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Feb. 20: Henry L. Hillman Foundation Gives Carnegie Mellon $10 Million For Research Building in New Computer Science Complex


Ken Walters                   

Henry L. Hillman Foundation Gives Carnegie Mellon $10 Million
For Research Building in New Computer Science Complex

Building Creates New "Front Door" for School of Computer Science

PITTSBURGH — The Henry L. Hillman Foundation has given Carnegie Mellon University a gift of $10 million for a research building in the university's new computer science complex.

aerial viewThe Hillman Center for Future-Generation Technologies, one of two structures in the 200,000-square-foot complex that also includes the Gates Center for Computer Science, will face Forbes Avenue, one of Pittsburgh's main thoroughfares, and serve as the main entrance to the university's world-renowned School of Computer Science.

"This magnificent gift exemplifies Henry Hillman's personal and lifelong interest in science and technology," said Carnegie Mellon President Jared L. Cohon. "Some of the most important and forward-looking research at the university — and in the world — is going to take place in this building. I cannot think of a better way for the university to be partnering with the Henry L. Hillman Foundation at this moment in our history than in enabling critical new breakthroughs in computer science."

"We are very fortunate to have an institution like Carnegie Mellon University, with its record of world-changing advancements in computer science, artificial intelligence and robotics and the many talented minds it attracts to Pittsburgh," said Henry Hillman. "Research and technology developed at Carnegie Mellon that at one time seemed like science fiction have created essential everyday tools for business, medicine and countless other applications that we now almost take for granted. Our hope is that the Center for Future-Generation Technologies will seed new efforts to continue and accelerate this cycle of innovation and progress."

Carnegie Mellon's School of Computer Science programs are ranked among the world's best. Carnegie Mellon scientists are leaders in the fields of artificial intelligence, entertainment technology, machine translation and human-computer interaction. Seven members of its faculty have won the Turing Award — the Nobel Prize of the computing field.

The Hillman Center for Future-Generation Technologies will be a place where research groups working on some of computer science's most challenging projects can come together in flexible teams and find answers to difficult questions. One example of such work is the area of programmable matter being developed by Carnegie Mellon computer scientists Seth Goldstein and Todd Mowry. In the future, it may be possible to produce tiny robots — mere microns in size — that are able to assemble and reassemble on demand. Such bold research initiatives, focused on long-term, interdisciplinary challenges, will be the focus of the Hillman Center.

"Having world-class facilities for the School of Computer Science will help us continue to attract top students and faculty who will create the kinds of research results that have put us on the map as global innovators," said Randal E. Bryant, dean of the School of Computer Science. "With more space to collaborate and interact, we can carry through on a research agenda that will lead to big breakthroughs in the future."

The dream of a complex that would unite the east and west halves of the campus started to become reality in 2004 with the $20 million gift from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation that established the Gates Center for Computer Science. Construction of the School of Computer Science Complex, which includes both the Gates Center and the Hillman Center for Future-Generation Technologies, began in 2007. Both buildings are expected to open by summer 2009. The cost of the SCS Complex is $98 million.

The architect is Mack Scogin Merrill Elam Architects, an award-winning firm based in Atlanta, Ga., that has extensive experience creating buildings for academic institutions. The School of Computer Science Complex buildings will be constructed using Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Certification standards from the U.S. Green Building Council. These standards focus on energy efficiency, sustainability and use of green design principles for building projects.

Image by Mack Scogin Merill Elam Architects/EDGE studio