UW CSE History

Four recent CSE department chairs:  David Notkin, Ed Lazowska, Jean-Loup Baer, Hank Levy

What is today the University of Washington's Paul G. Allen School of Computer Science & Engineering was established by the University of Washington Board of Regents as the Computer Science Group - an inter-college graduate program reporting to both the Dean of Arts & Sciences and the Dean of Engineering - in March 1967.

Jerre Noe was hired from SRI as our first chair in 1968. In 1973, Jerre proposed the establishment of a Department of Computer Science and the introduction of an undergraduate major program. The Regents approved the establishment of the Department of Computer Science in September 1974, and the undergraduate major was launched at the start of the 1975-76 academic year.

In 1979, our reporting relationship was changed at the request of the Provost so that we became a unit of the College of Arts & Sciences exclusively.

In 1989, a different Provost decided that we should be a unit of the College of Engineering. A Computer Engineering undergraduate program was added at that time, and our name was changed to the Department of Computer Science & Engineering.

A Professional Masters Program - a part-time, evening/distance program for fully-employed professionals - was added in 1996. A five-year combined bachelors/masters program was added in 2008.

And on March 9 2017 - our 50th anniversary - the University of Washington Board of Regents voted to create the Paul G. Allen School of Computer Science & Engineering, elevating the status of CSE within the university and linking us in perpetuity with the internationally renowned investor, philanthropist and computing pioneer.

The Computer Science Group was housed in the basement of Roberts Hall - "the mining buiding." In 1975, when departmental status was conferred, we were relocated to Sieg Hall. In 2003 we moved to the Paul G. Allen Center for Computer Science & Engineering, more than doubling our total space and more than tripling our laboratory space. In January 2017, construction began on a second building which will again double our space; completion is scheduled for late 2018.

This website represents an initial attempt to catalog just a bit of the rich history of the program.

Department Chairs through the years

  • Jerre Noe, 1968-76
  • Hellmut Golde (acting), 1976-77
  • Bob Ritchie, 1977-82
  • Jean-Loup Baer (acting), 1982-83
  • Paul Young, 1983-88
  • Jean-Loup Baer, 1988-93
  • Ed Lazowska, 1993-2001
  • David Notkin, 2001-06
  • Hank Levy, 2006-17
  • Hank Levy became the first Director of the Paul G. Allen School in March 2017

Faculty through the years (including research faculty and lecturers)

  • 1970: 7
  • 1975: 11
  • 1980: 15
  • 1985: 22
  • 1990: 26.83
  • 1995: 29.83
  • 2000: 39.66
  • 2005: 43.16
  • 2010: 50.66
  • 2015: 59.50
  • Complete list (docx)

Ph.D. graduates through the years

  • 1970: 4 (#1: John Quinlan, Spring 1968)
  • 1975: 24
  • 1980: 37
  • 1985: 60 (#50: Albert Greenberg, Spring 1983)
  • 1990: 108 (#100: Brian Bershad, Spring 1990)
  • 1995: 166 (#150: Cathy McCann, Autumn 1994)
  • 2000: 231 (#200: Soha Hassoun, Autumn 1997)
  • 2005: 316 (#250: Saurabh Sinha, Summer 2002 / #300: Gerome Miklau, Summer 2005)
  • 2010: 395 (#350: Tian Sang, Summer 2008)
  • 2015: 507 (#400: Jiun-Hung Chen, Winter 2011 / #450: Andrey Kolobov, Spring 2013 / #500: Nicola Dell, Summer 2015)
  • Complete list

The Archives