University of California regents have created the system's first computer science school at UC Irvine, elevating the profile of the fast-growing department at the campus, which has long had a national reputation in the field.
The move, officials say, will enhance research and recruiting at UCI's new School of Information and Computer Science, which was at the forefront of the academic specialty when the department was formed in 1968.
It is also an acknowledgment of the growing importance of computer science in daily life and the business world.
"Computing is so pervasive in the instruction of all scientific disciplines now," said Debra Richardson, the school's interim dean. "It's clearly not a passing fad."
Independent computer science schools are relatively new nationwide, with the first ones having broken off from university mathematics or engineering departments in the late 1980s, Richardson said.
Researchers at UCI's school are known for work ranging from artificial intelligence and software technology to the cultural impact of computing on society.
Computer science is the fastest-growing major at UCI, where enrollment increased 125% in the last four years, to 2,200 students.
This year, UCI was ranked by U.S. News & World Report in the top 15 public computer science graduate programs.