Carnegie Mellon, Microsoft Launch Center for Computational Thinking

Pittsburgh, PA, March 26 -- Carnegie Mellon University joined Microsoft Corp. today in announcing the creation of the Microsoft Carnegie Mellon Center for Computational Thinking. The center is being financed by a three-year, $1.5 million grant from Microsoft.

Long-time collaborators Microsoft Research and Carnegie Mellon's Computer Science Department will support research in emerging areas of computer science, especially focused on areas that can influence the thinking in other disciplines.

"Increasingly, scientists and researchers rely on computer science to enable them to sift through massive amounts of data and find breakthroughs that could provide new insights into the human body, the earth we live on and even the universe," said Rick Rashid, senior vice president of Microsoft Research, at the Carnegie Mellon Symposium for Computational Thinking. Computational thinking, developed by the head of the school’s Computer Science department, Jeannette M. Wing, involves “solving problems, designing systems, and understanding human behavior by drawing on the concepts fundamental to computer science,” the school said in a joint press release.

Said University President Jared L. Cohon, "Our psychologists use machine learning techniques to decipher brain scans. Our biologists build computer models of cells to find causes of cancer. Business professors harness artificial intelligence to better understand markets. We are delighted that Microsoft is joining us in furthering this concept."

The center will support research that uses a problem-oriented exploration approach, pioneered by Carnegie Mellon's ALADDIN Center. Researchers from many fields will drill down on real-world problems, such as privacy, e-commerce, and multi-core computing. The center will also develop and distribute courses and curricula for kindergarteners through graduate students.

The center also plans to host a series of "mindswaps" -- annual meetings of Microsoft and Carnegie Mellon researchers to share data, solve problems, share resources, and collaborate on larger computer challenges -- which are expected to lead to problem-oriented work within the center.

About the Author

James E. Powell is the former editorial director of Enterprise Strategies (