2023 Rosser Lecture feature’s Georgia Tech’s Dr. Zvi Galil on online MS programs and the future of higher education

Dr. Zvi Galil

The Rosser Lecture series is back! The 2023 lecture will feature Dr. Zvi Galil, Professor and former Dean of Computer Science at Georgia Institute of Technology, speaking about ”Georgia Tech’s online MOOC-based Master’s Program and the future of higher education.” Dr. Galil will discuss the success of the online master’s in computer science at Georgia Tech (OMSCS), launched in 2014. Since then, enrollment has grown from 380 to over 12,750 in fall 2023. The program has also paved the way for more than 70 similar MOOC-based (massive open online course) affordable online MS programs. The 2023 Rosser lecture will take place on October 9 at 4pm in Computer Sciences room 1240. On October 10, Dr. Galil will also give a Theory Seminar.

Dr. Galil says, “There is a shortage of one million computing professionals in the US, so OMSCS is satisfying a great national need.” In 2017 Georgia Tech expanded its online offerings to its undergraduate computer science students. The talk will describe the OMSCS program, how it came about, its first nine years, and what Georgia Tech has learned from the OMSCS experience. It will also discuss the speaker’s vision of the future of higher education with a much larger role for online learning.

Dr. Galil has been a world leading authority on algorithms, complexity, cryptography, and experimental design. He has written over 200 scientific papers, edited five books, and has given more than 250 lectures in 30 countries. He is a fellow of the ACM and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and a member of the National Academy of Engineering.

More details:

In May 2013, Georgia Tech together with its partners, Udacity and AT&T, announced a new online master’s degree in computer science delivered through the platform popularized by massively open online courses (MOOCs). This new online MS in CS, or OMSCS for short, cost less than $7,000 total, compared to a price tag of $40,000 for an MS CS at comparable public universities and upwards of $70,000 at private universities.

The first-of-its-kind MOOC-based program was launched in January 2014 and has sparked a worldwide conversation about higher education in the 21st century. President Barack Obama has praised OMSCS by name twice, and over 1,200 news stories mentioned the program. It’s been described as a potential “game changer” and “ground zero of the revolution in higher education.” Harvard University researchers concluded that OMSCS is “the first rigorous evidence showing an online degree program can increase educational attainment” and predicted that OMSCS will single-handedly raise the number of annual MS CS graduates in the United States by at least seven percent.

The Rosser Lecture:

The Rosser Lecture series was named in honor of J. Barkley Rosser, who was a founding member of the Computer Sciences Department at UW-Madison. A student of Alonzo Church, he and Church are known for the Church–Rosser Property for lambda calculus. Rosser, with Stephen Kleene, another UW-Madison professor, proved that the original lambda calculus was inconsistent. Rosser also proved a stronger version of Gödel’s first incompleteness theorem, replacing $\omega$-consistency by consistency, as it is known today. In number theory, Rosser proved that the n-th prime number is greater than $n \ln ⁡n$.

Full Bio:

Dr. Zvi Galil earned BS and MS degrees in Applied Mathematics from Tel Aviv University, both summa cum laude, and his PhD in Computer Science from Cornell University. After a post-doctorate in IBM’s Thomas J. Watson research center, he returned to Israel and joined the faculty of Tel-Aviv University, serving as chair of the Computer Science department in 1979-1982.

In 1982 he joined the faculty of Columbia University, serving as the chair of the Computer Science Department in 1989-1994 and as Morris and Alma A. Schapiro Dean of The Fu Foundation School of Engineering & Applied Science in 1995-2007. In 2007 Galil returned to Tel Aviv University and served as president. In 2009 he resigned as president and returned to the faculty as a professor of Computer Science. In July 2010 he became The John P. Imlay, Jr. Dean of Computing at Georgia Tech. In June 2019 he stepped down as dean and became the Frederick G. Storey Chair in Computing and Executive Advisor to Online Programs. Dr. Galil was a moving force behind the establishment of Georgia Tech’s online masters in computer science (OMSCS), which by Spring 2022 had grown to more than 12,000 students representing more than 100 countries. Inside Higher Education noted that OMSCS “suggests that institutions can successfully deliver high-quality, low-cost degrees to students at scale.” The Chronicle of Higher Ed noted that the OMSCS “may have the best chance of changing how much students pay for a traditional degree.”

Dr. Galil’s research areas have been the design and analysis of algorithms, complexity, cryptography and experimental design. He has written over 200 scientific papers, edited 5 books, and has given more than 250 lectures in 30 countries. He is a fellow of the ACM and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and a member of the National Academy of Engineering.