CMU and Microsoft Establish New Center for Computational Thinking

Carnegie Mellon University and Microsoft today announced the establishment of the Microsoft Carnegie Mellon Center for Computational Thinking. Started with a three-year, $1.5 million grant from Microsoft, the center will support research into emerging areas of computer science, with a particular focus on those that influence thinking in other disciplines.

"Computer technology has rapidly transformed education, commerce, and entertainment, but--more profoundly--computational thinking is transforming how new science is discovered in fields as varied as biology, astronomy, statistics, and economics," says Jeannette M. Wing, head of CMU's Computer Science Department.

The new center will support research using an approach developed at CMU known as problem-oriented explorations. Researchers from diverse disciplines will address real-world problems, starting with privacy, e-commerce, multi-core computing, and embedded medical devices.

"Carnegie Mellon itself is an example of how the power of computational thinking can energize disciplines across the campus," says University President Jared L. Cohon. "Our psychologists use machine learning techniques to decipher brain scans. Our biologists build computer models of cells to find causes of cancer. And business professors harness artificial intelligence to better understand markets. We are delighted that Microsoft is joining us in furthering this concept." The center will also develop and disseminate courses and curricula for graduate, undergraduate, and even K-12 schools.

As a part of their ongoing relationship with Microsoft, the center will host a series of "mindswaps," for data sharing, problem solving, resource sharing, and collaborating on larger challenges in computer science. Rick Rashid, senior vice president of Microsoft Research says, "Increasingly, scientists and researchers rely on computer science to enable them to sift through massive amounts of data and find breakthroughs that could provide new insights into the human body, the earth we live on, and even the universe. We are eager to explore this exciting new area of research with Carnegie Mellon."

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