DEPARTMENT OF COMPUTER SCIENCE
Since the department’s founding in 1968, our faculty have made pioneering contributions to fundamental and interdisciplinary fields of computing. Our recent accomplishments include foundational results in DNA computing, Internet technologies, software architectures and software development modeling, human-robot interaction, statistical natural language processing, game theory, human behavior and Academy Award-winning work in computer graphics.
INFORMATION SCIENCES INSTITUTE
Spun off from the Rand Corp. in 1972 as a major ARPANET node, the USC Viterbi Information Sciences Institute conducts research across an exceptionally wide range of advanced information processing, computer and communications technologies. Researchers here played a key role in developing the protocols of the Internet (TCP/IP) and the .com Domain Name System, and today is home to 330 personnel, including 150 researchers and 80 graduate research assistants, bridging multiple disciplines from AI to software engineering to network security.
INSTITUTE FOR CREATIVE TECHNOLOGIES
Established in 1999, the USC Institute for Creative Technologies is a U.S. Department of Defense-sponsored University Affiliated Research Center working in collaboration with the U.S. Army Research Laboratory. Here, leaders in artificial intelligence, graphics, virtual reality and narrative advance low-cost immersive techniques and technologies to solve problems facing service members, students and society.
BIG DATA AND MACHINE LEARNING
In this area, researchers are developing a framework for rapid integration of heterogeneous Big Data information sources. The framework captures complex interrelationships and interdependence across datasets and establishes probabilistic linkages among distributed content, complementing existing techniques by providing probabilistic queries that take into account the discovered structure among the data sources. To facilitate rich analysis of the integrated datasets, we leverage existing statistical learning, machine learning and data mining techniques.
QUANTUM AND THEORETICAL COMPUTING
A joint effort of Lockheed Martin Corp.,the Quantum Computation Center is exploring the power of adiabatic quantum computing. Computer scientists and USC Information Sciences Institute researchers conduct theoretical and experimental quantum research on the D-Wave One system, the world’s first commercial adiabatic quantum optimizer and by far the largest functional quantum information processor ever built. In the theoretical arena, USC boasts the invention of DNA Computing, a branch of computing which uses DNA, biochemistry and molecular biology hardware, instead of the traditional silicon-based computer technologies.
INTERNET AND CYBER SECURITY
Computer networks teams explore sensor networks and cybersecurity, along with network infrastructure, design and simulation, among other thrusts. Our researchers emphasize both theory and practice across a wide range of technologies and potential uses. For example, current initiatives include research, development and applications in data center networking and cloud-based systems; cyber infrastructure for environmental sensor networks; and Internet measurement and monitoring, including the highly regarded DETER cybersecurity research and testbed project.
NATURAL LANGUAGE PROCESSING
The Natural Language Group at the USC Information Sciences Institute conducts research in natural language processing and computational linguistics, developing new linguistic and mathematical techniques to make better technology. With triumphs like IBM’s “Jeopardy”-winning Watson and breaking codes likes the Copiale Cipher, researchers have a wide range of ongoing projects, including those related to statistical machine translation, question answering, summarization, ontologies, information retrieval and natural language generation.
The Information Sciences Institute operates one of the world’s largest artificial intelligence groups. Expertise includes natural language, information integration, education and “serious games.” We also explore adaptive robotics, digital government, unexpected events and other leading-edge disciplines.Research spans AI theory, technical aspects and practical implementation, such as building working prototypes and partnering with industry to create commercial applications.
Recognized as the No. game design program in North America by the Princeton Review, USC Games represents an exciting collaboration between the School of Cinematic Arts’ Interactive Media and Games Division and the Viterbi School of Engineering’s Department of Computer Science. Incorporating elements of design, artistry and engineering, USC Games offers an utterly unique educational experience for students, and serves as the launching pad for them to play significant roles in the game design field. With rigorous, hands- on instruction from master designers, engineers and working professionals in the industry, students have an unprecedented level of opportunity to delve into every aspect of creating games for a global audience.
With one of the most diverse groups of robots in academia, robotics research in the Department of Computer Science focuses on the science and technology of robotic systems, with broad and far-reaching applications. With projects spanning the major areas of robotics, including service, socially assistive, distributed, networked, marine, aerial, humanoid, nano, reconfigurable and space, our work impacts a broad spectrum of applications, including assistance, training and rehabilitation, education, environmental monitoring and cleanup, emergency response, homeland security and entertainment.
The Virtual Humans Group advances research in computer-generated characters that use language, have appropriate gestures, show emotion and react to verbal and non-verbal stimuli. Widely considered the most comprehensive research project of its kind, the Institute for Creative Technologies virtual human effort has applications in training and education and in furthering social science research about real people. Current research spans cognitive architecture, embodiment, emotion, integrated virtual humans, recognition of non-verbal cues and natural language processing.