MIT unveils $1bn AI college

The new college will aim to combine data science, AI and machine learning with a host of other courses offered by MIT


The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) has announced its plans to build a new college which will focus on the integration of AI, machine learning and data science into other courses at the famous educational institution.

Two-thirds of the funding for the new college was generated by MIT but a gift of $350m was donated Blackstone Group chief executive Stephen A. Schwarzman. Schwarzman has donated billions of dollars to other AI teaching institutions, but the funds provided to MIT for the new college was his largest single donation to date.

The college, which will be called the MIT Stephen A. Schwarzman College of Computing, will lead to the creation of 50 new faculty positions, with many fellowships available for graduate students. While the college is scheduled to open in September 2018, utilizing a number of existing MIT buildings, it will move into its own faculty buildings from 2022.

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The MIT Stephen A. Schwarzman College of Computing forms part of MIT's significant move toward promoting an AI literate future. It also recently launched the Quest for Intelligence, a program designed to bring together cognitive science, neuroscience and computer science researchers together.

MIT president Rafael Reif said, "Computing is no longer the domain of the experts alone. It's everywhere, and it needs to be understood and mastered by almost everyone."

Schwarzman also commented following the announcement and dared the government to be bold when it comes to AI, stating: "Our hope is that this ambitious initiative serves as a clarion call to our government that massive financial investment in AI is necessary to ensure that the US has a leading voice in shaping the future of these powerful and transformative technologies."

Already this year, MIT researchers have announced the creation of an AI technology which can detect depression, a machine-learning model capable of detecting credit card fraud and a "brain-on-a-chip".

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