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Department of Computer Science

Department of Computer Science

The Saint Louis University Department of Computer Science is committed to the development and study of computing technologies for the greater good of humanity.

Hear about the Department of Computer Science from faculty members.

About the Department

At the undergraduate level, our students gain technical skills that allow them to creatively develop computational solutions to complex problems, relying on both in-depth knowledge of computing systems and computer science theory. Our curriculum provides flexibility so that students choose advanced electives that shape their education to meet diverse career goals (e.g., computer security, artificial intelligence, high-performance computing, software engineering).

At the graduate level, we offer master's programs in computer science, software engineering, artificial intelligence, and an interdisciplinary Master of Science in Bioinformatics and Computational Biology. Furthermore, we offer accelerated bachelors/masters curricula that allow a student to complete both an undergraduate computer science major or minor and one of our master's programs in a combined five years.

Student engagement is a priority at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. This begins in the classroom, where a typical class has 20-30 students and meets regularly in one of our computer labs. This format allows for plenty of student-faculty interaction, student teamwork and project-based learning. The student engagement continues through innovative capstone projects and with students working directly with faculty members on research projects (in several cases with students presenting their results at conferences).

Our department faculty are renowned scholars and educators who lead these activities. They design and deliver the educational experiences, and are the principal investigators in cutting-edge research. Collectively the faculty serve in leadership positions at professional organizations, publish and present their work in the top national and international venues, have created and presented innovative educational techniques, and have authored textbooks used by hundreds of institutions worldwide.

Research in the department is funded by grants from both government and private organizations. Recently funded projects include exploration of:

  • Plant root reconstruction from 3D imaging
  • Serverless architectures for integration of geospatial data involving Missouri agriculture
  • Resilient network-edge computing that can be deployed in man-made or natural disasters
  • Large-scale metagenomic analysis using cloud computing
  • Development of a virtual reality interface for command of UAVs
  • Shape analysis and reconstruction from 3D point clouds
  • Mobile computing for real-time data collection in a study of alcohol use among college students
  • Computational linguistics to support endangered languages
  • Innovative training in bioinformatics
  • Core algorithmic research in computational geometry and topology

As an institution, Saint Louis University has a strong commitment to diversity and inclusion. Within the Department of Computer Science, we echo those goals while recognizing the particular need to broaden participation in computing, in our department, in our classes, and in the computing profession and society. We recognize not only the imperative of valuing diversity and inclusiveness, but that all members of our community (faculty, staff, and students) must be active participants in supporting and advocating for these goals.

The challenges in building and supporting diversity in the field of computing are well established. While there has been strong progress in recent years (both locally and nationally), there is certainly need for much greater progress in the future. Our goal of inclusiveness takes many forms:

  • We strive for academic diversity as we see computer science providing value and empowerment to students in all majors (not just those majoring in computer science). One way we support this goal is by providing an innovative set of introductory courses that demonstrate the use of computing in a variety of domains, while doing so without any prerequisite requirements for enrollment. Another is by having our computer science majors participate in capstone projects, many of which apply the techniques of computer science to advance interdisciplinary projects.
  • We strive for demographic diversity in our student body, our faculty, and the field of computing in general. This includes diversity of gender, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation and identity, and socioeconomic background. Active steps we can take can foster a strong sense of community on campus, for example, through programs such as the program to support first-generation college students. We can also contribute to the pipeline of a new generation of computer scientists through outreach to the community, most notably with our presence within the diverse city of St. Louis. For example, Globalhack VI, held at SLU's Chaifetz Arena in 2016, focused on using technology to provide solutions surrounding homelessness, and Globalhack VII in 2018 focused on supporting foreign-born individuals and communities.
  • We strive for inclusiveness in terms of ability and disability. We also recognize that as computer scientists we have the ability to contribute to the development of assistive technologies that can greatly enable individuals. These might include voice controls, screen readers, prosthetics, navigation, software to improve organization, and wearable devices with smart monitoring. Here at SLU, computer science students and faculty have worked with Jenna Gorlewicz, Ph.D.,, a mechanical engineer whose specialty is the use of haptic devices and human-machine interactions.

Advisory Board

SLU's Computer Science Advisory Board is a group of professionals drawn from a wide variety of computing careers, whose goal is to offer insights into the fast-paced and rapidly changing field of computer science. The Advisory Board's duties include a review of the department's academic portfolio and advancing university/industry partnerships in areas of research, innovation, and student mentorship and development.

Joseph Busateri

Joseph BusateriJoseph Busateri
Director of Information Technology
Centene Corporation
Advisory Board member since 2019

Joseph Busateri, has over 30 years of experience in the technology industry. He has held leadership positions at Fortune 100 companies in the U.S., including MasterCard and Centene Corporation. He is currently the director of information technology at Centene, leading provider data systems teams; DevOps, machine learning, AI, Agile transformation, architecture, and mergers and acquisition data migrations. He is an inventor holding two U.S. patents in the technology space. He is committed to innovation and was quoted in the New York Times and several technology trade magazines for innovative application of social platforms in the workplace. He is a husband and father of five children.

