50 Years of Computer Science

Ralph Griswold came to the University of Arizona to start the Department of Computer Science in 1971. In the last 50 years, the department has become a world-class department. View a short message from Professor and Interim Department Head, David Lowenthal, inviting you to explore our web pages commemorating our 50 years of CS @ UA. 

Read our 50 Years of Computer Science: 1971-2021 special alumni issue. 

Catch up on what your peers have been up to on our Alumni Updates page. Let us know what you are up to (and get your update added to the page) by completing the Alumni Updates form.

Check out our list of PhD Alumni , from our first in 1973 through Fall 2021! 


Dave Hanson

David R. Hanson was a Software Engineer at Google from 2004-12, a Senior Researcher at Microsoft Research from 1997-2004, and Professor of Computer Science at Princeton University from 1986-97. He has held faculty positions at Yale and the University of Arizona, and he was Dept. Head at Arizona from 1981-86. He has held visiting appointments at University of Utah, the Institute for Defense Analyses, Adobe Systems, and Digital's System Research Center. He was co-editor of Software—Practice and Experience from 1980-88 and continues to serve on its editorial board, and he is co-editor of the Princeton University Press Series in Computer Science. He has published many journal and conference papers and two books: A Retargetable C Compiler: Design and Implementation (with Chris Fraser), which describes lcc, a widely used compiler for Standard C, and C Interfaces and Implementations: Techniques for Creating Reusable Software. He received in his PhD in Computer Science in 1976 from the University of Arizona.

Greg Andrews

Greg Andrews was born in Olympia, WA in 1947 and grew up in Seattle. He received a BS in Mathematics from Stanford in 1969 and a PhD in Computer Science from the University of Washington in 1974. He taught at Cornell University from 1974-79 and joined the University of Arizona in 1979. He retired from teaching in 2010 and from research in 2013.

Rick Schlichting

Rick Schlichting received his undergraduate degree in mathematics (computer science option) and history from the College of William and Mary, and his MS and PhD degrees in computer science from Cornell University. He was on the faculty in the Department of Computer Science at the University of Arizona from 1981-2000, and was a member of the technical staff at AT&T Labs from 2000-2017. He has been a Distinguished Visiting Professor in the Computer Science Department at the U.S. Naval Academy since 2018. His technical interests center around the areas of distributed systems and highly dependable systems, and he has long been active in advocating the value of international collaboration in computer science, with a special focus on Japan. Rick has been an ACM Fellow since 2001 and an IEEE Fellow since 2002.

Saumya Debray

Saumya Debray is a Professor the CS Department. He joined the department as an assistant professor in 1986 and, except for short breaks for sabbaticals, has been here ever since. His research focuses on programming language implementation and software security.

Todd Proebsting

Todd Proebsting has been a faculty member on and off in the Department of Computer Science at the University of Arizona since 1992. He was an assistant professor from 1992 until 1997, when he left to join Microsoft Research. He returned to UA as a professor in 2012, and was department head from 2013-2020.

David Lowenthal 

David Lowenthal is Professor of Computer Science, as well as Interim Department Head, at the University of Arizona, where he has been a faculty member since January 2009. His research is in all aspects of parallel and distributed computing, with a particular focus on performance analysis, performance modeling, and power management.  Prior to Arizona, he was on the faculty in Computer Science at the University of Georgia. He holds a B.S. degree in Computer Science and Math from the University of California, Davis, and M.S. and Ph.D degrees in Computer Science from the University of Arizona.

Chris Fraser

Chris Fraser earned a BA in math and computer science from Western Washington University and a PhD in computer science from Yale. He was on the computer science faculty at the University of Arizona 1977-1986 and then at Bell Labs, Microsoft Research, Google, and Polyverse. His research areas include retargetable code generation and optimization, code compression, and computer security.

Larry Peterson

Larry Peterson is the Robert E. Kahn Professor Emeritus of Computer Science at Princeton University, and Chief Scientist at the Open Networking Foundation. He was on the faculty at the University of Arizona from 1985 to 1998, serving as Chair of the Department 1996-98.

Gene Myers

Gene Myers is a computer scientist and biotechnologist known for the BLAST search engine and the sequencing of the human genome, for which he advocated whole genome shotgun sequencing, developed an assembler to do so at Celera Genomics, and assembled high-quality reconstructions of the fruitfly, human, mouse, and mosquito genomes in rapid succession.

