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ETH Zurich, the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, claimed the top spot in the 2016-2017 Times Higher Education World University Ranking of computer science institutions based on its strong performance across all three pillars of the overall score. In teaching alone, the university gained three positions since last year’s ranking. The university is now the only institution from outside the US and the UK to emerge among the top 10 in the overall world university ranking and the top 5 in one of the eight subject-matter rankings.

The traditional dominance of world renowned Anglo-American universities is less distinct in computer science—a subject newly added to the ranking this year—as compared to the other subjects covered by the ranking. 

  • Only 37 universities of the top 100 are American or British, a figure that is lower than in any other subject. 
  • In addition, not only does a Swiss university claim the top spot, but 23 additional countries share the eminent top 100. 
  • Moreover, some institutions from outside the top 100 and even the top 200 of the world universities ranking are among the best universities in computer science. For example, the Indian Institute of Technology Bombay ranked 82 in the computer science ranking and 400 in the overall world university ranking.

The emergence of ETH Zurich as the leading computer science academic institutions tests the relevance of the rankings for the financial sustainability and reputational growth of these institutions. Despite "generous funding" from the Swiss government and producing 20  Nobel Prize Laureates, including Albert Einstein, the university has a relatively weak ability to attract funding in the commercial marketplace. The university's industry income score slumped considerably in the 2016-2017 ranking compared to the previous year even as it outperformed in other areas.

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