The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) is investing $1 billion in a new college of computing. Slated to open September 2019, the college will focus on educating a new generation of artificial intelligence (AI) experts.
MIT says the new Stephen A. Schwarzman College of Computing is the single largest investment in computing and AI by an American academic institution. That’s a bold and important promise in a time when the U.S. needs to stay competitive in the global AI race.
The new college, which will act as an interdisciplinary hub for data and computer science-related work, will take the name of its largest donor. Schwarzman, the co-founder, chief executive, and chairman of global asset management firm Blackstone, gave MIT a foundational gift of $350 million for the college. Schwarzman has also donated hundreds of millions of dollars to Ivy League institutions including Yale and Harvard Business School, the latter receiving a $5 million gift last year for the purposes of studying the impact of AI on business and industry.
Perhaps most importantly, the new MIT college may help bridge the talent gap when it comes to the AI hiring pipeline. Building the kind of artificial intelligence required to run human-powered industries such as customer service and trucking requires more people than are currently able to fill those roles. In May 2017, it was expected that U.S. firms would spend upwards of $650 million on hiring for AI-related jobs this year alone.
While the actual college courses will be available starting next fall term, the new building for the MIT college, the biggest structural change on the campus since the 1950s, is expected to be completed by 2022.