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50 years of Computer Science at York

Changing the world for half a century

On 1 January 1973, Professor Ian C Pyle was appointed Founding Professor of Computer Science. This was a defining moment for the history of Computer Science at the University of York, and we consider this to be the point at which our discipline was formally recognised at this institution. As such, we celebrated 50 Years of Computer Science at York in 2022, with a series of lectures, an exhibition, outreach events, and a day of celebration on 30 June.

This companion website is an ever-growing archive of the first 50 years of Computer Science at York, and provides a showcase to the work of a number of staff, past and present, including in particular Bill Freeman and Ian Pyle. 


Fifty years ago, digital computers were such rare (and cumbersome) devices that what you could do with them was an uncharted territory and needed the new discipline of Computer Science to begin to map that territory. Now, computers are everywhere and what we can do with them permeates our lives, from digital games and Zoom calls to pacemakers and delivery robots. But nonetheless they continue to open up new possibilities, new territories,  and here in Computer Science at York, we are using our teaching and research to chart the way forward in a variety of ways.

It is through our vision at York to better understand the landscape of safe, ethical and secure computational systems that we hope to map out what good we will do with computers in fifty years time and beyond.

Professor Paul Cairns, Head of Department