University of Southern California Launches $1 Billion Advanced Computing Initiative

The University of Southern California (USC) announced the launch of Frontiers of Computing, a $1 billion global initiative that will expand advanced computing education and research throughout the university.

I want every student who goes through our programs, whether they are in science, business, the humanities or the arts, to have a strong foundation in technology and the work ethic they do, said USC President Carol Folt, as part of the university call We will integrate digital literacy across disciplines to create responsible leaders for the workforce of the future. You can read Folt’s letter to campus announcing the initiative here.

Frontiers of Computing, which has been in the pipeline for three years, was supported in part by a $260 million donation to USC in 2019 from the Lord Foundation of California.

Among the new components under the Frontiers of Computing, USC umbrella:

  • form a new School of Advanced Computing that will feature academic programming and research in advanced computing technologies, including artificial intelligence and machine learning, data science, blockchain, and quantum information. The school will be housed in the Dr. Allen and Charlotte Ginsburg Human-Centered Computation Hall, now under construction and scheduled for completion next spring.
  • add new teachers. Thirty new teachers are expected to be appointed in priority areas by 2025, with another 60 to be added by 2030. Improve hardware efficiency and scalability; and the expansion of quantum computing.
  • rename its computer science department the Thomas Lord Department of Computer Science to honor the donor, engineer and inventor who founded the Lord Foundation of California.
  • endow a professorship in the name of the late Donald M. Alstadt, the former president of the Lord Corporation and director of the Lord Foundation of California.
  • expand its presence in Silicon Beach, the current hub for technology companies. USC already has two institutes in that area: in Marina del Rey, with the USC Viterbi School of Engineerings Information Sciences Institute, and in Playa del Rey, home to the USC Viterbi Institute for Creative Technologies.
  • create a new Presidential Scholars program to prepare community college students to transfer to four-year graduate programs at USC.
  • provide computer science and programming camps for K-12 schools and community college students in Silicon Beach.

According to the university, it expects to graduate more than 28,000 computer-skilled students across disciplines and degrees over the next decade. In addition to technical skills, the curriculum will emphasize ethics and communication skills to develop students whose technical proficiency is matched by confidence in using technology.

The world needs engineers and computer scientists to solve the grand challenges we face, said Yannis C. Yortsos, dean of the USC Viterbi School of Engineering, who will oversee the new school. The new School of Advanced Computing will address this goal by developing reinvented engineering curricula, which also emphasize the ethics of technology, in our fast-changing world.

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