UT Breaks Ground On New Gates-Dell Computer Science Center (Slideshow)

The Bill and Melinda Gates Computer Science Complex atriumThe University of Texas Computer Science program, long ranked among the nation’s top 10 programs, is breaking ground today on a new state-of-the-art facility that has the potential to catapult Texas past its rivals.

The new center located next to the ACES building will actually be two buildings — the 140,000 square-foot Bill and Melinda Gates Computer Science Complex and the Dell Computer Science Hall — connected by a central atrium. Hefty donations from each structure’s namesake are making their construction possible.

For forever, the Texas computer science program has been spread across campus, making collaboration harder and organization tougher. When these structures are complete, all of computer science will be in one place.

“The Gates Complex will enable the department to take on a great many initiatives in research and teaching that were previously impossible for lack of coherent space,” computer science department chair Bruce Porter says. “In anticipation of the new building, faculty are already proposing new research directions and collaborations, along with new courses and degree plans that will significantly expand the department’s impact and reach.”

The department is using the groundbreaking as an occasion to party — and rightly so. These buildings have the potential to put Texas on the computer science map like never before.

This afternoon, CS hosted a street fair on Speedway to show off what some of its faculty and students do and to have a little fun, too. See a slideshow of photos shot by Alcalde intern Iris Camille Claudio below. The actual groundbreaking ceremony is set for 5:30 p.m.

With 900 undergraduate majors, the CS department at UT is the largest of any top 10 program. It is also the most diverse, with 17 percent of its students Hispanic, and the only top 10 program in the Southwest.

The new structures, which are replacing grubby old Taylor Hall, are set for completion in 2012-13.


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