Dean's Annual Update

The School of Computing and Information (SCI) just celebrated its fifth anniversary. Since our founding, we’ve pursued a mission that integrates computing and information with diverse domains to ignite positive change. Recent advances for an array of technologies, such as digital assets and quantum computing, underscore the significance of our interdisciplinary mission.  

An exciting example comes to light with the public’s attention on ChatGPT. While the technology underpinning this tool is a marvel, what’s truly astounding is the transformation underway across nearly every aspect of life due to artificial intelligence (AI). Decisions now unfold in real-time on an unprecedented scale, with increasing autonomy, extending their reach to systems that analyze data from varied sources such as social media, historical records, and sensors.  

In the AI-driven future, different domains will partner with computing and information. For instance, consider DeepMind’s AlphaFold, which is revolutionizing computational biology. In healthcare, models like GPT-4 enhance bedside diagnostics. This transformation extends beyond technological innovation. It’s molding a world that was once dreamed of or even feared, possibly altering human behavior, redefining societies, and influencing the dynamics of the natural world.  

As we constantly enhance our academic programs to impart essential skills and equip students with the knowledge to shape the future, we emphasize that critical thinking, data analysis, AI ethics, cross-collaboration, and social responsibility are not just buzzwords but powerful tools. These tools empower our students to become architects of a more just society, bridging divides and reducing marginalization. Our commitment extends across the board, striving to ensure equitable access to knowledge inclusive of all learners, regardless of their life journey or major, to thrive in a technology and data-filled world.  

In research and engagement, SCI leads the way in pioneering innovative paths, achieving research excellence with students and faculty, and fostering a portfolio of discoveries and innovations. Recent projects, spanning digital democracy accountability to STEM enhancement through natural language processing, highlight our commitment to interdisciplinary research. We collaborate closely with communities, and integrate education, research, application, and community engagement.  

As we reflect on the past year, we extend our heartfelt gratitude to our generous donors, dedicated volunteers, valued corporate partners, and incredible alumni for their unwavering support. Our remarkable students, alongside our dedicated staff and faculty, are the backbone of SCI. As we continue our journey together, we not only reaffirm our mission – we proudly proclaim it! Join us on this journey toward a brighter, more inclusive future as we illuminate the path ahead.  


Bruce R. Childers
Dean and Professor

In the spirit of this message, I collaborated with ChatGPT to write it. It took quite a lot of coaxing through prompt engineering!