Computation (and its abstract form, the algorithm) has not only revolutionized science, technology, and society, but also is among the most important scientific concepts discovered and developed in the 20th century. This scientific discipline has enabled numerous technological advances and has forged many connections to mathematics and other sciences, providing fruitful insights and new problems. It has impacted not only computer science and technology, but also parts of mathematics, physics, biology, economics and sociology. Meanwhile, its core scientific agenda is extremely ambitious and challenging. In short, this theoretical field is one of the most exciting and important today, attracting excellent young talent to its ranks at a growing rate. Young people with education and training in this field are well positioned to make central contributions to computer science and science in general.
An institute focused on the theory of computation could bring together a critical mass of researchers from around the world to accelerate fundamental research on computation and to further develop its interactions with other areas of science ranging from mathematics and statistics to biology, physics and engineering. The Simons Foundation invites applications for grants to establish such an Institute.Letter of intent due by October 27 and full proposals by next June.
It's the funding that catches the eye, $6 million/year for 10 years with possible renewed funding or endowment after that. To understand the scale, that's roughly the budget of TTI-Chicago. This new institute will play a major role in our field.
The institute will be modeled on the Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics, MSRI and the IMA (also similar to DIMACS) which are located at or near major university campuses and host programs on a given topic for several months to a year with long-term visitors and have several workshops related to those program topics.
This is opposed to the Oberwolfach/Dagstuhl/BIRS model of an isolated location with on-site room and board, weekly workshops but little to no long term programs or visitors. I'm glad the Simons Foundation is going with the former model. While I've enjoyed the many Dagstuhl workshops I've attended, centers like DIMACS tend have a greater long term impact on the field.
Where will this institute be located? We'll find out next fall. Should be exciting.