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About the Department

Computer Science and Engineering

 

In 1975, computer science started at AUC as a minor program offered by the mathematics unit of the science department. In the fall of 1985, AUC expanded the 10-year old minor in computer science into a bachelor of science degree in computer science.

In the fall of 1988, computer science was established as an autonomous department at AUC. The building blocks of the computer science program are based on the guidelines of ACM and IEEE model curricula. The program is designed to satisfy the requirements for an accredited computer science degree. The BSc degree of our program was evaluated and accredited by the Supreme Council of Egyptian Universities in 1988 and by CSAC/CSAB in 1999 and reaccredited by CAC/ABET in August 2005. In the fall of 2007, the department introduced an undergraduate program in computer engineering and was thus renamed Department of Computer Science and Engineering.

Since that time, the computer science and engineering department enjoys the trust, credibility and an excellent reputation inside AUC, nationally and internationally. The department continuously faces the challenge of improving the quality of its educational environment and to accommodate the ever-increasing demand on its services.

As Egypt moves towards open markets, the demand for computer experts with training beyond the BSc basic education by newly created and existing technological projects is growing and is certain to rise in the future. Following a careful and detailed feasibility study, the program leading to the MSc degree in computer dcience started in 1995. The computer dcience graduate program offers students the opportunity to engage in course work, research projects, and other activities designed to further enhance the student’s knowledge and skills in many areas of the rapidly changing discipline of computer science. The program provides a broad spectrum of study in preparation for careers in advanced computer dcience areas. The program allows students flexibility in planning their program of study after the initial course requirements are met. The research activities of the faculty and students include issues of local and regional relevance for which external funding can be obtained. The graduate program was evaluated and accredited by the Supreme Council of Egyptian Universities in 1999 and was reaccredited at later cycles. In 2000, the program offered a diploma, which was consistent with the AUC’s policy of offering diploma in other disciplines and in 2008, the program offered the master's in computing program (a non-thesis option). The MSc program in computer science has been reaccredited by SCU for three more years starting July 24, 2006 and a reaccreditation process was started again by the end of 2009.

Undergraduate computer science and engineering education at AUC follows the general pattern and philosophy of computer science education in the United States with the primary objective of preparing graduates for a professional career in computing.  The total requirements of the bachelor of science in computer science program are 133 semester credit hours and 162 credits for the bachelor of science in computer engineering program. Both programs include significant components in the basic sciences, mathematics, and computing topics. The liberal education component is delivered by the core curriculum which comprises 36 credit hours. Students normally take four years to complete the degree requirements for computer science and five years for the computer engineering degree.

Computer science and engineering programs at AUC aim at providing students with a modern education that emphasizes creative applications of scientific knowledge in the analysis, design, and implementation of computer software and hardware systems relevant to the needs of society.  This is achieved by providing the relevant skills in theory and practice on the one hand and the awareness of the social implications of their applications on the other. Computing ethics and professionalism are important ingredients of the programs and are emphasized at all levels.

Both programs ensure that its graduates receive comprehensive breadth coverage of the following nine subject areas: algorithms and data structures, computer architecture, artificial intelligence, database, numerical computation, operating systems, programming languages, and software engineering.  In addition, depth coverage is achieved by providing the students with a rich set of advanced courses. The computer science program at AUC strives to have its students appreciate the three processes of theory, abstraction, and design. Emphasis on design is achieved by three means: (i) increasing the design content in term projects conducted in the various courses; (ii) establishing courses that particularly focus on design and the issue of computer hardware and the integration of hardware and software systems; and (iii) requiring a final year team project that has a significant amount of creative design work.

Throughout the computer science and engineering programs, students are kept current and updated on technological developments and professional standards primarily in late junior and all senior level course work. In addition, the department regularly invites outside experts from industry and academia to give talks that link the program to the outside world. Students are also encouraged to attend national and international conferences that are held locally.

Graduates of AUC’s computer science and engineering programs receive an education that is very similar to that of graduates from comparable institutions in the United States. They secure excellent jobs in competitive local, regional and international markets, and many are able to pursue graduate studies at leading institutions in the United States and Europe.

Internal evaluation and assessment of the computer science and engineering programs is an on-going process. This is a program requirement within the School of Sciences and Engineering at The American University in Cairo. In the context of this process, and in response to the outcome of the assessment exercise, faculty members are expected to continuously upgrade their courses and the associated laboratory facilities, as well as to introduce new electives to expand the depth and breadth of the programs.

The computer science and engineering department does not function in isolation from the environment within which it exists. This is accomplished through a number of channels one of which is the Computer Science and Engineering Advisory Board. For the last fifteen years, the Computer Science and Engineering Department continues to solicit through this body and through other channels, the advice and comments of senior Computer Science and Engineering professors, and leaders of industry, from the United States, Egypt and other countries in order to improve and enhance its programs. Another important avenue towards this end is the Distinguished Visiting Professor (DVP) Program. In this program the University provides funding towards hosting distinguished scholars in order to promote interactions with faculty and students.

We are currently offering a joint program on management of communication and information technology with the School of Business. We also plan to study, design and start offering a MSc in software engineering in two years for which an additional FT faculty member will be needed.  We foresee that at such time, the IT industry in Egypt, having gained more maturity, will be in great need for such academic preparation.

Mission

 

The term computing refers to a family of disciplines, were computing professionals are concerned with the design and analysis of hardware and software to perform new functions or to perform old functions in new ways. The mission of the Department of Computer Science and Engineering is to provide a high quality science and engineering education within a liberal arts context to students from Egypt as well as from other countries. The aim is to produce generations of computing scientists and engineers who will be leaders in their profession. The pursuit of excellence is central to the department’s mission, maintaining high standards of academic achievement, professional behavior and ethical conduct.

Both the computer science and computer engineering programs at AUC are considered state of the art of their kind; they prepare graduates for a good blend of what the local and international computing job market needs. Although both programs have major intersections spanning primary areas of computing, the difference between the computer science major and the computer engineering major is similar to the difference between any Science and Engineering degree. A graduate with a computer science degree is expected to conduct theoretical work as well as software development, while a graduate with a computer engineering degree should be able to design and implement systems that involve the integration of software and hardware systems. Accordingly, computer science focuses more on the ability to innovate new computing solutions, new algorithms for solving problems, new programming languages, new software engineering methodologies, and new underlying theories of the domain, along with application development.

Computer engineering on the other hand, like any other engineering degree, focuses more on the ability of innovative economic solutions to ongoing computing problems, including computer architecture, embedded systems, distributed systems, computer networking and hardware interfacing. Both the computer ecience and the computer engineering curricula at AUC are compliant with the reputed IEEE/ACM computing curricula guidelines and standards. The computer science program is a four-year program, while the computer engineering program is a five-year program.

Students are educated to acquire an appreciation of their responsibilities to society, and to prepare themselves for successful careers and leadership. The department provides an environment in which students develop their critical thinking capabilities, problem solving skills, creative potential, communication skills in English and proficiency in the tools of learning.