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History of the Computer Science Department: The 1980s


  • Peter Lykos, Professor of Chemistry and formerly head of the Information Science Center, was named to a CEEB (College Entrance Examination Board) committee establishing standards for the Advanced Placement exam in Computer Science.


  • Anthony Wojcik, Witold Wojciechowski (Ph.D. 1980), and Waldo Kabat (Ph.D. 1982) modified a theorem prover to verify the correctness of a logic circuit.

    Anthony Wojcik circa 1982
    Anthony Wojcik


  • Martha Evens, Ph.D. student Howard Hill, and neurologist Dr. Daniel Hier developed an expert system to assist emergency room physicians in the diagnosis and treatment of stroke.

    Martha Evens
    Martha Evens, Dr. Daniel Hier, and Howard Hill


  • Robert Carlson (Ph.D. U. Iowa, 1972) joined IIT as chairman and associate professor of computer science; Anthony Wojcik left to become chair of Computer Science for Michigan State University

    Robert Carlson circa 1984
    Robert Carlson


  • Martha Evens and graduate student Tunghwa Wang (with Peter Johnson of Chemistry) developed an expert system for finding alternate ways to synthesize an organic compound.

    Martha Evens
    Martha Evens and Peter Johnson


  • Computer Science classes were offered at the new IIT West satellite campus.
  • Computer science pioneer Admiral Grace Murray Hopper visited IIT to give students a first-hand account of the development of large-scale computers. Admiral Hopper (Ph.D., Math, Yale) played major roles in the designing of the UNIVAC computer and the COBOL programming language and had received IIT's Henry Townley Heald award in 1985

    Admiral Hopper talking to IIT CS students
    Admiral Hopper Talking to CS Students

  • IIT's new satellite downlink enabled IIT/V to broadcast classes live to about 30 companies and public access sites in the Chicago area.


  • AT&T contributed $500,000 worth of computer equipment to the Computer Science department to support student work in distributed computing and networking. The gift included 40 At&T 7300 Unix-based personal computers — each with 1 megabyte of random-access memory, a 20 megabyte hard disk, and a 512-kilobyte floppy disk — and two ISN network management processors.
  • Robert Carlson received over $25,000 from AT&T for an experimental computer science laboratory.
  • Robert Carlson and Ilene Burnstein initiated a program to expose undergraduate students to research experiences. The CS department supported two first-year students as Research Scholars.


  • An-Chi Liu (ECE) and professors Robert Carlson, Thomas Christopher, Peter Greene, and James Kenevan received NSF funding for their work on CISE Research Instrumentation. Robert Carlson also received funding from Argonne National Lab for his work with Technical Support Services in Analyzing Distributed Management Systems and Methods.
  • Martha Evens received funding from the Office of Naval Research for her work on Computer Generation of a Tutorial Dialogue.
  • The department received NSF funding for ten undergraduate students for the summer research experience for undergraduates.

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