Computer Science marking 50 years with MIT speaker, celebration

March 6, 2013  

The 50th anniversary year of the Department of Computer Science will finish with two special events -- a talk by Barbara Liskov of MIT and a daylong celebration with speakers and a dinner.

March 21 is the date of Liskov's talk and the deadline to register for the closing celebration events, which will be on April 5. A schedule for April 5, including a link to RSVP/registration, is at Advance registration is necessary for the dinner, as seating will be limited. Advance registration is advised for the day's lectures in Lawson Computer Science Building to guarantee having a seat and a lunch, though overflow space for the lectures will be available in the building's Commons. There is no cost for the events of March 21 and April 5.

An "early years" alumni reunion with events open to all is being planned for April 6.

Purdue's was the first computer science department in the United States when founded in October 1962. It has celebrated its golden anniversary with a special edition of its annual Samuel D. Conte Distinguished Lecture Series, named for the first department head. Videos of those lectures, plus others from this and previous years, are at

Liskov's lecture, the last in this special series, is titled "The Power of Abstraction." She is Institute Professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, as well as associate provost for faculty equity. She is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and other prestigious academies, and in 2003 Discover magazine named her one of the 50 most important women in science. She will speak at 3:30-4:30 p.m. March 21 in Lawson Computer Science Building, Room 1142. The event is free and open to the public. More is at

The April 5 celebration opens with sign-in at 10 a.m. in Lawson Commons then the first speaker at 10:30 a.m. in Room 1142. All of the daytime events are in the Commons or Room 1142. A poster session and buffet lunch will take place from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m., followed by three more speakers. The speakers are Deborah Estrin, Farnam Jahanian, Fran Berman and Vint Cerf. More including links to speaker bios is at

All of these speakers are prominent in computer science, but Cerf is venerated as one of the co-inventors of the Internet (with Bob Kahn) as we have it today. He will speak at 4:30-5:30 p.m.

The evening events will be at the Buchanan Club in Ross-Ade Pavilion, starting with a reception at 6 p.m. Dinner will be served at 6:30 p.m.

On April 6, alumni and others involved in the early years of the Department of Computer Science will gather, and everyone is invited to two events that day: a panel and reminiscence from 2 to 5 p.m. reviewing the program's early days in informal and sometimes humorous ways, then an evening reunion social. Prior contact in regard to both events is encouraged. Details are at

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