He is the co-inventor of suffix arrays and also created and perfected the string graph approach to DNA sequencing used at Celera. More recently, he has focused on the construction of novel microscopes and software for building single cell expression atlases across developmental epochs, as well as . perfectly reconstructing a genome de novo and using the methods to sequence every species of life on the planet.

Myers has been a professor at U Arizona and UC Berkeley, a vice president at Celera Genomics, a group leader with HHMI, and currently is a director of the Max- Planck Society. He is a member of the National Academy of Engineering, USA, the National Academy of Germany, and has won several awards including the ACM Kannellakis Prize in 2002, the Royal Society’s Milner Award in 2019, and the IEEE Francis E. Allen Medal in 2002.

Rick Snodgrass

Rick Snodgrass has been at UA for over 100,000 years (base 2), more than half of the department’s existence, studying temporal databases and ergalics (the science of computer science, as contrasted with the mathematics of CS, e.g., algorithm analysis, and the engineering of CS, e.g., software systems) and teaching software development and databases at both the undergraduate and graduate levels.

Little-known facts: Rick has contributed to the software that will analyze images from the Vera C. Rubin Observatory in Chile, which will see first light in about a year, he has taught courses at the 100, 200, 300, 400, 500, and 600 levels at UA, his Erdos number is 3, and his grandfather, wife, son and daughter have doctorates, in education, marketing, medicine, and marketing, respectively. He feels very fortunate to have worked with such talented colleagues and students here at UA.

Patrick Homer

Patrick Homer received his Ph.D in Computer Science from the University of Arizona in 1994.  After stints as a faculty member at Miami University in Ohio as well as University of Arizona South, he moved back to UA's main campus to take a position as a Lecturer in Computer Science in 2001.  He retired in 2018 as a Senior Lecturer.

Kate Isaacs

Kate Isaacs joined the University of Arizona as an assistant professor in 2016. Her interests include data visualization and high performance computing. She focuses on visualization challenges in complex exploratory analysis scenarios such as those of active research teams. These challenges include representational and interactive scalability concerns for networks and timelines, integrating interactive visualizations in scripting workflows, and improving visualization methodologies for such projects. Kate has collaborated with researchers in high performance computing, distributed computing, data science, program analysis, optimization, and environmental planning. Her work is supported by the NSF and DOE, including an NSF CRII award in 2017, an NSF CAREER award in 2019, and a DOE Early Career Research Program award in 2021.

Murray Sargent

Murray Sargent completed three degrees in theoretical physics at Yale University, the MS and PhD under the direction of Willis Lamb. he worked for 25 years in the theory & application of lasers, first at Bell Labs and then as a Professor of Optical Sciences at the University of Arizona, with several stays at Max Planck Institutes in Germany.  He also helped start the U of Arizona Computer Science department and worked on technical word processing, writing the first ever math display program (1969) and later (1980s) the PS technical word processor.  He also developed the SST debugger,  which was used to get Windows 2.0 to run in protected mode, getting around the 640KB DOS barrier back in 1988. He is an author on more than 100 refereed publications in scientific journals and 7 books, 3 on laser physics and 4 on personal computers. Since July 1992, he has been a Software Engineer at Microsoft, working mostly on the RichEdit editor and math editing/display in Office.

Jay Nunamaker

Dr. Jay F. Nunamaker, Jr., is Regents and Soldwedel Professor of MIS, Computer Science and Communication and Director of the Center for the Management of Information. Dr. Nunamaker received the LEO Award for Lifetime Achievement from the Association of Information Systems (AIS) at ICIS in December 2002. He was elected a fellow of the AIS in 2000. He was featured in the July 1997 Forbes Magazine issue on technology as one of eight key innovators in information technology. He is widely published with an H index of 84. He has produced over 500 journal articles, book chapters, books and refereed proceedings and has been a major professor for 102 Ph.D. students. His specialization is in the fields of system analysis and design, collaboration technology, deception detection and security including cybersecurity. He has co-founded five spin-off companies based on his research. He was a research assistant funded by the ISDOS project in industrial engineering at the University of Michigan and an associate professor of computer science and industrial administration at Purdue University. In his career he has received 100+ million dollars as the PI or Co-PI on sponsored research at the University of Arizona, Purdue University, and the University of Michigan. Dr. Nunamaker received his Ph.D. in operations research and systems engineering from Case Institute of Technology of Case Western Reserve University an M.S. and B.S. in engineering from the University of Pittsburgh, and a B.S. from Carnegie Mellon University. He received his professional engineer’s license in 1965.

