Designed to set the standard for future STEM buildings across national and international campuses and transform the artificial intelligence (AI) and data science workforce, the University of Florida Friday held a celebratory ribbon cutting for the Malachowsky Hall for Data Science & Information Technology.
Across the street from the Reitz Union in the heart of campus, the $150 million, 263,440-square-foot, seven-story structure is a multidisciplinary space for medicine, pharmacy, and engineering. It will serve as a hub for advancing computing, communication, and cyber technologies and further support UF’s work to integrate AI across the curriculum.
“This building will not only advance the future of science, it is a symbol of what is possible when universities relentlessly focus on a future that is brighter,” said UF Board of Trustees Chair Mori Hosseini. “This building will propel AI education and research that will improve lives, bolster industry and create economic growth across the state and around the world.”
UF alumnus and NVIDIA co-founder Chris Malachowsky, the building’s namesake, played a key role collaborating with architects to design its facade. The building is supported by $110 million from the state, as well as additional private and college funds.
“The fields of AI and data science are of central importance in building a better world,” Malachowsky said. “I’m honored to further UF’s world-class capabilities in these areas by supporting the talent and interdisciplinary collaboration that will allow the university to lead during this time of unprecedented opportunity.”
With support from Malachowsky and Silicon Valley-based AI and accelerated computing company NVIDIA, UF is the first and only university in the country to offer every student the opportunity to learn about AI and how it applies in their fields. UF is also nationally recognized as a model for how the U.S. can build a competitive AI workforce, proactively working with universities, colleges, and K-12 schools on how to effectively integrate AI into their teaching.
In 2020, UF announced that Malachowsky and NVIDIA gifted just under $60 million toward HiPerGator, one of the most powerful AI supercomputers in the country. The system, powered by 1,120 NVIDIA A100 GPUs, is now available to the university’s 55,000 students. With additional state support, UF recently added more than 110 AI faculty members to the 300 already engaged in AI teaching and research.
With its interdisciplinary focus, Malachowsky Hall will have units for various UF entities, such as the OneFlorida+ Clinical Research Network, coordinated by the College of Medicine; the Biomedical AI Collaborative, and the College of Pharmacy’s Consortium for Medical Marijuana Clinical Outcomes Research. The engineering spaces will serve as the headquarters for the Department of Computer & Information Science & Engineering, the Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering, the Florida Institute for Cybersecurity Research, the Florida Semiconductor Institute, and the Warren B. Nelms Institute for the Connected World. The hall also contains maker spaces for innovation in the fields of virtual reality, internet of things, as well as robotics and includes labs for AI, robotics, and cybersecurity.
“UF is giving students and faculty more tools and opportunities to move the needle than we’ve seen in a generation,” said UF President Ben Sasse. “In a space designed to fuel breakthroughs and boost multidisciplinary collaboration, this building is a critical component of UF’s push to build one of the most forward-thinking and comprehensive research and teaching institutions of our time.”
Undergraduate and graduate students from any college and discipline will have access to data analytic courses through the Informatics Institute’s data science certificate programs. These programs build on data and software courses that facilitate cross-college interactions, allowing students to be nimble in their approaches to multifaceted problems.
In addition to the ribbon cutting and tours of the facility, students also participated in a “fireside chat” between UF President Ben Sasse and NVIDIA founder and CEO Jensen Huang. The event, moderated by engineering interim dean Forrest Masters, was live streamed.