USC Plans New School

USC Plans New School
A rendering of the auditorium of the Dr. Allen and Charlotte Ginsburg Human-Centered Computation Hall at USC Viterbi. (Architectural rendering/Courtesy of HOK)

USC is planning its first new school in more than a decade. The USC School of Advanced Computing, which will open its doors in fall 2024, is being backed by the launch of a new, multiyear fundraising initiative called the Frontiers of Computing. The initiative has been seeded with an initial $260 million investment from the Lord Foundation of California and aims to raise an additional $1 billion over the next 10 years.

The initiative will also back the new USC Center for Generative AI and Society, which was announced in March. The School of Advanced Computing will be part of the existing Viterbi School of Engineering.

The initiative will help fund the development of computing and computer science courses across different disciplines and the expansion of related majors and minors. USC Viterbi Dean Yannis Yortsos said Frontiers of Computing aims to provide more educational opportunities for students to understand and contribute to the advancement of technologies. Its focuses will include artificial intelligence, machine learning, augmented and virtual reality, robotics and blockchain technology.

“Our goal is to make sure that students, not only in computer science or in hardcore engineering, but also students outside of engineering … understand the fundamentals of new technologies like artificial intelligence and machine learning,” Yortsos said.

Ishwar Puri, USC senior vice president of research and innovation, said its initial goal is to provide a backbone for the rest of USC to expand digital literacy offerings and encourage USC students to explore topics in the technology field. 

“Essentially giving students digital literacy, regardless of discipline, is the goal of Frontiers of Computing,” Puri said.

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, USC confers more computer science degrees per year than any other private research institution in the nation. With this initiative, USC will support further opportunities for students outside USC Viterbi to get major and minors in computer science and technology. USC said its investment in education and research will translate to investment in the Silicon Beach area, which currently encompasses USC Viterbi’s Information Sciences Institute and its Institute for Creative Technologies.

“The initiative incorporates not only the new school, but also our move to expand our footprint in Silicon Beach,” Puri said. 

The School of Advanced Computing will be at the new Dr. Allen and Charlotte Ginsburg Human-Centered Computation Hall, which is currently under construction. It will be on the school’s University Park campus and, according to Yortsos, will be finished in about a year.

“USC is a leader in groundbreaking discoveries in the areas of computing … this builds upon that legacy,” Puri said.

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