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Computer science professor John Dooley gives a campus lecture on the history of cryptology.

Computer Science

Department Chair

Jaime Spacco

Associate Professor & Chair of Computer Science

2 East South Street

Galesburg, IL 61401-4999

309-341-7956

jspacco@​knox.edu

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Ford Center for the Fine Arts

B.A., B.S., Minor

How we work

  1. We think outside the box (and outside the computer lab). Our students have very diverse interests and don't want to be constrained by a rigid curriculum—and we think that's a good thing. They take areas of interest, from biology to creative writing to economics, and take the skills gained through their computer science coursework to take a unique view of the world around them. Like Cass Gutierrez '18, whose interest in anthropology led to her research into the portrayal of women in games.
  2. Our courses reflect the latest evolutions in the field. Like Interactive Design, taught collaboratively with art and other departments (like theatre), which lets students choose interesting projects, like game design and development. Students are also creating projects using virtual reality and augmented reality. 
  3. We work together and challenge each other. Our faculty work closely with students on impactful research projects and join them in presenting their work at conferences across the country. And because we offer so many research opportunities, our students are already tackling real-world problems as undergrads. Anna Novikova '13 researched how to use Twitter to measure public attitudes. Dakota Stipp '17 wrote software that uses gestures to compose and perform electronic music. And our work is often presented nationally and internationally. Recently, faculty and students presented their research at parallel computing at conferences in Austin, Texas, and Bristol, England.
  4. Education can happen on campus, in the community, or on the other side of the world. Our students participate in study abroad programs at one of the highest rates in the country. We send computer science students to Chicago, Aberdeen, Shanghai, Budapest, and wherever else they can dream up. Our new Women in Computer Science chapter received funding to attend the largest gathering of women technologists in the world. A little closer to home, we come up with practical solutions to problems for organizations both on the Knox campus and in the greater Galesburg community.
  5. We start businesses (yes really). During StartUp Terman immersive learning experience over one term, teams of students combine their technological and business talents to develop products and services. One very successful team spent the summer working on their company at the Elmspring startup accelerator in Chicago.
  6. We go on to exciting futures in every industry. Our students have myriad interests outside of computer science, resulting in an alumni base working in diverse fields such as medicine, software development, and business consulting—and now, with our new bachelor of science degree, many of our students will be prepared for even more challenges right out of college. Paige Lowe '14 interned with Amazon and now works at Facebook. Matt Berg '00 was IT coordinator at Millennium Villages Project and most recently founded a startup called Ona (Oh—and he's also one of Time magazine's 100 most influential people in the world!).

How We Learn

The computer science major and minor help students both understand the theory behind computational thinking and see how it can be applied in any field, from business to chemistry to journalism. And our students learn to communicate effectively in the language of the discipline, both in writing as well as in discussion and formal presentation.

In the classroom, we emphasize the development of logical reasoning and problem-solving skills using a variety of approaches, programming languages, and computer systems. We integrate the traditional and innovative, teaching the background that computer professionals are expected to know along with the current state (and possible future) of the science.

Coursework includes:

  • Introductory computer science courses in problem solving, data structures, and programming.
  • Core computer science courses in algorithms, software development, computer organization, information management, operating systems, and networks.
  • Advanced courses such as computer graphics, operating systems, compilers, artificial intelligence, networks, software engineering, and computer security.
  • Support courses in areas such as discrete mathematics, digital electronics, and symbolic logic.

Read Related News

Professor John Dooley and student, in a computer science class.
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https://www.knox.edu/academics/majors-and-minors/computer-science

Printed on Friday, November 15, 2019