Purdue announces computer sciences, AI, microchip initiative
Purdue University on Friday announced a major undertaking and a multi-million-dollar investment to advance the university’s commitment to computer sciences, artificial intelligence and microchip research. The university says its three-pronged approach, Purdue Computes, looks to boost the school’s national ranking in computer science, develop a new AI institute, and invest $100 million in semiconductor research and learning facilities.
“Purdue Computes takes three interrelated, strategic focus areas to the next giant leaps at our university, with participation from and benefit to many parts of campus,” said Purdue University President Mung Chiang. “When it comes to computing, AI and chips, areas that will redefine the entire economy and society in every way imaginable, the strategic hiring, structuring and investment announced today enables Purdue University to advance at the forefront.
Purdue says it wants to achieve a top 10 national ranking in computer sciences before the end of the decade.
As part of a program restructuring, Purdue says Computer Science will have affiliations with the College of Science and the College of Engineering. Purdue says it will be similar to the model used for Purdue’s Agricultural and Biological Engineering program, which has resulted in productive collaborations.
Purdue says it will hire 50 new faculty, along with staff and support resources, over the next five years to bolster its efforts.
“We have a remarkable situation whereby Purdue has generated enormous upward momentum while simultaneously tripling its undergraduate enrollments in Computer Science,” said Provost Patrick Wolfe. “With additional investment and a focus on exceptionally high-quality faculty, this momentum will accelerate further.”
The second pillar of the initiative involves expansion of artificial intelligence research. The university plans to launch a research Institute of Physical AI (IPAI) by early September. A faculty steering committee has been formed with participation by many colleges and departments across campus.
The university has set a goal to hire 50 new faculty in the field of AI over the next five years. It also intends to offer 250 Presidential Doctoral Excellence Awards to recruit the best PhD students in the field.
“The Institute of Physical AI will couple scientists from across Purdue who bring interdisciplinary thinking and problem solving to solve issues at the intersection of AI and a variety of critical functions, such as more efficient pharmaceutical manufacturing, digital forestry and more efficient transportation,” said Karen Plaut, executive vice president of research.
The third pillar represents draws together computing, AI, and their reliance on semiconductor chips.
The university plans to invest $100 million in semiconductor facilities. On Friday, the Board of Trustees approved Phase 1 of the capital project, including the allocation of $49 million for upgrades and equipment procurement for the Birck Nanotechnology Center.
“State-of-the-art facilities like the Birck Nanotechnology Center provide the foundation for new and exciting research in many facets of microelectronics and support our workforce development initiatives,” said Mark Lundstrom, chief semiconductor officer, who is leading the university-wide semiconductors task force.
Purdue says it will release more details next week on each of the three pillars of Purdue Computes.