the unprecedented store of data now available. This technology will also be applied to significantly improve information retrieval from on-line documents, such as the Internet and the Library of Congress, as well as intelligence data gathered by the nation’s security agencies.
The new building complex will
provide office and lab space for the department to
grow from 43 to 60 faculty members
Assistive physical computing is the use of computing and robotic systems to assist people in everyday activities. In this emerging area there are a broad range of opportunities to improve productivity, safety and quality of life. For example, automated memory assistants (“cognitive prostheses”) might help users at appropriate times to recall common information, such as names and dates, to ensure that they never forget an important fact. Also, robotic home assistants might enable an aging population to live comfortably at home while getting the medical monitoring and physical assistance they need. The ability to physically bring together artificial intelligence, machine learning, reliable systems and secure systems—key areas of strength for the department—in the new building complex is critical to realizing these goals.
New educational initiatives will result in at least a 50% increase in the number of students trained in computer science and will sow the seeds for long-term, sustained growth of computer science education in Texas. The department currently has 948 students in the computer science major and proposes to increase enrollment to at least 1400, with proportional growth in the Turing Scholars honors program. The new computer science complex will provide the necessary classrooms and teaching labs for this growth as well as interweaving undergraduate education with graduate-level research—the most powerful means of enhancing the undergraduate experience in computer science.
Participants at the First Bytes summer camp, assembling a computer.
UTeach is a nationally acclaimed math and science teacher preparation program developed at the University of Texas. The department was recently awarded a National Science Foundation grant to create a UTeach program specifically for computer science. The department will design a degree program to recruit and train students for a career teaching computer science in secondary schools and a plan for replicating the results at other Texas universities. These efforts sow the seeds for long- term, sustained growth of computer science education in Texas.
Creative outreach initiatives are necessary to recruit young women and minorities into computer science. For seven years, the department has conducted the First Bytes program—a week-long, in-resident summer camp for high school girls. The 50 participants in July 2009 learned an animation-based programming language, interviewed women graduate students, and visited several technology companies. Of the young women who entered UT in 2009 to major in computer science, seven were graduates of First Bytes.
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