UBC Computer Science welcomes new head

Martha Piper Plaza at sunset. Photo: UBC.

Professor Ian Mitchell began a five-year term as head of the UBC Department of Computer Science on January 1, 2021.

Prior to stepping into the role as head, Ian served as associate head (undergraduate), where he coordinated efforts to meet increasing demand among students for training in computational theory, practice and science.

“I look forward to working with Ian and the entire CS community in the coming years to execute the vision that he has shared,” said Dean of Science Dr. Meigan Aronson in making the appointment.

“My thanks as well to Chen Greif for his dedicated and excellent service as head over the past five years. Over that period, the department has made great strides in meeting the increased demand for undergraduate courses in data and computer science and successfully recruiting excellent faculty.”

Professor Mitchell’s research in verification and numerical methods for cyber-physical and robotics systems includes theoretical, algorithmic and experimental aspects. Most recently his work has focused on safety of human-in-the-loop designs, such as shared control wheelchairs and automation of anesthesia delivery. He is also a champion of reproducible research in computational science and engineering, with the goal of ensuring that the software used in research can be tested, audited and extended.

Professor Mitchell grew up in BC, and has a broad background in computer science and engineering. He completed a BASc in engineering physics and an MSc in computer science at UBC, and then a PhD in engineering at Stanford University. He spent a year as a postdoctoral researcher at the University of California at Berkeley before returning to UBC as a faculty member in 2003.

“The power of technology is transforming society so thoroughly and opening economic opportunities so rapidly that it is hard to imagine there is any field in which computing is not an important aspect of research and instruction,” said Mitchell.

“I’m excited at the opportunity to lead the department as we seek to deliver such training to broader groups of students and to leverage our research to improve our society, environment, industry and academy in BC and beyond.”

The UBC Computer Science head search committee consisted of Dongwook Yoon, Reid Holmes, Bruce Shepherd, Meghan Allen, Jessica Wrinskelle, Natalie Chen, Paulette Koronkevich, Colin Gay , and Meigan Aronson.

More about Ian Mitchell

Chris Balma
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