MIT’s New AI School Gets $1B Investment

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), aiming to take a lead in educating on artificial intelligence, machine learning and advanced computing, is creating a new college called MIT Stephen A. Schwarzman College of Computing with a planned investment of $1 billion.

The New York Times, citing MIT, reported that two-thirds of the $1 billion has already been raised, including a $350 million gift from Schwarzman, who is chief executive of the Blackstone Group, a large private equity firm. The new school will hire 50 new faculty members and many more fellowships and graduate students.

Rafael Reif, the president of MIT, told The New York Times that the aim of the college is to “educate the bilinguals of the future.” That includes people in fields like biology, chemistry, politics, history and linguistics who are skilled in applying modern computing and technology to those industries. Reif noted that the departments won't be siloed like the current state of education, with half of the faculty positions focused on advancing computer science and the other half working together. “We need to rewire how we hire and promote faculty,” added Martin Schmidt, the provost of MIT.

According to the report, as it stands, many dual-major programs also require the student to take computer courses or artificial intelligence courses. With the new school, computing is being baked into the entire curriculum. Degrees will be granted with names the school hasn't come up with yet.

Melissa Nobles, dean of MIT's School of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences, said the new college will help non-computer scientists see the impact of AI on their fields. “We’re excited by the possibilities,” she said. “That’s how the humanities are going to survive, not by running from the future, but by embracing it.”

The report noted that the move will also help MIT get more donors, as they are more interested in computer science programs more than other disciplines. “It’s a major fundraising mechanism that gives MIT a huge resource to apply AI to other fields,” said Eric Schmidt, who was the executive chairman of Alphabet, the parent company of Google, and is a visiting innovation fellow at MIT.



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