$ 175 million pledge helps launch UW-Madison School of Computer, Data & Information Sciences and supports mission of transformation



University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Computer, Data & Information Sciences – a unique and forward-thinking collaboration focused on the intersection of technology and humanity – announces $ 175 million private investment and launches an effort to raise an additional $ 50 million to establish a new high-tech beacon in Wisconsin housed in a state-of-the-art facility in the center of campus.

CDIS brings together the highly ranked computer science and statistics departments of UW-Madison and the School of Information. The new facility will be a hub for Wisconsin’s vibrant tech ecosystem, fostering academic research, supporting growing student interest, and organizing collaborations with industry and community partners. Designed to be the most sustainable building on campus, the new facility will also focus on creating a more inclusive and diverse tech community.

“The School of Computer, Data and Information Sciences is a place where our faculty and students will shape how technology influences and enriches our lives. This is a critical investment in the future of the university, as these areas permeate and change all other academic disciplines, ”said UW-Madison Chancellor Rebecca Blank. “We are fortunate to have the support of former visionaries John and Tashia Morgridge and the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation, a partner in extending the impact of UW-Madison ideas to the world, to build a new home for the vital work of school.

Tashia and John Morgridge Photo by David Nevala

With a commitment of $ 125 million from the Morgridges – including $ 50 million in the form of a challenge grant, providing a 1-to-1 match to raise an additional $ 50 million from other generous donors who see the importance of CDIS’s mission – and $ 50 million from WARF, UW-Madison will use these funds to build a new 300,000 square foot house for the school. The donations were announced today at an event in the Discovery Building, across the 300 block from Orchard Street from the site of the future CDIS building.

“This is an investment in UW-Madison and the State of Wisconsin that will help secure their place in our common future,” says John Morgridge, a 1955 UW-Madison graduate who helped create a leading global innovator and supplier of computer networking products as President, CEO and Chairman of the Board of Cisco Systems. “Tashia and I hope our engagement inspires others to see the transformative potential of this project and helps them cross the finish line.”

Private funding for the building, which will also house the Center for High Throughput Computing, the American Family Insurance Data Science Institute and the Department of Biostatistics & Medical Informatics, will speed up construction which is expected to start in 2023 and be completed by the end of 2024.

“We are delighted to join our partners today to usher in a new era for the UW School of Computer, Data & Information Sciences,” said Erik Iverson, CEO of WARF, the not-for-profit foundation that provides patents, licensing and technology development for UW – Madison Research. “We came together because we share the vision for this campus that catalyzes technology with the power to shape societies. The mix of disciplines within the School and its new innovative facility will allow intellectual collisions that will further stimulate innovation. “

It’s a vision that confers a competitive advantage in all industries, breeds entrepreneurship and drives innovative activities that are both scientific and humanitarian, according to Tom Erickson, Founding Director of CDIS, a seasoned tech entrepreneur and electrical engineering graduate. and computer science from UW-Madison.

“The company uses data and technology in all facets of the industry and in our personal lives, from medicine and engineering to agriculture. Students and faculty from virtually all disciplines need digital skills – setting new table stakes in higher education, ”said Erickson. “CDIS helps our students combine the power of digital science with the almost unrivaled breadth of UW-Madison’s highly regarded teaching and research programs. “

“The school will enhance our ability to tackle the big challenges of data-rich sciences such as climate science, physics and astronomy,” said Eric Wilcots, professor of astronomy and dean of the College of Letters & Science, administrative headquarters of the CDIS and many complementary academic disciplines seeking the avant-garde digital programs offered by CDIS. “The transformative power of CDIS lies in the intersection of IT and data with the humanities and social sciences. This is how UW-Madison sets itself apart from our peers.

The three units of CDIS are now home to more than 3,600 undergraduate and graduate students studying software design, robotics, machine learning, cybersecurity, information research and more. The computer science major alone has grown from 200 students to 2,000 over the past decade, with over 40 percent of them matching computer science with doubles or even triples that will propel them to the market. labor market with a wide range of skills needed.

“It is clear that our undergraduates understand the importance of integrating computing, data and information into their education. These are the skills that are in demand today in all industries, ”says Wilcots. “What’s impressive is that so many of our students are already choosing to combine majors in humanities, social and natural sciences with computer science and data science. The centering of the CDIS in the College of Letters and Sciences allows our students to forge these innovative combinations of majors and to prepare for the careers of tomorrow.

Graduates of CDIS programs are sought after in all industries, and Madison’s reputation as a technology hub continues to grow. The Brookings Institution and the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation placed Madison at the top of their list of growth centers for technological innovation in 2019, emphasizing the importance of innovations and the concentration of skilled workers attracted and created by UW-Madison . LinkedIn recently named Madison the nation’s number one city for tech job growth during the pandemic.

CDIS research collaborations are already exploring how social media shapes and reveals the direction of public opinion, how data can help energize clinical trials, how to help the visually impaired interact with data and the development of 3D. ultra-high resolution and long range. imagery.

“We’re focused on a future that connects what happens now to what happens next,” says Erickson. “The generous support of the Morgridges and WARF will complete the technology corridor on campus and make Madison the next great innovation hub in the country. The interdisciplinary uniqueness of our program, coupled with its popularity, will drive economic growth across the region.


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