International recognition to computer science at the University of Tartu

The University of Tartu was one of the two Central and Eastern European universities to enter the Times Higher Education Rankings table in computer science. In computer science, UT is ranked among the top 250 universities in the world. Furthermore, the head of Institute of Computer Science Prof. Jaak Vilo was elected as the board member of Informatics Europe.

The British journal Times Higher Education has compiled rankings that are considered the most reputable and influential in the world since 2004. Last week THE published the ranking of the 300 best universities engaged in computer science, in which the first 200 are ranked individually, and the rest are grouped in bands of 50. The University of Tartu was placed in the 201–250 range.

In the current rankings, computer science is the UT’s highest-ranked specialisation. To compile the table, THE employs 13 performance indicators, which describe learning environment, research influence, volume of research, academic reputation, income, innovation and international outlook.

While the University of Tartu has been among the top 500 universities in the overall rankings for several years already, UT computer science reached the THE subject ranking for the first time, being one of the two EU Central and Eastern European universities beside the Warsaw University to have made it to the table. The top three in the table are Stanford University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) from the USA and the University of Oxford from the United Kingdom.

According to vice rector for research Kristjan Vassil, UT deserves comparison with Western European and North American universities: “The University of Tartu’s place in the computer science ranking is impressive, just after Uppsala University and on the same level with the Universities of Bern, Bergen, Essex and Washington State University. This clearly shows that in IT specialisations, our university is the leader in the region, and globally competitive.”

“A high place in the rankings is a recognition to the people of the UT Institute of Computer Science, but also sets high expectations to future development and investments. In addition to the fundamental IT specialisation, graduates and research studies are also needed in interdisciplinary fields, such as digital transformations, machine learning and artificial intelligence. Reseach groups in these fields have already been formed in the Institute, but a boost is possible only with the involvement of adequate financing and human capital,” Vassil added.

The high level of computer science at UT has also gained attention elsewhere in Europe. Last week the head of the UT Institute of Computer Science Prof. Jaak Vilo was elected the board member of Informatics Europe, the association of institutes of computer science and IT faculties of European universities.

Informatics Europe currently joins 120 European universities to promote high-quality education, research and knowledge transfer in the field of computer science in Europe. From Estonia, the Informatics Europe network includes the University of Tartu and Tallinn University of Technology, who have had long-term intensive cooperation in promoting top-level research and education in computer science.

Prof. Jaak Vilo explained the role and effect of computer science, “Computer science, known under various names in both English and Estonian, is an extremely broad field of science dealing mainly with topics related with computers, networks, information systems and software. Today, computer science has grown into an important and extensive discipline next to physics, mathematics, biology and others. In addition, computer science has an ever-growing impact on all other specialisations – from the phenomena of internet and social media to data acquisition, data management and analysis.”

THE rankings can be found on the Times Higher Education website.

Informatics Europe

Additional information: Jaak Vilo, UT Head of the Institute of Computer Science, 504 9365,

Viivika Eljand-Kärp University of Tartu Press Officer Tel: +(372) 737 5683
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