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UC Awarded $60 Million for Computer Theory Center

'Ever major field of science' stands to benefit from research, says new director.

UC Berkeley has won a $60 million grant to house a groundbreaking institute devoted to computer theory.

The Simons Foundation, which funds science and math research, has presented the university with a $60 million grant to found the center, which will draw the world’s foremost computer theorists and researchers. Their work will impact a wide span of fields, including mathematics, health care, climate modeling, astrophysics, genetics, economics and business.

“We expect that, within the next two decades, every major field of science will have among its most significant achievements at least one that is computational in nature,” Cal professor Richard Karp told the university's news center.

The founding director of the Simons Institute for the Theory of Computing and the new institute's director, Karp has won the Turing Award, the Kyoto Prize and the National Medal of Science for his work in the field.

The “very best universities” competed for the award, but “Berkeley’s proposal, combining outstanding leadership, an excellent site, great scientific ambience, and a substantial campus commitment, topped the list,” Jim and Marilyn Simons, who established the foundation, said in a statement. UC Berkeley was the only public university among the finalists for the grant.

Computer science has spurred an approach to thinking that is "transforming science in much the way the microscope and telescope did," writes John Markoff in The New York Times.

Read "How It All Happened," a Q&A with Richard Karp.

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