Computer Science

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Steve Bjorg

From the day his brother brought home a Commodore 64 in the early ’80s, Steve Bjorg (BSMSCompSci’00) has been hooked on programming. While his path in computer science may not have been traditional, his experiences – as an entrepreneur, in a large company and in volunteer work – give him a unique perspective on the variety of options open to today’s computer science students.

Laura Mather

Throughout her career, Laura Mather (AppMath’94, MS CompSci’96, PhD CompSci’98) has focused on making the world a better place. She’s proud that her security startup, Silver Tail Systems, was helping to keep 1.5 billion online accounts safe when she sold it in 2012.

John Black

A love of mathematics and the knowledge that there aren’t many jobs that allow someone “to just do math” propelled John Black toward a career in cryptography – the study and practice of secure communications.

“I’ve always loved math; it’s a way to explore nature but is not obscured by subjectivity. It’s very pure,” Black says. “Cryptology is a way that I can do math that’s applied to something that people care about.”

Ariel Aguilar

Denver native Ariel Aguilar embarked on her college education as an open option engineering student at CU-Boulder.  Uncertain about which path she wanted to follow, she enrolled in the college’s flexible first-year curriculum and then gravitated toward computer science because she thought it offered a good foundation in computing that could be applied to a variety of careers.

Sriram Sankaranarayanan

Problem: There are 40 two-sided tiles lying on a table, including 30 on their white side and 10 on their black side. With the lights off so that you can’t see the colors, divide the tiles into two piles with the same number of black tiles in each pile.

Debra Goldberg

If you were alive during the late 1990’s you might have noticed a little era called the Dot-com Bubble. It was a time when internet-based companies like, and IT-focused companies like Cisco, rose to power. Generous venture capitalists and soaring stock prices sent many students running into the ranks of computer science, dreaming of a healthy paycheck and life-long job security.

Sophia B. Liu

Sophia B. Liu, whose research focuses on uses of social media in times of crisis and how concepts of history are evolving, is the second student to earn her PhD from the interdisciplinary ATLAS Program in Technology, Media, and Society.

Her dissertation, “Grassroots Heritage: A Multi-Method Investigation of How Social Media Sustain the Living Heritage of Historic Crises,” which she successfully defended in April 2011, investigates the socio-technical practices emerging from the use of social media and how these practices help to sustain the living heritage of historic crises.

Dan Knights

Dan Knights is a humble guy, with very little reason to be humble. A short list of his titles includes high school math teacher, computer scientist, and the 2003 Rubik’s Cube World Champion. He has appeared on the Today Show, The Discovery Channel and as an expert on National Public Radio’s “Wait, Wait… Don’t Tell Me.”  He also has co-authored 21 journal publications, including two in Science and three in Nature.

Herb Morreale

What if you could make a world-changing impact with one small act? Would you be more inclined to take that first step if you knew your action would gain momentum when aligned with the actions of others?

Joshua Stuart

Josh Stuart was a CU undergraduate majoring in molecular biology in the mid-1990s when he discovered the power of computational analysis to reveal the functions of genes.

“I thought of computer science as the other side of the coin from biology,” he recalls. “In biology, the aim is to understand a complex system with simple rules, whereas in computer science the aim is to build complex systems using simple rules.”

Pamela Drew

With its intersection of transportation, communications, and computing, The Boeing Co. seemed like a gold mine of opportunity to Pamela Drew (Math '85, MS CompSci '87, PhD '91).

"Those three things have changed the planet and the way we think about the world, and Boeing is involved in all of them," Drew says, recalling her first contact with Boeing in 1996. "IT had become the hottest topic, and I thought that my background could be of great value."

Xiaodong Zhang

Xiaodong Zhang (MS CompSci '85, PhD '89) left the College of William and Mary, where he has taught computer science since 1997, to become chair of the Department of Computer Science and Engineering at Ohio State University in January. He also holds an endowed chair professorship, the Robert M. Critchfield Professor in Engineering, at OSU.

Aaron Clauset

Stereotypes tell us that computer scientists are all about hardware, software and servers. They are all about sifting through crowded lines of code in the dim basement of the engineering school. If this is what you believe about computer scientists, Aaron Clauset is about to burst that misconception. An assistant professor in computer science and a faculty member of the BioFrontiers Institute, he is more interested in using computational tools to understand how complex biological and social systems work.

Elizabeth Bradley

Liz Bradley is a great professor because she loved being a student. The computer science professor graduated from MIT with three degrees, a BS, MS, and PhD in electrical engineering and computer science. And, while earning these degrees would be more than enough to earn bragging rights, Bradley earned her two graduate degrees while training as an Olympic rower. She took fifth place in the 1988 Olympic Games.

Katie Siek

You’ve seen the headlines: America is fat and getting fatter. More than one-third of adults in the United States are considered obese (another one-third are simply overweight), and rates are even higher among African American, Hispanic, and low-income populations, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Nikolaus Correll

“Let’s change the world” was a message Nikolaus Correll often heard during his post-doctoral work at MIT, and he came to understand that this was not just another well-used phrase, but his life goal.

Rob Mickle

Looking ahead to his senior year, University of Colorado Boulder computer science major Rob Mickle had planned on completing an internship over the summer -- that is, until he won $25,000 in the first round of Google's Android Developer Challenge, launching his own real-world experience.

Jacob Melvin

It’s March 2007, and there’s Jacob Melvin, a senior computer science major at the University of Colorado at Boulder. He’s got a two-point-something grade point average, and he’s barely hanging on in a required class. He’s not worried about trying to land his dream job. He’s worried about graduating.

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