Tuesday, September 04, 2012

But I had to grow bigger. So bigger I got.

First day of lecture for CS 222, Algorithms at the End of the Wire.  They stuck me in a classroom that holds 20 comfortably, and 25 or so can be done.  I'm pretty sure well over 50 showed up.  We're still going through increases in the CS student population, and there's a shortage of CS classes this fall due to various leaves and such, so I'm expecting a larger class than usual.  When I first taught the course in 1999 it had something like 45 people;  it may be bigger this time.

Salil Vadhan had it better/worse (depending on how you look at these things).  He's teaching the intro theory class (complexity classes, Turing machines, etc.), and the room was well over-full.  Last year's class size was about 70;  I imagine he'll end up with between 100 and 150 this year, and the upper end of that range wouldn't surprise me.

It's exciting to see CS growing like this again.  I like seeing the large classes, all the student interest.  The more the merrier.  I'm eagerly awaiting the final enrollment numbers for CS this year.  Still, the nagging worry in the back of my head: anyone know when the next CS bust is going to take place?


Anonymous said...

Does this mean more hiring? :)

Michael Mitzenmacher said...

We will be hiring this year, yes.

Anonymous said...

I hope they sort it out right away. That is really discouraging for students shopping classes.

Luca Aceto said...

This term's first year Programming course at Reykjavik University is being taken by about 320 students and all the first year CS courses have at least 240 students. Note that these are only students in the School of Computer Science.

Last year we admitted 180 students. This year we admitted a lot more. There is resurgence of interest in CS, which is seen as a better investment for one's future than business studies or financial engineering, say.

There are ebbs and flows, but I like to think that enrollments in CS-based degrees will be high for a while.

We will be hiring this year, yes.

Despite the student numbers, we are not.

Michael Mitzenmacher said...

Anon #3: Yes, no worries, I have a bigger classroom already for Thursday, that can handle 60+ if needed.

Aaron said...

We're seeing this at Penn too. I'm teaching computability theory, and we have 140 students enrolled.