The University of Chicago News Office
Sept. 18, 2003 Press Contact: Steve Koppes
(773) 702-8366
s-koppes@uchicago.edu
 

Japan’s Toyota Technological Institute taking root on University of Chicago campus

    Additional Contact:
Fuminori (Frank) Inagaki
773-834-0409
finagaki@tti-c.org
 

The first faculty members of Chicago’s newest academic institution, the Toyota Technological Institute at Chicago, have arrived to begin their computer science research. University of Chicago President Don Michael Randel will introduce TTI President Mitsuru Nagasawa to Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley at 10 a.m. on Friday, Sept. 19, on the University of Chicago campus.

Within several years the planned growth in the University’s own computer science department and TTI at Chicago together will increase to 60 the number of computer scientists working in Hyde Park, up from fewer than 20 today. The addition of TTI at Chicago’s 30 faculty members will create in Hyde Park one of the largest academic centers of computer science in the country.

“They will collaborate with their colleagues at the University of Chicago and other academic institutions in the Chicago area to develop the new technologies that will drive the 21st century economy,” Daley said. “And they will attract the best graduate students, many of whom will remain in the Chicago area, adding to our ranks of highly educated professionals. So I expect this new institute to provide a solid, long-term boost to the Chicago economy.”

The new TTI at Chicago, supported by a $100 million fund set aside in Japan, will be a boon both for the city and the University of Chicago, Randel said. “Our computer science colleagues are eagerly anticipating fruitful interaction with their counterparts at TTI at Chicago. We are confident that the synergy between the two institutions will make the city of Chicago one of the world’s centers for the creation of new knowledge in computer science.”

TTI President Nagasawa said that he selected the University of Chicago as the home of his U.S. branch following a year-long competition among leading U.S. universities because of its distinguished reputation and cooperative spirit. “Along with our partners at the University of Chicago department of computer science, TTI at Chicago has unlimited potential to blossom as an information technology innovator,” he said.

TTI at Chicago is based in the University of Chicago Press Building on campus, with the University providing library privileges and other infrastructure support. Graduate students at TTI at Chicago will be eligible to take classes offered by the University and vice versa. There also will be jointly offered classes and classes that are cross-listed at both institutions. The first two students will arrive this month from TTI in Japan.

TTI was established in Japan in 1981 as a social contribution by the Toyota Motor Corporation. TTI’s Nagoya campus offers graduate and undergraduate programs in materials science and engineering, mechanical systems engineering, and electronics and information science.

Seven TTI at Chicago faculty members are already in residence. They include Stephen Smale, a 1966 Fields Medalist. The Fields Medal is also known as the Nobel Prize of mathematics.

Ultimately, TTI at Chicago will employ a faculty of 30. Twelve permanent faculty members will teach one course a year, while 18 non-tenure positions will concentrate full time on research and the development of new technology.

“My main objective in terms of hiring is to have TTI at Chicago compete with the top 10 computer science departments in the country,” said David McAllester, Professor and Chief Academic Officer of TTI at Chicago. “If we can draw people who could have gone to top 10 departments, then we can establish ourselves as a top computer science institution.”

The research and teaching interests of TTI at Chicago’s faculty will include theoretical computer science, computational geometry, learning theory, programming languages, databases and large-scale scientific simulation. “It will significantly augment the size of the academic community in specialties such as complexity theory and algorithms or programming systems or whatever other areas that we have in common,” said David MacQueen, Professor and Chair of Computer Science at the University of Chicago.

The University’s computer science department has 19 faculty members but has plans soon to fill 11 new positions. The TTI at Chicago-University of Chicago partnership already has paid recruiting dividends for both institutions. The University and TTI at Chicago recently hired two highly sought scholars-Lance Fortnow and Adam Kalai, respectively-who wished to establish a close collaboration.

“You’re in one of these situations where you have a couple of people interested in positions. They can decide to come together,” McAllester said.

For more information about TTI at Chicago, see http://www.tti-c.org. For information about the University of Chicago computer science department, see http://www.cs.uchicago.edu/.

 

http://www-news.uchicago.edu/releases/03/030918.toyota.shtml
Last modified at 05:31 PM CST on Friday, September 19, 2003.

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