Who we are
The Department of Computer Science and Information Systems offers a wide range of education programs. The Computer Science program is offered as the Bachelor of Science degree and is a traditional, analytical program which involves extensive computer programming and support courses in mathematics. The Information Technology program is also offered as the Associate in Applied Science and the Bachelor of Science in Applied Science. Coursework emphasizes applying high-end computer applications and system management.
Curriculum sheets and suggested schedules for each program may be obtained from the department office in Meshel Hall or on the Course Catalog.
Computer Science and Information Systems also referred to as CSIS, is not seen until 1970. The continuous demand for technical skills in industry impacted the increase in the student body. The university had an enrollment of 3,889 students in College of Arts and Sciences and 3,817 students in School of Business Administration and 3,257 students in School of Education and 1,513 students in the new Technical and Community College. Therefore making the College of Arts and Sciences largest of all by welcoming newer programs like Computer Science. The program's foundations were established in the Math Department with the offering of a Computer Science minor during January of 1970. During this time, the Youngstown State Computer Center shifted its attention from a more predominantly administrative focus to more instructional. As a major, the Computer Science degree becomes offered in the Fall Semester of 1975. In April of 1976, the Computer Center is then relocated to the Technical and Community College (T&CC) building located on campus. When computers were first making their way into schools, computer education required pioneers. Dr. John J. Buoni's main research focus was using computers to optimize solving mathematical equation problems, and he strongly believed that computers would definitely improve teaching and research. Dr. Richard Burden specialized in three diverse areas of Computer Science research; numerical methods for solving engineering problems, developing programming languages for compiler construction, and algorithms to solve non-linear optimization systems. Dr. Ramaswami Dandapani, who was the supervisor of the Computer Science program, was working on Very Large-Scale Integration (VLSI) design, which was the implementation of tens of thousands of transistors on a single chip and helped lead the way to today's billions of transistors on microprocessors, and distributed systems, which is the current mode of computing used in business and industry. The roots of the program, which led to the creation of the department, are detailed in an article from the “Frontiers” magazine of the Graduate School in 1983. Faculty Members who played an active role in this milestone are: Richely (Professor and Chair [1976-82]), Zaccaro (Professor and Chair [1975-78]), Brown (Professor and Chair[1978-83]), Chrobak (Professor and Program Coordinator), Sontos, Mavirgian (Professors), Dandapani, Burden, Buoni, Biles (Associate Professors), Cleary, and Goldstein (Assistant Professors).
While still residing inside the Math Department, the future of the CSIS department was influenced by several initiatives. The first being a visionary leader, who was not only a strong advocate for educational growth in the region, but also was instrumental in securing an $87 million investment for an expansion in university infrastructure. This included building a number of research labs and research programs in preparation for anticipated growth in the program and the technology industry. The YSU Board of Trustees approved $12 million for building and $3 million for equipment in March of 1983 for the construction of the Institute of Applied Science and Technical Studies. There was a groundbreaking ceremony for the $15 million advanced technology building, named Harry Meshel Hall, after the Ohio Senator of the time, in July of 1984. Construction concluded in February of 1986, and the Computer Center announces its relocation to the fourth floor of Meshel Hall. While physical settings were evolving, intellectual activities were on the rise as well. In November of 1986, YSU’s Programming Team received second place in the ACM East Central Regional Programming Contest at Purdue University. Faculty Members who played an active role in this milestone are: Brown (Professor and Chair[1978-83]), Burden (Professor and Chair[1983-89]), Klein (Professor and Chair[1989-93]), Richley (Professor and Chair[1976-82]), Barsch (Professor and Chair[1982-93]), Chrobak (Professor and Program Coordinator) Buoni, Santos, Dandapani(Professors), Biles, Demen, Subramanian, Kumar (Associate Professors), Cleary, Schueller, Gaydos (Assistant Professors), Bodnovich, Hogue, and Defranza (Instructors).
The popularity of computing and advances in technology led to the creation of the Computer Science and Information Systems Department in 1993. Computer Technology was merged from the College of Applied Science and Technology. The department was founded by people who had a vision of discipline and formal training to meet the needs of ever-expanding local and national industries. Under the College of Arts and Science led by Dean Barbara Brothers in 1993, the Department of Computer and Information Sciences offered two-degree programs: Computer Information Systems and Computer Science. As course offerings grew during the 1990s, Computer Science became an integral part of the education of not only computer scientists, but also undergraduate and graduate students in business, psychology, engineering, and other sciences. As technology became more and more important to all academic endeavors, the interdisciplinary ties between the computer science department and other departments strengthened to accommodate solutions for challenging research problems. In those early days, the study of computing as an academic subject and the provision of computing facilities to the University as a whole were intimately bound together. The research undertaken involved either the production of workable computer systems (both hardware and software) or the development of new computer application techniques. Early in this period, the Computer Information Systems program was staffed with one full-time professor, Chrobak, who was the program coordinator, one Assistant Professor, Gaydos, and Instructors Bodnovich and Hogue. Two degrees tracks were offered, Associate Degree and Bachelor of Science. On the other hand, the Computer Science program, staffed with one full professor, Santos, and two Assistant Professors, Mullins and Shih, offered a Bachelor of Science Degree. The faculty members who played an active role in the growth were Barsch (Professor and Chair[1982-93]), Klein (Professor and Chair[1989-93]), Chrobak (Professor and Program Coordinator), Santos, Phillips, Boggess, Biles, Demen, Subramanian (Professors), Schueller (Assistant Professor and Chair[1994-2001]), Mullins, Shih, Sullins, Mattingly (Assistant Professors), Gaydos, Bodnovich, Hogue, Jones, and Kunar(Associate Professors).
