The Department of Informatics was formed in 2002 when the then-Department of Information and Computer Science became the Donald Bren School of Information and Computer Sciences. Originally, the school housed two departments: the Department of Computer Science and the Department of Informatics. The Department of Statistics joined shortly thereafter.
The mission and values of the Department of Informatics can be traced back to well before 2002, with software engineering, human-computer interaction and computer-supported cooperative work being key areas of strength at UC Irvine for decades. As one example, the term “The Irvine School” is widely recognized and refers to an intellectual perspective on information technology in complex organizational settings that emerged over the last three decades of the 20th century. As another example, graduate students and faculty here laid the foundations for REST and WebDAV, two architectural styles underlying critical elements of the modern World Wide Web.
Befitting the breadth of questions that arise when studying living, working and building in a digital world, today the department has an even broader research and teaching portfolio. While our traditional strengths remain cornerstones of what we do, we continually seek to expand our boundaries and now actively engage and publish in the following areas:
- Computer games and virtual worlds
- Computational-social relationships
- Computer-supported cooperative work
- Digital media and learning
- Health informatics
- Human-computer interaction
- Information retrieval and visualization
- Interactive and collaborative technologies
- Organizational science
- Privacy and personalization
- Programming languages
- Science and technology studies
- Software engineering
- Sustainability & Green IT
- Ubiquitous computing
In the past decade, the department has grown considerably and now consists of 26 faculty members, some 100 Ph.D. and M.S. students and more than 700 undergraduates across our various majors. Throughout, we have deliberately sought to balance our expertise. Our faculty have advanced degrees in anthropology, communication, comparative literature, computer science, education, information science, interactive arts, law, management and psychology. Our incoming students, too, arrive with fresh perspectives and a wide range of interests and educational backgrounds. This is the way we like it, as Informatics naturally requires a broad, interdisciplinary approach.
Today, our department is internationally known as one of the top institutions in informatics. Our students, staff and faculty are our strength, always seeking to innovate — in the research questions we ask, the approaches we take to answer those questions and the educational programs we offer.