picture of Michael Spear Michael Spear [CV]

Associate Professor
Computer Science and Engineering, Lehigh University
(610) 758-3285

"Breadth and Depth"

As an undergraduate Computer Science major, I took four semesters of History, two semesters of Psychology, two semesters of French, two semesters of English, three semesters of Math, two semesters of Chemistry, two semesters of Physics, and one semester each of Constitutional Law, International Relations, Economics, Philosophy, and Political Science. All of that was in addition to a full course load in Computer Science.

Those courses have been an asset throughout my life, and I am glad that at Lehigh, we ask our students to be more than "just" engineers. We expect them to understand the world around them, to appreciate how engineering fits into that world, and to find relationships among disparate fields (see, for example, the Lehigh Data X initiative).

In the hustle and bustle of a busy semester, it's easy for us to keep our noses to the grindstone, and focus on depth in our discipline at the expense of breadth. To encourage broader thought, I feel it worthwhile to share one of my favorite poems below. I first encountered this poem in 1982, at the age of 4, when my grandmother took me to Ellis Island and showed me the path my ancestors took to escape war in Europe and come to America. A picture from that day, standing on a ferry in New York Harbor, with windswept hair, striped socks that came up to my knees, and the World Trade Center in the background, is one of my favorite childhood photos.

The New Colossus
by Emma Lazarus
Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
"Keep ancient lands, your storied pomp!" cries she
With silent lips. "Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"

Go Lehigh! Beat Lafayette!

I recently co-advised a team of Graphic Design and Computer Science students as they created a video game commemorating the 150th Lehigh/Lafayette Football Game. You can play it here.


I am an Associate Professor in the Computer Science and Engineering Department, P.C. Rossin College of Engineering and Applied Science, Lehigh University. I am also associated with the Computer Engineering program.

In addition to holding a PhD in Computer Science from the University of Rochester, I also hold an MBA from the University of Alaska, Anchorage. I completed my undergraduate studies in Computer Science at West Point, and served in the Air Force for 5 years, reaching the rank of Captain.

Please use the menu at the top of this page to learn more about my research in parallel and concurrent systems, the courses I teach, and the service and outreach activities that my students and I perform.

If you are considering pursuing graduate studies, please see the research page for advice.

Oh, and I now have a blog.