Big theory comes to campus

The Simons Institute for the Theory of Computing will soon be coming to Calvin Hall. The institute, funded by a $60 million Simons Foundation grant, will create a hub for theoretical computer science with worldwide reach.

Along with computer science and engineering faculty, students and affiliates, the interdisciplinary institute will allow theorists to collaborate with other researchers and industry leaders to explore the mathematical foundation of such complex and challenging topics as health care, climate modeling, astrophysics, genetics and economics.

Richard Karp, who received the National Medal of Science, Turing Award and Kyoto Prize for his work on theoretical computation, will be the founding director. Professors Alistair Sinclair and Christos Papadimitriou will be the founding associate director and founding chief scientist, respectively. All three hold multiple faculty appointments, in EECS and other fields. Berkeley was chosen as the new home of the Simons Institute for the Theory of Computing from a very competitive field of prestigious institutions. The reason, said Marilyn and Jim Simons, the co-founders of the Simons Foundation, is Berkeley’s “outstanding leadership and scientific ambience.”

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