ASU computer science program sees rise in reputation

October 7, 2014

Arizona State University has one of the leading computer science programs in the world according to a prominent international academic ranking organization.

The Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU), conducted by researchers at the Center for World-Class Universities at Shanghai Jiao Tong University in China, places ASU’s computer science program at 33rd internationally and 22nd among universities in the United States in its recently released 2014 report. Brickyard Building Download Full Image

The program is in the School of Computing, Informatics, and Decision Systems Engineering, one of ASU’s Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering.

“These ranking are based largely on quantitative measures, not on subjective criteria, so they are especially meaningful,” said professor Ronald Askin, director of the School of Computing, Informatics, and Decision Systems Engineering.

Academic programs are ranked by the ARWU after “rigorous assessments of hard data rather than perceptions,” said computer science professor Chitta Baral, chair of the computer science graduate program.

Askin and Baral attribute the ASU program’s high ranking to notable improvements in several areas, but in particular to the quality of research being done by faculty and the accomplishments of students. “Many of our faculty are focusing on research that has high impact in the computer science field, and that is raising our profile,” Askin said.

Faculty members increasingly have their research papers selected for publication in leading science, engineering and technology journals, and are chosen to give presentations about their work at the most prominent professional conferences in the field, according to Askin.

The faculty continues to be well represented on the editorial staffs of research journals, on conference program committees, and among officers and committee members of professional science and engineering organizations.

Most significantly, there has also been a steady rise in the number of times research findings and the published papers of faculty members are cited by other researchers around the world. Baral said such citations generally mean that the research is providing solid groundwork for advances in computer science, or raising issues, questions and problems that colleagues consider important to pursue to find answers and solutions.

Faculty members are making contributions to research in a range of areas, such as artificial intelligence, embedded computing systems, data mining, information assurance, social computing and computer graphics, Baral said.

Graduate students as well are making more contributions as co-authors of research papers, and are being selected to give conference presentations on their own research projects.

“Students are succeeding at all levels. They are winning top prizes at some of the biggest international student competitions,” such as the Microsoft ImagineCup and the Intel Embedded System Design contest, Askin said.

“Our graduates are also doing well in the job market. They are going to work at major research institutions and getting good positions in industry,” Baral said.

Askin said all of these factors combined are driving up the number of computer science majors, and attracting more outstanding young students to the program.

There are now nearly 1,400 undergraduates majoring in computer science at ASU, and more than 580 students pursuing master’s degrees in the field. Almost 250 students are pursuing doctoral degrees in computing-related programs in the School of Computing, Informatics, and Decision Systems Engineering. Each of those program enrollments is at or near an all-time high.

At the same time, there are relatively strong enrollments in the related computer engineering and computer systems engineering programs.

Enrollment growth has enabled the recent hiring of 10 more teacher/researchers by the school, adding to the more than 60 faculty members working in computing-related programs.

See the 2014 ARWU ranking of 200 university computer science programs rankings and read more about ARWU organization and its academic ranking operations.

Joe Kullman

Science writer, Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering


ASU lauded for efforts in economic development

October 8, 2014

Arizona State University has been working to become a powerhouse of economic local and global development, and the hard work is being noticed. ASU received recognition last week from the University Economic Development Association, the premier organization for higher education in the economic development field, at their 2014 conference.

The annual summit, held in Santa Fe, New Mexico, recognizes university members who are transforming their campuses into hubs of economic development through innovative initiatives. Awards in excellence are given in five focus areas: Community Connected Campus, Research and Analysis, Leadership and Collaboration, Innovation and Entrepreneurship, and Talent Development. Download Full Image

Numerous ASU programs and people were featured throughout the conference. Perhaps the most notable prize was the Judges’ Award, given to a finalist that the assocation's awards committee deems worthy of special recognition. ASU received the Judges’ Award this year for its overall economic development activities and impact, including three awards finalists. Judges noted that these economic development efforts demonstrated exceptional talent, innovation and sense of place.

In addition to receiving the Judges’ Award for overall commitment to economic development, ASU’s Alexandria Co-Working Network won the Community Connected Campus Award. This unique program, launched in May 2013, brings people in the community together to collaborate in public libraries. It allows participants to create a network of people to connect with and collaborate on projects, as well as share valuable resources.

Several ASU faculty and staff members were actively involved throughout the conference. Mitzi Montoya, vice president and university dean of Entrepreneurship and Innovation, along with Chris Mackay, economic development director for the City of Phoenix, participated in a panel discussion about university-city collaboration. George Raudenbush, executive director of analytics for ASU’s Office of Knowledge Enterprise Development, participated in a panel on the research database SciVal. Janice Kleinwort, executive director of economic affairs for the ASU Office of Knowledge Enterprise Developement, is a board member for the association and led the agenda subcommittee for the conference. The opportunity for ASU employees to share their expertise is significant, given that 223 people from more than 30 states and two Canadian provinces participated in the 2014 conference.

“We were pleased not only to have had a strong leadership presence at the UEDA conference this year, but especially for the recognition of ASU’s comprehensive activities in economic development,” says Sethuraman “Panch” Panchanathan, senior vice president for Knowledge Enterprise Development. “It is certainly an honor for our university to be the sole recipient of the Judges’ Award this year. We are committed to fostering economic development, and I’m delighted that we have been recognized for our efforts.”

Allie Nicodemo

Communications specialist, Office of Knowledge Enterprise Development