Computer Science

450 Computer Science, MC 0401
Phone: 212-939-7000

The function and influence of the computer is pervasive in contemporary society. Today’s computers process the daily transactions of international banks, the data from communications satellites, the images in video games, and even the fuel and ignition systems of automobiles.

Computer software is as commonplace in education and recreation as it is in science and business. There is virtually no field or profession that does not rely upon computer science for the problem-solving skills and the production expertise required in the efficient processing of information. Computer scientists, therefore, function in a wide variety of roles, ranging from pure theory and design to programming and marketing.

The computer science curriculum at Columbia places equal emphasis on theoretical computer science and mathematics and on experimental computer technology. A broad range of upper-level courses is available in such areas as artificial intelligence, computational complexity and the analysis of algorithms, combinatorial methods, computer architecture, computer-aided digital design, computer communications, databases, mathematical models for computation, optimization, and software systems

Laboratory Facilities

The department has well-equipped lab areas for research in computer graphics, computer-aided digital design, computer vision, databases and digital libraries, data mining and knowledge discovery, distributed systems, mobile and wearable computing, natural-language processing, networking, operating systems, programming systems, robotics, user interfaces, and real-time multimedia.

The computer facilities include a shared infrastructure of Linux multiprocessor servers, NetApp file servers, a student interactive teaching and research lab of high-end multimedia workstations, a load balanced web cluster with 6 servers and business process servers, a large student laboratory, featuring 17 Mac-mini machines and 33 Linux towers each with 8 cores and 24GB memory; a remote Linux cluster with 17 servers, a large Linux computer cluster and a number of computing facilities for individual research labs. In addition, the data center houses a computer cluster consisting of a Linux cloud with 43 servers each with 2 Nehalem processors, 8 cores and 24GB memory. This cloud can support approximately 5000 of VMware instances.

The labs for research in image processing, vision, graphics, and robotics contain specialized equipment such as Baxter Research Robot, PR2 mobile robot manipulator, Staubli RX-60L Robot arm, Kinova, MICO arm, custom-built overhead XYZ gantry robot, Toshiba FMA manipulator, Barrett Technology robotic hand, 2 RWI Pioneer mobile robots, 1 Evolution ER-1 robot, 1 RWI ATR V-2 mobile robot with RT K GPS, Leica HDS-500 and HDS-3000 100 meter range scanners, and realtime
Imaging boards; a networking testbed with Cisco backbone routers, traffic generators; an IDS testbed with secured LAN, Cisco routers, EMC storage, and Linux servers; a simulation testbed with several Linux servers and Cisco Catalyst routers. The department uses a SIP IP phone system. The protocol was developed in the department.

The department’s computers are connected via a switched 1 Gb/s Ethernet network, which has direct connectivity to the campus OC-3 Internet and Internet2 gateways. The campus has 802.11b/g wireless LAN coverage.

The research facility is supported by a full-time staff of professional system administrators and programmers.