Groundbreaking: CDIS building to foster high-tech innovation, collaboration

Dignitaries break ground on the new CDIS building on Tuesday, April 25. PHOTO BY ANDY MANIS

Dignitaries break ground on the new CDIS building on Tuesday, April 25. PHOTO BY ANDY MANIS

In 1957, newly commissioned 2nd Lt. John Morgridge was installed at a Dover Air Force Base tabulating center alongside the latest in computing technology: a 25-ton, 6,000-square-foot Honeywell DATAmatic 1000.

How things have changed, said Morgridge, considering the future as he spoke on the construction site for the future home of the University of Wisconsin–Madison’s School of Computer, Data & Information Sciences. Many of the crowd gathered Tuesday for the building’s ceremonial groundbreaking carried more computing power than the DATAmatic 1000 in the tiny smartwatches on their wrists.

Expect a future that develops even faster, he predicted, with the CDIS building as an important nexus.

“Thousands of young minds walk its halls, occupy its labs, sit in its classrooms,” said Morgridge, who joined his wife Tashia as the principal donors supporting the construction. “Their assignment is to use data and data tools — many of which they will design — to understand and impact some of humanity’s most pressing problems: climate, disease, energy, waste, artificial intelligence and space, just to name a few.”

Gov. Tony Evers, UW System President Jay Rothman, Chancellor Jennifer Mnookin, Interim Provost Eric Wilcots and Tom Erickson, founding director of CDIS, offered their thanks to the Morgridges and Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation for their investments in the building at the groundbreaking, also honoring the members of the UW–Madison community and design and construction professionals who will make the nearly 350,000-square-foot structure a reality over the next two years.

“The partnerships that have already developed here with leading industry and area employers will ensure that students will be prepared for the workforce and have countless opportunities available to them with their high-demand skills.”  – Tom Erickson

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