MIT commits $1B to AI with new college of computing

MIT commits $1B to AI with new college of computing

Business news |
By Rich Pell

The initiative, says MIT, marks the single largest investment in computing and AI by an American academic institution, and represents the most significant structural change to MIT since the early 1950s. At the center of this endeavor will be the new MIT Stephen A. Schwarzman College of Computing – made possible by a $350 million foundational gift from the chairman, CEO and co-founder of the global asset manager The Blackstone Group.

The new College, says MIT, is the institution’s strategic response to a global phenomenon – the ubiquity of computing and the rise of AI. It is intended to build on MIT’s established leadership in these fields to position the Institute “for decades to come as a world hub of education, research, and innovation, and to prepare our students to lead in every domain.”

“AI in particular is reshaping geopolitics, our economy, our daily lives and the very definition of work,” says MIT community by President L. Rafael Reif. “It is rapidly enabling new research in every discipline and new solutions to daunting problems. At the same time, it is creating ethical strains and human consequences our society is not yet equipped to control or withstand.”

The MIT Schwarzman College of Computing is being launched with the following goals:

  • reorient MIT to bring the power of computing and AI to all fields of study at MIT, allowing the future of computing and AI to be shaped by insights from all other disciplines
  • create 50 new faculty positions that will be located both within the College and jointly with other departments across MIT — nearly doubling MIT’s academic capability in computing and AI
  • give MIT’s five schools a shared structure for collaborative education, research, and innovation in computing and AI
  • educate students in every discipline to responsibly use and develop AI and computing technologies to help make a better world
  • transform education and research in public policy and ethical considerations relevant to computing and AI.

“The MIT Schwarzman College of Computing will constitute both a global center for computing research and education, and an intellectual foundry for powerful new AI tools,” says Reif. “Just as important, the College will equip students and researchers in any discipline to use computing and AI to advance their disciplines and vice-versa, as well as to think critically about the human impact of their work.”

The College is slated to open in September 2019, with construction of a new building for the College scheduled to be completed in 2022. In addition to Mr. Schwarzman’s gift, MIT says it has raised an additional $300 million in support, totaling $650 million of the $1 billion required for the College. Further fundraising is being actively pursued by MIT’s senior administration.

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