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Fifty years ago, they started a revolution still going strong

This is the year marking the department’s 50th anniversary, but these three pioneering computer scientists continue to look forward even as they pause to celebrate a glorious past each had a hand in shaping.

Collectively, they have been with Carolina’s Department of Computer Science a total of 132 years.

Fred Brooks came here to found the department in 1964, and Stephen Pizer arrived four years later with his newly minted Ph.D. from Harvard. Pizer’s dissertation adviser told him about the exciting new program that Brooks – another Harvard alum – was building at Carolina.

By the time Henry Fuchs showed up in 1978, the department, under Brooks’ leadership, had carved out the beginnings of what continues to be its niche in an ever-changing field.

Other departments Fuchs had visited saw computer science as a scholarly pursuit where the measure of productivity was the number of papers you published and the prestige of the journals in which they appeared.

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