enrollment Crunch

America's bicentennial year somehow triggered an astonishing upward spiral in the number of students wanting to major in CS. This love affair lasted throughout the United States until the mid-1980's. The number of undergraduate degrees awarded by the CSD at Pitt increased steadily from 1976 until 1985. In fact, during the latter year the CSD ...
1986-1996: Toward Excellence

1986-1996: Toward Excellence

That commitment was honored. Over the next decade, the faculty grew to 20 T/TS positions. However, most remarkable was the increase in quality that resulted. Following are some indicators of achievement as observed in the fall of 1996: Research Productivity: The average number of publications per faculty member per year had increased to nearly 7 ...