MIT announced today that it is massively doubling down on the future of computer science with the launch of a new college of computing. The university is committing $1 billion in resources to the new school, and the university received a $350 million donation from Stephen A. Schwarzman, who will be the naming donor. MIT said that its commitment is the largest of a university yet to the discipline.
The university is already one of the leaders in computer science, with a famed department located in the School of Engineering. The new initiative will see computer science, artificial intelligence, and data science placed in the new school, complete with a new dean and around 50 new faculty positions according to the university. In a statement, MIT said that it hoped the new home would “help position the United States to lead the world in preparing for the rapid evolution of computing and AI.”
For students, MIT is taking an even more bullish stance: that every graduate should encounter computer science and AI before graduation. The objective of the new school will be to ensure that all MIT students become familiar with the field regardless of their chosen profession. The school will be housed in a new building on MIT’s Cambridge, Mass. campus.
Creating a separate school for computer science will change the Institute, and will position it more similarly to its peer rival Carnegie Mellon, which has had a separate School of Computer Science for some time.
The $350 million gift from Stephen A. Schwarzman for naming rights is in line with other massive recent gifts to MIT’s close neighbor Harvard, which received $400 million from John A. Paulsen to name the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences and $350 million from Gerald Chan to name the School of Public Health.
Schwarzman, the co-founder, CEO, and chairman of alternative investment firm Blackstone, has been on a philanthropic binge recently. In addition to this MIT gift, he has donated $100 million to the main branch of the New York Public Library near Bryant Park, $150 million to Yale University, and created the Schwarzman Scholars program as a China-based competitor to the Rhodes Scholarship with a $100 million grant.
MIT said that the new college is expected to open in fall of next year, and its new building will be completed in 2022.