Computer science and information building construction plans approved by Regents

December 9, 2021
Contact: Kate McAlpine kmca@umich.edu,
Jessica Sendra jeswebst@umich.edu
A schematic presents a view from the southeast, showing how the new Leinweber Computer Science and Information building will fit with the existing Bob and Betty Beyster Building, which houses the computer science and engineering. The new building will enable a convergence between the School of Information and computer science and engineering. Image courtesy: Architecture, Engineering and Construction

A schematic presents a view from the southeast, showing how the new Leinweber Computer Science and Information building will fit with the existing Bob and Betty Beyster Building, which houses the computer science and engineering. The new building will enable a convergence between the School of Information and computer science and engineering. Image courtesy: Architecture, Engineering and Construction

The new 163,000-square-foot Leinweber Computer Science and Information Building on the University of Michigan’s North Campus will be the new home for the School of Information and expansion space for the Computer Science and Engineering Division of Michigan Engineering, bringing the two together under one roof for the first time.

With the approval of the schematic by the U-M Board of Regents, the state-of-the-art facility is coming into focus. In addition to being an innovative learning environment for students, the facility represents a convergence of disciplines that will strengthen collaboration, foster innovative research partnerships and lead to the development of breakthrough technologies.

“When we combine our computing and information expertise, we can drive innovation and help solve some of humanity’s greatest challenges in modern medicine, transportation, and smart infrastructure,” said Alec D. Gallimore, the Robert J. Vlasic Dean of Engineering.

In October, the Board of Regents voted to name the facility the Leinweber Computer Science and Information Building in recognition of a $25 million gift from the Leinweber Foundation. The $145 million Leinweber Computer Science and Information Building is scheduled to be completed in summer 2025.

Currently, Michigan Engineering and UMSI are located on different campuses a few miles apart. Once completed, the new facility will eliminate the need for top talent to choose between working in a CSE or UMSI environment, removing barriers between like-minded colleagues. This convergence of disciplines will also strengthen the academic culture, promoting the fusion of human-centered and technical perspectives in critical areas such as artificial intelligence, human-computer interaction, and information privacy and security.

“The School of Information is broadly interdisciplinary, and co-location with one of our core disciplines—computer science—unlocks fresh opportunities for instruction and collaboration,” said Thomas A. Finholt, dean of the School of Information. “Working together, we can more effectively create and share information, with technology, to build a better world.”

In the last 10 years, the number of students enrolled in undergraduate and graduate programs in both CSE and UMSI has quadrupled. The new building will provide much-needed space to meet the increasing demand for computer science and information graduates for research, industry and education.

“CSE’s academic programs in computer science, computer engineering and data science are some of the fastest growing at the university,” said Michael Wellman, the Richard H. Orenstein Division Chair of Computer Science and Engineering. “This facility will enable us to amplify our research collaborations with UMSI, and grow to meet the societal imperative to provide the best education for more future computer scientists.”

Beyond enhancing the research and academic missions of UMSI and Michigan Engineering, the Leinweber Computer Science and Information Building represents a crucial step in the university’s carbon neutrality mission. The facility is planned to include a geothermal heating and cooling system as a demonstration project.

Gallimore is also the Richard F. and Eleanor A. Towner Professor, an Arthur F. Thurnau Professor, and a professor of aerospace engineering. Wellman is also the Lynn A. Conway Collegiate Professor of Computer Science and Engineering.