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California Chosen as Home for Computing Institute

New York Times (04/30/12) John Markoff

The Simons Foundation has chosen the University of California, Berkeley to host the Simons Institute for the Theory of Computing at U.C. Berkeley. The new institute will explore the mathematical foundations of computer science and aims to help solve problems in fields such as health care, astrophysics, genetics, and economics. The $60 million institute will have about 70 visiting researchers, including faculty, postdoctoral researchers, and graduate students. “We’ve been talking to astronomers, climate scientists, fluid mechanics people, quantum physicists, and cognitive scientists,” says Berkeley professor Richard M. Karp, who will be the institute’s director. The announcement is part of a broader trend toward expanding support for research in computational theory. For example, Boston University recently launched the Rafik B. Hariri Institute for Computing and Computational Science and Engineering. “It’s analytics with big data, it’s the ability to compute and analyze in massive parallel architectures,” says Carnegie Mellon University professor Jeannette M. Wing. “All the science and engineering disciplines realize this is part of the future.”

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