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Contact: Anne Watzman

For immediate release:
April 5, 2002

Carnegie Mellon's School of Computer Science Ties for First Place In the Latest U.S. News & World Report Rankings of Best Ph.D. Programs

PITTSBURGH—Carnegie Mellon University has the best computer science doctoral program in the country along with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Stanford University and the University of California at Berkeley, according to U.S.News & World Report magazine's latest analysis of "America's Best Graduate Schools," (, which hits the newsstands April 15.

Carnegie Mellon's Ph.D. program in computer science tied for the number one spot this year after placing third behind MIT and Stanford in 1999, the last time U.S. News ranked graduate computer science programs. The top programs received 4.9 out of a possible 5 point score as rated by deans and department heads of computer science operations all over the country.

This year, U.S. News also ranked three specialty areas, including artificial intelligence (AI), systems and theory. Carnegie Mellon placed second behind MIT in AI, second behind Berkeley in systems, and sixth in theory. As a freestanding college, Carnegie Mellon's School of Computer Science has a broader scope than most of its peers, focusing on robotics, human-computer interaction, software engineering, language technologies, entertainment technologies and data mining as well as the traditional computer science offerings.

"We're actually in a different dimension from other computer science groups that are embedded in engineering," said SCS Dean Jim Morris. "We look at computer science as a holistic field that encompasses technology and how it affects society. We've never lost track of the fact that the computer is just a new element in a rich, evolving society."

Working in a highly interdisciplinary environment on one of the most technologically sophisticated campuses in the world, SCS researchers are known for developing operating systems, programming languages, wearable computers, networks and robots that in many instances have been commercialized by companies or incorporated into the research agendas of government agencies like NASA, the Department of Defense and the Department of Energy.

SCS theorists have developed award-winning programs that find errors in digital circuitry and faster ways to commercialize algorithms. Researchers in the Human-Computer Interaction Institute have developed more than 16 generations of wearable computers, as well as systems that combine wireless with handheld and mobile technologies. Carnegie Mellon robots have explored volcanoes, discovered meteorites in Antarctica, tracked the Sun in the Arctic Circle and helped clean up Three Mile Island.

Speech translation systems developed here have aided the military in foreign lands and enabled people speaking a half-dozen different languages to communicate easily with each other by talking into translating computers. Now, new devices spinning out of the university will enable travelers to use a hand held computer to quickly point, click and decipher signs in languages as cryptic as Chinese.

Intelligent tutors developed by SCS researchers have been improving students' skills in reading, algebra and geometry for nearly a decade. Companies have been spun out of computer science research that are carrying courses in software development created here to non-traditional audiences at community colleges, the military and executive training courses at corporations.

In addition, Carnegie Mellon's School of Computer Science has made genuine progress in attracting and retaining women in its undergraduate program, a national problem that has reached epidemic proportions. Since the mid 1990s, the college has changed its coursework and culture to reflect the results of research done by SCS faculty with Sloan and National Science Foundation grants that revealed how gender differences affect the response of men and women to computers. As a result, the number of women in the undergraduate computer science program has increased from eight percent of a class of 110 in 1995 to 37 percent of a class of 139 last fall. The story behind this success is chronicled in a new book-"Unlocking the Clubhouse: Women in Computing," recently published by MIT Press.

"In computer science at Carnegie Mellon, we explore all sorts of intelligent systems, which include considerations of human interaction, cognitive psychology and organizational behavior, as well as the contexts of business, policy and ethics," said university president Jared L. Cohon.

"Our faculty, students, research partners and government leaders tell us that it is this distinctively multidisciplinary and highly practical approach to information technology that distinguishes Carnegie Mellon from other leading technology institutions, Cohon added.

"Recently," he said, "Intel cited this as the deciding factor for selecting Carnegie Mellon scientists as partners in a Pittsburgh-based research lab to develop software for data storage. David Tennenhouse, vice president of Intel's Corporate Technology Group and director of research, said we were chosen 'not just because of great research, students and faculty, but also because of the great collaborative culture here-the way faculty work with each other and with industry.'"

School of Computer Science alumnus James Gosling, famed developer of the Java programming language for building Web services at Sun Microsystems, describes the culture in the computer science graduate program as "a lot like a family, coupled with a really challenging academic environment. It's by a pretty wide margin the best place on the planet to study computer science."

In other programs ranked at this time by U.S. News, the university's graduate program in engineering placed10th , while the MBA program was ranked 18th. U.S. News & World Report annually ranks graduate programs in business, education, engineering, law and medicine. Most other categories, including computer science, are not ranked on an annual basis.


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