Simons Foundation International (SFI) has awarded a $25 million matching pledge to the Simons Institute for the Theory of Computing at the University of California, Berkeley, to build an ongoing stream of philanthropic revenue that will support the mission and research of the institute. All gifts and pledges committed to the Simons Institute will be matched 1-to-1 with a gift to the Simons Institute’s endowment, up to $25 million.
This generous matching pledge by SFI to the Simons Institute is made in addition to a $25 million gift to seed an endowment, plus $15 million in direct support of the institute’s mission and activities.
Launched in 2012, the Simons Institute for the Theory of Computing has become the global epicenter for collaborative research in theoretical computer science and its intersections with science, mathematics, engineering, and society. The institute hosts the world’s leading researchers in theoretical computer science and related fields, and the next generation of outstanding young scholars, to explore the deepest unsolved problems about the nature and limits of computation. Through this kind of exploration, the field of theoretical computer science has created basic insights that have revolutionized our world — such as cryptographic breakthroughs that led to secure internet commerce and blockchain technology, and the discovery of an efficient factoring algorithm on a quantum computer.
In its first decade, the institute has substantially advanced knowledge of the mathematical foundations of computing and extended this understanding to related areas, including data science, quantum computation, computational biology, economics, data privacy, and algorithmic fairness. In its second decade, the Simons Institute will continue its cutting-edge research in theoretical computer science and adjacent fields, including targeted efforts into fields with the potential for large societal impact, such as the foundations of machine learning, quantum computing, and secure computing.
“In the course of its first decade, the Simons Institute has established itself as the unsurpassed center of excellence in the foundations of computing, worldwide,” said SFI President David Spergel. “As the institute moves into its second decade, SFI is making an investment to help it build an endowment that will support discovery and innovation in this area for many years to come. With this matching pledge, we invite strategic philanthropists and the research community to join us in advancing the frontiers of algorithmic science. SFI believes that conversations and convenings can lead to transformational insights, and the Simons Institute for the Theory of Computing embodies this approach.”
“We are extremely grateful to Simons Foundation International for their generous and continuous support of the Simons Institute,” said Shafi Goldwasser, the Turing Award–winning director of the Simons Institute. “The matching pledge is an endorsement of our vision and proven results, which will enable the Simons Institute to broaden and deepen our network of philanthropic support and sustain our work for years to come.”
“The first decade of programs at the Simons Institute has pushed the frontiers of the theory of computing in so many directions, making progress on long-standing challenges of the field and opening up new directions of inquiry. The institute’s fellows alumni roster is a who’s who of outstanding and creative young researchers who have gone on to influential positions in academia and industry,” said senior scientist Venkat Guruswami, the institute’s interim acting director through the end of 2023, when Goldwasser returns from a sabbatical. “The last couple of years have witnessed an unprecedented level of activity at the institute, with five programs a year, many summer clusters and longer-term pods in quantum computing and machine learning. This generous matching pledge from Simons Foundation International is key to our fundraising efforts and sustaining the institute’s mission in the coming decade and beyond, so it can continue to help future generations of theorists to come together, think big, set bold agendas, and collaborate across areas.”
“The Simons Institute is a flagship institution on the UC Berkeley campus,” said Kathy Yelick, the Robert S. Pepper Distinguished Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences and the vice chancellor for research at UC Berkeley. “We are deeply grateful to Jim and Marilyn Simons and Simons Foundation International for their vision and generosity, which will enable the institute to extend its reach and impact for many years to come. At the same time, we recognize that the long-term success of the institute will depend on investment from many stakeholders — including industry, federal agencies, and the many individuals who recognize the importance of rigorous, secure, and equitable algorithms to our collective future.”
This fall, the Simons Institute is hosting semester-long research programs on Logic and Algorithms in Database Theory and on AI and Data Structures and Optimization for Fast Algorithms, and ongoing research pods on Machine Learning and Quantum Computing.
The $25 million matching pledge by SFI to the Simons Institute for the Theory of Computing offers a distinctive opportunity to support an institution where world-leading scientists develop fundamental insights and knowledge for the benefit of humanity.