Jack Davidson

Jack W. Davidson is a Professor of Computer Science in the School of Engineering and Applied Science at the University of Virginia. He joined the UVA faculty in 1982 after receiving his Ph.D. in Computer Science from the University of Arizona in 1981. His research interests include computer security, compilers, programming languages, architecture, and embedded systems. He is the recipient of the 2008 IEEE Computer Society Taylor L. Booth Award for sustained effort to transform introductory computer science and the 2010 ACM SIGPLAN Distinguished Service Award for his contributions to the Programming Languages Community. Davidson is a Fellow of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) and a Life Fellow of the IEEE.

Peter Druschel

Peter Druschel is the  founding director of the Max Planck Institute for Software Systems and leads the distributed systems research group. He is also an Adjunct Professor at Saarland University and the University of Maryland.  He serves as Chair of the Chemistry, Physics and Technology Section (CPTS) of the Max Planck Society through 2023.  Prior to joining the MPI-SWS in August 2005, Peter was a Professor of Computer Science at Rice University in Houston, TX. He also spent time with the Laboratoire d'Informatique de Paris 6 (LIP6) (May-June 2000, June 2002), Microsoft Research Cambridge, UK (August-December 2000), and the PDOS group at the MIT Laboratory for Computer Science (January-June 2001).  Peter received his Ph.D in computer science from the University of Arizona in 1994.

Mohan Rajagopalan

Mohan Rajagopalan received his Ph.D in Computer Science from the University of Arizona in 2006.  He has held a number of positions since then and is currently Senior Director of Product Management, Artificial Intellingence/Machine Learning, at Splunk.

Tapasya Patki

Tapasya Patki is a Computer Scientist at the Center for Applied Scientific Computing at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. Her current research involves the design and implementation of exascale operating systems and next-generation HPC resource managers, with a specific focus on power/network awareness and application performance optimization under multiple constraints. Broadly, she is interested in power-constrained supercomputing, network topology research, performance modeling and analysis, and HPC system software.  Tapasya earned her Ph.D. in Computer Science from The University of Arizona under the advisement of Dr. David Lowenthal in 2015.  Prior to her Ph.D., she graduated with a Bachelor's in Computer Science and Engineering from GGS Indraprastha University, India in2007 and with a Master's in Computer Science from the University of Arizona in 2009.

Noah Snavely

Noah Snavely is an associate professor of Computer Science at Cornell University and Cornell Tech, and also a researcher at Google Research. Noah's research interests are in computer vision and graphics, in particular 3D understanding and depiction of scenes from 2D images. Noah is the recipient of a PECASE, a Microsoft New Faculty Fellowship, an Alfred P. Sloan Fellowship, and a SIGGRAPH Significant New Researcher Award. He is a native of Tucson and was awarded a BS in Computer Science and Mathematics from the University of Arizona in 2003, and a PhD in Computer Science and Engineering from the University of Washington in 2008.  Noah graduated from UA as the College of Science Outstanding Undergraduate Researcher (2003). 

Kelly Heffner Wilkerson

Kelly Heffner Wilkerson earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science from the University of Arizona in 2001 and her Master’s Degree in Computer Science from Harvard University in 2010. Kelly graduated as the Outstanding Senior for the College of Science at The University of Arizona in 2001, received the Derek C. Bok Award for Excellence in Graduate Student Teaching of Undergraduates from Harvard University in 2007, and was recognized as part of the Top 5% Teachers list for the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering at Arizona State University in 2012. Currently, Kelly owns her own software company, Decipher Media, helping people document messaging communication history, fix corrupt iPhone backups, and recover iPhone data.

Daniel Fried 

Daniel grew up in Tucson and got started in research in AI, machine learning, and natural language processing at UA, graduating in 2014. Daniel graduated from UA as the College of Science Outstanding Undergraduate Researcher.  Daniel went to graduate school at Cambridge University and then UC Berkeley and is currently a postdoc at the University of Washington and Facebook AI Research. Daniel will start as an assistant professor at Carnegie Mellon University next year. Daniel's research focuses on modeling the communicative effects of language and how linguistic meaning is influenced by context, with applications to building language interfaces that help people carry out tasks in collaboration with computers.

