The Department of Computer Science recently recruited nine career-track faculty and four track-track lecturers to its rank. These appointments are in addition to a previous round of 11 new faculty and lecturers hired in the past few years. Recruitment enhancement achieves a number of long-term goals, including expanding the department’s areas of expertise. Also, since computer science has emerged as the second most popular major (right after economics) at Yale, it will go a long way toward meeting students’ curricular needs.
“Our new faculty members were selected for the excellence of their research, as well as for the areas they represent, all of which have been in high demand by both our students and faculty on campus as well as industry,” said Zhong Shao, Thomas L. Kempner Professor of Computer Science. Head of the department. “Their range of expertise addresses some of the most important challenges we face today.”
SEAS Dean Jeffrey Brock said the new faculty will be critical to achieving the ambitious goals enshrined in SEAS’ strategic vision, particularly in the areas of artificial intelligence and robotics, while building into key areas such as cybersecurity and distributed computing.
“This exciting group of new faculty members is going to transform our Computer Science department,” Brooke said. “During our hiring season, they sensed Yale’s momentum in computer science and engineering, which eventually led to the rejection of excellent offers at other top schools to join our faculty. Their presence will allow Yale CS to expand their course offerings, as well as create a critical mass in areas of Basic and cutting edge research.
Several new faculty members, such as Fan Zhang, referred to the department’s “rapid growth in recent years.” Others said that Yale’s collaborative environment attracted them, particularly given that Yale is ranked at or near the top in many areas of research. Daniel Raquita, for example, said he’s looking forward to working with Yale University School of Medicine to see how robotics research in his lab can help in hospitals or home care settings, as well as working with the Wu Tsai Institute for Brain Machine Interface Technologies.
“Many of the people I spoke to indicated that there are no boundaries between departments at Yale, and not only is interdisciplinary research encouraged here, it is a ‘way of life,’” Rakita said. “Many of the new faculty members have already engaged with academic leaders. The majors are across campuses, from medicine, to economics, to quantum computing.
As part of this recruitment boost, the department has strategically targeted specific research areas, including artificial intelligence, trustworthy computing, robotics, quantum computing, and modeling.
The nine new faculty members are appointed, and their areas of research are below.
[We spoke to these new faculty members about their research, their motivations, potential collaborations, and much more. Click here to learn more about each of our latest faculty]
- Arman Cohan: Research at the intersection of machine learning and natural language processing
- Ben Fish: Privacy and the ability to verify online, with blockchain applications like Bitcoin
- Tesca Fitzgerald: Develop algorithms to enable bots to adapt to task differences (such as new tools, goals, or constraints) that they are not trained to handle
- Daniel Rackett: Develop algorithms that allow robot manipulators to move in real-world environments
- Katrina Suteraki: Cryptography and its development in anticipation of quantum computers. Specifically, this includes developing encryption against quantum attacks
- Alex Wong: Provide visualization to enable independent tasks
- Rex Young: Graph learning applications, which include analysis of social networks, protein networks, and drug discovery
- Manolis Zambitakis: Foundations of machine learning (ML), statistics and data science, including statistical analysis of biased data
- Fan Chang: Computer security, with a focus on blockchain science
The four new lecturers are appointed to the teaching track, and their areas of research are:
- had weights: computer vision
- Dylan McKay: arithmetic theory
- Soha Park: Multimedia, machine learning
- Alan Wade: programming languages
This hiring season marks the first since changes to the structure that made SEAS more independent, giving more faculty lines to grow.
“Our independence and ability to be opportunistic were key components in our ability to achieve this transformative growth for computer science at Yale,” Brooke said. “As computer science plays a critical role in an increasingly wide range of disciplines, the size and breadth of computer science is critical to our strategy at SEAS. I am pleased to be able to take the first step in realizing that vision of SEAS that is well integrated into its host university. in line with its mission.
SEAS became independent from the College of Arts and Sciences in July of 2022.
Curriculum to meet the needs of students and industry
Increasing the department’s curriculum has also been in the planning stages for a while, a goal made possible by recent appointments of new faculty and lecturers. There are coordinated efforts to meet the growing demand in areas such as artificial intelligence, blockchain, machine learning, introductory programming, and computer science courses for non-majors, Shao said.
“This has been on the department’s task list for many years, but we didn’t have the manpower,” Shao said. “Finally, with the new faculty hire, we can actually offer these courses.”
Ben Fish, for example, will teach a new course on blockchain to both graduate students and advanced undergraduates in computer science. Teska Fitzgerald will present a new graduate-level seminar on interactive robot learning. Katrina Suteraki will teach classes in Theoretical and Applied Cryptography, at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. These are just a few of the new courses that will be available.
In response to industry needs, the department has also added courses that focus on what is known as complete web programming – the set of skills needed to develop the interface as well as the coding behind building a complete web application. One of the department’s most popular courses, in the field of Software Engineering, will now be offered for two semesters of the year, instead of one. Both are specifically targeting the needs of industry and students, Shaw said.
“As new challenges emerge, computer science at Yale will continue to adapt,” Shao said. “We are excited about the future of our department, and these new additions to our faculty and curriculum will be a major part of it.”