Monday, February 14, 2011

It has made headlines...
The University of Cincinnati will stop accepting undergraduate majors in computer science starting in fall 2012. It's a budget-cutting move being played out at area colleges.

Good comments were made as well, including:

"Dean Carlo Montemagno made this decision entirely on his own without discussion or debate with his faculty, other deans, department heads, or academic leaders. His version of a discussion is in the form of a unilateral announcement. This is an individual with his own obscure agenda who has no regard for the opinions or needs of others or the larger community. He characteristically has very extensive beliefs about fields in which he has no expertise beyond his own initial understanding that has gone without further research or scholarship. This decision of his, which must be challenged, is a sad reminder of his inability to communicate effectively, hear other opinions, and engage in constructive debate. I don't think this decision will pass a sanity test, but it is not clear if the Board of Trustees could really fully engage in a discussion at this level. That is difference between a superior institution and one that is continuously reset to mediocrity. Leadership must be thoughtful, creative, and aggressive for improvement. 
It is entirely wrong to think that there are no jobs or needs by the larger community that could be served by graduates of this program. Many spectacularly talented individual have gone through computer science and computer engineering are are highly valued in the positions both in the Cincinnati and beyond."

Thursday, February 10, 2011

The CEAS 2009-10 Annual Report

The report provides some statistics for all departments including CS, and some of them are not very clear, especially the ones related to funding. The report also contains an article on the Northrop Grumman - Xetron tie-up with CEAS for the Master's in CS program. The link to the report is as follows.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Dean's "dangerous and bizarre" decision. Letter to UC President Williams by founder of Computer Sci program Jerry Paul

 Dean Montemagno of CEAS has announced a town meeting to be held on Thursday,
Feb. 3.  It is my understanding that during this meeting he intends to announce a “plan”
for CEAS that includes the indefinite suspension of undergraduate admissions to the
Computer Science (CS) undergraduate program.  Since this is tantamount to cancelling
this program, I will refer to it as a cancellation in what follows.  I am writing to ask you
to consider the consequences of such a dangerous and bizarre potential action.
     The reason that I am writing to you directly is the failure on part of the Dean to
properly inform the CS faculty of his plan......

A good part of my academic career was spent building up the computer science
program here at UC (see  The CS program has enjoyed
remarkable success, in spite of the unconscionable lack of support that it has received
since being moved from A&S to the College of Engineering (COE now CEAS) in 1994.
This lack of local support can be well documented, and flies in the face of local, State,
and National priorities.  I would be happy to provide detailed documentation if desired......

Read more at:

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Dr. Ono's letter

Thanks for encouraging the computer science community to share their views with me. I look forward to reading the letters and emails and will consider them in relation to the Dean's recommendation 

Best wishes,

Santa J. Ono


Best wishes, 

Santa Jeremy Ono, PhD 

Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost 

Professor of Pediatrics and Biology 

University of Cincinnati 

Tel: 513-556-2588 

Fax: 513-556-7861 


Saturday, February 5, 2011

Let no one tell you that CS is not engineering...

The first major challenge for artificial intelligence was to defeat the chess grandmaster; it was accomplished in 1996 when Deep Blue Defeated Gary Kasparov. Now the next frontier is the Jeopardy game on the famous TV show. Can IBM's "Qwizzard" named Watson defeat the reigning champions of Jeopardy? Can it answer more than 90% of the questions correctly and also get to the buzzer before the humans do?

An article from NYT on this topic is enclosed can be read here:

I hope you read the article on the design of Mr. Watson. If you have read the article carefully, you would have noticed that the design of the Watson program has been hailed as a "..feat of engineering.."

So, let no one tell you that computer science is not engineering.

Friday, February 4, 2011

The Letter

On the afternoon of the 3rd of February, during the town hall meeting for all College of Engineering and Applied Sciences (CEAS) constituents, the Dean of CEAS, Dr. Carlo Montemagno, unveiled his plan to deal with the recently announced budget cuts at the University of Cincinnati. As part of his “Road to 2019” plan, he proposed his notion to completely dissolve the School of Computing Science and Informatics. While other budget-related cuts where presented, in regard to the Computer Science program, the dean stated the following measures:

  1. Close the CS program completely.
  2. Completely suspend all admissions for the Bachelors CS starting in 2012.
  3. Move all graduate students that are currently enrolled in the Computer Science and Engineering to the recently formed School of Electronics and Computing Systems.
  4. Increase the engineering undergraduate program fee by 10%.

Understandably, in face of such drastic cuts, some measures must be taken. However, the reasoning behind Dr. Montemagno's decision is unjustified and even, to a certain point, irrational. Through this letter, we wish to notify UC and it's community of the ongoing situation and of possible effects, and propose an open-discussion towards possible alternatives. We hope that a significant number of students and parents will get involved in our cause. We believe that, students must come together and decide a plan of action immediately to deal with our grievances.

After a quick brainstorm and limited discussion, we have identified the following effects (contributions are welcomed in posterior meetings). Please note that [G] represents graduate student, and [U] undergraduate student grievances.

  • [G][U] Accreditation
  • [G][U] A binding contract was made between students and UC. With the proposed changes, how will UC keep it's end? In all practical terms, in 2012, students will have no practical option but to change from CS to CE.
  • [G] Quality of research
  • [G] Loss of funding opportunities
  • [G] Advisors may be pressured to leave UC
  • [G] No TA (if we have no department, there will be no department funding)
  • [G][U] CS is an integral part of any good university. Any student, in order to be competitive in today's market, needs a solid foundation in computer science, with strong competencies in data structures, algorithms, and software design.
  • [U] Enrollment has increased in the department in the last 2 years. How can the Dean justify this type of cut?
  • [G] As CS graduate students, if current faculty are pressured to leave, who will mentor students? By merging with the SECS department, it is obvious that certain research topics will be completely ignored.
  • [G][U] What are the facts behind this decision? It is well known that the CS department has more enrollment than other departments. So why CS is being dissolved?

While not proposing a solution yet, we outlined alternatives that could still be explored, without resorting to such extreme measures.

  • Faced with a similar situation, the Department of Physics at UC decided to increase enrollment, rather than decrease, let alone completely freezing it. Both their department, as well as ours (CS), has shown a trend of increasing admissions. Why has this option been overlooked?
  • While other departments have a smaller population of faculty and undergrad students, why is this cut not performance based?
  • Why are cuts not being made uniformly across all constituents in the college?

If you believe that these changes will impact YOU in a huge way, please reply to this email ASAP so that we can take a more organized approach to make our grievances heard to the concerned and rational people.

Thank you,
Computer Science Graduate Students

CS Town Hall Meeting

We hope your quarter's going great. Next week on Tuesday, February 8, we are hosting an event with Seapine Software in 500 Swift Hall at 5:00PM.
A Seapine rep will be giving an exciting presentation on Agile and SCRUM software development methodologies and there will be FREE PIZZA, and a drawing forEXCITING PRIZES!

Many of you may have attended Dean Montemagno's Town Hall meeting, in which he proposed many changes to CEAS, including the elimination of the CS Bachelors degree program. After the Seapine presentation, at 6:00PM, we will be holding our ownTown Hall meeting in which we will discuss and analyze the proposed changes, and reveal our response letter that we will be sending to the dean, the provost, and the president. Please come and let your voice be heard! Tell your parents and employers about this as well; all are welcome and encouraged to attend. CS IS IMPORTANT!Get the message out and save our department.

Thank you, and we hope to see you all on Tuesday night!