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Kareem Baassiri

Computing and Software Celebrates 20th AnniversaryJune 1, 2018

On June 2, the department will recognize this important milestone.

The department began in 1998 with the help of professors, David Parnas, architect of the software engineering program and Paul Taylor, founding chair. 

“They saw that software engineering was going to be big,” explains Ridha Khedri, chair of the department for the past two years and professor since its creation. “We wanted to provide a school of software engineering that was unique in Canada and in the world.”

Over the past 20 years, the department has grown to become one of the Faculty of Engineering’s largest departments. At the beginning, 200 students were enrolled in Software Engineering and Computer Science. Now, there are over 900 students and the addition of a mechatronics program. The department also provides service courses to the rest of the university, supporting all programs in other faculties with a minor in Computer Science.

The curriculum has evolved to fit the needs of industry and to ensure students can adapt to a changing field.

The flexibility of the computer science program has allowed undergraduate student, Alyssia Jovellanos, to discover her own career path. She landed her dream internship at Google this past May and will enter her graduating year this September.  

“The Computer Science program gave me the time and inspiration to focus on developing my own skills,” she explains. “Now, at Google, I build smart features for a product impacting billions of people.”

“That feeling of being able to build something from scratch, from text on the screen of my computer to a service that is used to help people is a dream that I live every single day as an aspiring software engineer.”

Michael Liut is focused on a different career path. His time as a computer science undergraduate, Masters student and now, PhD candidate, fostered his passion for research.

“I decided to pursue my PhD because of my close-knit McMaster community and the research group I was apart of,” says Liut. “My courses also helped me understand that technology must continue to be improved and that research was an avenue to do so.”  

Khedri hopes the department will continue to grow and attract some of the brightest students across Canada and internationally.

“We make sure to understand students and adjust to their needs so they get the best education that will serve them for a long time.” 

Highlights of the 20thAnniversary event includes a plaque dedication ceremony at the Information Technology Building, a 3 Minute Big Ideas in Computing Competition and talks from students and alumni. Learn more.