Archive for September, 2009

Computer Science

Indiana University’s Department of Computer Science has been completely absorbed by the School of Informatics (SoI). I’m not entirely comfortable with this decision, as what we do in Computer Science (theory and algorithms) is very different from Informatics (applications to other areas). Also, Computer Science students are a very different breed from Informatics students – there’s a number of differences in the curriculum.

Anyways, the new SoI bulletin has completely revised the BS CS degree program. It is now much more streamlined. Core courses have been reduced from 6 to 4 and upper-level requirements have been reduced from 7 courses divided amongst various first letter and second number distinctions to 5 courses in a simplified concentration. My concentrations will be Artificial Intelligence and Programming Languages.

These changes have dramatically altered the next three years. I was 5 CS courses away from graduation. Under the new requirements I have only 3 more, which can be from a broad list of related courses. Instead of taking every undergrad CS course, I’m now going to be able to take Artificial Life, Bioinspired Computing, The Computer and Natural Language (NLP), and Search Informatics: Google Under the Hood (MapReduce). These have all been on my radar, but since they were in the Informatics program, they did not meet any CS requirements. Now I’m able to shave a semester off my graduation and take some (hopefully) more interesting courses.

There are some issues with the changes – there is a lot less emphasis on theory, which is the hallmark of the IU CS program. Since I’m staying on an extra year for the Professional Masters program I’m not concerned about my education, but it is alarming that people can get away with only 6 CS courses when the old program required 13. (I’ll graduate with 10.)

At any rate, I’ll be out by Fall 2011 instead of sometime in 2012, and that’s awesome.

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