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Thursday, April 25, 2024

UF celebrates Malachowsky Hall’s grand opening

The building will serve as UF’s new hub for data science and technology

Malachowsky Hall stands on Museum Road on Sunday, Nov. 5, 2023.
Malachowsky Hall stands on Museum Road on Sunday, Nov. 5, 2023.

Rain or shine, UF’s new hub for data science and technology, Malachowsky Hall, is open.

University leaders, including UF President Ben Sasse and Board of Trustees Chair Mori Hosseini, gathered outside the $150 million building Nov. 3 under an overcast sky and drizzling rain with its namesake, UF alumnus and Software Company NVIDIA co-founder Chris Malachowsky, for a ceremonial ribbon cutting.

The sleek, seven-story structure takes up 263,440 square feet in the center of campus, just across the street from the Reitz Student Union. It will act as a multidisciplinary space for medicine, pharmacy and engineering, and will support UF’s work to integrate AI across the curriculum, according to a press release.

Malachowsky praised UF’s execution of the building but lamented the unfortunate weather conditions.

“University of Florida underpromised and overdelivered,” he said at the ceremony. “Except today, they promised sun.”

In 2020, Malachowsky and NVIDIA donated $50 million to upgrade UF’s touted AI supercomputer HiPerGator

At the ceremony, Sasse described Malachowsky Hall as a “visual depiction” of HiPerGator. 

“UF is giving students and faculty more tools and opportunities to move the needle than we’ve seen in a generation,” Sasse wrote in a press release. “In a space designed to fuel breakthroughs and boost multidisciplinary collaboration, this building is a critical component of UF’s push to build one of the most forward-thinking and comprehensive research and teaching institutions of our time.” 

Construction on Malachowsky Hall began in December 2020. The project was funded by $110 million in state appropriations and $40 million in private and college funds, some of which came from NVIDIA and Malachowsky himself.

Antonio Hendricks, a 23-year-old UF electrical and computer engineering doctoral student, said Malachwosky’s opening is an exciting new step for the university’s AI initiative.

Hendricks earned his bachelor’s at Florida Polytechnic University, the youngest school in Florida’s state university system. Established in 2012, the university’s architecture and infrastructure were state of the art.

“It’s really exciting to have that here on UF’s campus,” Hendricks said. “When I first came to UF, I was like, ‘Oh wow, everything here is very old.”

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Malachowsky is the first academic building on UF’s main campus to not have brick and is instead wrapped in silicon paneling. Sensors on Malachowsky’s roof detect sunlight and shade the perimeter windows accordingly. 

Aspen Boler, a 20-year-old UF engineering junior, spends a lot of time on campus in between classes and believes the new hall will provide new opportunities for studying AI. 

“As someone wanting to further explore AI for my own education and interest, I’m excited to see what the Malachowsky Hall will offer that UF hasn’t in the past,” Boler said. “I look forward to exploring the building's utilities and applying them to my own personal projects and school work.”

Chelsea Nguyen, a 20-year-old UF computer science junior, does most of her studying at Marston Science Library, or what she calls the “CISE Dungeon.” 

The spacious windows of Malachowsky will help her while studying because she “can’t see what time of day it is in the Marston basement,” she said.

Nguyen, who is a member of Women in Computer Science and Engineering, said Malachowsky can serve as a hub for engineering-centric organizations to meet, making it easier for students to get involved in student life.

Contact Garrett at Follow him on Twitter @garrettshanley.

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Garrett Shanley

Garrett Shanley is a third-year journalism and history major and The Alligator's Fall 2023 university administration reporter. In his free time, Garrett can be found watching Wong Kar-Wai movies and brooding.

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