6 October 2014

Open letter: Professors warn against planned merger

Open letter, Merger

Professors at the Department of Computer Sciences, DIKU sign an open letter to the Dean of the Faculty of Science arguing against a proposed merger with the Department of Mathematical Sciences, MATH. Here is the full text

University Post - Open letter: Professors warn against planned merger

Open letter to
Dean John Renner Hansen
Faculty of Science
University of Copenhagen
October 3, 2014

As faculty at the Department of Computer Science (DIKU), we strongly advise against the proposed merger between DIKU and the Mathematics department (MATH). There are no well-founded academic reasons for merging these two departments.

The perception of Computer Science as being closely related to Mathematics is outdated. Although this was originally the case, Computer Science has over the past 40 years developed into an independent research area with a clear academic identity and close ties to numerous disciplines both within and outside the natural sciences. Internationally, this development is reflected in an organizational splitting of Computer Science and Mathematics into separate departments. No top tier universities have departments comprising both Computer Science and Mathematics.

We are concerned that the proposed merger between DIKU and MATH will have negative effects on the academic dynamics and impeed the positive development which both departments have experienced –developments that have placed both departments in the forefront within several research areas.

Moreover, closing Computer Science as an independent department at UCPH will have a negative signal effect, nationally and internationally, that not only will impinge upon our academic reputation but also on our ability to recruit and retain top academic staff and students.

Less than three years ago, a similar proposal to merge Mathematics and Computer Science was rejected by the University’s Board of Directors at Rector ‘s recommendation. This decision had been based on a detailed administrative and academic review. The reason why Rector chose not to recommend a merger at that time was “that cultural exchange and exploitation of academic synergy potential will be easier to obtain in this manner [by a collaboration between two independent departments] rather than by merging departments in a situation where (Mathematics and Computer Science) have ‘en bloc’ made academic demarche”.

The situation is the same today.

Kind regards,

Jørgen P. Bansler, Professor Jyrki Juhani Katajainen, Associate Professor
Jost Berthold, Assistant Professor Ken Friis Larsen, Associate Professor
Sebastian Boring, Associate Professor Francois Lauze, Associate Professor
Ingemar Cox, Professor Christina Lioma, Associate Professor
Sune Darkner, Associate Professor Torben Ægidius Mogensen, Associate Professor
Martin Elsman, Associate Professor Mads Nielsen, Professor
Aasa Feragen, Associate Professor Cosmin Oancea, Assistant Professor
Andrzej Filinski, Associate Professor Søren Ingvor Olsen, Associate Professor
Erik Frøkjær, Associate Professor Kim Steenstrup Pedersen, Associate Professor
Robert Glück, Associate Professor Marcos Vaz Salles, Assistant Professor
Klaus Marius Hansen, Professor Yevgeny Seldin, Assistant Professor