The University of Maryland on Saturday celebrated the opening of the Brendan Iribe Center for Computer Science and Engineering, a 215,600-square-foot facility that will serve as a hub for technology, collaboration and discovery at the heart of a new innovation district.
A striking presence at the university’s front door, the Brendan Iribe (ee-REEB’) Center brings together the university’s top-ranked Department of Computer Science and its renowned Institute for Advanced Computer Studies (UMIACS) to facilitate previously unimaginable creation and discovery on campus. Specifically, the center will support team-based, interdisciplinary research in virtual and augmented reality, artificial intelligence, robotics, computer vision, algorithms, programming languages and systems.
“This transformative building will take one of the nation’s top computer and data science programs to even greater heights,” said UMD President Wallace D. Loh. “Our leadership in fields like artificial intelligence and virtual and augmented reality will grow, making our campus an even greater hub for innovation and economic development.”
The Brendan Iribe Center was made possible by the generosity and vision of its namesake, a Maryland alumnus and co-founder of the virtual reality company Oculus; the state of Maryland; and more than 110 additional donors, including fellow Oculus co-founder Michael Antonov ’03, and 38 faculty and staff members.
“I wanted this gift to support a place that inspires students to form friendships and teams that last a lifetime, where students have access to everything they need to build the next great company or breakthrough technology,” said Iribe.
The state-of-the-art facility will help UMD attract outstanding students and faculty members. Six floors of specialized research labs, collaborative classrooms, auditoriums and a fully equipped makerspace provide students and faculty with unprecedented opportunities to innovate bold new applications for computer science.
The classrooms were designed to foster teamwork and innovation, eschewing traditional rows of seating in favor of round tables and display screens on all four walls. The 100-seat Gannon Auditorium and the 298-seat Antonov Auditorium feature shared tables and swivel chairs that enable students to alternate between lecture-based presentations and collaborative teamwork. In addition, Reisse Park, a rooftop garden that honors the memory of Oculus co-founder Andrew Reisse ’01, offers breathtaking views of campus and downtown College Park.
“This is one of the most innovative facilities at any university,” said Amitabh Varshney, professor of computer science and dean of the College of Computer, Mathematical, and Natural Sciences. “What is so remarkable is not just the beautiful space and the advanced equipment, but the way the building was designed. It is truly a collaborative place where people will work together to experiment and invent technologies that will lead us into the future.”