The School of Electronics and Computer Science, generally abbreviated "ECS", at the University of Southampton was founded in 1946 by Professor Erich Zepler. The School currently offers 23 undergraduate courses (in computer science, electronic engineering, electrical and electromechanical engineering and IT in organisations), 11 MSc intensive one-year taught programmes and PhD research opportunities.
ECS was the first academic institution in the world to adopt a self-archiving mandate (2001) and since then much of its published research has been freely available on the Web. It created the first and most widely used archiving software (EPrints) which is used worldwide by 269 known archives and continues to be evolved and supported from the School.
The School is regarded by the IET as having the "biggest and strongest academic unit in the country in Electrical and Electronic Engineering."
Electronics and Electrical Engineering in ECS was ranked 2nd in the UK in both Good University Guide published by the Times and the Complete University Guide published by the Independent. Computer Science in the School was ranked 4th and 5th in the UK respectively in these two publications.
The research conducted by ECS has achieved the top 5* rating in the last two Research Assessment Exercises, and in 2003 it was awarded the prestigious ‘best 5*’ rating by the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE). ECS currently contains six research groups:
Photograph showing the fire damage done to the Mountbatten Building in 2005.
In 2005, a large fire destroyed part of the Mountbatten Building, holding optical fibre research laboratories (the world-renowned Optoelectronics Research Centre, ORC) and the microchip fabrication laboratories. It is estimated that the costs for rebuilding the centre and replacing the equipment will be around £50 million, making this what is believed to be the world's most destructive university fire. The fire that consumed the Mountbatten Building on 30 October 2005 had devastating consequences not just for research in the School of Electronics and Computer Science but for many other partners and collaborators in the UK and around the world whose work was destroyed along with the Building.
The replacement facility was constructed on the site of the previous Mountbatten, and was completed in October 2008. The modern design by Jestico + Whiles includes glass curtain walls, decorated by a mathematical fractal pattern, which allows those outside to view the research taking place in the clean rooms. The chiral fractal design was chosen as it had been used by Southampton researchers working with optics and nanotechnology.
OpenPSI the ( OpenPSI project)is a community effort to create UK government linked data service that supports research. It is a collaboration between the University of Southampton and the UK government, led by Office of Public Sector Information at the National Archive and is supported by JISC funding.