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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 have 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 McNairs Scholars 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, had a focus on use of 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 Dr. Jenna Gorlewicz, a Mechanical Engineer whose specialty is the use of haptic devices and human-machine interactions.