Welcome to the USC Thomas Lord Department of Computer Science

Nenad (Neno) Medvidović, Professor and Chair, the USC Thomas Lord Department of Computer Science

As the chair of the USC Thomas Lord Department of Computer Science, I am delighted and honored to welcome you to this diverse, dynamic department, where we share a commitment to developing technology for good and advancing education with real-world impact.

Established almost 50 years ago, the department has experienced unprecedented growth in recent years. Our student population has tripled in the past decade, now boasting more than 1,400 undergraduate students, 3,000 master’s students, and 300 Ph.D. students, taught by more than 90 faculty members.

With this tremendous expansion, we are delighted that the department will soon have a state-of-the-art new home. Currently under construction at USC’s University Park Campus, the Dr. Allen and Charlotte Ginsburg Human-Centered Computation Hall will bring together computer science students, researchers, and experts from across the university to collaborate on pressing issues such as Alzheimer’s disease, cancer, human trafficking, and homelessness.

In further good news, USC President Carol Folt recently introduced the Frontiers of Computing, an initiative to accelerate advanced computing and its impact on the world. With a $261 million gift from the Lord Foundation, this initiative will help build on USC’s already strong presence in the computing and high-tech innovation spaces.

An excellent measure of the quality of any department is its ability to recruit outstanding junior faculty and, in the past two years, we have hired 21 talented tenure-track assistant professors. An equally good measure of a department is the national recognition of its faculty. Our department includes 5 members of the National Academy of Engineering, 17 IEEE Fellows, 16 AAAI Fellows, 12 ACM Fellows, a Simons Fellow, and a Turing Award winner, in addition to many other recognitions bestowed on our faculty.

Our commitment to innovative research and teaching has paid off with recognition as one of the country’s leading computer science departments. For example, for the past decade the USC Games program has been consistently recognized as North America’s top game design program for undergraduates, while our online master’s program in information technology has been ranked among the top five in the US.

Other key drivers for the department include connecting with industry, transferring the results of our research to practice, and using real-world problems to guide research. The Computer Science Department Industry Affiliate Program (IAP), whose members include Google, Lyft, and Microsoft, provides engagement opportunities with our exceptionally talented students, world-class faculty, and innovative researchers in an array of disciplines.

Computer science is key to finding innovative solutions to the most complex problems facing society today, accelerating breakthroughs, and forging new advances and ideas that will benefit humanity. I believe that the future of computer science graduates is brighter than ever, with science and technology playing a vital role in building a better, more just future for all. Such advances begin “at home”, with the department’s active focus on diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI). As part of its DEI activities, the department is a proud member of the LEAP Alliance (Diversifying Leadership in the Professoriate), an NSF-funded alliance of universities aiming to broaden participation in computing.

To prospective scholars and students, I hope you consider joining us on this journey. To all our new students, we in the Thomas Lord Department of Computer Science look forward to working with you to make your education a unique, rewarding and memorable experience.

I invite you to explore some of the highlights of the cutting-edge work undertaken by our department’s faculty and students on our news page. You can also find detailed information about all our degree options, courses, faculty, and research throughout this website.

Published on June 24th, 2016

Last updated on January 5th, 2024