Student works on code in robotics lab

Computer Science

Computer science study at Grinnell is innovative — you experience varied pedagogical and problem-solving approaches. It’s comprehensive, involving several programming languages and a balance of theory and application. It’s thorough — guided by national curricular guidelines and taught in dedicated facilities. It offers extensive opportunities for student-faculty research, and can prepare you for further study or careers in network and database administration, systems analysis, computer science, technical roles, and independent contracting.

Screenshot of the curriculum diagram page on the computer science website.

Why study computer science?

Among the varied answers you will get from computer scientists, many involve a love of problem solving, the opportunity to contribute to society, and diverse career options. 

The website for the Department of Computer Science offers detailed information for prospective students and for current students.  

Computer Science Table

Tuesdays at noon

Computer Science Table (CS Table) is a weekly meeting of Grinnell College community members (students, faculty, staff, etc.) interested in discussing topics related to computing and computer science. CS Table meets Tuesdays, noon-12:50 p.m. in Joe Rosenfield ’25 Center, Room 224B.

Oct. 29. 17776 (What Football Will Look Like in the Future) (SB Nation, July 5, 2017) is an award-winning mixed-media story by Jon Bois about the nature of humanity and sport. While the story itself is fun and thought-provoking, we will be reading 17776 primarily to explore the world of new media — forms of communications enabled by digital technologies. How does new media augment existing methods? How does new media introduce novel methods for expressing creative thought? 17776 takes 1–2 hours to read, and is best read on large-screen devices. 

Students on meal plans, faculty, and staff are expected to cover the cost of their meals. Visitors to the College and students not on meal plans can contact Professor Osera to find out how to charge their meals to the department.

Computer Science Extras

A weekly seminar

This series of weekly computer science lectures take place in Robert N. Noyce ’49 Science Center 3821, with refreshments in the Computer Science Commons (Noyce 3817) 15 minutes before the event.

Thursday, Oct. 17, 2019, 4:15 p.m. “Large Scale Distributed Graph Algorithms” will be presented by Sriram Pemmaraju from The University of Iowa. As graphs become enormous (e.g., the Facebook “friends” graph has a trillion edges!), it is becoming impossible to solve large-scale algorithmic graph problems on a single machine. This talk focuses on distributed graph algorithms, where the input graph is split into pieces and distributed across many machines. In this setting communication is the costliest resource and so machines need to communicate just enough with other machines to ensure correctness, but no more. Techniques will be presented for the design of low-communication distributed graph algorithms, and communication complexity and information theory will be discussed for showing when such low-communication algorithms are impossible.

Pemmaraju is interested in speaking with students who are considering graduate study in computer science at The University of Iowa, including the 4-1 joint program between Grinnell and UI. 

Department Information

(641) 269-4984

Noyce Science Center
1116 Eighth Ave
Grinnell, IA 50112
United States

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