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June 10, 2004

Graduate Computer Engineering Program Established

Pitt this month announced the formation of a graduate computer engineering program, which will offer Master of Science and Ph.D. degrees. Unique to Pitt, the program will be housed jointly in the School of Engineering’s Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE), formerly the Department of Electrical Engineering, and the School of Arts and Science’s Department of Computer Science (CS). Faculty from both departments have worked to develop a common program of study that encompasses all aspects of computer engineering, spanning hardware and software as well as theory and practice.

Engineers Quarterly predicts that by the year 2006 computer engineers will become “the second largest of the engineering disciplines.” This is based on a U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projected growth of 235,000 new computer engineering positions created in the next decade, a growth of 109 percent.

Presently, there are more than 75,000 undergraduate students enrolled in computer engineering programs in the United States, constituting about 20 percent of the total engineering enrollment, a number that has tripled during the past decade. Pitt’s undergraduate degree program in computer engineering is only six years old, but is the largest undergraduate degree program within Pitt’s engineering school.

“Pitt is situated to offer an excellent program in computer engineering because we can draw on strengths of both the ECE and CS departments, which will give both a depth and a breadth of research opportunities for our students,” said Steven Levitan, the John A. Jurenko Professor of Computer Engineering who will co-chair the program with Donald Chiarulli, professor in the Department of Computer Science.

“This program is a natural outgrowth of our successful joint undergraduate program. It will provide a means of attracting the best national and international students to participate in our current and future collaborative research efforts,” said Chiarulli.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics lists doctoral degree computer researchers in its list of fastest growing occupations. The projection indicates a need for 11,000 new Ph.D. computer engineers by the year 2010, a 40 percent growth in the field.

According to the Pennsylvania Career Guide 2001-2002, Pittsburgh ranks sixth among U.S. cities in the number of employees in the computer industry. It is projected that the number of computer engineers in Pennsylvania will double between 2001 and 2008.

For more information on the graduate computer engineering program, contact Chiarulli ( at 412/624-8839 or Levitan ( at 412/648-9663.

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