Australia’s national university

From its beginnings, ANU has been a university with a difference.

The Australian National University (ANU) is one of the world’s foremost research universities. Distinguished by its relentless pursuit of excellence, the University attracts leading academics and outstanding students from Australia and around the world.

As the specially chartered national university, ANU conducts research at the highest levels, and offers a unique research-led education to undergraduate and postgraduate students as well as postdoctoral fellows.

The University has strong links with leading research institutions in Australia and overseas. It is a founding member of the International Alliance of Research Universities, a co-operative network of ten eminent international research-intensive universities around the world.

ANU was founded in 1946, with a suite of disciplines and a set of tasks that reflected the global context in which Australia found itself at the time. Three quarters of a century later, our enduring mission remains unchanged: to create capability for a nation seeking its place in the world.

ANU celebrated its 75th anniversary on 1 August 2021. Journey back in time with highlights and a photo gallery that celebrates some of the people, moments and memories that have shaped our history at the ANU: ANU turns 75.

As we work to bring our vision to life, our values will guide and inform us, and we will continue to deliver on the mission set for ANU in 1946: “bring credit to Australia, advance the cause of learning and research in general, and take its rightful place among the great universities of the world.”

You can learn more about the bold ambitions for the University and the nation we serve in ANU by 2025: Strategic Plan 2021-2025.

Engineering, Computing and Cybernetics at ANU

The ANU College of Engineering, Computing and Cybernetics (CECC) brings together expertise in social, technical, computational, ecological and scientific systems to build a new approach to systems design and build new national capabilities in data-driven policy and business development.

Today, the College comprises three schools: the School of Computing; School of Cybernetics; and School of Engineering – supported by the Professional Services Group.

More information

  • Learn more about our vision in the College’s Reimagine Strategic Intent.
  • Learn more about our reputation.
  • Celebrating 30 years of ANU engineering in 2020
  • Celebrating 50 years of ANU computing in 2022

Our story

Our College has a layered history with many antecedent organisations, and signal events.

The first courses in Computer Science were taught at The Australian National University (ANU) in 1971. The University appointed the first Professor of Computer Science in 1978 and the first Professor of Engineering in 1981. The first stand-alone Engineering and Computer Science entities appeared in the 1980s.

The Research School of Information Sciences and Engineering (RSISE) was created in 1991. This was run in parallel to the Faculty of Engineering and Information Technology (FEIT), which opened in 1993.

Both entities were finally merged into an Engineering and Information Sciences Institute briefly in 2004, before becoming the ANU College of Engineering and Computer Science (CECS) in 2005.

In 2022, the College updated its name to the ANU College to Engineering, Computing, and Cybernetics (CECC), to better reflect the diversity of our disciplines.

Timeline

2022 College name update

In October, the College updated its name to the ANU College to Engineering, Computing, and Cybernetics (CECC), to better reflect the diversity of our disciplines.

2020 Responding to a global pandemic

As part of the ANU Recovery Plan 2020, the College underwent a holistic restructuring to three schools with defined strategic activity clusters – the School of Computing, School of Cybernetics, and School of Engineering – and a transformed Professional Services Group.

2019 Growing Reimagine

A period of significant growth for the College under the Reimagine investment. The College consisted of two large Foundation schools – the Research School of Electrical, Energy and Materials Engineering (RSEEME) and Research School of Computer Science (RSCS) – and three innovation institutes scoped like start-up entities: 3A Institute (3Ai), Cyber Institute, and the Software Innovation Institute. The College also had two new schools – the Research School of Aerospace, Mechanical and Environmental Engineering (RSAMEE), and Research School of Design Engineering (RSDE) - which had been flagged for significant growth in 2020-2021 as part of the Reimagine strategic investment.

2019 Software Innovation Institute

Founded in 2019 based on a ‘teaching hospital’ model for experimental education

2018 Cyber Institute

Cyber Institute operations commenced in 2018. Transition to a virtual institute from July 2020.

2017 3A Institute

On 2 September, 3A Institute was created as the first of the innovation institutes at The Australian National University. 3Ai was founded to establish a new branch of engineering to take artificial intelligence (AI) safely, sustainably, and responsibly to scale.

2006 Forming seven ANU Colleges

In 2006, the University formed seven ANU Colleges, grouping together Research Schools, Faculties and Centres. The Engineering and Information Sciences Institute became the ANU College of Engineering and Computer Science (CECS).

2004 Research School and Faculty merge

The Research School of Information Sciences and Engineering (RSISE) and Faculty of Engineering and Information Technology (FEIT) were merged into an Engineering and Information Sciences Institute briefly in 2004.

2001 Restructuring the University

In June, the ANU Council announces a major restructure of University governance including the creation of Deputy Vice-Chancellors for Research and Education and the establishment of twelve virtual National Institutes

1994 New centre established

In the Institute of Advanced Studies, the Research School of Information Sciences and Engineering (RSISE) is established.

1993 Opening the Faculty of Engineering and Information Technology

In the Faculties, a new Faculty of Engineering and Information Technology is established at ANU.

1991 Changes for the Research School of Physical Sciences

The Research School of Physical Sciences becomes the Research School of Physical Sciences and Engineering (RSPSE).

1990 Undergraduate engineering

In 1990, the first engineering undergraduate program, the Bachelor of Engineering, was launched at the ANU. This new program was unique in Australia in its broad interdisciplinary approach known as ‘Systems Engineering’.

1981 The University appoints the first Professor of Engineering

1980s The first stand-alone Engineering and Computer Science entities appeared in the 1980s.

1978 The University appoints the first Professor of Computer Science

1971 The first courses in Computer Science were taught at ANU

In 1971, Computer Science was launched as a sub-department within the Department of Statistics.

1960 first computers at ANU

The first ANU computer was an IBM 610 installed at Mt Stromlo Observatory in 1960. It was followed by an IBM 1620, leased by the Department of Theoretical Physics in 1962. The first ANU computer used for administrative work was the IBM 360/50 installed on the top floor of the Cockroft Building in the Research School of Physical Sciences in 1966.

1946 ANU was founded

On the 1 August 1946, the Bill establishing The Australian National University is passed by Federal Parliament.

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