Message from the Chair

Welcome to the Computer Science Department at UCSB!

Computer Science is intellectually creative and exciting, highly dynamic and interactive, and woven intricately into our society's fabric. The discipline blends deep mathematical and philosophical questions of complexity and intelligence with technologies that have radically transformed our lives. In all areas of academia, business, and government, we are collecting and generating data at unprecedented scales, requiring new scalable algorithms and systems that are driving new discoveries and inventions. Currently, there is demand not only for new software and hardware, but also for trained manpower in the form of Computer Science undergraduates and graduates. This demand is driving enrollment growth in Computer Science departments worldwide. Perhaps as importantly, disciplines from anthropology to zoology are realizing the need for computational thinking in their own training, leading to high demands from non-majors too.

At UCSB, we are a medium-sized department, with about 34 faculty members, 175 graduate and 400 undergraduate students. Our department's mission is to be a leader in Computer Science research, to educate our students with a balance in theory and practice, and to create technologies that benefit society. Since its founding in 1979, the department has climbed rapidly in reputation and influence. The most recent ranking by the National Research Council (NRC) places the department among the top 10 in the country. Our faculty members have received highest honors and awards from professional societies, including membership in the National Academy of Engineering, and Fellowships of the ACM, IEEE, and SIAM. Four of our young colleagues have been included in MIT's TR35 list of top innovators under the age of 35.

Our undergraduate students learn not only the what, but also the why and how, of Computer Science through a well-planned sequence of core courses along with electives of their choice on advanced topics. They are strongly encouraged to engage in research with the faculty and experience first-hand the thrill of solving real-world technological problems. Our popular Capstone project-oriented course offers students an opportunity to work on advanced projects in collaboration with industry.

The research climate of the department is highly collaborative and interdisciplinary, and has led to several highly visible research efforts and centers. We are fortunate to have an excellent group of PhD and MS students, whose research accomplishments continue to propel the department to greater heights, and who upon graduation are eagerly sought after by the world’s leading technology companies and universities. Our colleagues and their graduate students have also been remarkably successful at founding startups inspired by their academic research, demonstrating their entrepreneurial leadership and vision in addition to their academic excellence.

Please take a look at the website for information about our programs, research, and faculty. If you have questions or comments, please contact me at


Matthew Turk
Professor and Chair