UMD and Max Planck Society Establish Joint Doctoral Program in Computer Science

New program will draw on the two institutions’ long-established leadership and expertise in computer science.

The University of Maryland and the Max Planck Society today announced the establishment of a joint doctoral research program in computer science. The program will draw on the two institutions’ long-established leadership and expertise in computer science.

UMD-MPS logos“This pioneering collaboration will empower the research at both institutions and will demonstrate the potency of comprehensive excellence,” said UMD President Wallace D. Loh. “Our Ph.D. students will have tremendous new opportunities, and our researchers will partner with some of the most eminent computer scientists in the world.”

In the new program, Ph.D. students in computer science at UMD will be co-advised by faculty members at UMD and a Max Planck Institute (MPI). The students will spend at least one-third of their time with each adviser. Upon successful completion of the program’s requirements, students will earn a doctorate in computer science from UMD and a certificate of doctoral research from a Max Planck Institute.

“This unique partnership will enable Max Planck Institutes and UMD to compete for the very best young talents in computer science internationally,” said Max Planck Society President Martin Stratmann.

The Max Planck Society operates 83 Max Planck Institutes, where scientists conduct basic research in the natural sciences, social sciences, technology and the humanities. Most Max Planck Institutes are in Germany, but some are located in other European countries and the United States. Max Planck Institutes conducting computer science research include the institutes for informatics, software systems, intelligent systems, molecular genetics, and molecular cell biology and genetics. 

The new program is jointly led by Bobby Bhattacharjee, a professor in the Department of Computer Science at UMD, and Peter Druschel at the MPI for Software Systems.

“We are extremely happy to establish this program, which will enable MPI faculty to broaden existing research collaborations with UMD faculty and offer highly talented Ph.D. students the ability to conduct research as part of an international collaboration,” said Druschel. “Students will take advantage of the expertise, resources and different research cultures at some of the leading research organizations in Europe and the U.S.”

Current computer science research areas at Max Planck Institutes include algorithms, theory, logic; computational biology; computer graphics, computer vision and human-computer interaction; data, knowledge and the Web; distributed, networked and mobile systems; machine learning; programming languages and verification; robotics and cyber-physical systems; social media systems; and security and privacy.

“This partnership is unique and offers some amazing research opportunities for our graduate students and an international exchange experience,” said Samir Khuller, the Elizabeth Stevinson Iribe Chair of Computer Science at UMD. “This program is a game changer, and the future looks extremely bright for computer science.”

For more information about the program, visit

Media Relations Contacts: (UMD) Abby Robinson, 301-405-5845,; (MPS) Christina Beck, +49 89 2108 1275,

About the Max Planck Society
The Max Planck Society (MPS) is a world-leading scientific research organization, with 18 Nobel Prizes awarded to its scientists since 1948. Its 83 Max Planck Institutes conduct fundamental research in the sciences, technology, arts, and humanities. The society employs some 5,600 scientists, plus about 9,000 doctoral students, post-docs, and visiting researchers. The MPS has a budget of about €1.7 billion provided by the German federal and state governments, plus external research funding.

About the University of Maryland

The University of Maryland, the state’s flagship institution of higher education, is one of the nation’s preeminent public universities. A global leader in research, entrepreneurship and innovation, UMD is home to nearly 38,000 students, 10,000 faculty and staff, and 250 academic programs, and counts more than 344,000 alumni. Its faculty includes three Nobel laureates, three Pulitzer Prize winners, 51 members of the national academies and scores of Fulbright scholars. The institution has a $1.86 billion operating budget and secures $500 million annually in external research funding.

About the Department of Computer Science
Established in 1973, the Department of Computer Science at the University of Maryland educates over 2,000 undergraduates and 200 graduate students yearly. Its more than 50 faculty members have been recognized with membership in the National Academy of Engineering, fellowship in professional scientific organizations, National Science Foundation Faculty Early Career Development awards and Sloan Research Fellowships. The department ranks No. 15 in the U.S. News & World Report graduate school rankings, and in conjunction with the University of Maryland Institute for Advanced Computer Studies, receives over $22 million annually in external research funding.

About the College of Computer, Mathematical, and Natural Sciences

The College of Computer, Mathematical, and Natural Sciences at the University of Maryland educates more than 8,000 future scientific leaders in its undergraduate and graduate programs each year. The college's 10 departments and nine interdisciplinary research centers foster scientific discovery with annual sponsored research funding exceeding $250 million.