At 30 years, the Department of Computer Science is the youngest department in the Whiting School. The “father” of the discipline at the university may be William H. Huggins, who was a professor of electrical engineering from 1954 to 1984. It was he who encouraged Johns Hopkins administrators to acquire the university’s first computer in the early 1960s, and he became a strong proponent of using computers as teaching tools.
According to a colleague, Huggins “was very much ahead of the curve and knew that personal computing would be a big thing—he foresaw that development.” Through Huggins’ efforts as chair of the Department of Electrical Engineering, instruction in computer science began as an interdisciplinary program. This collaborative program with the departments of Statistics and Operations Research lasted until 1983, when computer science became part of electrical engineering. In just a few short years, computer science had significant growth and broke away to become the Whiting School’s ninth department, in 1986.