Many consider MIT to be the leading science school in the world. The many factors that contribute to its success include its location in the Boston area, which locks it arm-in-arm with elite schools like Harvard, Boston College, Boston University, and Tufts. In addition to its association with this prestigious network, MIT boasts 63 Nobel Prize winners and a $16.4 billion endowment.
In addition to offering some of the best undergraduate computer science programs through its Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, MIT runs several world-class computer research centers, such as its largest research laboratory, the Artificial Intelligence Laboratory. Numerous advancements have come from this lab, including the first credible chess program and much of the technology that was fundamental to the internet. In addition, MIT serves as a leader in nanotechnologies, information theory, and bioinformatics.
Unsurprisingly, MIT’s computer science department has produced many famous alumni; these include Colin Angel, who founded the IRobot Corporation and completed considerable work for NASA’s Mars mission, and William Reddington Hewlett, who co-founded Hewlett Packard.
2. Stanford University
Stanford has long been recognized as one of the leading centers of higher learning, having produced 49 Nobel Prize recipients, 27 MacArthur fellows, and 20 National Medal of Science honorees. The school also boasts a massive endowment of $24.8 billion.
With a 50-year history, Stanford’s Computer Science Department helped build Silicon Valley into the computer hub it is today. Department alumni have founded some of the world’s most recognizable technology companies, such as Google, Yahoo, Taiwan Semiconductor, and Electronic Arts. In addition, Bill Gates and numerous others donated the funds necessary to build Stanford’s state-of-the-art Gates Computer Science Building.
The department wants to ensure that its future holds as much success as its past and has outlined a detailed “Strategic Plan” to guide future endeavors, including online computer science programs.
3. Carnegie Mellon University
When he founded CMU, Andrew Carnegie wanted to apply the same pragmatic principles that catapulted his entrepreneurial exploits to the hard sciences. Since its founding in 1900, the institution has earned its place among the top research universities through its focus on innovation and creativity. Ranked first in the nation by U.S. News & World Report, CMU’s School of Computer Science contributed to the development of robotic technology and software used on the Mars rovers. Other focus areas of research within the department include crash-avoidance technology in cars and at-home assistance for the elderly.
In addition to general computer science programs, the school’s offerings cover the following areas of study:
- Human-computer Interaction
- Language Technologies
- Machine Learning
- Software Engineering
Not surprisingly, CMU has produced many world-class alumni; these include John Nash, whose life was the basis for the popular movie A Beautiful Mind and Professor Scott Falhman, who created the emoticon.
4. University of California – Berkeley
One of the most esteemed public schools in the country, Berkeley boasts an incredibly decorated faculty that includes 130 representatives of the National Academy of Sciences, 85 representatives of the National Academy of Engineering, and seven Nobel Prize winners.
In addition, the university can claim a long history of contributing to the field of computer science. Advancements by people associated with Berkeley include:
- Bob Gaskins Co-creation of PowerPoint
- Doug Engelbart’s Invention of the Computer Mouse
- Eric Allman’s Contribution to the Advent of Emails
- Ken Thomson’s Co-creation of Unix
- Paul Morton’s Creation of One of the Early Vacuum Tube Computers (the California Digital Computer)
It’s no surprise that the school has produced nine winners of the Turing Award, the most prestigious accolade in the field of computer science.
Berkeley’s Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences offers some of the best undergraduate computer science programs in addition to engineering- and research-oriented graduate degrees. The department also features an honors program and study abroad opportunities.