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 - a graduate program reporting to the Dean of the Graduate School - 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 - an inter-college unit reporting to both the Dean of Arts & Sciences and the Dean of Engineering - 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 Roberts Hall - "the mining building." In 1974-75, when departmental status was conferred and an undergraduate program was introduced, 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 2019 we added the Bill & Melinda Gates Center for Computer Science & Engineering, again doubling our space. (A detailed version of our early space history is available here as pdf and docx.)

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

Department Chairs / Allen School Directors 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, and served through the end of 2019
  • Magda Balazinska, 2020-

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: 60
  • 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)
  • (#550: Cyrus Rashtchian, Spring 2018 / #600: Aditya Vashistha, Summer 2019)
  • Complete list

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