Letter from the Department Head

January 2016

The Department of Computer Science (CS@VT) is part of the College of Engineering at Virginia Tech, a college whose undergraduate program ranks 15th nationally among all engineering schools offering doctorates.  Founded in 1970,  CS@VT has an energetic and engaged faculty including 39 tenure-track faculty members, three professors of practice, ten postdocs/research faculty, three instructors and three academic advisors.  Our department is characterized by its emphasis on interdisciplinary research and its collegial atmosphere. The main campus of Virginia Tech is in Blacksburg, Virginia; a graduate center in northern Virginia is home to several CS faculty and a sizeable group of graduate students.

In fall 2015, our growing department had over 600 undergraduate CS majors  and about 225 graduate students.  During academic year 2014-15, we awarded 178 BS degrees, 36 MS degrees and 25 PhDs. We emphasize both capstone and research experiences for our undergraduate students, and also offer a 5 year BS/MS degree. We are proud to report that our efforts to improve diversity in our student population have resulted in approximately 16% women in our current cohort of CS majors, a dramatic improvement over just a few years ago.

Our faculty has received 6 NSF/DOE CAREER Awards since 2008;  CS@VT faculty have a total 12 NSF/DOE CAREER awards. Faculty members collaborate actively with industry including recently with IBM Research, HP Research, Microsoft Research, NVIDIA, AMD, Apple, and NetApp.  Our research expenditures during fiscal year 2015 were $15.5M. We have an active industrial partners program, the Computer Science Resources Consortium (CSRC), with approximately 90 member companies.  We also are proud that the 2010 Wall Street Journal survey of industrial recruiters ranked CS@VT fifth among CS departments in the US in terms of the desirability of recruiting our students. 

Over the past 3 years our faculty have garnered significant honors including:

  • 2014 VA Outstanding Faculty Award - Dr. Wu Feng
  • 2013 VA Outstanding Faculty Award for Teaching with Technology - Dr. Steve Edwards
  • 2013 Rising Star Award from the Roanoke-Blacksburg Technology Council - Dr. Kirk Cameron
  • ACM Fellow - Dr. M. Marathe
  • IEEE Fellow - Dr. Wenjing Lou
  • ACM Distinguished Scientists or Educators - Dr. S. Edwards, Dr. C.T. Lu, Dr. T.M. Murali, Dr. A. Sandu, Dr. C. Shaffer

Continuing our commitment to diversity in computing, CS@VT works extensively with the National Center for Women in IT (NCWIT) and as founders of the NCWIT VA/DC Aspirations in Computing Awards.

Please explore our website further.  We welcome contacts from potential students and collaborators.

Sincerely,

Dr. Calvin J. Ribbens
Department Head