You would expect one of the United States’ premier tech universities to be on the very forefront of artificial intelligence (A.I.) research — and that’s exactly what the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) has demonstrated with a massive $ 1 billion planned investment. The impressive cash lump sum will go toward creating a new college of computing that is intended to offer the best possible education to future machine learning experts.
“As computing reshapes our world, MIT intends to help make sure it does so for the good of all,” MIT President L. Rafael Reif said in a statement. “The MIT Schwarzman College of Computing will constitute both a global center for computing research and education, and an intellectual foundry for powerful new A.I. tools. Just as important, the college will equip students and researchers in any discipline to use computing and A.I. to advance their disciplines and vice-versa, as well as to think critically about the human impact of their work.”
What makes the new center so exciting is that it will not just look to churn out single-discipline artificial intelligence graduates, but work to integrate machine learning into other fields — whether that’s history, politics, chemistry, or anything else. In his comments, Reif referred to the goal of educating “bilinguals,” referring to people who know about A.I. in addition to another discipline. This is a crucial step because, as even a cursory overview of the most exciting current A.I. projects will reveal, it’s the intersection of different fields where the really exciting stuff happens.
So far, around two-thirds of the $ 1 billion sum has been raised. About $ 350 million comes from private equity firm Blackstone CEO Stephen A. Schwarzman, who the college will be named after. In all, the MIT Schwarzman College of Computing will reportedly create 50 new faculty positions, half of which will focus on computer science. The other half will be appointed by the college and other MIT departments. The college will offer its first program starting in the fall semester of 2019. It will then move into its own dedicated space in 2022.
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