UCSC celebrates 25th Anniversary

The University of Colombo School of Computing (UCSC), a pioneer in the field of ICT higher education in Sri Lanka, is celebrating its 25th Anniversary. To celebrate this important occasion, the UCSC is carrying out several programmes throughout the year.

Director Prof Gihan Wikramanayake

UCSC Director Prof Gihan Wikramanayake said, "The Colombo University started the Department of Statistics and Computer Science (DSCS) in 1985. A year later it offered the first postgraduate programme in Computer Applications. The Institute of Computer Technology was set up in 1987 to offer postgraduate programmes. The first Master's programme was started in 1990 and the first graduation of the Computer Science batch was in 1992. The Bachelor of Information Technology (BIT) External Degree Programme was launched in the year 2000 and the Department of Computer Science was created in 2001 by splitting the DSCS into two departments."

Speaking of the background that prompted the establishment of the UCSC, Prof Wikramanayake said, "By about the year 2000, ICT driven economies began to make a big impact on the global economy and a great demand was created globally to produce ICT graduates. We saw the necessity of making preparations as a nation to this emerging global trend. The UCSC was established in 2002 to fulfil that necessity by merging the Department of Computer Science which was established in 2001 with the Institute of Computer Technology established in 1987. UCSC is the first Sri Lankan higher education institute to offer computer science programmes at all levels. This includes internal and external undergraduate programmes, online courses and degrees, and postgraduate programmes."

The ICT education process was broadened thereafter giving internal undergraduates to specialise in Computer Science from the first year. We launched the ICT Degree Programme in 2005, to fulfil the need for Information Systems Engineers in the ICT field. We made our external degree programme online in 2006 to enable overseas students to enrol in our degree programmes.

During the past 25 years, we have educated over 2000 internal undergraduates, over 4000 external undergraduates leading to diplomas and degrees, and over 1500 postgraduates. The services done by the UCSC to the national economy and the ICT industry is immeasurable. UCSC provides other computing services required by the government and the industry through its research groups, centres and company. When speaking about the UCSC, we can never forget the late Prof. V.K. Samaranayake, the "Father of IT" in Sri Lanka and the founder director of UCSC.

He was responsible in introducing computing at the University of Colombo way back in 1967 and setting up the DSCS, ICT and UCSC. The UCSC is fully equipped with nine student laboratories, two multimedia laboratories, two research laboratories, two video conferencing units and a digital studio. It is equipped with a wide fibre network, with the entire UCSC building complex fully wired for Internet access. UCSC has a state-of-the-art network-operating centre, wire-less internet connectivity and the library is well equipped with books, journals, CDs and provides Internet access to e-journals.

The UCSC is involved in many research areas such as Natural and Local Language Processing, Human Computer Interfaces, Image Processing and Vision, Cryptographic Systems, Multi Media, Virtual Reality, Intelligent Agent Systems, Pattern Recognition, Distributed Systems, Information Retrieval and Data Mining, Process Broker Modelling Systems, Web Based Business Services, Multi Media Database Systems, e-Learning, Strategic Planning and Management of IT, IT Policy and Multi Database Systems. UCSC also manages international conferences and an international journal.

The major goal of the UCSC is to prepare students for careers in Information and Communication Technology as Software Developers, Systems Analysts, Network Administrators, Database Administrators, Web Developers, IT Managers, IT Strategic Planners and IT Policy Makers. At present, the UCSC conducts five undergraduate programmes, three Master's degree programmes in Computer Science, Information Technology and Information Security, research degree programmes leading to MPhil and PhD degrees and over 20 short term certificate courses.

Among the various activities planned for, and already being activated to celebrate the 25th Anniversary of the University of Colombo School of Computing, the IFO++ IT Exhibition from October 28-30, ICTer (Sept/Oct) and REALWSN (Dec) international conferences, and monthly public lectures take pride of place.

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