History of the school

In 1973 the Computing Science program was established at SFU as an interdisciplinary area of study under the leadership of the late Ted Sterling, who co-authored one of the first computing science textbooks.  The first program offered undergraduate courses leading to a major or honours degree in Computing Science.  

Co-op begins

In 1975, 14 students were placed with eight employers in a five-credit practicum course as part of the Computing Science co-operative education program. SFU's official Co-op Program was established in 1978.

New department, faculty and school

In 1978, the Computing Science Program became the Department of Computing Science, having grown to 8.5 full-time tenure track faculty. The following year, the department's graduate program started with the approval of M.Sc. and PhD thesis programs.

1985 - The Faculty of Applied Sciences was formed and was comprised of Computing Science, Engineering Science, Kinesiology, Communications, and Natural Resource Management (now Faculty of Environment). 

A new home

In 1989, after being in multiple locations around the campus, the School of Computing Science moved into its current space in the Applied Sciences Building. In 2005, the School expanded into the adjacent Technology and Science Complex (TASC 1).

Notable landmarks in computing science at SFU

1969 A brand new IBM card punch machine is set up in the library basement.
1970 Computer Science faculty Ted Sterling and Sy Pollack publish one of the first Computing Science textbooks.
1973 Computing Science program launches at SFU.
1975 Co-operative education is introduced.
1981 Computing Science graduates convince faculty to buy some of the first Unix servers, prompting a switch from a mainframe computer system to a network of Sun workstations running Unix.
1983 The first students were admitted to our Graduate Program.  
1985 Lou Hafer and Nick Cercone set up the CSIL lab, one of the first distributed computing networks in Canada.
1985 The Department of Computing Science became the School of Computing Science.
1986 The undergraduate curriculum is reorganized to include Computing Design and Organization, Computing Systems, Programming Languages and Software, Information Systems, Artificial Intelligence and Theoretical Computing Science.
1989 Rick Hobson develops SAM-I, a fast, high-level language interpreter using Canada’s first 16-bit micro-processing chip, which he designed at SFU in 1983.
1989 The School of Computing Science is ranked second in total research funding within SFU.
1989 Slawomir Pilarski’s Circular Self Test for VLSI chips is recognized as a milestone in test technology.
1990 Tom Calvert creates Life Forms, the first shrink-wrapped software spin-off.
1997 Art Liestman wins SFU’s Excellence in Teaching Award.
2002 The name “WICS – Women in Computing Science” is announced to the community.
2003 The School celebrates its largest intake of new graduate students in its history—50 students are admitted from all over the world.
2003 Computing Science and the Department of Molecular Biology announce a new joint major—the first of its kind in Canada.
2003 Computing Science hosts the first Employer Open House to encourage industry and co-op partnerships.
2004 Computing Science opens its doors at the Surrey campus and offers a stand alone program.  
2005 SFU Computing Science is the first in Canada to offer a Dual Degree Cohort Program with Zhejiang University in China.
2005 SFU hosts and ranks second in the ACM Programming Regional competition and the team attends the ACM world finals for the first time.
2006 The Technology and Science Complex 1 (TASC 1) opens at the Burnaby campus and expands the School's research space by more than 100 per cent.
2006 Computing Science undergraduate students receive The Canadian Federation of University Women and the Institute of Electrical + Electronics Engineers Awards.
2007 A Computing Science graduate student wins the first Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research (MSFHR) Senior Graduate Studentship Award on behalf of the School.
2007 The School moves into a new state-of-the-art facility on the east side of Galleria 4 at the Surrey campus.
2008 New Software Systems Program is launched at the Surrey campus.
2009 Computing Science professors win the coveted NSERC Discovery Accelerator Grant funding award.
2009 SFU Women in Computing Science (WICS) introduces professional development sessions to support female students.
2011 Computing Science Assistant Professor is awarded a Sloan Research Fellowship, placing her amongst the next generation of scientific leaders.
2012 The SFU-Zhejiang University Dual Degree Program in Computing Science wins Outstanding Program in International Education from the BC Council for International Education.
2012 Alumni start-up company, HiretheWorld, is named to the prominent BC Innovation List.
2013 Computing Science Graduate Student heads up the new Digital Health Hub to help facilitate SFU's partnership with Fraser Health and the City of Surrey.
2013 Two Alumni are named as the Top 30 Under 30 Entrepreneurs, by BC Business Magazine.
2013 Two Computing Science Researchers win NSERC Strategic Project and Strategic Network Grants.
2013 Computing Science Researcher wins SFU's first NSERC Collaborative Research and Training Experience (CREATE) grant.
2013 Computing Science Researcher is appointed as the Surrey Memorial Hospital Foundation B.C. Leadership Chair in Multimodal Technology for Healthcare Innovation.
2013 Computing Science Research awarded Canada Research Chair in Big Data. 
2014 AWRU ranks the School as one of the world’s TOP 50 computer science schools and is also 3rd in Canada. 
2014 The School launches the Professional Masters in Big Data Program - the first program of its kind in Canada.
2014 The School is ranked 3rd in Canada for its employability outcomes for Software Developers by Linkedin.
2014 The School celebrates its largest intake of new Graduate Students in its history - over 80 students were admitted from all over the world.
2015 Canada's top comprehensive university (Maclean's magazine).