10 Really Awesome Computer Science Professors


When it comes to coding, there are different schools of thought on self-taught vs. formally-educated. Many devs teach themselves to code when they are teenagers and as a result, feel that there’s no need to go to college. Others feel that college opens up doors and helps to reinforce skills that may be lacking.

Personally, I majored in Spanish Literature—which, I can assure you, does not come up very often in my day-to-day job here at Engine Yard. Yet despite the fact that my college coursework is not relevant to my day-to-day job function, I still feel that I learned some really awesome things in college, in large part because I had some really awesome professors.

In fact, we at Engine Yard respect and appreciate the contributions that many individuals in higher education make to our field, and we wanted to take an opportunity to recognize our picks for the top 10 computer science professors at the top 10 computer science programs.

MIT Ken Zolot is a senior lecturer at the MIT School of Engineering. He teaches “Building Mobile Applications” and he also leads “The Founders Journey,” a class for aspiring entrepreneurs. Ken has held founding roles in several startups.

Carnegie Mellon University Tony Wasserman is a professor of software management practice at Carnegie Mellon’s Silicon Valley campus, and he lists open source as an area of interest. Previously, Tony was Director of Mobile Middleware Labs for HP’s Middleware division, where he worked on software infrastructure for mobile web services.

Stanford University Alex Aiken is a professor of computer science at Stanford whose research focuses on the design of new programming languages. In particular, Alex researches new programming techniques in which it’s easier to write software that can be checked for a variety of errors.

UC Berkeley Dan Garcia is a lecturer at UC Berkeley’s College of Engineering who teaches a variety of interesting undergraduate courses, among them: Macintosh Student Developers for OS X; GamesCrafters; and The Beauty and Joy of Computing.

University of Illinois—Urbana-Champagne Sarita Adve is a professor in the Department of Computer Science at the University of Illinois. Her research focus is computer architecture and she was just named a Woman of Vision Award Winner in the Innovation category for her contributions to the area of hardware and software memory consistency models.

Georgia Institute of Technology Merrick Furst is a distinguished professor in the School of Computer Science at Georgia Tech who runs commercialization and new venture creation. He is also the director of the Flashpoint program, a “startup accelerator” that aims to equip entrepreneurs with the skills they need to get their early-stage business models off the ground.

University of Michigan, Ann Arbor Elliot Soloway is a professor in the College of Engineering at University of Michigan. He leads the Mobile Apps Hackathon, a 48 hour event designed to give developer students the time and environment they need in order to create apps for the Android and iOS platforms.

California Institute of Technology Kanianthra Mani Chandy is a professor in the Division of Engineering and Applied Science at CalTech. His research involves building and analyzing systems that sense and respond to changes using sensor networks, cloud computing and event-driven architecture.

University of Texas—Austin Kathryn S. McKinley is a professor in the Department of Computer Science at UT Austin. Her research includes a focus on programming languages and implementation, and developing tools that enable programmers to use a high-level programming style and modern languages while still achieving high performance on uniprocessor and multiprocessor architectures.

Cornell University Johannes Gehrke is a professor in the Department of Computer Sciences at Cornell and a member of the Cornell Database Group, a team of researchers exploring issues related to all aspects of data management. Johannes’s research focuses on three topics: scalability in computer games and simulations; data privacy, and data mining.

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