Quality education, scholarship, and research are the objectives of the Computing and Information Sciences Department of Kansas State University. As the department's name suggests, undegraduate degrees are offered in both computing science and information systems. Graduate degrees at the Master's and Ph.D. level are awarded for advanced studies. The Master of Software Engineering degree program permits practicing computing professionals to obtain graduate training in state-of-the-art software methodologies via satellite uplink courses.
The CIS department, headed by Dr. Gurdip Singh, consists of 23 faculty, approximately 300 undergraduate students, and about 100 graduate students. In 1991, the CIS department became affiliated with the Kansas State College of Engineering. CIS is located in Nichols Hall, an historic campus building which was reconstructed during 1983-86 to accommodate the educational and computing needs of the department. The building is shared with the Department of Speech Communications, Theatre and Dance. Nichols contains multiple classrooms and seminar rooms, where most of the department's classes are taught. Some larger classes are also taught in Engineering Complex. Average class sizes range from 10 to 30 students, allowing close interaction between instructor and students.
Several computing laboratories are available to CIS students and staff in Nichols Hall. These include four public computing labs, a robotics lab, a lab for Ph.D. students, and multiple research groups with labs, and a server laboratory. Additional computing labs are readily availble in other buildings on campus, such as Fiedler Hall and Hale Library. CIS's primary computing machinery is a network of single- and multi-processor thin-clients. The department also hosts Beocat, a high performance computing cluster. The department's facilities are maintained by a support staff headed by Systems Manager Seth Gallitzer and Hardware Specialist Earl Harris. The usual range of software packages are available on the department's machines, and complete internet access is provided. In addition to CIS computing facilities, the University's computing facilities include workstations, window-based terminals, Macs, and PCs. The department's research is supported by Hale Library, which keeps an archive of the main-line computer science journals and conference proceedings. In addition, the department maintains its own library in Nichols Hall; a range of journals, newsletters, and technical reports are available for research use. The CIS department sponsors its own technical report series.
The department's faculty and students are dedicated to learning and extending the state of the art in computing, and CIS faculty conduct research programs in areas such as security, high assurance systems, data and knowledge base systems, distributed systems, programming language semantics, real-time systems, and software engineering. Faculty research projects are funded by the National Science Foundation, the Office of Naval Research, the U.S. Air Force, DoD, and other agencies and industrial partners.
Departmental activities are managed by a front-office staff of several full-time and part-time employees, led by Ami Ratzlaff, the departmental office manager. In addition, three academic advisors are available for curriculum and enrollment advice throughout the school term. The comfortable size of the CIS department engenders a friendly atmosphere where students have ample opportunity to discuss and present their work. Ongoing research seminars in distributed systems, programming languages, and software engineering let students interact with faculty and form collegial relationships that last for one's career.