Educating Computing Bilinguals
With the advent of vast amounts of data and the proliferation of digital technologies, computing – from hardware, to software, to algorithms, to artificial intelligence – has come to play a defining role in our society. The huge effects of digital technologies on our lives and the job opportunities for those with relevant expertise have led to incredible growth in the number of students wishing to study computer science.
A core objective of the MIT Schwarzman College of Computing is to address this growing demand by educating “computing bilinguals,” who have command of computer science, artificial intelligence, and other computing areas along with that of another discipline. At the undergraduate level, we approach this objective both through blended majors that combine computing and a particular discipline, and through individual subjects and curricula that combine computing and other disciplines under the auspices of the Common Ground for Computing Education. Social and ethical implications of digital technologies are integrated into computing classes through the Social and Ethical Responsibilities of Computing (SERC) initiative of the College.
Many students are not just asking for computer science training, but for a deep understanding of computing combined with their various other interests.Asu Ozdaglar SM ’98, PhD ’03
Deputy Dean of Academics, Schwarzman College of Computing
Department Head, Electrical Engineering and Computer Science
MathWorks Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science
Blended Computing Majors
These range from Mathematics and Computer Science, launched by the Department of Mathematics in 1986, to Computation and Cognition, launched jointly by the Departments of Brain and Cognitive Sciences and Electrical Engineering and Computer Science (EECS) in 2019. The blended majors have been created to build and expand on research and educational synergies between two departments, as well as on the similarities and overlaps in the respective fields’ subject matters, tools, and methodologies.
Blended Computing Bachelor of Science Programs
- Computation and Cognition
Offered by the Departments of Brain and Cognitive Sciences and EECS
- Computer Science and Molecular Biology
Offered by the Departments of Biology and EECS
- Computer Science, Economics, and Data Science
Offered by the Departments of Economics and EECS
- Mathematics and Computer Science
Offered by the Department of Mathematics
- Urban Science and Planning with Computer Science
Offered by the Departments of Urban Studies and Planning and EECS
See Undergraduate Programs for a complete list of majors within the Schwarzman College of Computing.
Broadly-applicable Computing Classes and Curricula
Common Ground for Computing Education is a cross-cutting initiative spanning all five Schools at MIT that focuses on broadening computing education by supporting collaborations between departments and programs. The core objectives of these collaborations are to increase the availability of broadly-applicable computing classes and curricula, and to develop shared understanding and cross-fertilization of computing concepts across disciplines. Led by the Common Ground Standing Committee, consisting of 30 faculty from all five Schools and 20 departments, the initiative has helped launch several multi-departmental subject offerings that meet common needs and fuse different perspectives of multiple departments.
Social and Ethical Responsibilities of Computing (SERC) initiative develops novel instructional materials integrating social and ethical aspects of computing into existing classes across MIT. New materials are developed by multidisciplinary teams with members from computing, data sciences, humanities, arts, and social sciences. These materials have already been incorporated into 16 classes with 2,100 students, affecting 30% of the undergraduate population.