A shockwave passed through the singularity community today with the public launch of Singularity University at the NASA Ames campus in Silicon Valley.  Singularity University aims to assemble a world class community of thought leaders, academics, and entreprenuers across the many fields of exponentially advancing technologies (nanotechnology, genetics, medicine, artificial intelligence, etc.) in order to address humanity's grand challenges.

With significant backing from Google and NASA, and with the participation of a renowned cast of faculty and advisors, Singularity University is poised to literally overnight become a world class institution for the innovation, collaboration, and leadership that will allow the world to capitalize on the great promise of technology to solve the world's greatest problems

Renowned futurist Ray Kurzweil will officially announce the launch of Singularity University at the TED conference later today in Long Beach, CA.  "We are now in the steep part of the exponential trajectory of information technologies in a broad variety of fields, including health, nanotechnology, and artificial intelligence,” said Kurzweil. “It is only these accelerating technologies that have the scale to address the major challenges of humanity ranging from energy and the environment, to disease and poverty.

The University has been founded by a group of leaders including renowned author and futurist, Dr. Ray Kurzweil, space entrepreneur and chairman of the X PRIZE Foundation, Dr. Peter Diamandis, and Director of NASA's Ames Research Center, Pete Worden.  The list of faculty and advisors includes several distinguished individuals, including nobel laureates and key players from major universities.

Kurzweil will act as chancellor and trustee of the University.  He'll be joined by Diamandis, who will act as vice chancellor and trustee, and Salim Ismail, a former Yahoo executive, who will work as executive director.

“The exponentially increasing power of computers and optical networks, when combined with developments in AI, nanotechnology, and other technologies, will create extraordinary opportunities,” said Dr. Larry Smarr, Harry E. Gruber Professor, Computer Science and Engineering at UCSD, and Director at California Institute for Telecommunications and Information Technology. “Singularity University is uniquely positioned to prepare students for these coming innovations.”

Singularity University will offer the world a first-of-its-kind interdisciplinary curriculum and institution.

“We are reaching out across the globe to gather the smartest and most passionate future leaders and arm them with the tools and network they need to wrestle with the grand challenges of our day,” said Diamandis. “There is no existing program that will offer the breadth and intensity that SU will offer."

The first Corporate Founder is Google, and several more will soon be named. Speaking on behalf of Google, Mr. Chris DiBona said, "Google is proud to be a founding Corporate Sponsor for the Singularity University. By focusing on exponentially growing technologies and their ability to address the world's grand challenges, this interdisciplinary institution will fill a critical need."

The University will offer several academic programs, serve as a networking hub for interdisciplinary study, and ultimately become an incubator for tomorrow's world-altering companies.

Singularity University (SU) (www.singularityu.org) will open its doors in June 2009 on the NASA Research Park campus with a nine-week graduate level interdisciplinary curriculum designed to facilitate understanding, collaboration, and innovation across a broad range of carefully chosen scientific and technological disciplines.  The curriculum will be broken out into 10 tracks as follows:

  • future studies and forecasting
  • networks and computing systems
  • biotechnology and bioinformatics
  • nanotechnology
  • medicine, neuroscience and human enhancement
  • AI, robotics, and cognitive computing
  • energy and ecological systems
  • space and physical sciences
  • policy, law and ethics
  • finance and entrepreneurship.

Those who successfully navigate the curriculum will receive certificates of completion. The school also hopes to arrange for students to receive class credits that can be transferred to fully accredited universities.

Applications will be accepted through the school's Web site beginning Tuesday.

In addition to the nine-week graduate level summer session, the University will offer several 10-day and 3-day executive level programs throughout the year.  These programs will educate and prepare today's leaders to build and adapt their businesses to the major technological changes that will are on the horizon.

Singularity Hub's Keith Kleiner is a founding member of Singularity University.  Singularity Hub will have several followup posts about the latest developments regarding Singularity University in the coming months as the University evolves and grows.

Singularity Hub chronicles technological progress by highlighting the breakthroughs and issues shaping the future as well as supporting a global community of smart, passionate, action-oriented people who want to change the world.