Our Department's History

UC Davis has offered graduate degrees in computer science since the late 1970s, and we started our first undergraduate major in the mid-1980s.

The Graduate Group in Computer Science  (GGCS) was formed in 1975 with members from a number of departments and faculty, including Professor Richard (Dick) Walters from UC Davis School of Medicine, who served as head of this new graduate group. A major part of the GGCS was the Department of Applied Science, housed primarily at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in Livermore, California.

GGCS flourished as a group from about 1978 until 1983 when the Department of Computer Science was formed as a division under the Electrical Engineering and Computer Science (EECS) Department. The initial set of faculty for this department included Profs. Ken Joy and Peter Linz (from Math), Norman Matloff (from Statistics),  Dick Walters (from Community  Health) and Computer Science faculty from  the Department of  EECS,  Profs. Larry  Kou, Charles (Chip) Martel and Manfred Ruschitzka. Prof. Dick Walters continued to serve as first the Acting Chair of the Division of Computer Science from 1984 through 1987, and then the Division Chair from 1987 to 1989.

In the late 1980s and into the early 1990s, the Division of Computer Science pursued becoming a separate department. The proposed arrangement took three years to come to fruition and, during this three-year period, the department was headed by two faculty: Professor Robert Keller and Professor Manfred Ruschitzka. On July 1, 1992, Computer Science became a separate, independent department. It was also about this time that EECS officially changed its name to the Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) Department.  

With Computer Science Department status official, the first chair appointed to the department was Professor Peter Linz, who remained chair through June 1994.

Our department continues to grow and, as we consider our history, we take pride in our decades-long legacy and look forward to continuing our tradition of cutting-edge academics and world-renowned research.