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Focus on the Future: Computing at UGA

Alan Flurry

The rapid expansion of technological advances in computing is increasingly being mirrored in the expansion of computing at UGA. With the new School of Computing, one of the most in-demand undergraduate majors, and multiple clusters of faculty hires around artificial intelligence, data science and cybersecurity, computing on campus is already well into its next era. Our colleagues in Research Communications unpack the story:

Computer science isn’t a new discipline at the University of Georgia.

For decades, the degree has trained students for careers in software development, computer system support, or information technology departments that exist at virtually every large company in America.

Recent years, however, have shown just how expansive our technological advancements can be. From the growth in online social platforms and deployment of artificial intelligence in manufacturing to generative AI tools like ChatGPT and the computing power we carry in our pockets, computing has grown beyond the borders that once thought to hold it in.

To prepare for a world inexorably tied to these technological advances, UGA established a task force in 2022. Nationally, employment in STEM-related occupations was projected to grow by 8% through 2029. Within that group, computer science and engineering are among the highest forecasted growth.

The task force led to a hiring initiative in data science and artificial intelligence and culminated with the launch of the School of Computing on July 1, 2022, jointly administered by the Franklin College of Arts and Sciences and the College of Engineering.

Since Fall 2022, the school has added seven new tenure-track faculty. It now serves nearly 1,800 undergraduate students pursuing computer science and data science degrees, another 260 graduate students, and more than 200 students pursuing one of its three certificate programs.

In Summer 2023, Professor Gagan Agrawal joined the UGA ranks as the school’s first director.

“I came to UGA because it is both a strong research university and also an incredible opportunity to build for the future,” said Agrawal, who spent nearly two decades at Ohio State before becoming a professor and associate dean for research and graduate studies at Augusta University in Georgia. “We have strengths in cybersecurity and privacy, artificial intelligence and machine learning, data science and computer systems.

“But there is so much room to grow.”

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Image: Still photo from a UGA video, Using Robotics to help sort onions on Georgia farms


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