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New leadership for Computer Science

Donna Batten, undergraduate advisor, and Dr. Manrique Mata-Montero, deputy head, graduate studies, welcome the new head of Computer Science, Dr. Edward Brown.

By Kelly Foss

Dr. Edward Brown is not new to Memorial, but he is taking on a new role at the university. As of Sept. 1 this alumnus is the new head of the Department of Computer Science.

After completing his undergraduate degree at MUN in 1982, Dr. Brown obtained his master’s from the University of Toronto and returned to Memorial as a lecturer. Since then, he has gone on to get a PhD in Education from Toronto and a law degree from Victoria and is currently an associate professor with Computer Science.

Born in Botwood and raised in St. John’s, Dr. Brown has his own law practice and focuses on information privacy, both as a lawyer and as a researcher.
“There are certainly ties between my interests as a lawyer and my research interests, particularly in the area of privacy and protecting personal information,” he said. “I think having something of an unconventional and varied background helps me see computer science in a broader way and I’d like to expand the profile of the department so that it will appeal to people with broader interests.”

“Part of projecting a clear identity for the department is understanding what the science of computing is all about,” he added. “Most people think computer science is programming. But that’s just one aspect. The paradigm of computing is important for understanding structures and processes not only in the natural world but also inherent in the human experience, from DNA encoding and cognitive science to social networking and business models. It’s a discipline that has so many connections with the things people do, not only in the sciences but in everyday life.”

He said an important part of his new role is continuing to foster relationships with other units across the university.

“Ultimately, no matter what specialty you study in computer science, even on the theoretical side, the applications come from other disciplines,” said Dr. Brown. “I think there is a generous understanding of what computing brings to different disciplines, but my job is to expand on and foster that understanding.”