Bill Gates Opens New Computer Science Building

The atrium of UT’s brand-new Bill & Melinda Gates Computer Science Complex fell silent Wednesday afternoon as a robot in a burnt-orange t-shirt shuffled across the stage. Its eyes glowed blue as it raised its arms and announced, “What starts here changes the world.” Then the sizable crowd of students, professors, and other guests applauded as Bill Gates cut a ribbon, marking the official opening of the new building in his name.

The $120-million, 140,000-square-foot complex was bolstered by major gifts from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation (the north building is named the Dell Computer Science Hall). The huge facility has room for 50 percent more students than its predecessor—helping UT train more students in a career field that is forecast to grow by leaps and bounds.

After the ribbon-cutting, Gates spoke briefly to students in a sold-out lecture. He said that he envies today’s computer science students, citing a strong job market, fascinating research topics like cloud computing and artificial intelligence, and a sense of adventure pervading the field.

“If I could choose to study computer science back when I was in school or today, I don’t know which I’d choose. Because this is a very exciting moment,” he said.

Gates also spoke passionately about education reform. “Education doesn’t do nearly as much R&D as other industries,” he said. “We don’t actually understand who the best teachers are, and I think figuring that out is key.”

After Gates’ remarks, UT professors Lauren Ancel Myers and Calvin Lin spoke to students about their work. Then UT president Bill Powers presented Gates with an unusual gift, because “you must have a lot of plaques already,” he said: a research stream of the University’s renowned Freshman Research Initiative was renamed in Gates’ honor.

Photo by Marsha Miller.


Tags: , , , , ,


No comments

Be the first one to leave a comment.

Post a Comment