Mines News

Release Date Wednesday, October 3, 2018

SD Mines Creates a Computer Science and Engineering Department

“This is an exciting development for Mines which will allow us to increase the visibility of the computer science program by adding the strengths found in computer engineering,” said SD Mines President Jim Rankin, Ph.D.

South Dakota School of Mines & Technology will reorganize two existing departments to create a new Computer Science and Engineering Department. 

Currently, the university’s computer science program is under the Department of Mathematics and Computer Science and its computer engineering program under the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering. The change will move the computer science program and the computer engineering program out of those departments, merging them into a new Computer Science and Engineering Department. (While both degrees are computer-related, computer science focuses on software development, and computer engineering focuses on design and creation of computer systems and other devices.)

“This is an exciting development for Mines which will allow us to increase the visibility of the computer science program by adding the strengths found in computer engineering,” said SD Mines President Jim Rankin, Ph.D. “This move will strengthen both programs and will provide an emphasis on training and research in computational embedded systems. It will also open up new opportunities for collaborative grant writing within departments and with other universities.”

The new department will be headed by Jeffrey McGough, Ph.D., who is currently a professor in mathematics and computer science. McGough has been a faculty member at SD Mines since 1998.

“The formation of the new Department of Computer Science and Engineering is very exciting news,” says McGough. “We will be better able to serve the students in both programs to provide the necessary growth in the emerging technology areas in both computer hardware and software.”

McGough plans to increase the number of courses offered with the goal of increasing the size of the program. “We need to build the graduate program and significantly increase our funded research and marketable technologies, which will allow us to add more opportunities for students at all levels,” he adds.

In addition, the new department will provide data science experts to meet campus and statewide needs. “A strong university Computer Science and Engineering program such as the one we are forming will help seed innovative new enterprises throughout the Black Hills and be a strong supporter of local technology startups,” McGough says. “The new department allows us to better serve South Dakota in the next several decades in the computational sciences which include artificial intelligence and machine learning, data science, internet of things and security.”

Magesh Rajan, Ph.D., head of the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, says the reorganization will  enable its hands-on ABET-accredited bachelors program in  electrical engineering to excel further in its  focus areas, and grow its nationally-ranked masters program in electrical engineering, allowing for the creation of a doctoral program in electrical engineering.

Implementation of the new program is not expected until fall of 2019, and no curriculum changes are planned at this time. Initially, the new department will be housed in the basement of the McLaury Building, which was recently renovated.



About South Dakota Mines  

Founded in 1885, South Dakota Mines is one of the nation’s leading engineering, science and technology universities. South Dakota Mines offers bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees and a best-in-class education at an affordable price. The university enrolls 2,418 students with an average class size of 24. The South Dakota Mines placement rate for graduates is 97 percent, with an average starting salary of more than $68,685. For these reasons  South Dakota Mines is ranked among the best engineering schools in the country for return on investment. Find us online at www.sdsmt.edu and on FacebookTwitter, LinkedInInstagram and Snapchat.

Contact: Lynn Taylor Rick, 605-394-2554, Lynn.TaylorRick@sdsmt.edu

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