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 Sun and Linux multiprocessor file 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.

Research labs contain Puma 500 and IBM robotic arms; a UTAH-MIT dexterous hand; an Adept-1 robot; three mobile research robots; a real-time defocus range sensor; PC interactive 3D graphics workstations with 3D position and orientation trackers; prototype wearable computers, wall-sized stereo projection systems; see-through headmounted displays; a networking testbed with three Cisco 7500 backbone routers, traffic generators; an IDS testbed with secured LAN, Cisco routers, EMC storage and Linux servers; a simulation testbed with several Sun 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.