The evolving nature of engineering has been justified by the growing convergence between science and engineering. By bringing these disciplines together, accompanied by a broad engagement with collaborative research work related to computer science and computer engineering, the Institution promises to produce key performers in the technological passage towards a high-tech society, innovation, and global breakthroughs in engineering, science and technology. This has been the principal motif that has inspired the Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering and Computer Science (ECECS).
Any country that expects to make a significant contribution, and have a decisive participation in the new global order, must also be successful as an information society and must develop a strong base in Computer Science. This must be achieved (among other things) by instituting programs that will educate key contributors in this area, and which in turn, will synergistically provide for the education of additional human resources in the areas that Computer Science supports.
Puerto Rico has not reached a significant number of graduates in Computer Science, due to the small number of programs available on the island. These undergraduate programs are not able to produce enough graduates to make significant contributions in areas of long-term relevance to the island’s information economy, such as research, teaching, and development, due to the inherent limitations of a four-year curriculum. PRIDCO and Polytechnic University have identified the need for a Graduate Program in Computer Science at the master’s level as a key factor in supporting the role that Computer Science should have within our information economy.
The Polytechnic University of Puerto Rico with financial support from PRIDCO is proposing to create two (2) master degree programs in Computer Science to fill this knowledge gap. The proposed programs will also serve as a pipeline feeding into the Computer and Information Science and Engineering (CISE-PhD.) doctoral level program recently introduced at the University of Puerto Rico Mayaguez Campus. Together with representing additional entry points into the Doctoral program, these programs meet the islands vision in the high technology sector. The world economy has undergone a transition from one primarily based on industrial development to one based on information. The information society is heavily dependent on the use of computer technology as its core technological infrastructure. Computer Science is one of the disciplines that are accountable for the human resources needed to support this infrastructure. The need for graduate computer scientists is pervasive in scientific research, academic institutions, business, commerce, and industries such as the services and manufacturing sectors. The demand for professionals in related areas is all encompassing, and continues to increase in our society, being critical to its well being. The need for academic programs that will prepare these candidates for the new challenges and changes (that those organizations are constantly going through) is a reality that creates a demand for the proposed academic programs. The leaders and researchers that contribute to the development of current and future advancements in the area of computer science can take advantage of the professional opportunities that arise as R & D scientists, consultants, project managers, team leaders, chief technology officers, software engineers, knowledge engineers and many more occupations that represent high profile careers. These careers make big contributions to our society, as well as to our economy. Computer scientists can fill many of these professional gaps. The large concentration of enterprises in the San Juan metropolitan area creates a geographically focused demand for an advanced program that will provide these enterprises with an alternative to assist them in upgrading their human resources pool in Computer Science with a minimal disruption to their operations. Puerto Rico has made a major commitment toward becoming a leader in the advanced technologies sector. The areas of societal impact of the programs are plentiful, spanning over a large number of occupations including self-employment opportunities. The demand for academic positions in this area for faculty and staff members is also well documented.
These programs represent a viable career upgrade path for students that need to widen the scope of their current responsibilities in related areas. The PUPR is highly confident that the program will have a very good acceptance, given that the degree offered is considered a promising opportunity for advancement, leading to a profitable career that aims towards the fulfillment of the graduate’s personal and professional goals.
The National Science Foundation aims to ensure the vitality of the human resource base of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics in the United States and to reinforce its diversity by offering approximately 1,000 graduate fellowships in this competition. The Graduate Research Fellowship provides three years of support for graduate study leading to research-based master’s or doctoral degrees and is intended for students who are at the early stages of their graduate study. The Graduate Research Fellowship Program (GRFP) invests in graduate education for a cadre of diverse individuals who demonstrate their potential to successfully complete graduate degree programs in disciplines relevant to the mission of the National Science Foundation.