CS+X at Northwestern

The Computer Science + X (CS+X) initiative at Northwestern University explodes the possibilities of interdisciplinary research. CS+X actively fosters transformational relationships between computer science and other fields to create connections across the University and potentially spark entirely new fields of study.

The CS+X initiative challenges us to ask: What happens when you combine computer science + radiology? Or computer science + journalism? To date, Northwestern has led the development of CS+X work in education, journalism, law, medicine, and the social sciences. Ultimately, our goal is to establish connections across the entire fabric of the University.

"The power of computer science lies in augmenting our thinking and in its ability to accelerate research exponentially in other areas. The possibilities are endless.” — Julio M. Ottino, dean of the McCormick School of Engineering

CS+X Activities

The CS+X initiative's main activities include collaborative events, research, academic programs and curriculum, and joint faculty appointments. These activities explore how CS interacts with diverse fields within the University.

Selected Events and Workshops

  • CS+Law Faculty Talks: This event brings together faculty interested in the intersections of computer science and law with the purpose of fostering collaboration and interdisciplinary research.
  • Computation+Journalism Symposium: This conference brings together journalists and technologists, academics, and practitioners to explore the ways computation is transforming journalism.
  • CS+Behavioral Medicine Workshop: This workshop brought together researchers interested in the intersections of behavioral medicine and computer science.
  • Workshop on AI+Radiology: This workshop brought together radiologists and computer scientists to discuss the use of AI and machine learning in imaging science and other aspects of radiology.
  • Symposium on Computer Science and Learning SciencesThis symposium fosters a range of dialogues about the opportunities, challenges, and innovative solutions to education and learning for STEM and computer science.
  • CS+Economics Workshop Series: The quarterly CS+Econ Workshop brings in experts at the intersection of computer science and economics to present their perspective and research on a common theme. 
  • Quarterly Theory Workshop: This quarterly workshop brings in theoretical computer science experts to present their perspective and research on a common theme.  
  • Bridges II: The Law-STEM Alliance & Next Generation Innovation Conference: This conference explored the role of law, business, policy, and regulation in the innovation process, and the role of scientists, engineers, and entrepreneurs in law and policy-making.
  • CS+X Initiative LuncheonsThese luncheons foster cross-campus conversations that allow researchers to discuss and better understand the impact that computer science has on other fields.
  • CS+X Colloquium Series: This colloquium series seeks to define the challenges and opportunities for computer science and other disciplines as nature of computational thinking continue to evolve.
  • CS + Buffett Series: This event series brings together the Buffett Institute for Global Affairs and the CS Department to discuss the intersection of computer science and global studies, and the ways in which computing and data science can be applied to our greatest global challenges. 


Academic Programs and Curriculum

Joint Faculty Appointments

Northwestern Computer Science has a long history of attracting, hiring, and supporting faculty jointly appointed with other Northwestern schools and departments. This is in keeping with the deeply held value of collaborative work at Northwestern and allows our faculty to continue to push the boundaries of computation with other disciplines. 

Existing faculty have joint appointments with the School of Communication, Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences, Medill School of Journalism, and the School of Education and Social Policy – to name just a few.

As part of our Computer Science expansion, half of our 20 tenure-track faculty hires are aimed at finding world-class researchers working at the intersection and interested in joint appointments with Northwestern CS and other schools.

Learn more about open positions. 

Bringing Ideas to Life

Along with academic work, the CS+X initiative is launching a development organization that will take promising ideas and move them into robust software prototypes. We take this innovative approach because we understand that the impact of ideas can be amplified through execution and that software is often more powerful than a conversation.

“CS+X is an approach to not just envisioning the future, but then making it real.” — Larry Birnbaum, Professor of computer science

Learn More or Suggest a New Idea

To learn more about any of these activities or to suggest an idea, please email the CS+X team.