The University of Utah’s School of Computing Ranked #25 in the US

May 4, 2018

By John Melchi

The University of Utah’s School of Computing continues to be recognized for its world-class scientific output and dedication to student learning as acknowledged by recent rankings of US computer science programs.

The School ranks number 25 in the nation according to CSRankings, which bases its rankings on a transparent, publicly available system that is additionally distributed as open source software. This ranking places the University of Utah’s School of computing at the top among peer institutions in the American Mountain West region.

Utah’s visualization program is ranked number one in the nation, placing Utah in a select group of esteemed research institutions possessing the esteemed number one positon in essential computer science subdisciplines.

In addition, Utah’s program in high-performance computing program is ranked number eleven and several other subdisciplines in the School, including robotics and computer graphics are ranked in the top 20 nationally.

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“These rankings indicate that Utah’s computer science program is really at the center of the Mountain West for computer science research,” says Professor Ross Whitaker, who is the School’s Director. “Our faculty consistently publish in prestigious, tier-one journals and conferences. Our teaching and research faculty provide our students with a world-class education in the classroom and the research laboratory.”

College ranking systems, objective or not, take into account a broad range of factors that prospective students, parents, and faculty and university administrators consider when trying to ascertain the value and performance of academic programs.

Emory Berger, respected computer science professor at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, intentionally developed in a transparent way so that anyone can scrutinize the formula that it uses and the subsequent rankings data that it produces.

Some rankings sites, such as U.S. News and World, rely on subjective measures to rate computer science programs. The CSRankings system attempts to quantify research productivity directly by tracking publications in top venues field by field. Many in the community believe that scientific output and dedication to student learning are more effective measures of programmatic success.

Perhaps scientific output and dedication to student learning may be the true measures of programmatic success? As Rice University Professor Richard Tapia is famous for saying, “We value what we measure, because we can’t measure what we value.”

In the last decade, public institutions of higher education have increasingly concentrated resources on branding and marketing, making it even more taxing for prospective students and parents to understand the financial value and academic benefit of attending prestigious U.S. universities.

Rankings are clearly one important technique to influence common opinion in the marketplace. In some instances, an institution’s reputation alone determines 25% of its overall ranking. Reputation management, branding and marketing have a powerful effect upon the perceived value of academic programs. Rankings, ideally, will give prospective students access to data on the research and educational experience they can expect.

“Objective criteria may help prospective students get a clearer understanding of the level and quality of research activity in a computer science program,” says Feifei Li, the School’s Director of Graduate Studies and an expert in database research. CSRankings is based on the idea that the best computer science departments are the ones that publish the most articles at top-tier conferences. These conferences accept only the best of the best papers submitted for publication each year.

The University of Utah is nationally recognized for being a Tier 1 research institution and for having a world-class computer science faculty who are committed to providing students with a high-quality educational experience that amalgamates classroom learning and with first-class academic research.

Utah’s School of Computing is uniquely situated to sustain a leadership position in the Mountain West by generating world class research impacting the national computer science community and by turning out talented students who are well equipped to further advance the Utah economy.

John Melchi, Director of Business Affairs
School of Computing