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Select events from the history of the Computer Science Department


Forsythe1965: The Computer Science Department is created in January within the School of Humanities and Sciences with George Forsythe as chair. The department is authorized to grant master's and doctoral degrees.

McCarthy1965: John McCarthy and Les Earnest establish the Stanford Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (SAIL) in a partially constructed, abandoned building off Arastradero Road.

1965: The DENDRAL project for computing molecular structure from mass-spectrogram data is begun by Ed Feigenbaum and Joshua Lederberg (professor of genetics). Research associate Bruce Buchanan joins the project in 1966.
1966: Raj Reddy receives the department's first doctorate for his dissertation work on continuous speech recognition.
Chowning1967: John Chowning, a Stanford PhD in music, develops his ideas on computer synthesis of music at SAIL, leading to a patented synthesizer that is licensed to Yamaha. Chowning later forms Stanford's Center for Computer Research in Music and Acoustics.
1968: The Digital Systems Laboratory (later named the Computer Systems Laboratory) is established.
1968: The Computer Forum, an industrial affiliates group, is started by Professors Ed McCluskey, Arthur Samuel and Bill Miller.
1969: SAIL becomes one of the first nodes on the ARPAnet.
1969: Victor Scheinman, a mechanical engineering student working at SAIL, develops one of the first robotic arms.
1970: Ed Feigenbaum initiates the Heuristic Programming Project (HPP)—home of many ensuing AI programs and projects.
1972: Gio Wiederhold develops a time-oriented database system.
Cerf1974: Vint Cerf (on the faculty 1972-1976) and students and Bob Kahn (DARPA) publish the Transmission Control Protocol (TCP), a key component of the Internet.
1974: Stanford's NIH-sponsored SUMEX-AIM resource, headed by Ed Feigenbaum and Joshua Lederberg, demonstrates the power of the ARPAnet for scientific collaboration.
Knuth1977: Don Knuth begins working on TeX, a document-typesetting program.
1979: Doctoral student Hans Moravec demonstrates robot navigation indoors and out-of-doors by the "Stanford Cart" at SAIL.
1979: The department moves from many scattered locations to Margaret Jacks Hall in the Quad.
1981: Bill Yeager, working at SUMEX-AIM, is a central person in the development of the first multiple-protocol router. A version is later licensed by a Stanford startup, Cisco Systems, in 1986.
1982: Sun Microsystems is founded by Andreas Bechtolsheim (an electrical engineering doctoral student), Scott McNealy, Vinod Khosla and Bill Joy. Vaughan Pratt played a key role in software development.
1982: Xerox Altos computers are installed in the basement of Margaret Jacks Hall. They introduce computer science students to WYSIWYG ("what you see is what you get") output.
1982: James Clark and students found Silicon Graphics, a producer of high-performance computer graphics machines.
1982: The Knowledge Systems Lab is founded by Ed Feigenbaum and Bruce Buchanan.
MIPS1984: MIPS Computer Systems Inc. is founded by John Hennessy and others.
1984: Cisco Systems is founded by Leonard Bosack (Computer Science MS '81, Computer Facilities Director in the Department of Computer Science) and Sandy Lerner (Economics MS '81).
1985: The department moves from the School of Humanities and Sciences to the School of Engineering.
1986: The university begins offering an undergraduate major in computer science in September and establishes offices and clusters in Tresidder Union.
1987: Gene Golub and other faculty in the Mathematics and Mechanical Engineering departments establish the program in Scientific Computing and Computational Mathematics (SCCM).
1988: SUIF—a compiler research project involving Monica Lam, John Hennessy and others—begins.
Winograd1990: Terry Winograd begins the Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) program.
Levoy1992: Marc Levoy begins a project to build a 3-D fax machine (1992-1996). The research leads to the Digital Michelangelo Project, begun in 1998, and the Digital Forma Urbis Romae Project, begun in 1999.
1994: David Filo and Jerry Yang (Electrical Engineering/Computer Systems Laboratory doctoral candidates) found Yahoo!
1994: Digital Library Initiative Phase I begins.
1995: Jeff Ullman's data mining project, MIDAS, begins. Even though the core of MIDAS comes from the InfoLab at Stanford, participants are also from the AI and Graphics groups as well as the Statistics and Linguistics departments.
1995: Toy Story, the first fully computer-generated movie, uses the Renderman shading language, whose principal designer was Pat Hanrahan.
Gates1995: Department begins move into the new William Gates Computer Science Building in mid-December. It is officially dedicated on January 30, 1996.
1997: Bill Dally initiates projects to develop a programmable architecture for achieving the performance of special-purpose hardware for graphics and image/signal processing and to develop several high-speed signaling techniques for off-chip communication.
1998: Computer science doctoral students Sergey Brin and Larry Page found Google.
1999: Armando Fox, Pat Hanrahan and Terry Winograd initiate the iRoom Project for interactive workspaces.
2003: The department is a primary participant in the Portia project to look "comprehensively at sensitive data in a networked world."
2005: Stanley, Stanford's robot auto, wins the DARPA Grand Challenge by completing a 132-mile drive autonomously in the California/Nevada desert.
2005: John Mitchell is Stanford's principal investigator for a multi-university project, called TRUST, to design, build and operate trustworthy information systems.