Computer science is a rapidly evolving discipline, born in the mid-20th century with roots in mathematics, logic, and engineering.

Computing has become a necessary tool in nearly every area of human endeavor: critical to our workplace production, to our communication, and a means to play and to express ourselves artistically. Regardless of what computer science seems to be at the beginning of a four year course of study, both the discipline itself and the student’s understanding of it will have changed substantially by the end. However, certain themes endure.

Computer science deals with problems: identifying those that are solvable in a computing environment, developing and applying appropriate algorithms for their solution, and dealing computationally with their complexity. Frequently these problems appear in the midst of incomplete, contradictory, and changing information. Indeed, much of computer science is devoted to creating software solutions to problems. Software development and computing in general rely on theory, on formalism, on abstraction, and on principles from engineering, but require more.
Computer scientists must be able to apply their own knowledge and understanding of how to solve problems computationally to situations involving both diverse people and subject matters. Software is used in human systems and must be built for humans, and so computer scientists must learn how to accomplish this. Powerful computational tools are as subject to abuse and social side effects as are physical tools and computer scientists must understand the broader role and implications of their work.
One of the benefits of gaining this technical competence in a liberal arts setting is the opportunity to develop sound communication skills. And while a strong classroom foundation in the fundamentals is essential, the rewards of internships, summer jobs, and independent projects can also be profound. Upon graduation most majors have entered professional positions where they have been very successful, while others have first pursued graduate study in computing or other disciplines.


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Michael K. Bradshaw

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Associate Professor of Computer Science • Chair of Computer Science Program Computer Science Work Olin - 113 Work Phone: 859.238.5404

Michael Bradshaw joined Centre as associate professor of computer science in 2014, where he had been visiting assistant professor since 2005 in addition to being associate professor of computer science at Hanover College.

His research interests include CyberKnight, an educational video game that guides students with no background in computational thought to college-level competency. Also, he is creating tools for Moodle, an open-source LMS, that can augment the learning experience for students.

Bradshaw earned a B.A. in computer science and mathematics from Centre in 1999, and a master’s degree and Ph.D. in computer science from the University of Massachusetts Amherst.


Thomas Allen

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Assistant Professor of Computer Science Centre College Work Olin Hall—115 Work Phone: 859.238.5307

Thomas Allen joined the Centre College faculty in 2016 as assistant professor of computer science.

His research interests include computational preferences, assistive technologies and smart environments, ethics in artificial intelligence, machine learning, decision support systems, social networks, and constraint satisfaction programs.

He received a B.S. in information and computer science from Georgia Institute of Technology, and a Ph.D. in computer science from the University of Kentucky.


File last update: 8/4/16

Alex Martin McAllister

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H. W. Stodghill, Jr. and Adele H. Stodghill Professor of Mathematics • Chair of Science and Mathematics Division Mathematics Work Olin Hall—119 Work Phone: 859.238.5408 Website: Personal Website:

Alex McAllister joined the Centre College faculty in 1999, and is H. W. Stodghill, Jr. and Adele H. Stodghill Professor of Mathematics. In 2009, he received the Kirk Teaching Award, and has been honored as a Centre Scholar both in 2005 and in 2010. He has prior teaching experience as a visiting assistant professor at Dartmouth College and a graduate instructor at the University of Notre Dame. McAllister was also a research assistant at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center.

McAllister’s scholarly interests include mathematical logic and foundations, and computability theory. His articles have been published in the Archive for Mathematical Logic, the Journal of Symbolic Logic, and the Mathematical Logic Quarterly. In 2009, Oxford University Press published A Transition to Advanced Mathematics: A Survey Course, which McAllister co-authored with William Johnston of Randolph-Macon College.

McAllister holds a B.S. from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, and a Ph.D. from the University of Notre Dame. He is a member of Phi Beta Kappa, Omicron Delta Kappa, and Pi Mu Epsilon.


File last updated: 8/29/13


EXPERT: Mathematical logic — Foundations and computability theory

Research interests in mathematical logic and foundations and computability theory. Articles published in Archive for Mathematical Logic and the Journal of Symbolic Logic.

David M. Toth

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Associate Professor of Computer Science Computer Science Work Olin - 114 Work Phone: 859.238.5405

David Toth is associate professor of computer science and joined Centre in 2014, having taught previously at the University of Mary Washington and Merrimack College as an assistant professor of computer science.

His research interests include performance comparisons of computer hardware for parallel computing, parallel computing education, and applications of parallel computing and supercomputing to science, including drug discovery.

Toth received a B.A. in mathematics from Connecticut College, and an M.S. and Ph.D. in computer science from Worcester Polytechnic Institute.