From The Chair

Luah Nakhleh, Chair, Department of Computer Science
Luay Nakhleh, Chair, Department of Computer Science; J. S. Abercrombie Professor of Computer Science and Biosciences


Our mission is to create and disseminate knowledge, to produce scholars who actively participate in the development of this fast-evolving field, and to provide service to our communities at Rice and beyond. The increasingly interdisciplinary nature of computer science has significantly pushed its frontiers, while at the same time reinvigorated research into the foundations of computing. This duality informs and guides how we implement our mission.

Curricula, Research, and Community

Our undergraduate and graduate curricula introduce students to the emerging fields of computer science and at the same time provide them with solid training in its foundations. Similarly, research in our department spans fields that range from core subjects to emerging fields.

Our faculty members develop and provide technologies and computational solutions for the department, university, and broader communities like the Texas Medical Center, the city of Houston, and state and national initiatives. In addition, they share their expertise by teaching both introductory and advanced courses, serving in leadership roles, and leading efforts to understand the societal impacts of computing, including automation and security. Their efforts have been recognized in multiple ways, including prestigious fellowships and membership in the National Academies of Medicine, Science, and Engineering.

Despite their accolades and vigorous research, our faculty are keenly attuned to the needs of their students. Rice’s small size further encourages seamless collaboration between students, faculty, and other community members. In fact, our department is central to the recently launched Data Science Initiative, and we partner with colleagues from almost every School at Rice. Our researchers have active collaborations with the Texas Medical Center, NASA, and the local energy industry.

You will find our department to be a lively, invigorating, and welcoming place. Women comprise about 34% of our undergraduate students, and computer science is the largest undergraduate major at the university. Our Professional Master of Computer Science is the largest non-business professional program at Rice. Both our graduate and undergraduate students have created very active clubs to further engage their peers in social, career, and technical development activities.

The department has grown significantly in the last three years. We have created an Online Master’s of Computer Science program, and hired 7 teaching faculty and 8 tenure-track assistant professors in the areas of networking and security, machine learning, programming languages, computational biology and bioinformatics, and robotics. The department is authorized to hire 10 more tenured and tenure-track faculty members by July 2023. 

Whether you are interested in joining us or simply taking a class or two, we encourage you to visit the beautiful Rice campus and interact with our community to learn more about the great work we do here.


Luay Nakhleh
Chair, Department of Computer Science
J. S. Abercrombie Professor of Computer Science and Biosciences