A $34 million gift from MSOE Regent Dwight Diercks ’90 and his wife Dian will transform MSOE into a national leader in artificial intelligence (AI) and computational science education. This marks a bold leap forward for the university and positions MSOE at the educational forefront in AI, deep learning, cyber security, robotics, cloud computing and other next-generation technologies. The Diercks’ gift, the largest ever from an alumnus, will completely fund the construction of a new academic facility in the center of campus.

Dwight and Dian Diercks Computational Science Hall will provide MSOE faculty and students with a space to apply AI and computational science to enhance the current disciplines of study at the university: engineering, business, mathematics, nursing and user experience.

“MSOE changed the course of my life and my career, and has a special place in my heart,” said Dwight Diercks. “Just as the modern computer transformed technology 30 years ago, AI will transform technology as we know it for the next generation and across all industries. I wanted to give MSOE a gift that would position this incredible university as a major application-focused computer science and artificial intelligence center for the Midwest and U.S. for years to come.”

Diercks Hall will be a 64,000-square-foot cornerstone facility that will be built along Milwaukee Street, directly behind the German-English Academy, on what is now a parking lot. Inside, the new building will provide modern classrooms, innovative laboratories, an auditorium, and spaces to support companies who partner with MSOE.

A major feature of the facility will be a state-of-the-art datacenter which will be home to a GPU-accelerated supercomputer. This type of supercomputer uses a graphics processing unit (GPU), which is a high-performance processor that is fueling advancements in AI that impact all areas of business, including the health care, retail, robotics and automotive industries. Students, faculty and staff, and businesses across industries are invited to collaborate with MSOE to benefit from this tremendous regional asset.

“Thanks to the generosity of the Diercks, MSOE is building on our foundation of excellence and answering the call to educate the next generation of professionals needed to fill the global demand for technology experts, leaders and entrepreneurs,” said Dr. John Walz, president of MSOE.

The project is set for groundbreaking in early- to mid-2018. Uihlein/Wilson—Ramlow/Stein Architects are serving as project developers.