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The largest financial gift in the University of California at Berkeley’s history will help build a new center to house the fast-growing Division of Computing, Data Science and Society, UC officials said this week.
The anonymously donated $252 million, combined with a-yet-to-be raised $300 million in private funds, will be used to build a new “Data Hub” at the intersection of Hearst Avenue, Arch Street and Macfarlane Lane, according to UC Berkeley officials.
The center will primarily host computing and data science research, faculty offices and labs, workrooms, public spaces, a large auditorium and classrooms.
“The Data Hub will be a magnet, bringing together scholars from disciplines across campus to forge new collaborations and take on some of the most critical questions facing society today, from biomedicine, to climate change and sustainability, to making data-informed public policy on issues of societal significance,” Jennifer Chayes, associate provost for the division and dean of the School of Information, said in a news release.
The Data Hub will enable researchers from a wide array of disciplines to collaborate on the ethical, legal, social and technical questions surrounding machine learning and artificial intelligence, according to university officials.
A detailed timeline for the project has yet to be developed but officials anticipate construction could begin sometime in 2022, according to Kyle Gibson, spokesman for UC Berkeley Capital Strategies.
And while the project won’t be subject to the city of Berkeley’s planning process, it will need to undergo an environmental review and win approval from the University of California Board of Regents, Gibson said.