A Vision, Completed
Brendan Iribe Center Opens to Advance Computer Science and Engineeringby Lauren Brown | Photo by John T. Consoli; Illustrations by Jason A. Keisling
A gleaming, modern new building at the main entrance to the University of Maryland trumpets a message: This is where the future is happening.
The Brendan Iribe (pronounced ee-REEB’) Center for Computer Science and Engineering was dedicated on April 27, Maryland Day, to support groundbreaking research and innovation in fields such as virtual and augmented reality, artificial intelligence, robotics, algorithms, programming languages and systems, and computer vision. It’s named for the co-founder of virtual reality company Oculus, who donated $30 million to launch the project; the state also provided significant funding.
In addition to its tech-infused classrooms, spacious labs and a student-focused makerspace, the center houses the Department of Computer Science—which offers the biggest and fastest-growing major on campus—and the University of Maryland Institute for Advanced Computer Studies (UMIACS), a group of 80-plus faculty and research scientists from 10 departments and six schools and colleges across campus.
What’s going on inside now? It’s easy enough for visitors to see, through the striking floor-to-ceiling windows throughout the building designed by architectural firm HDR. But you can also take a look below, and you don’t need to strap on a pair of goggles, either.
The Iribe Center will house futuristic yet practical research such as:
- Devising tools to quickly screen synthetic DNA strands that might be altered into a biological threat.
- Building a language technology system with Columbia University experts to find, translate and summarize information from almost any language.
- Using NASA satellite data to predict and halt major outbreaks of waterborne diseases like cholera.
- Pioneering new technologies and protocols to protect financial transactions involving cryptocurrencies like bitcoin.
- Creating computational tools with UMD hearing and speech scientists and cognitive scientists from Rutgers University to predict which interventions are most effective for a common childhood language disorder.
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