Henry L. Hillman Foundation gifts $10M to SCS

Known for its prudent investment practices, the prestigious Henry L. Hillman Foundation has given Carnegie Mellon University $10 million to construct a new research complex, the Hillman Center for Future-Generation Technologies.

Chaired by entrepreneur Henry Hillman, one of the wealthiest men in Pittsburgh, the Henry L. Hillman Foundation is a grant establishment that has made multiple monetary contributions to hospitals and research centers in Pittsburgh during the last several years.

“Research and technology developed at Carnegie Mellon that at one time seemed like science fiction have created essential everyday tools for business, medicine, and countless other applications that we now almost take for granted,” Hillman stated in a Carnegie Mellon press release. The foundation’s award for the research complex in the School of Computer Science (SCS) at Carnegie Mellon helps to form an alliance between two of the city’s most renowned names.

This contemporary research complex will be located between Cyert Hall and the Gates Center for Computer Science, the latter of which is currently being built.

The Hillman Center for Future-Generation Technologies will be yet another building in the SCS complex where principles of robotics and computer science will be applied at a larger scale.
“The new building will be linked to the Gates Center for Computer Science and Newell- Simon Hall, connecting the corridors at every level, back and forth without any restriction,” said Randal E. Bryant, dean of SCS.

Facing Forbes Avenue, the complex will extend a foot-bridge from the balcony at the edge of the Purnell Center for the Arts, the facility that houses the university’s School of Drama. The research building will be designed by Mack Scogin Merrill Elam Architects, a well-recognized architecture firm based in Atlanta, Ga. The interior of the research complex will include sets of spiral stairs that will connect to the fourth floor of Newell- Simon Hall.

“Some of the most important and forward-looking research at the university — and in the world — is going to take place in this building,” Carnegie Mellon President Jared L. Cohon stated in the press release. Ranked among the top computer science programs in the country, SCS unites leaders in the fields of robotics, computer science, human-computer interaction, and artificial intelligence.

“The research complex will enable computer scientists to tie together the many ends of research in the field,” said Cleah Schlueter, an administrative associate and project manager at SCS.
“It is a wonderful idea to have such vast space where everybody can collaborate their respective work, because that is what Carnegie Mellon is famous for — research and collaboration,” she added.

According to Bryant, the research complex will be completed by the summer of 2009 and work within is scheduled to officially commence that fall. The building will be entirely dedicated to research and will host a larger and more advanced pedestal for machine learning, a discipline that currently occupies a small space in Newell-Simon Hall, Bryant said.