IT expands hiring and course offerings to meet record demand

With the largest number of students taking computer science courses, the department seeks to usher in a new era with broader research and scholarship opportunities.

Youri Stasiuk

11:22 p.m., September 11, 2022

Zoe Berg, photo editor

Faced with record demand for its courses, the computer science department hired nine tenure-track professors and four lecturers over the summer and added nine new courses for the semester.

Computer science is Yale College’s second most popular major, and total computer science course enrollment hit a new high of 3,260 students for the fall 2022 semester, according to department head Zhong Shao. . The computer science department announced its new hires Sept. 3, highlighting faculty members as a way to expand the department’s expertise and meet growing student demand. Shao added that the department is looking to expand its course offerings in the coming years, with more courses for undergraduate and graduate students.

“As we move forward, we also want to improve and restructure the core computer science curriculum and provide a wide variety of quality computer science courses to the entire Yale community,” Shao wrote in a statement. email to News. “The overall goals of the department are to train and educate future leaders, perform outstanding research and scholarship, and help transform Yale into a world-class university at the forefront of the computer revolution and the AI reshaping our world.”

This semester, the department added its first-ever class aimed at students outside of the Computer Science major, titled “Python Programming for the Humanities and Social Sciences.”

The course, co-taught by newly hired lecturers Ozan Erat and Sohee Park, will teach students the basics of programming and data analysis and give them a chance to apply simple machine learning techniques to different sets. of data.

“You might be interested in political science and have no interest in computer science, but maybe you should learn to program,” Erat said. “You can use some data visualization tools or some basic prediction methods. [Artificial intelligence] is everywhere now.

Erat also said he’s looking to improve a popular computer science course, “Data Structures and Programming Techniques,” by adding lab sections that will give students hands-on coding experience and help them relate the theory that they learn in the classroom with more practical skills.

In addition to their contribution to existing courses, the new faculty will also help meet the demand for education in areas such as artificial intelligence, robotics, cybersecurity and distributed computing.

Professor Tesca Fitzgerald, another newcomer to computer science, is focusing on interactive robot learning. Her new Yale lab is currently being renovated, but she said she was excited to hire students and start working on research soon. This semester she is teaching a graduate seminar in robotics, and next spring she will begin teaching an undergraduate course in artificial intelligence.

“Because robotics is such an interdisciplinary space, you really need multiple people in that space before you can gain momentum,” Fitzgerald said. “[You need] shared equipment, shared pupils, representation of all sorts of perceptual spaces, manipulation, control theory, interaction. I feel like we [at Yale] having a good base and representation in each of these areas, which is fantastic. I really hope that we will continue this momentum.

According to Fitzgerald, all new tenure-track faculty received a grant to start their research labs, which allowed them to purchase the equipment they need.

This year, according to Shao, the IT department was also able to streamline its guidance for undergraduate projects. Starting this fall, the department has appointed faculty member Sohee Park to help students connect with professors, identify potential research projects, create initial proposals, develop reports mid-term review and preparing final reports and presentations, Shao explained.

New Yale students will be able to make the most of recent hires.

Anton Melnychuk ’26, a future computer science student, is interested in the use of artificial intelligence in music. He said he is delighted that the study of artificial intelligence is strongly represented among the new faculty.

“I would like to take a course or work with [the new professors]said Melnychuk. “I’m sure Yale selected the best candidates.”

The Department of Computer Science at Yale College offers both a Bachelor of Arts and a Bachelor of Science.

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