New York-based Simons Foundation has granted $60 million to the University of California, Berkeley to create theory of computing institute.
The new institute will be housed in Berkeley’s Calvin Hall and will be called the Simons Institute for the Theory of Computing. The institute will be inviting world’s foremost computer researchers and theorists for the exploration and application of mathematical foundations of computer science to everyday life.
The initiative will include finding ways of fighting diseases, creating more accurate climate change models, and developing more secure and efficient online social and commercial networking
The institute will be headed by Richard Karp, a professor at Berkeley and is the current head of the Algorithms Group at the International Computer Science Institute. Along with him are Alistair Sinclair and Christos Papadimitriou, colleagues of Karp and computer science professors.
The Simons Institute will also convene leading researchers to work on new computational topics in seminars, workshops, and informal collaborations along with the next generation of graduate students and postdoctoral scholars starting in January 2013.
Corporate leaders are also showing enthusiasm and interest in collaborating with the new institute, including IBM, Google, Yahoo, and Microsoft. Director or Research for Google Peter Norvig said “We believe it will be a great step forward for theoretical computing in general, and for many of the fields that are critical to Google’s mission, including search, machine, learning, large data sets, security, computer, vision, digital media, and the study of social networks and economic mechanisms on the Web. We look forward to assisting the institute in furthering these fields of research.”
The institute will also work with nonprofit organizations like CalTeach and Math for America. As part is its educational outreach programs, the Simons Institute will offer professional development workshops for K-12 teachers.
In a statement, Richard Karp said “We expect that, within the next two decades, every major field of science will have among its most significant achievements at least one that is computational in nature, and there’s no better place than UC Berkeley for this endeavor, given our record of innovation in computer science over the last four decades and our deep experience with complex interdisciplinary institutes.”
The Simons Institute for the Theory of Computing is slated to open in July of this year.