The roots of the Department of statistics and computer Science (DSCS) lie in the Department of Mathematics of the University of Colombo. The two main stands of the DSCS, namely, Statistics and Computing, have their origins in two units created within the Department of Mathematics with the express purpose of introducing these two new disciplines into the University teaching curriculum.
The first step taken in this direction was the launch of a course on Computer Programming as early as in 1967. This heralded the dawn of an era of computing within the Sri Lankan Universities. In parallel with the development of computing as a discipline, the Department of Mathematics also embarked on the development of Statistical Education with the creation of a Statistical Unit in 1968.
The two main objectives that were envisaged for this unit were: the introduction of Statistics into the Undergraduate curriculum, and the provision of consultancy services to clients such as various Research Institutes, the Department of Census and Statistics and the Central Bank among others.
The Statistical Unit received a major boost in 1974 with the establishment of a link with the Department of Applied Statistics of the University of Reading, U.K. This link was made possible through a grant from the Overseas Development Administration of the British Government. The University of Reading undertook to train local staff to MPhil and Ph.D levels in Applied Statistics under this link programme. Apart from this, the Statistical Unit, with the guidance of the staff of the University of Reading launched undergraduate courses for the general science programme and two year, part time Postgraduate Diploma and M.Sc. in Applied Statistics in 1976.