New Ranking System Puts Terrapins Second in Comp-Sci

The University of Maryland has the second-best computer science department in the United States.

Surprised?

Based on a new department ranking system that considers how many articles a faculty has published, as well its level of participation in professional conferences, the Terrapin CS department outranks most of the usual vaunted suspects, including Carnegie Mellon, Stanford, and the University of Illinois.

Caltech? Thirty-forth place, well behind the University of Texas at Dallas (29th)--who knew?--and just one position ahead of Par-Tay Central, the University of Arizona. MIT, natch, held on to its No. 1 perch.

Publication-based rankings have been done in the past, but the new approach is much more sophisticated, according to the authors of an article in the June issue of the Association for Computing Machinery's monthly magazine, Communications of the ACM.

The method was co-developed by a software engineer from Google and expands upon the number of journals that can easily be considered, the authors said. The article noted that the publication-based approach also sidesteps the pitfall of basing rankings on subjective opinions about a given program. Nevertheless, the authors noted that publication-based ranking "should probably serve as one quantitative indicator in a more comprehensive methodology."

According to the rankings, the top-20 computer science departments are:
  1. Massachusetts Institute of Technology?
  2. University of Maryland, College Park?
  3. Carnegie Mellon University?
  4. Georgia Institute of Technology
  5. Stanford University?
  6. University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign?
  7. University of Michigan, Ann Arbor?
  8. University of Texas, Austin?
  9. Purdue University?
  10. University of California, Berkeley
  11. University of California, San Diego?
  12. University of Massachusetts, Amherst?
  13. Rutgers University, New Brunswick
  14. University of Southern California
  15. University of Washington, Seattle?
  16. Cornell University
  17. University of California, Santa Barbara?
  18. Michigan State University
  19. University of California, Irvine?
  20. University of Minnesota, Minneapolis.

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About the Author

Paul McCloskey is contributing editor of Syllabus.

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