/ Jana Winkler
20 Years of Computer Science at the University of Basel
On 2 February 2024, celebrations took place commemorating 20 years of Computer Science at the University of Basel. The event was organized by the Department of Mathematics and Computer Science and the Responsible Digital Society Research Network.
After reflecting on the founding years of Computer Science at the University of Basel, in collaboration with the Moritz Straus Foundation, the Rectorate, and the Dean's Office of the Faculty of Sciences, the Department of Mathematics and Computer Science conducted a festive event under the theme "The Future of Computer Science in Research and Education" to mark the 20th anniversary of computer science studies in Basel. More than 150 guests followed the invitation, including current and former students, researchers, and staff. The event was opened by Prof. Jiří Černý, Head of the Department of Mathematics and Computer Science. Greetings were then given by the Rector Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. mult. Andrea Schenker-Wicki, who highlighted the impressive development of computer science over the past 20 years in relation to societal, technical, and economic developments.
Two presentations then focused on the future of computer science research. In the first presentation, Prof. Dr. Joachim Buhmann (ETH Zurich, Institute for Machine Learning) compellingly portrayed Artificial Intelligence as a turning point in intellectual history and discussed the resulting consequences. The second lecture by Dr. Yannic Kilcher (Founder and CTO of Deep Judge, Founder of Open Assistant, YouTuber) addressed the skills that will be in demand for future computer scientists.
Following these presentations, a panel discussion moderated by Prof. Dr. Nadja Braun Binder (Vice-Rector People & Culture, University of Basel) took place. Participants in the discussion included Prof. Dr. Joachim Buhmann, Markus Leuenberger (Rector at Gymnasium Laufental-Thierstein), Dr. Yannic Kilcher, Dr. Gabriele Röger (Lecturer at the Department of Mathematics and Computer Science, University of Basel), and Deborah Strub (Head of the Digital Initiative be-digital at the Chamber of Commerce beider Basel). The panel specifically addressed the opportunities and challenges expected in computer science education due to the increasing prevalence of artificial intelligence methods. Another focus was the exchange of ideas across various educational institutions and levels (high school and university) up to the "consumers" in the industry and their expectations for computer science education.
During the subsequent reception, guests had the opportunity to engage in discussions and reminisce about the last 20 years of Computer Science at the University of Basel.