Our Mission

tech8 The mission of University of Arizona’s interdisciplinary Science, Technology, and Arts department within the School of Information (SISTA) is to provide expertise and promote research in computational methods and thinking across disciplines, while providing courses to students that give them the skills and tools to understand and work with the computational aspects of any discipline.


Computing is a foundation for research in the sciences, engineering, humanities and arts. Computing means more than building or programming computers: It means solving problems by breaking them apart into smaller chunks or patterns such that they can be solved in an algorithmic way where computers will implement the solutions.



tech3The toolbox of computational thinking includes dozens of methods for solving problems. These methods came from computer science, linguistics, statistics, electrical engineering, operations research, and other fields; all grounded in programming languages, statistics and probability theory, logic and discrete mathematics.

The SISTA curriculum has three tiers. 1. Core courses covering material relevant to many disciplines. 2. Thematic courses that deal withtech1 common themes such as finding structure in data, and networks in computer science, biology, ecology and sociology. 3. Major courses, which cover more advanced and specialized topics specific to a small number of disciplines. Students can earn a BS, BA, or undergraduate minor. Current undergraduates come from areas as diverse as music, biology, computer science, and nursing. Graduate programs are anticipated for fall 2013.


The Numbers

tech7– 23 brand new courses┬ábeing taught by faculty in 8 departments, with more in the works.
– 21 Active grants and contracts with faculty in 19 departments at UA and elsewhere.
– $800K from the National Science Foundation to spend on course development.
– $17.17M in commitments; $2,851,000 in fiscal year 2009-10 research expenditures.
– SISTA supports 21 PhD students in 5 different departments, 4 postdocs, several MS students
– SISTA supports several Conacyt and Fulbright students.
– In 2011, SISTA faculty and students presented over 40 papers at over 20 conferences in 5 countries.


SISTA Research

SISTA is a home for interdisciplinary work at the University of Arizona. We welcome all students, faculty and others who want to start new projects or participate in current projects.

We currently have labs in computational intelligence, computational language understanding, interactive visualization, education informatics, and computer vision.

We also conduct the campus-wide SISTA Seminar Series. Please join us for talks about computation from researchers in our labs and also from disciplines from all over campus.



tech2SISTA is a school within the College of Science at the University of Arizona. SISTA was set up to promote interdisciplinary research and education and will grow in focal areas that bridge computation and other fields. Our core faculty have affiliations with Computer Science, Music, Linguistics, Studio Art, Psychology, Education, and the Institue of the Environment. In addition, some our lecturers and researchers have dual appointments in Astronomy, Music, the Tree Ring Laboratory, and the Bio5 Laboratory.