Computer Science

Department Chair: Michael R. Peterson , Ph.D.


Professors Emeriti:

  • Bill H. Chen, Ph.D.
  • John M. Gersting, Ph.D.
  • Judith L. Gersting, Ph.D.


Associate Professors:

Assistant Professor:

Jr. Specialist:

Computer science is not the science of the computer–it is the science of problem-solving using a computer. If you are a computer science major, you will see this in many forms–the study of algorithms, of machine hardware, of programming languages, operating systems, database design, and more. The career opportunities are equally varied–software engineer, database manager, network administrator, project manager, and many others. The U. S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, part of the U.S. Department of Labor, predicts that for 2006–2016, three of the six occupations that will be among the fastest growing and register the largest numerical growth will be computing related occupations.

Because computers are so pervasive, a computer science degree gives you the opportunity to make an impact in the world of science, business, health care, education, the law, art, entertainment, or almost anything else that interests you. Even if you are not a computer science major, taking computer science courses will improve your logical thinking and problem solving skills.


The mission of the Computer Science Department is to:

  • Educate computer science majors in a rigorous B.S. degree program so that graduates are prepared to enter high-quality technical professional positions or go on to graduate programs
  • Provide computer education that serves the needs of various student components of the University

Goals for Student Learning in the Major

Upon graduation from the program, a computer science major will be able to:

  1. Apply concepts and techniques from computing and mathematics to both theoretical and practical problems.
  2. Demonstrate fluency in at least one programming language and acquaintance with at least three more.
  3. Design, analyze, and apply many types of algorithms.
  4. Demonstrate a fundamental understanding of computer systems.
  5. Analyze problems and identify and define the computing requirements appropriate to their solutions.
  6. Design, implement, and evaluate software systems working both individually and collaboratively.
  7. Communicate effectively orally and in writing.
  8. Demonstrate the knowledge, skills, and attitudes for lifelong self-development.
  9. Analyze the local and global impact of computing on individuals and society.
  10. Demonstrate a fundamental understanding of social, professional, ethical, legal, and security issues in computing.

Special Features of the Computer Science Program

Computer Science at UH Hilo offers you small class sizes, very available faculty who take a great interest in student success, opportunities for team experiences, and a strong sense of community among the upper-division students. Students in this program generally score above the national average on the Major Field Achievement Test in Computer Science, and graduates are employed by major companies in Hawaiʻi and on the mainland.

The year-long software engineering sequence, CS 460-461 Software Engineering I (3), Software Engineering II (3) , provides a project-based capstone experience that draws on the knowledge and skills made available from previous courses and emphasizes the teamwork needed to solve real-world problems.

The Department also offers a number of courses designed for non-computer-science majors: CS 100 Prin Of Computer Sci (3) , CS 101 Digital Tools for Info World (3) , CS 171 Data Science Fundamentals in R (3) , CS 172 Python for Data Analysis (3) , CS 200-201 Web Technology I (3), Web Technology II (3) , and CS 300 Web Site Management (3) . These courses are heavily laboratory-oriented, giving students considerable hands-on experience. In order to assist students in mastering the technologies they encounter in these courses, the Department has developed a number of learning aids, including specialized laboratory manuals, specialized software, audio-visual tutorial files, and carefully structured laboratory exercises.

The UH Hilo Computer Science Department occupies three labs, two classrooms, a network administrative office, and several nearby faculty offices. All laboratory and office workstations are part of a local area network and also have high-speed Internet connections. All workstations are set up with connections to both the department’s Windows servers and Linux servers, as instructional and research needs require.