Computer Science Department

Over the course of three decades, the computer science department at Washington and Lee has built a curriculum that provides outstanding computer science education in a liberal arts setting.  We offer students courses in all of the major areas of computing, as well as opportunities to participate in several ongoing research programs sponsored by our faculty.

Beginning students take a two-semester introductory programming sequence course in the Python language, where they become proficient in problem solving and developing software using the latest and most advanced programming techniques.  They then take courses in software development with Java, computer organization (assembly language and C programming), programming language design, and algorithm analysis.  Electives in many areas are then available.  You can enter the honors program and write a senior thesis if you qualify.

Research areas included robotics, web applications, digital humanities, and genetic programming.  The department also has strong interdisciplinary ties to such areas as neuroscience, engineering, mathematics, business administration, and digital humanities.

Faculty sponsor student research with summer internships, and you can also find summer opportunities at other universities, in government, or in the private sector.  Some graduates have been admitted to some of the top graduate schools in the country.  Other graduates use our aggressive career office and strong alumni network to find permanent employment in government or the private sector.

Students have majored in computer science and also majored in almost any other subject here.  Many students have another science major, such as biology or physics; some have a second major in our commerce school, and a few have a second major in a subject like philosophy, classics, or theater.  Students can also have a minor in a subject that offers one, where you take approximately one half of the courses required for  a major.  In all cases, we encourage our majors to pursue a broad sampling of subjects in the liberal arts, which we believe is the best way to get a true education.

We have a collegial and fun-loving group of students in the program at any given time, and our record of attracting women and students of underrepresented groups to the major is unsurpassed.  Our majors, like other students, are involved outside the classroom in many extracurricular clubs, organizations, and athletic teams.

In short, if you want a first-rate computer science education at a first-rate liberal arts college, you should check out the computer science department at Washington and Lee.  Please feel free to contact the department chair, Professor Sara Sprenkle at, if you have any questions.

Computer Science Department Blog

Thursday, October 28, 2021

CS’s Professor Khan has publications!

Professor Taha Khan published 2 papers in AY 2020-21.   Both papers were published in the same conference, USENIX Security.  The USENIX Association is a nonprofit organization, dedicated to supporting the advanced computing systems communities and furthering the reach of innovative research.  Professor Khan’s papers were entitled “Helping Users Automatically Find and Manage Sensitive, Expendable Files …

Thursday, September 2, 2021

Spotlight on Summer Research Scholars

Abdelrahman AboEitta ’23, CS Major Abdel developed the latest version of ChemTutor (, an online tutorial to help prepare students for college-level chemistry.  ChemTutor was developed by faculty and students at 4 small, liberal arts institutions and is funded by the Associated Colleges of the South.  Beyond developing new functionality for instructors, Abdel used Docker …

Tuesday, July 20, 2021

Honors Thesis: Evolutionary Control of Micro Aerial Vehicles in Simulation– Coletta R. Fuller ’21

Coletta, a Johnson Scholar, double majored  in computer science and music, and minored in creative writing.  She presented her Honors Thesis on Evolutionary Control of Micro Aerial Vehicles in Simulation via Zoom on Wednesday April 14th. This thesis examined the challenge of safely landing quadcopters in simulation, using OpenAI gym environments to evaluate various machine …

Tuesday, June 29, 2021

CS Professor, Kefu Lu, has published a paper!

Kefu Lu, an assistant professor with W&L’s Computer Science Department, has recently published a paper.  This paper will be showcased, in September,  at the International European Conference for Parallel and Distributed Computing (Euro-Par),  one of the premier venues in parallel computing. The paper is titled “A Scalable Approximation Algorithm for Weighted Longest Common Subsequence” and focuses …

Tuesday, June 8, 2021

2021 Computer Science Degrees, Scholarships, Prizes and Awards

Congratulations to the Class of 2021 Computer Science Majors and Minors for their outstanding achievements! They are listed here, as they appear in the Commencement Bulletin. 2021 Graduates: TEMITOPE ELIZABETH ADEYANJU – Bachelor of Science, cum laude KUSH ATTAL – Bachelor of Science, Phi Beta Kappa, summa cum laude JEFFREY MICHAEL BRADLEY – Bachelor of …

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