Since the formation of UC Berkeley’s division of Computing, Data Science and Society, or CDSS, students and faculty alike have urged for the establishment of their own physical place on campus.
The groundbreaking of the Gateway on Friday — the new home of CDSS slated to open in the 2025-26 academic year — will achieve just that.
“The Gateway is a collaborative space where approximately 1,325 faculty, students, researchers, and staff will work together to create accessible and equitable educational opportunities and catalyze groundbreaking research to meet society’s greatest challenges,” said Kyle Gibson, campus capital strategies spokesperson, in an email.
Aryia Dattamajumdar, a campus junior majoring in computer science and data science, said she has been looking forward to this development and that given the renown of CDSS, the division can’t afford to be without a home.
Dattamajumdar stated that having a building dedicated to CDSS is both convenient for students and essential for the division’s growth.
“Instead of running up and down the Berkeley hills on campus — sometimes all the way from Soda to Dwinelle in the span of 5 minutes — it’d be great to host office hours and have my technical classes in a centralized location,” Dattamajumdar said in an email.
Carter Sun, a lead undergraduate student instructor, or uGSI, for Data 8 — campus’s foundational data science course — said the Gateway would benefit students of all majors, given the wide range of students that take the introductory data science courses on campus.
For Will Furtado, Data 8 lead UGSI, the Gateway will make it easier for cross-disciplinary collaboration.
“To me, the key open problems of the 21st century concern themselves heavily with computational and statistical techniques,” Furtado said in an email. “Creating a unified space will only expedite the research processes which attempt to solve these open-ended issues.”
The groundbreaking coincides with a proposal currently under review at the UC Office of the President which would allow the division to become its own college.
According to Tiffany Lohwater, CDSS assistant dean for communications, the proposal has been approved by the campus academic senate and has the support of Chancellor Carol Christ. The process is likely to be completed around mid-2023.
James Weichert, Data 8 uGSI and ASUC Academic Affairs Vice President, said the current attention given to CDSS is a reminder that other students in different departments deserve equal treatment.
“Now that we are actually putting into motion construction plans for the Gateway, I’d like to see the campus also double its commitment to every other program and to every other student, especially for those departments that aren’t really well resourced,” Weichert said. “This is a great rallying point to feel proud of as a campus, but also a reminder that we want shiny new buildings and shiny new programs and new faculty for every department across the board.”