Argamon Named Chair of Computer Science Department

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By Casey Moffitt

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Shlomo Engelson Argamon, professor of computer science, has been named as the new chair of Illinois Institute of Technology’s Department of Computer Science.

Lance Fortnow, dean of the College of Computing, announced Argamon had accepted the offer after serving as the department’s interim chair since August 2019.

“As interim chair, Shlomo has led computer science to hire four outstanding new assistant professors and helped establish new degrees and programs in the U.S. and China,” Fortnow says. “I look forward to working with Shlomo to develop a strong future in computer science and the department’s critical role for the new College of Computing.”

Argamon has been a faculty member in the department since 2002, and over that time he says he has seen it grow and change, hiring a number of great new faculty members; initiating prominent research programs in such areas as high-performance computing, artificial intelligence, and cybersecurity; and developing new educational programs in AI, cybersecurity, and data science.

“Throughout all these changes, the department has maintained the core values that drew me here originally: collegiality, mutual support, and dedication to our students’ success,” Argamon says. “It is these values that will enable the department, the new [College of Computing], and the university to survive and even thrive in our challenging times.”

Argamon says he believes the future of computer science will be defined by how computer scientists integrate technical content with their larger human and social context. Deep collaboration with other disciplines will lead to new computational methods and ways of thinking in all fields—business, social science, design, humanities, and architecture, as well as the natural sciences and engineering. Some new areas within computer science, such as edge computing and the internet of things, not only pose difficult technical challenges, but also challenge us to find new understanding of how embedding computing in society affects (and is affected by) human dynamics. Such transdisciplinary collaboration will reorient computer science thinking more around psychological and social factors. 

“I believe that our department can be a leader in this transformation of the field,” Argamon says. “The new College of Computing and the agile, collaborative culture of Illinois Tech form an ideal environment to develop the research, education, and innovation that is required.”

Argamon says he plans to work with faculty on developing additional breadth to educational offerings, including new flexible modules and certificates for individualized and broadened educational design while building theoretical and practical skills.

“We will explore existing ideas like pair programming and flipped classrooms, as well as new online/in-person hybrids, working with our students and with faculty in other academic units across campus to experiment with new models,” Argamon says. “We are working already to expand partnerships with other academic institutions and industry to expand opportunities for diverse educational experiences.”

Photo: Shlomo Engelson Argamon, the chair of Illinois Tech's Department of Computer Science