MIT creates a College of Computing to integrate across all disciplines

November 19, 2018 at 8:00 am 5 comments

Last month, MIT announced the creation of the MIT Schwarzman College of Computing, with a $1 Billion commitment (see article here).  Below is my favorite part of the press release.  I’ll paraphrase the elements that have me excited about what MIT is going do with this new College:

  • It’s not just about taking CS to the other disciplines. It’s about “allowing the future of computing and AI to be shaped by insights from all other disciplines.”  This is key to Peter Denning’s notion of Computing and not just Computer Science.  Computing is about the rest of the world influencing, pushing, and advancing what we know about computer science.
  • The 50 new positions are going to be in the College and joint with other departments.  That’s a key step to get integration.
  • When they talk about what they’re going to do with this new College, “education” is the first word, and “research and innovation” are second and third.  Does that ordering imply a priority? Will it really keep those priorities? Who knows, but they’re good words.
  • There goal is that every student knows to “responsibly use and develop” computing technologies and AI.  Is MIT going to institute a campus-wide computing course requirement?  Even better would be to make sure that there is significant computing in the disciplinary courses.  The NYTimes article (see here) quotes MIT President Reif as aiming to “educate the bilinguals of the future.”

    He defines bilinguals as people in fields like biology, chemistry, politics, history and linguistics who are also skilled in the techniques of modern computing that can be applied to them.

Yes! That’s an exciting vision.

Headquartered in a signature new building on MIT’s campus, the new MIT Schwarzman College of Computing will be an interdisciplinary hub for work in computer science, AI, data science, and related fields. The College will:

  • reorient MIT to bring the power of computing and AI to all fields of study at MIT, allowing the future of computing and AI to be shaped by insights from all other disciplines;

  • create 50 new faculty positions that will be located both within the College and jointly with other departments across MIT — nearly doubling MIT’s academic capability in computing and AI;

  • give MIT’s five schools a shared structure for collaborative education, research, and innovation in computing and AI;

  • educate students in every discipline to responsibly use and develop AI and computing technologies to help make a better world; and

  • transform education and research in public policy and ethical considerations relevant to computing and AI.


Entry filed under: Uncategorized. Tags: , , .

How Machine Learning Impacts the Undergraduate Computing Curriculum Literature is to Composition, as Computer Science is to Computational Literacy/Thinking

5 Comments Add your own

  • 1. alfredtwo  |  November 19, 2018 at 9:39 am

    I think we’ll know more about real priorities as they announce faculty appointments. The recruiting process will be interesting to say the least.

    • 2. gasstationwithoutpumps  |  November 19, 2018 at 1:14 pm

      Yes. For example, will they hire an ethics professor and have a required ethics course for all computing students?

  • 3. orcmid  |  November 19, 2018 at 10:14 am

    Nice. I follow Peter Denning pretty closely. Do you have a link to where he emphasizes Computing over Computer Science.

    I think the MIT thrust could fit with your communities of practice considerations quite nicely. I also don’t think computing necessitates programming, similarly, and I welcome avoiding Computer Science as the umbrella term.

    I’ll be watching for more on this.

  • 5. Tom Morley  |  November 20, 2018 at 3:48 am

    Of course, many Mathematics departments, years ago turned their back on users of mathematics, relegating applied mathematics to second class citizens, provided they are tolerated at all. It’s good to see a great CS school not following this example.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Trackback this post  |  Subscribe to the comments via RSS Feed

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 10,184 other subscribers


Recent Posts

Blog Stats

  • 2,048,348 hits
November 2018

CS Teaching Tips

%d bloggers like this: