History, Accomplishments, Accolades


Photo collage of students holding signs.

Graduate Students

PhD Students
Group photo of graduate students.
Systems research group meeting circa 1994, L-R: Ricardo
Bianchini, Leonidas Kontothanasis, Tom LeBlanc, Michael
Scott, Jack Veenstra.

Our doctoral students are the lifeblood of a computer science research program. As of June 2019, the department has 68 PhD students and five joint PhD students with departments including brain and cognitive science and translational biomedical science. Our students come from countries all around the world. China and the US are the two biggest contingents. All receive full department stipends and tuition waivers. Upon graduation, students go on to accept academic positions or to work in industry, including research, development, or startups, with the majority working in major companies in the technology industry.

Masters Students

In the fall of 2015 our masters program expanded to 30 full-time students. A flexible curriculum was designed requiring 30 credits and an option for a thesis. Most students complete the degree in three or four semesters. One or two of each Masters class have been accepted into and continue in our PhD program upon completion of their Masters degree.

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Between 1980 and May 2019, URCS awarded 234 PhD degrees. URCS graduate alumni have gone on to outstanding careers in academia and industry. Danny Sabbah (PhD 1982) held the office of General Manager for Rational Software at IBM prior to retirement and currently runs his own consulting business. Rick Rashid (PhD 1980) is now a researcher emeritus after being Senior Vice President for Research at Microsoft for many years. Avi Tevanian (MS 1984) went on to earn a PhD at CMU, and was Chief Technology Officer of Apple from 1997 to 2006. Corinna Cortes (PhD 1994) is head of Google’s New York City lab. In 2008 she shared the ACM Paris Kanellakis Theory and Practice Award for the development of Support Vector Machines. Peter Dibble (PhD 1990) is a principal architect of the Real Time Specification for Java. Jeff Schneider (PhD 1995) was the Technical Lead at Uber ATC in Pittsburgh till September 2018, while continuing his position as a research professor at Carnegie Mellon University.

Many of our department’s PhD alumni have gone on to academic careers.  Alumni holding positions of full professor include: Yiannis Aloimonos (U. Maryland), Rajeev Balasubramonian (U. Utah), Jessica Bayliss (RIT), Matthew Boutell (Rose-Hulman Institute), Garrison Cottrell (UCSD), Alan Cox (Rice U.), Mark Crovella (Boston U.), Viginia deSa (UCSD), Ilya Gertner (Ventura College), Peter Heeman (Oregon Health and Science U.), James Heliotis (RIT), Martin Jagersand (U. Alberta), Henry Kautz (U. Rochester), Qi Li (Western Kentucky U.), Diane Litman (U. Pittsburgh), Evangelos Markatos (FORTH ICS, Greece), Andrew McCallum (U. Massachusetts), Wagner Meira (Universidade Federale de Minas Gerais, Brazil), John Mellor-Crummey (Rice U.), Lata Narayanan (Concordia U.), Narayanan Narayanan (Auburn U.), Srinivasan Parthasarthy (Ohio State U.), Donald Perlis (U Maryland), Massimo Poesio (Queen Mary U., London), Rajeev Raman (U. Leicester), Rajesh Rao (U. Washington), Ricardo Salas (Universidad Adolfo Ibanez, Chile), Andrea Salgian (The College of New Jersey), Xipeng Shen (NC State U.), Josh Tenenberg (U. Washington-Tacoma), James Vallino (RIT), Gregory Wheeler (Frankfurt School of Finance), Mohammed Zaki (RPI), Marius Zimand (Towson U.), 

In industry and government service, URCS graduate alumni are members of research and technical staff at many of the world’s leading corporations, including Amazon, Apple, Bloomberg, the Canadian Space Agency, Cisco, Facebook, IBM, General Electric, Google, Intel, Lockheed Martin, Microsoft, Nuance Communications, The National Renewable Energy Laboratory, NVIDIA, Siemens, Yahoo and Zillow.

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Undergraduate Students

At the undergraduate level, the department is the largest in the Hajim School of Engineering and graduates 100+ majors a year. The Rochester Curriculum requires students to complete a minimum of a 3-course cluster in both social science and humanities in addition to the computer science major requirements. Students with multiple interests find the Rochester Curriculum allows them to explore their varied interests, often while earning additional majors or minors. Our students are actively involved in research with our faculty and often continue on to graduate studies at top universities, with many currently on faculty at various universities. Students aren’t limited to graduate studies in computer science however, as we also have doctors, lawyers, pharmacists, nurse practitioners, a rabbi and soon a priest. Those not pursuing graduate studies find employment at tech companies both large and small or choose entrepreneurial experiences. Students who complete multiple majors often find work at the intersection of their interests.

Group photo from an alumni networking event.
Grace Hopper Conference 2017 dinner with current URCS
students, alumnae, faculty and staff.

We have been participating in the BRAID initiative since 2014 to improve diversity in computer science. The goals of the BRAID initiative include curriculum review, outreach, and community building. We have seen significant results, with over 30% female graduates in our last three graduating classes, doubling the national average. We have also been successful in increasing our female tenure track faculty in recent recruiting years. Our student leaders have worked to develop a strong sense of community and support within our Women in Computer Science club and have created an inclusive dialog within the department. We are fortunate to have been able to send a growing number of students, faculty and staff to the Grace Hopper Conference for Women in Technology each year since 2014.

Teams of our undergraduates are regular competitors in the international CS Games and the ACM International Collegiate Programming Contest (ICPC).

UR Team members Ian Christopher, Xiaoqing Tang and Dennis Huo at the 2010 ICPC Finals in Harbin, China.
UR Team members Ian Christopher, Xiaoqing Tang and
Dennis Huo at the 2010 ICPC Finals in Harbin, China.

We have also sent teams to successfully compete in embedded systems engineering, hackathons and business competitions. In 2010 and 2017, our ICPC team qualified for the World Finals with their top placement in the Northeast North America regional competition. Our undergraduates are frequent recipients of major national fellowships and awards. Mitchell Gordon was a recipient of the Computing Research Association'sOutstanding Undergraduate Researcher Award in 2016. Jackson Abascal was a finalist in 2019, Joyce Zhu, Vivian Li and Quiyue Sun received Honorable Mention in 2016, 2018 and 2019 respectively. Darcey Riley ‘12 was the recipient of the Astronaut Scholarship Foundation’s Astronaut Scholarship in 2011.

A student being presented with an award.
Darcey Riley is presented with her award in 2011 by UR
alumnus and astronaut Ed Gibson, ’59.

Many of our students do a semester abroad, gain work experience through internships and participate in research experiences at Rochester or other institutions. There is an active undergraduate council (add link) which co-sponsors our annual 36-hour Hackathon with our ROChack club, a busy Women in Computing organization, and a Computer Interest Floor in the undergraduate dorms.

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