A Center for Sustainable Cloud Computing

Computer Science is taking rapid strides in realigning itself to advancing technologies. It is beginning to emerge from the cocoon of traditional research to address new challenges posed by avant-garde technologies. In an article published in EPFL Magazine in December 2019, School of Computer and Communication Sciences (IC) Dean James Larus recorded his candid observations on the current status of the discipline at EPFL and the way forward.

As EPFL takes the next big step into the new decade and beyond, Larus has already initiated the crucial step of hiring young minds in diverse fields of Computer Science. His deanship has seen IC attain a “critical mass,” although the process needs to continue to ensure, in Larus’s words, the “outward growth” of the department and move beyond “the traditional avenues of research.” In keeping with this philosophy, the school has diversified into data science and machine learning, and the next few years will see more such expansions taking place at EPFL.

Apart from building the research team at IC, James Larus calls for greater interdisciplinary study in areas such as Artificial Intelligence to address ethical and humanitarian concerns about tech applications both in the current and future scenarios.

Computer Science at EPFL also needs to gear up to meet nascent technologies that are likely to play a major role in the future. James Larus refers to the upcoming quantum revolution and bio-computing as major opportunities where Computer Science can scale up to new heights. While quantum computers can disrupt today’s data processing capabilities by processing an unprecedented volume of data, Bio-computing represents a paradigm shift by turning the focus away from building computing power and finding parallels between biological processes, such as the working of the human brain or genetics, and computing systems.

James Larus has a vision of computer scientists at EPFL playing a pivotal role in converting plausible ideas of today into reality tomorrow.