Computational Mathematics, Science and Engineering (CMSE): Establishing an Academic Department Dedicated to Scientific Computation as a Discipline

The Computational Mathematics, Science and Engineering (CMSE) department is one of the newest units at Michigan State University (MSU). Founded in 2015, CMSE recognizes computation as the "triple junction" of algorithm development and analysis, high performance computing, and applications to scientific and engineering modeling and data science (as illustrated in Figure 1). This approach is designed to engage with computation as a new integrated discipline, rather than a series of decentralized, isolated sub-specialties. In the four years since its inception, the department has grown and flourished; however, the pathway was sometimes arduous. This paper shares lessons learned during the department's development and the initiatives it has taken on to support computational research and education across the university. By sharing these lessons, we hope to encourage and support the establishment of similar departments at other universities and grow this integrated approach to scientific computation as a discipline.