UC Berkeley’s first new college in more than 50 years has launched a fund to support innovation in computing, data science and statistics that will benefit society.

Contributions secured by the College of Computing, Data Science, and Society (CDSS) Dean’s Innovation Fund will advance data science education and research in line with the vision of Jennifer Chayes, dean of the new college.

The college’s mission is to educate the next generation of ethical, excellent data leaders; to execute cutting-edge research; to found new, interdisciplinary fields at the interface of computing, data science and statistics with other disciplines; and to harness these efforts to help address society’s most pressing challenges like climate change and healthcare.

“Berkeley has the most creative, intellectually deep, and socially committed faculty and students in the world,” said Chayes. “We are positioning ourselves to fully harness the power of data and computing so that we can lead the way in biomedicine and health, climate and sustainability, responsible and ethical AI, and many other critical areas of impact.”

UC Berkeley students discuss a statistics problem in STAT20 on Wednesday, Sept. 6. (Photo/ Kayla Sim/ UC Berkeley Computing, Data Science, and Society)

The College of Computing, Data Science, and Society is making rapid progress towards its vision. In just the last month, the college announced initiatives to transform healthcare with the development of a first-of-its-kind open-source platform and to inform global decision-makers and environmental policies using a groundbreaking AI-powered tool. It also showcased Berkeley undergraduate students' data-driven contributions to research for the greater good.

Artificial intelligence has become more visible and ubiquitous since the release of updated AI-fueled chatbots within the last year. Legislators, technologists and others are widely debating how to regulate this technology and shape its public impact and engagement, conversations the college is contributing to and leading on campus, in California, nationally, and internationally.

The UC Board of Regents voted to establish CDSS as a college in May. Faculty, staff and students across campus called for its creation to meet growing data science education demand and foster interdisciplinary collaboration capitalizing on Berkeley’s all-around excellence.

“We are living through a watershed moment in the field of computing. Advances in the field have an immense but unknown capacity to impact society,” said Kathy Kwan, a Berkeley alum and member of the Board of Trustees. “Educating future leaders and accelerating innovative research for the betterment of people everywhere is a good philanthropic investment. I'm energized to be an early supporter of Berkeley’s bold vision for the new college and am excited to support its vision for the future.”

Berkeley alums, parents, friends and others who care about the new college’s mission can keep up with news about its cutting-edge research, top-ranked educational programs and innovative new fields by subscribing to its newsletter. People or organizations who give $1,000 or more to the new fund will receive annual updates from Chayes, as well as other insider communications. They will also be invited to special college events.