Gov. Gray Davis announced at a press conference Dec. 7 that UCSD, in partnership with UC Irvine, will receive an Institute for Telecommunications and Information Technology, as one of three California Institutes of Science and Information.
“”Cal-(IT2) will seek to merge the twin marvels of the Internet and wireless communications to forge the new information age,”” said Chancellor Robert Dynes.
Researchers and students working with the Institute and its partner UCI will study modes of transformation from the use of slower modems to faster broadband Internet connections as the Internet becomes more a part of the physical world.
“”The enormous span of activity that is going to take place at this institute is really mind–boggling,”” said UCI Chancellor Ralph J. Cicerone, who commended not only the partnership between the two universities, but also between the universities and their contributing business partners. “”It’s going to go all the way from basic materials, science and the creation of electronic and physical devices, all the way through to social politics and policies and management techniques.””
The institute is expected by many to charge California’s economy, much like the Silicon Valley has done in the northern half of the state.
“”I believe the governor’s initiative will demonstrate that old maxim ‘We’ll come around again’ because where California goes, so goes the nation and ultimately, goes the world,”” Dynes said.
Six UC campuses competed for the institutes, but only three received them. UCSD won because of a proposal it submitted in July. Winning means that the California legislature will allocate $100 million over four years to develop the project.
Davis demanded that the individual winning universities match the government funds two-to-one with outside resources. However, each university’s chancellor managed to garner a three-to-one match for their school with most of the money coming from the private sector and businesses surrounding the individual campuses.
“”This is a proud day for California,”” Davis said. “”These centers of science and innovation will not just be portals to the new economy, they will be the pilots of the new economy.””
In addition to the announcement of UCSD’s new center, Davis also announced that UCLA will receive the Nanosystems Institute and that UCSF will receive the Bioengineering, Biotechnology and Quantitative Biomedicine Institute.
“”I believe that our proposal succeeded because UCSD and UCI are in the right place at the right time,”” Dynes said. “”The southern California corridor between our campuses is home to some of the world’s leading high-tech pioneers.””
UCSD has over 40 industry partners in the institute, including the Boeing Company, Qualcomm Incorporated, Ericsson Wireless Communications, Inc., Texas Instruments, Compaq and Microsoft Corporation.
“”We at Ericsson believe that research conducted by the various partners of the Cal-(IT2) program will help ensure California’s continued global competitiveness and leadership in the high-tech area,”” said Ericsson President Ake Perrson. “”We are very proud to be a part of this institute and we are very proud to be a part of the San Diego community.””
Irwin Jacobs, chairman and CEO of Qualcomm, was also on hand to comment on his company’s involvement with the new center.
“”I think this center is going to make a major difference on the campus, to the industry in San Diego and up in the Irvine area and to the nation,”” Jacobs said. “”It’s going to [provide] a major capability of performing basic research in the communications area and applications that I think are really going to make substantial differences. We really, even with a good proposal, can’t imagine all of the interesting things that are going to come out of this.””
Larry Smarr, professor of computer science and engineering at UCSD, will serve as director of the new institute.
“”Our institute’s mission is simple: extend the reach of current information infrastructure throughout the physical world, but as simple as that statement is, the research required to bring the new Internet into being is formidable,”” Smarr said. “”No single investigator could hope to study this emerging system in its entirety, nor does any single company have sufficient resources to dominate the market. That’s why we need an interdisciplinary institute of such broad scope.””
A 215,000 square-foot building will be constructed at UCSD and a 119,500 square-foot building will be constructed at UCI to house the institute. Both facilities are expected to be completed by 2004.