Program Strengths & Goals

Over the past 5 years the US News and World Report rank of the VT Computer Science graduate program has increased steadily from 46th to 40th place. Other institutions that share the same rank with us are  Dartmouth, Texas A&M University,  SUNY at Stony  Brook, and University of Colorado, Boulder.

The Wall Street Journal survey of industrial recruiters in Fall 2010 named CS@VT fifth among CS departments in the US in terms of the desirability of recruiting  our students. In 2014, we were ranked seventh among US universities for mid-career pay for CS graduates, placing CS@VT between MIT and  Cornell in this respect. 

We have several focus areas of research, spanning traditional computer science topics and highly interdisciplinary collaborations with other sciences, engineering, the arts, and the humanities.

  • Cyber security, at both network level and application level. Rich collaborations with ECE cyber faculty, many facilitated by the Ted and Karyn Hume Center for National Security and Technology
  • Data analytics (Discovery Analytics Center).  Large interdisciplinary collaborations in data mining and knowledge discovery (Analytics @ Virginia Tech).
  • Human-computer interaction (Center for Human-Computer Interaction). Topics include virtual reality, 3D graphics, visualization, cognitive science, interface usability, personal information management
  • Computational biology and bioinformatics. Genomics, modeling of organic processes at cell, molecule and organism levels
  • High-end computer systems (Center for High End Computing Systems). Topics include supercomputer design for heterogeneity (e.g., GPU/CPU systems) or low power usage, operating system reliability, flexible middleware, mobile platforms, software engineering, parallel scientific computation.
  • CS education. University-level and K-12, including design of new AP offerings, courses on computational thinking, and building software tools for better pedagogy and learning.

The cyber security and data analytics groups are comprised of faculty from the main campus in Blacksburg and the campus in northern Virginia

In many of these research areas, the emphasis is on interdisciplinary collaboration both within the department and across campus.  In 2008, our department won the Exemplary Department Award for having 31 distinct collaborations across campus. For example, exciting  new algorithms have been developed by departmental teams including computational biologists and supercomputer specialists. Data analytics experts collaborate with historians and political scientists on predictive data mining of open source data. HCI faculty collaborate with artists and musicians facilitated by the Institute for Creativity, the Arts and Technology (ICAT) to design projects demonstrating aesthetics and functionality.  

Our department faculty is an energetic, intelligent, highly collegial group committed to an educational environment that fosters excellence and diversity.  We aspire to instruct the next generation of computer scientists who will develop technology to change the world for the better. 

Our research strives to improve the state-of-the-art in computing as well as to support interdisciplinary explorations that result in discoveries at the intersections of computing with other areas.  Our teaching seeks to impart skills, computing fundamentals, and professional ethics to the practitioners of the future.  Our service to the profession aims to support our educational mission and to ensure diversity in our student body and faculty.