ETHistory 1855-2005 | Living memory | Departements | D-INFK | Impediments and Challenges | D-INFK | Sagging Research Activities | 
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Sagging Research Activities



As soon as the new graduate program was fully set up and working, the available human ressources at the ETH for computer science were almost exclusively absorbed by educative tasks. As a result, research projects were granted depending on the question "whether the thesis would be suitable for a combination for an assistant/postgraduate." Above all, the professors were under immense pressure which also affected the research contacts with the industry in a negative way:

"In the course of a year we do receive several offers for the financing of research assistants (mission oriented research), but have to decline them because we would not be able to take over the support for these additional project with the tight number of present professors."

(Jahresbericht 1983.)

On allowed that this situation was not to be avoided regarding the setting up of a new division, but also agreed that in the years following various measure ought to have eased it. The Federal Council in this connection spoke a "computer science package" in 1985 which in the first place alleviated shortages in the field of infrastructure (for example a super computer), but hardly included any means to relieve the personnel of their pressure.

Therefore, the management of the division still complained in 1987:

"At the ETH Zurich hardly any research projects in computer science are currently being completely written out and handed in to the corresponding evaluation committee."

His statement confirms the apprehension expressed earlier that "the amount of research work was strongly influenced by the time which is available at all after the efforts spent for the education and for the work necessary for the operation of the computing center."

The disparity between the teaching staff and the students continued well into the 1990s ere the number of freshers stopped increasing or shortly afterwards even began to decline. Moreover, employment of additional personnel was slowly but continually announced and allowed which gradually eased the numeral relationship.

Above all, betterment was expected through the "computer science package 2", which was a continuation of the first package mentioned above more in words than in content. Contrary to the first package, its main focus was the promotion of research activities. This special grant gave hope to Prof. Carl August Zehnder that "the Division IIIC [...] could now in its second decade of existence focus less on a quantitative but rather on a qualitative growth."

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© 2005 ETH Zurich | May 25, 2005 | !!! This document is stored in the ETH Web archive and is no longer maintained !!!