Department snapshot: Electrical Engineering and Computer Science

Friday, November 16, 2012 - 05:30 in Mathematics & Economics

Photos: Dominick Reuter (1-8), Steven Leeb (9,10) and M. Scott Brauer (11-30) This is part of an occasional series of features profiling academic departments at MIT. In the 1950s, when MIT researchers were helping to invent the discipline of computer science, they didn't think of themselves as computer scientists; they thought of themselves as electrical engineers or physicists or mathematicians. Operating systems and programming languages were just tools they needed in order to maximize the productivity of the hugely complex new machines they were building. By 1975, however, computer science had developed enough autonomy that MIT's Department of Electrical Engineering changed its name, becoming the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science (EECS). Now, the Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) is the largest lab at MIT. EECS may now be in the midst of a similar expansion of its intellectual boundaries. According to department head...

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