Eric Druker

Eric DukerEric Druker
Data Science Director
Advisory Board member since 2019

Eric Druker is the Data Science Director - Central Integrity at Facebook. Eric believes the democratization of data empowers anyone with curiosity and analytic training to discover insights that can profoundly change the world and can regularly be found championing this view in person at conferences and over the air on his frequent radio appearances. With three young children and a busy work schedule, Eric relaxes by staying up all night in his backyard applying his technical skillset to his passion for deep space astrophotography.

Jeff Heaton Ph.D.

Jeff Heaton, Ph.D.Jeff Heaton Ph.D.
Vice President, Data Science
RGA Reinsurance Company
Advisory Board member since 2019

As vice president, data science in RGA Reinsurance Company’s Global Research and Data Analytics department, Jeff Heaton works primarily with modeling risk for underwriting systems using electronic health records. In this role, Jeff’s IT background allows him to bridge the gap between complex data science problems and proven software development. Jeff joined RGA in 2001 as a member of the Information Technology (IT) group to design and implement systems for retrocession administration and premium calculation and transitioned to a data science role in 2013. He is a frequent speaker and author for organizations such as the Society of Actuaries (SOA), the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), and for academic journals. Jeff has authored several books on artificial intelligence and teaches a graduate course at Washington University in St. Louis on this subject. Jeff is a senior member of the IEEE and a Fellow of the Life Management Institute (FLMI). He holds a Master of Information Management (MIM) degree from Washington University in St. Louis and a Ph.D. in computer science from Nova Southeastern University.

Kelly Hopson

Kelly Hopson
Director, Modern Software Engineering

As practice lead and director of modern software engineering at 1904labs, Kelly Hopson and her team develop and implement cloud-native software solutions, web and mobile applications, and modern DevOps for clients across a diverse array of industries, including leaders in the financial and healthcare sectors. A St. Louis native, Kelly relocated to Chicago where she graduated cum laude from DePaul University and later developed applications for the United States Airforce while working at Isobar, a digital experience agency. Other past clients include Centene, Bayer, Bloomberg and TransUnion. A leader with a passion for technology and people, Kelly’s work is inspired by a user-centered design approach and an ever-evolving tech stack.

Ryan McGrail

Ryan McGrail
Director of Technology Architecture & Strategy
Edward Jones

Ryan McGrail has nearly 25 years of experience in the technology industry. A St. Louis native and alumnus of Saint Louis University, he has spent his professional career at Edward Jones in various roles to enable delivery of solutions that enhance the digital experience for the firm's clients and branch teams. Ryan has held various leadership positions, from platform operations to application enablement to enterprise architecture. He is currently responsible for architecture and strategy, which includes enterprise data/information, application, and technology architecture, and oversees technology-driven digital strategy initiatives. Ryan has a passion for digital transformation and has led efforts to adopt open source, cloud computing, DevOps, agile/product management, engineering excellence, and application modernization and platform migration. He is a husband and a father of five children, is active in his parish, and enjoys traveling with family and all things tech.

Nate McKie

Nate McKieNate McKie
VP of Application Services
World Wide Technology
Advisory Board member since 2019

After serving as CTO for nearly 20 years at the custom software development shop known as Asynchrony, Nate transitioned to vice president and general manager of Application Services (Asynchrony’s new name) within WWT in 2019. As VP and GM, he is responsible for the continued financial and operational success and growth of the division. With his extensive experience and passion for this field, this role has proven to be a natural progression for Nate. Throughout his career, he has worked on significant global integration projects and has direct experience in a broad range of financial services companies, including finance companies, insurance, and mortgage banking. In 2003, Nate became interested in Agile as a way of harnessing the amazing R&D work that Asynchrony was doing into a mature process that could create ready-to-ship applications for our customers. Since then, WWT Application Services has become a leading practitioner of Agile techniques and ideas and has spread the disciplines of quality code and rapid implementation throughout its commercial and government customer base. WWT has more recently been branching out to other software solutions to help customers as well, including DevOps consulting, real-time performance monitoring, and coaching in Agile transformation and adoption.

David Schuehler, D.Sc.

David Schuehler, D.Sc.
Chief Architect

David Schuehler, D.Sc. has over 30 years of experience developing real-time systems for the financial, defense and healthcare industries, specializing in system architecture, software development, communication protocols, embedded systems and hardware accelerated solutions. He is an inventor with 18 patents and received the St. Louis Business Journal Technology Award and Forty Under 40 Award. David is the chief architect at Exegy, the global leader in low-latency market data, execution systems, predictive trading signals and hardware-accelerated financial data processing.

Ebony Williams

Ebony WilliamsEbony Williams
Associate Director - Technology
Advisory Board member since 2019

Ebony Williams leads management professionals in the St. Louis region on behalf of AT&T's Technology Development Program. The Technology Development Program is dedicated to securing talented, highly qualified and extremely motivated students and college graduates in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields. Ebony's responsibilities include talent recruitment, job placement, new employee training, career development, coaching, supervision and day-to-day operations of the program. Ebony is a St. Louis native and holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Southern Illinois University - Edwardsville, a Certificate in Telecommunications Management from the University of Dallas and a Master of Business Administration degree from Washington University in St. Louis. Ebony has received numerous leadership awards locally and nationally including the Women of Color STEM award in Detroit and the White House Summit Nominated Change Maker award in Washington, DC.