Katie Cunningham

Dr. Kathryn Cunningham is a computer science education researcher who diversifies pathways to computing learning. She received her PhD from the University of Michigan in Information, and her MS from Georgia Tech in Human-centered Computing. Before her PhD, she was the Computer Science Education Coordinator for the CSin3 program. Kathryn fondly remembers her time as an undergraduate at University of Arizona in computer science, particularly the joy of solving problems and teaching programming to others.  Kathryn graduated from the University of Arizona as the College of Science Outstanding Senior (2012). 

Amanda Bertsch

Amanda Bertsch is a first-year masters student in the Language Technologies Institute at Carnegie Mellon University. She is advised by Matt Gormley. Her research focus is on conditional text generation, particularly summarization, in both supervised and unsupervised settings. She graduated with a bachelors in computer science and math from the University of Arizona in 2021 and was the Outstanding Senior for the Department of Computer Science.

William "Bill" Griswold 

William Griswold is a Professor of Computer Science and Engineering at UC San Diego.  He received his Ph.D. in Computer Science from the University of Washington in 1991.  His research interests include software engineering, computer science education, and ubiquitous computing.  Griswold is a pioneer in the area of software refactoring, and was a major contributor to the development of Aspect-Oriented Software Development.  Later he built ActiveCampus, an early mobile location-aware system.  His recent CitiSense and MetaSense projects investigated mobile technologies for low-cost ubiquitous real-time air-quality sensing.

Roxie Catts

Roxie Catts was originally hired in September 1985 at the University of Arizona to manage the Cooperative Education Program in the UA Career Services. Four years later, Roxie was hired as the first undergraduate academic advisor for the Department of Computer Science. Roxie was in the CS position for four years before becoming the academic advisor for the Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology. Roxie became the Director of the Advising Resource Center/Principal Advising Office in 2005. Roxie remained in that leadership role until her retirement in January 2022. Roxie notes that her favorite memories at the UA are centered around her time being an academic advisor. Roxie enjoys gardening, traveling, reading, and spending time with her family. 

Bridget Radcliff

Bridget Wade Radcliff has worked in higher education advising, support services, and academic administration for over 20 years. She earned a BA in English Literature from the University of Utah and MPA in Natural Resource Policy from the University of Arizona. Bridget took a short break from higher education in 2010 to work in environmental conflict resolution at the Udall Foundation. She returned to higher education and joined the Department of Computer Science in 2013 to continue her passion for supporting students as they navigate their college careers and prepare for post-college life. She looks forward to her next career step as the founding director of the College of Science Career Center.

John Cropper

John Philip Cropper. Born in Ormskirk, Lancashire England.  He obtained a B.Sc. in Applied Biology from Liverpool Polytechnic.  He received an MS and PhD in Geosciences (Dendroclimatology) from the University of Arizona and was on the lab staff from 1989 to 2008

Gregg Townsend

Gregg Townsend has programmed everything from supercomputers to microcomputers since he first met an IBM 1401 in 1969. He spent three years at a mainframe manufacturer and ten years in the university's IT department. During his thirty years in the CS department he worked on a wide range of projects and co-authored a book about the Icon language with Ralph Griswold. In retirement Gregg enjoys hiking and photography and still programs as a hobby.

Bill Mitchell

William Mitchell is a freelance software development contractor, consultant, and educator. His mission statement is, "Do interesting work with interesting people." He learned to program in the summer of 1976 and still gets a bang out of writing code and seeing it work. In recent years he's begun volunteering with high school computer science programs. He loves teaching as an adjunct at The University of Arizona when time and opportunity permit. He holds a BS CS from N.C. State University (1981) and an MS CS from UA (1984).

Sandy Miller

Sandy Miller received a BA in Math from UCSB in 1972, and got a secondary teaching certificate in '73. While following her husband to his post-docs, she taught high school math for 4 years. After settling in Tucson, she got her MS in Computer Science from the UofA in 1979, and spent 9+ years as a programmer with several companies.  In 1989, she was hired as a member of the lab staff in the CS Department at UofA. After 20 years thoroughly enjoying the work, her co-workers, the faculty, and the students, she retired as a System Administrator in 2009. She now spends time with her husband & family, and plays tennis, hikes & camps, and volunteers.