Ever since 1968, when its first professor of Computer Science was hired, to the present day, Computer Science, or CS, has been an integral part of WPI's academic offerings.
Since 1986 WPI's Computer Science undergraduate program has been accredited by the Computing Sciences Accreditation Board. In October 2001 Computing Accreditation Commission of ABET accredited WPI's undergrad CS program.
The mission of the Computer Science Department at WPI is to provide outstanding education to its undergraduate and graduate students in accordance with the principles of the WPI mission, to advance scholarship in key domains of the computing sciences, and to engage in activities that improve the welfare of society and enhance the reputation of WPI. The Department aims to maintain an environment that promotes innovative thinking; values mutual respect and diversity; encourages and supports scholarship; instills ethical behavior; and engenders life-long learning.
Computer Science plays a major role in maintaining WPI's tradition of academic excellence. Computer Science has a rich history.
In 1968, WPI appointed its first professor of Computer Science. In September 1969 the graduate program in Computer Science began. Graduate students were admitted first, closely followed by undergraduates. The department's 25th anniversary in September 1995 celebrated those events.
The department's facilities have changed dramatically over the years, from initially having no computer of its own, to its current situation of owning and operating over 100 computers. Most of these are linked via a campus-wide network, and all offices have access to more than one machine.
From the original FORTRAN, the department has moved to a wide variety of software that's available to students and faculty. It currently uses several different operating systems to create a diversified environment. All popular languages are supported, including Java, LISP, Prolog, C, C++, Scheme, and Perl. There are many word processing/desk-top publishing utilities. The department operates several high-quality printers to produce graphical technical documents -- not very much folded Line Printer paper to be seen on campus any more!
The emphasis in the department over the last 30 years has gradually changed from teaching alone to a vibrant blend of teaching and research. This is consistent with the increase in the number of graduate students, and the fact that the department now offers the Ph.D. degree. The faculty's research has been supported from a variety of sources, including NASA, the National Science Foundation, the National Institutes of Health, the Air Force, IBM, and Microsoft.
The department moved into the newly constructed Fuller Laboratories in January 1990. This building is specially designed to house the department and all other information processing activities. Facilities include attractive office spaces for faculty, graduate students and staff, instructional laboratories, research labs, and modern meeting rooms.
The significant improvement in research space has expanded the deparment's horizons for research activity, and will permit further growth in the Ph.D. program, which was established in 1983. The educational labs have already provided increased space to house workstations for students. They will permit the department to continue to improve the computer laboratory experience for all CS courses.