The growth in student enrollment and faculty in all programs made it necessary to find an efficient and effective quality teaching environment. Teaching complemented with practical application stimulated students to maximize their knowledge and get involved in challenging issues. After winning a contest on designing a network architecture, students begin constructing network architecture for two labs located in Meshel Hall during the month of May in 2001. They were supervised by Edmund Ickert, an YSU Graduate and retired Data Systems manager, and Aaron Perkins, a senior in Computer Information Systems (CIS). Each supervised a separate room, Ickert with room 305 and Perkins with 102. Room 305 is used as the primary networking lab for relevant classes in CSIS. The department also received $1.5 million to be used in five years for development and enhancement of labs. However, after the project to build a convocation center failed in 2002, Bruce Zoldan, President of the B.J. Alan Company, and Harry Meshel, former President of the Ohio Senate, both became concerned that the city might lose the money if not used soon. The Department has always had close ties to mathematics and engineering, but has increasingly experienced collaborations with other disciplines important to industry, including business, statistics, economics and more. It is through these collaborations that the importance of computer science in a broader sense is best appreciated. In the early 2000s, YSU Graduate Studies announced three new programs, one of which was a Master’s degree in Computing and Information Systems, to start in the fall of 2005. The College of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) was established in the Fall of 2007. The administrative reorganization combined departments (including the Department of Computer Science and Information Systems) from the College of Arts and Sciences with the College of Engineering and Technology. The growth of the program continued and faculty members who were instrumental in different roles of this growth are: Duda (Professor and Chair[2002-2006]), Chrobak, Phillips, Santos, Schueller (Professors), Hogue (Assistant Professor and Chair), Bodnovich (Assistant Professor and Chair[2007-2013]), Hogue, Sullins, Kramer, Lazar (Assistant Professors), Arslanyilmaz, Gaydos, Harper, Perera, Zhang, Blakenship (Associate Professors), Harper, Ickert, and Roberts (Instructors).
With steady growth, today there are over 450 undergraduate students and approximately 35 graduate students being served in all programs. Having research-oriented faculty allows students at all levels to get involved in real life research projects. Faculty research has gained a noticeable momentum and attracted a number of federal funds from different agencies, including a CAREER award for Early Career Development from the NSF. The Department has continued to enhance their visibility by hosting events that help shape and bring attention to the CSIS department. In November of 2013, YSU hosted the ACM East Central Regional Programming Contest. Also, the YSU Computer Club hosts HackYSU, a hack-a-thon/make-athon, which is a weekend-long competition where teams of computer programmers have 36 hours to develop software and hardware projects. The Department of Computer Science and Information Systems moved exclusively to the third floor of Meshel Hall in 2018. Due to the rapid development in the number of staff and the range of their interests, a department with a clear identity and common objectives emerged. With the new objectives set by the recently added faculty and administration, the growth in the department is continuing with these faculty, who were instrumental in different roles. These are: Carol Lamb (Professor and Chair [2020-Present]), Coskun Bayrak (Professor and Chair [2017-2020]), Schueller (Professor and Former Chair[2013-2016]), Lazar (Professor), Hogue, Sullins, Kramer, Zhang, Arslanyilmaz, Yu (Associate Professors), and Robert Gilliland (Instructor). In 2017, the major renovation of the Computer Science department was completed to provide more comfortable surroundings and usable space for student and faculty to collaborate. In addition, the Data Science Lab (SARAH and STEM clouds) and Software Engineering Usability Lab have been upgraded with new equipment. The Computer Science department has plans to expand to the fourth floor, which will undergo renovations and facility upgrades. The plan is to create a Virtual Reality Center, Virtual Classrooms, CSIS-SubNet, CSIS-WallSystem, CINAP Lab, Applied Machine Learning Lab, Image Processing Lab, Game Development Lab, Driving Simulation Lab as well as renovation of Faculty offices. The Computer Science department has a long history of making outstanding seminal contributions to the field, and will continue to do so for years to come.