Penn gets another huge gift, $25 million for a new data science center
The new facility will go up at 34th and Chestnut Streets.
The gifts just keep arriving at the University of Pennsylvania.
After receiving a record $125 million donation this month for the law school from the W.P. Carey Foundation, the university announced on Tuesday that it was picking up $25 million more.
The latest gift comes as a commitment from alumnus Harlan M. Stone to build a new data science building. The center, which will operate under the auspices of the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, will be built on an open lot at 34th and Chestnut Streets.
Penn’s history in data science reaches back more than 70 years. ENIAC, the world’s first electronic general purpose computer, was developed and built on the West Philadelphia campus in 1946.
Vijay Kumar, dean of the engineering school, said the facility “will elevate data science to greater prominence on our campus, fueling Penn Engineering to the forefront of a field that is central to the future of humanity.”
Among other things, the new building will house a data science hub for the entire Penn community and research centers that will focus on “bio-inspired paradigms” for computing.
“Bio-inspired paradigms” refer to such things as genetic algorithms and neural networks, and the research that’s cross-pollinating studies on how brains learn and make decisions and how computer systems might do those things better, said Evan Lerner, spokesman for the engineering department.
A university spokesperson said that a request for proposals would be issued for the building’s architectural design. A completion date hasn’t been determined.
Harlan Stone, who earned a B.A. in art history and criticism from the college in 1980, is CEO of HMTX Industries, a flooring manufacturer.