Donald J. Patterson, Ph.D.

Professor of Computer Science, Data Analytics

Office Location


Office Available



Data Analytics, Ubiquitous Computing, Human-Computer Interaction, Sustainability/Transition Informatics, Machine Learning

Research Interests

Applications, algorithms and systems that use intelligent context to support situated sustainable computing


Dr. Patterson is on indefinite leave from Westmont.

Dr. Patterson earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees at Cornell University before serving as a naval operations officer for four years in Japan and Sardinia. He earned a doctorate in computer science from the University of Washington and has received multiple grants and won awards for articles on collapse informatics and abstract object usage. He has co-founded more than four startup companies based on his research. Before coming to Westmont in 2015, he worked at the Donald Bren School of Information and Computer Sciences at UC Irvine, where he received tenure and served as director of the Laboratory for Ubiquitous Computing and Interaction.

Computer Requirements for 2023-2024 school year

There are the current required computing resources that a student must have before enrolling in CS-010 or CS-030 in the upcoming school year. We anticipate that this would last a student for four years in the Computer Science or Data Analytics program. For questions, please contact Prof. Patterson or Prof. Guang Song via their Westmont email addresses.

Students taking computer science courses are required to have a laptop for classroom, lab, and self-study use. The current minimum requirements are:

  • 256GB of storage (hard drive or SSD)
  • 16 GB of memory (RAM)
  • 2.5Ghz Intel Core i8, Apple M1
  • Wi-Fi networking
  • Extended warranty program for repairs and accidents (such as AppleCare+, or Dell Warranty Basic Service with Accidental Damage Services)
    • To handle the problem when a laptop breaks in the middle of a semester. #truestory
  • An external hard drive with storage greater than the laptop for backups (using software such as TimeMachine, or Dell Backup and Recovery). see above.
  • The screen size, graphics card, and operating system (Mac, Linux, Windows) are at the discretion of the student.

Examples of computing platforms that are not suitable for our program include iPads, Chromebooks, Raspberry Pi’s, and smart phones.

Examples of suitable platforms include the Apple MacBook Pro line (Prof. Patterson's favorite), or something that meets specs from Dell's lineup