According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, “seven out of the ten largest STEM occupations were computer-related. With the employment of nearly 750,000, applications software developers were the largest STEM occupation. Computer user support specialists and computer systems analysts each accounted for over a half a million job.” We at USF CSE prepare students for these professions at undergraduate and graduate levels. Our faculty members and students conduct high-impact research and innovation that ensure the sustained growth of these computing jobs in the future.
USF CSE is in the top sixth (rank 29) of Computer Science departments in US public universities. This ranking is according to most recent Academic Analytics data based on Scholarly Research Index using default weights for grants, articles, conferences, awards, and citations. The latest US News & World Report ranked our Computer Engineering program in the top-50 (rank 48) among public universities. And, the graduate Master of Science in Information Technology program was ranked 20th for online IT programs by the 2019 US News & World Report.
Among the new significant activities this year is the launch of the new USF Institute for Artificial Intelligence + X, the Computing Partners Program, and the start of Broadening Participation in Computing activities. However, the single, most important piece of news that we are proud to share at this time is the announcement of our new President. Dr. Steven C. Currall is the 7th President of University of South Florida (USF), a Preeminent State Research University in Florida with more than $568 million in annual expenditures, among the nation’s top 30 public universities for research, and America’s fifth-leading public university in generating new United States utility patents. We at USF CSE share his vision for the four main pillars of the “architecture” of academic excellence.
- The quality of undergraduate students and their educational experience
- Faculty, research and creative impact
- The quality of graduate students and their educational experience
- Strategic partnerships involving societal engagement and service, and fulfilling our catalytic role as an engine of regional economic development, health and prosperity.
Undergraduate Educational Experience:
At the undergraduate level, we offer four degrees programs - the Bachelor of Science in Computer Science, Computer Engineering, Information Technology, and Cybersecurity. The Florida Board of Governors recently approved the BS in Cybersecurity degree program. Total undergraduate enrollment, including pre-majors, is currently approximately 2000 students, or about 1/3 of the total population of undergraduate students in the College of Engineering. This fall semester, 44.8% of incoming students to the College of Engineering declared an interest in one of the four-degree programs in the Department. To address the potential rise in student to faculty ratio, we have plans to continue hiring new faculty members.
In Academic Year 2018-19, the Department awarded 339 BS degrees. Our graduates are in top companies in the Tampa-bay region and nationwide, such as CAE, Raymond James, JP Morgan, Johnson and Johnson, Reliaquest, Raytheon, GM, Google, IBM, Twitter, and Intel, to name a few.
To enrich the student educational experience facilitated by a diverse student body, we launched the Broadening Participation in Computing (BPC) committee this year. While we are doing well in terms of Black and Hispanic student representation, our gap for women is significant. In Academic Year 2018-19, 8.0% of BS degrees awarded went to Black students, and 17.4% went to Hispanic students, this is more than double the national average for these two groups for computer science. In the same year, 16.2% of BS degrees awarded went to women students; this is below the national average of 21.2%. With support from the National Center for Women in Information Technology (NCWIT), we are engaged in a learning circle with University of Maryland, College Park, and Case-Western Reserve University to structure and implement a BPC plan.
We have an active Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) program, undergraduate teaching assistantships, many scholarships, connections for internship opportunities with companies in the Tampa Bay area, and the chance to do meaningful capstone design projects in conjunction with local companies. Our students have access to many active computing-related student organizations, state of the art computing facilities, including Mini-Circuits Design-for-X Lab, computer engineering, and cybersecurity labs.
Great faculty members make for great departments. USF CSE has 28 tenure-stream faculty and 12 full-time instructors, many of whom are IEEE, AAAS, IAPR, and AIMBE Fellows, NSF CAREER award recipients (12 of them!), and Distinguished University Professors (two). Our faculty members value research, teaching, and service. Multiple faculty members have been awarded Outstanding Undergraduate Teaching awards from the University. Our faculty members are very involved with service to professional societies (such as IEEE-CS and ACM) and the community.
Faculty members are currently executing $9.7 million in active external research grants as PI, each spanning 1 to 3 years. Of the total amount, $6.2 million are from NSF, $2.6 million are from the Department of Defense, and the rest from NIH, NIST, industry, and state sources. The research clusters in the department include:
- AI and Cognitive Computing (Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition, Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning, Robotics, Human-Computer Interfaces, and Affective Computing)
- Cybersecurity (Trustworthy Computing, Network Security, Smart Bio-devices, Hardware security, and Biometrics)
- Big-Data Science Algorithms (Biomedical Imaging, Machine Learning, Databases, Visualization, Social Networks, and Efficient Computing Platforms)
- Efficient Computing Platforms (VLSI, Ubiquitous Sensing Networks, Distributed Computing, Parallel Processing, and Biomedical Devices)
The Florida Board of Governors recently approved the creation of the Institute for
AI+X at USF, a university-level institute with participants from all different colleges.
The goal is to build a world-class academic R&D center at the University of South
Florida conducting externally-funded research in artificial intelligence (AI) and
associated areas (X = healthcare, medicine, cybersecurity, finance, business, manufacturing,
transportation, etc.). It will focus on convergence-based problem solving across
a variety of sectors. The approach will fuse neuroscience, cognitive science, and
computer science to conduct externally funded research in AI and associated areas.
From these research initiatives, the institute will work with industry to transition
research into products that benefit humanity ethically and responsibly. USF is currently
seeking industrial partners for this initiative
Graduate Educational Experience:
Students have a variety of options at the graduate level. We have three Master’s programs: in Computer Science, Computer Engineering, and Information Technology, and the PhD in Computer Science and Engineering. In Academic Year 2017 - 2018 students graduated with 56 MS degrees and 11 PhD degrees. Currently, we have 148 Master’s students and 116 PhD students pursuing their dreams. Over 30% of our graduate students are women.
All our PhD students have research or teaching assistantships that include a stipend and tuition waiver. During their study, all students have access to many student organizations and state of the art computing facilities, including Mini-Circuits Design-for-X Lab, computer engineering and cybersecurity labs, and a more than 100 node GPU cluster for AI/deep learning/database in research the CSE data center.
Top industrial research labs such as Google, Amazon, Intel, Microsoft, Jet Propulsion Labs employ our MS and PhD graduates. Many PhD graduates are excelling as faculty members at top academic institutions.
Nearly two-thirds of our graduates find jobs in the state of Florida and are actively contributing to its economic prosperity. An active advisory board composed of leaders in the industry, academia, and distinguished alumni help shape our curriculum to keep it current. One of the pain points we had heard from the industry is the difficulty in attracting top CSE students for internships and jobs. To address this, we recently launched an industry partners program called the Computing Partners Program to provide a structured engagement with students for internships and jobs. The Computing Partners Program enables companies to have a customized, deeper connection with our students and USF CSE. This program augments the mechanisms available through CSE UG Newsletter or USF CAREER center or participating in a resume matching system. To date, we are delighted to have CAE, Raymond-James, Johnson-and-Johnson, and JP Morgan as our partners. We hope to grow this program into a vibrant mechanism to showcase our best students to the best companies in the region and vice-versa.
We are located in the beautiful Tampa Bay area, which has several of the top-ranked beaches in the world, a sunny climate, and many opportunities for recreation as well as cultural activities. We look forward to welcoming you on campus sometime soon. Be it as a student, faculty, as an alumnus who wants to connect back, as a distinguished speaker, or simply as a respected guest and friend.
Professor and Chair