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Amazon gifts $10 million to UW computer science and engineering

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The construction of the new CSE2 building is expected to be able to provide the space needed to double the number of degrees awarded in the department.

A gift from internet retailer and cloud computer giant Amazon has moved the UW’s future computer science and engineering building $10 million closer to its $110 million fundraising goal.

Funded by a combination of public and private partnerships, the 130,000-square-foot building will provide the space necessary to double the number of degrees awarded annually by the department of computer science and engineering (CSE) to 600. 

The project currently stands at $86 million according to Ed Lazowska, UW’s Bill & Melinda Gates Chair for Computer Science and Engineering.

“Amazon’s gift will have a significant impact in helping UW CSE to grow, to educate many more Washington students in computer science and computer engineering,” wrote Hank Levy, chairman in CSE at the UW, in an email. “We are honored to be part of a community of individuals and companies that work together to make our region strong and to create employment for students.”

CSE applications are at an all-time high at the UW, and only one out of three applicants are accepted on average for lack of space. 

Lazowska believes that CSE recruiters like Amazon are critical not only to the UW, but to employers across the region.

“The small start-ups around here have no place to turn except for UW,” Lazowska said. “So I think this is an investment in the future of the region and for the kids who grew up here and want to become students.”

Lazowska believed that gifts like Amazon’s help more than just regional recruiters and help to advance computer science across the region.

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“Amazon and Microsoft can scour the nation and scour the world for employees, we’re kind of a drop in the bucket,” Lazowska said. “So I think of both those companies as investing more for the future of the region than just for their personal benefit.” 

In 2012, Amazon founded two $1 million endowed professorships as a part of its Professorships in Machine Learning to help recruit two highly sought-after machine learning faculty members, Emily Fox of the department of statistics and Carlos Guestrin of CSE. Last year, the company created Amazon Catalyst, a collaborative program with select universities designed to recognize, fund, and support innovative and globally significant computer science projects.

The CSE building is being designed by LMN Architects, a Seattle-based architectural firm responsible for designing the Paul Allen Center and Paccar Hall. 

“[LMN] are fantastic civic architects,” Lazowska said. “We did a national search for architects and interviewed half a dozen of them and it’s great to have the team back together again.”

Construction for the building is set to begin by January 2017 with the building intended to open in 2019.


Reach reporter Tim Gruver at Twitter: @T_TimeForce

(1) comment

This is really very good information by write my essay online regarding the IT industry I think.I really appreciate the inintiative for the provision of such enormous program for the students.Thanks for sharing this great news here.

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