Research - 07.10.2020 - 00:00 

Inauguration of the School of Computer Science at the HSG

The University of St.Gallen (HSG) established the School of Computer Science (SCS-HSG) in August 2020. At the official inauguration on 7 October 2020, the new professors presented their laboratory and the rooms in which future technologies and innovations will be developed in St.Gallen.

7 October 2020. Information technology has evolved into the driving force of value creation and determines innovative power and economic potency on a global scale – not only for individual companies, but also from the perspective of society as a whole. The IT education offensive of the Canton of St.Gallen counteracts the skills shortage and makes the region more attractive for business. It creates the basis for the local population and local business to be among the winners in the digitalisation stake. The Canton of St.Gallen is intended to be a leading location in the digitalisation of business models, and its citizens are intended to help shape digital change actively and with foresight. The special credit line for the cantonal IT education offensive was approved by a clear majority of St.Gallen’s voting population in early 2019.

Launch of the IT education offensive

The IT education offensive covers all the school levels. This is pioneering work in Switzerland. “In all five focal points of the education offensive, people are working at full steam to set up and press ahead with their projects. Now, the IT initiative has reached the threshold between conceptualisation and implementation. The School of Computer Sciences that has been inaugurated today is the first visible result. It marks the Canton’s presence in the field of digital education far and wide and has the potential for excellence at the top of the cantonal education offensive,” said Cantonal Education Minister Stefan Kölliker during the inauguration ceremony of the School of Computer Science in St.Gallen’s Rosenbergstrasse 30.

Start-up atmosphere in St.Gallen

“We would like to reinforce the University of St.Gallen’s regional roots by means of cooperation projects with Eastern Swiss businesses for one thing, but also become an internationally visible IT centre,” said Prof. Dr. Barbara Weber, the first Dean of the SCS-HSG since its foundation. Weber’s fields of research include the user-friendly design of software applications. “I’m enjoying the start-up atmosphere among us. We’re all working with a great deal of vigour and fun to set up our School and the Computer Science courses at the HSG,” says Weber.

“Studies in computer science in St.Gallen are intended to be genuine Computer Science studies which are integratively combined with specific knowledge in economic, legal and cultural sciences, as well as with the culture of the HSG,” said HSG President Ehrenzeller. Eastern Switzerland would thus become an important location for Computer Science specialists who have simultaneously benefited from a business-oriented education.

With the inauguration of the School of Computer Science, the HSG’s vision of an integrative business university had attained a new breadth and quality: according to the University’s Roadmap 2025, the University of St.Gallen promotes solution-oriented research into socially relevant problems, integrative thought and action, as well as responsibility and entrepreneurship. “In all these areas, new technologies, advancing digitalisation and the possibilities of artificial intelligence confront us with new challenges, which we will have to tackle more intensively in the future,” said Bernhard Ehrenzeller.

Studying Computer Science at the HSG

The new School is offering the first degree course at the HSG in the field of Computer Science. Until the start of the first Master’s programme in Autumn Semester 2021, further start-up work will have to be done. The undergraduate course is expected to start in Autumn Semester 2022. The five subject areas Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning, Cyber Security, Data Science, Interaction- and Communication-based Systems, as well as Software Systems Programming and Development, which were set up as early as 2018, are constantly being extended and supplemented by further subject areas, such as Cyber Security and Human Interaction.

Helping to shape future technologies while additionally acquiring sound economic knowledge: this will be offered by the new Master’s programme in Computer Science (MCS-HSG) at the University of St.Gallen from autumn 2021. According to the motto “Where Computer Science meets Entrepreneurship”, the HSG combines an Computer Science curriculum with up-to-date core subjects and the option to focus on specific fields with the conveyance of competencies in connection with new business models, digital innovation, entrepreneurship and leadership. The course will provide an extensive basis for a professional career as an Computer Science entrepreneur or as an executive in a technology company. For the first time at the University of St.Gallen, graduates will be awarded the degree of a Master of Science. Applications for the programme have been possible since the beginning of October 2020.

Programmes in Data Science or Software and Systems Engineering

Students have the choice of two programmes: Data Science or Software and Systems Engineering. The course language will be English. “We’re very much looking forward to welcoming the first computer Science students at the HSG soon,” said Prof. Dr. Siegfried Handschuh, Director of the new Master’s curriculum and holder of the Chair of Data Science. His specialist interest is mainly in the use of large data volumes, particularly of text and language data. “Our Master’s course will be characterised by an innovative and unique combination of our focal topics in Computer Science and the competence to implement this knowledge in business as well,” said Handschuh. “And close supervision and a personal exchange with students are fundamental for us.”