History of CIS at Penn

1740: Recognized as the founding date for the University of Pennsylvania. In this year, the Trust for the Charity School of Philadelphia was established.

1850: Generally looked upon as the date to which Engineering at the University of Pennsylvania can be traced. In this year the Trustees adopted a resolution providing for a School of Arts with one Chair, a Professorship of “Chemistry as Applied to the Arts” with familiar lectures in Mineralogy, Geology, Theoretic and Applied Chemistry to be given by the professor.

1852: The School of Mines, Arts and Manufactures was established by the Trustees as one of the Departments of the University. A “Scientific Course” was also established. The first Professor of Civil and Mining Engineering was appointed.

1875: The Department of Science was renamed the Towne Scientific School in memory of John Henry Towne, Esq, a University Trustee.

1893: The Department of Mechanical and Electrical Engineering was established. The term “Dynamical Engineering” was no longer used to cover both Mechanical and Electrical Engineering. Courses of Study in Chemical Engineering were offered, and are the oldest of such courses in continuous existence in the country.

1914: A separate Department of Electrical Engineering was established.

1923: The bequest of Alfred Fitler Moore endowed the Department of Electrical Engineering in the Towne Building as The Moore School of Electrical Engineering.

1935:The Differential Analyzer completed, which was the world’s largest mechanical computing machine.

1946: ENIAC, the world’s first electronic large-scale, general-purpose digital computer was dedicated. The first computer course is also offered (graduate-level, through Electrical Engineering).

1954: The four departments of the Towne Scientific School became, with the Moore School of Electrical Engineering, the five Engineering Schools (School of Chemical Engineering, School of Civil Engineering, School of Mechanical Engineering and the School of Metallurgical Engineering). In February, the University announced that in the fall semester, for the first time, women would be admitted to the undergraduate programs of the School of Engineering and the Wharton School.

1969: At the Commencement held on 19 May, the University awarded the degree of Master of Science in Engineering for Graduate Work in Computer and Information Science to Elaine J. Weyuker, Carol Faith Lieb, Carol Ann Persons, and Ruth Virginia Powers. They were the first women to earn the M.S.E. in Computer and Information Science degree at Penn.

1965: Richard Wexelblat received a Ph.D. degree in Computer Science at the University of Pennsylvania. He became the first person to receive a Doctorate in Computer Science from a recognized graduate program in Computer Science.

1972: A separate Undergraduate Program in Computer Science and Engineering was offered (prior to 1972, this was part of Electrical Engineering). The Faculties of the Schools of Engineering were reorganized into a single Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science.

1977: With the promotion of Dr. Ruzena Bajcsy to Associate Professor of Computer and Information Science, women held tenured faculty positions in each and every standing faculty at Penn for the first time in the history of the University of Pennsylvania.

1979: The College of Engineering and Applied Science was renamed the School of Engineering and Applied Science. The GRASP Lab was founded by Dr. Ruzena Bajcsy.

1985: The School of Engineering and Applied Science appointed Ruzena Bajcsy, MSEE, Ph.D., to the academic administrative position of Chair of the Department of Computer and Information Science. She was the first woman to hold an academic administrative position in the School of Engineering and Applied Science.

1990: The Institute for Research in Cognitive Science was established.

1994: The Center for Human Modeling and Simulation was established.

2000: A Pennsylvania State Historical Marker was dedicated in June in honor of the ENIAC’s contribution to the world of computing. The marker stands in front of the Moore School building on 33rd Street.

2002: Penn Engineering marks 150 years of engineering at Penn with a Sesquicentennial Celebration.

2003: Melvin J. and Claire Levine Hall was dedicated, ushering in a new era of computer science at Penn.

2007: In November, Little Ben, the Ben Franklin Racing Team’s autonomous car, finished in the top six in the finals of the DARPA Urban Challenge.

2008: The Penn Research in Embedded Computing and Integrated Systems Engineering (PRECISE) Center was founded and the MS in Embedded Systems degree was first offered.

2009: The SIG Center for Computer Graphics was completed and named for The Susquehanna International Group, LLP, better known as SIG, creating the largest academic motion capture studio in the region.

2011: Networked and Social Systems Engineering (NETS) program, the first undergraduate program of its kind, launches and takes first students as class of 2015.

2012: On October 22, the Department of Computer and Information Science hosted JoshiFest, a celebration and symposium to honor the work of Dr. Aravind K. Joshi, Henry Salvatori Professor Emeritus of Computer and Cognitive Science.

2014: The Warren Center for Data & Network Sciences was founded.