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Thomas M. Siebel endows world-class computer science facility at Illinois

Jeff Unger, News Bureau 
(217) 333-1085;

Tamara Ireland Stone, Siebel Systems Inc. 
(650) 295-5455;

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — Siebel Systems Inc. and the University of Illinois today announced that alumnus Thomas M. Siebel agreed to donate $32 million to the university to construct state-of-the-art facilities for the department of computer science at the Urbana campus.

The new building, to be called the Thomas M. Siebel Center for Computer Science, will house one of the nation’s leading programs in computer science, and will allow the department – one of the largest in the nation – to greatly increase the size of its faculty and the number of students they educate. 

The Thomas M. Siebel Center for Computer Science will encompass more than 270,000 square feet of testing facilities, laboratories and classrooms incorporating “intelligent” technology that anticipates and responds to student and staff activity, and enhances education and accelerates research efforts.

“We are truly grateful for Tom Siebel’s extraordinary vision and generosity,” said UI Chancellor Michael Aiken.  “This gift will not only have a significant impact on the education of generations of students, but also will profoundly influence the development of computer science in this nation and throughout the world.  The Thomas M. Siebel Center for Computer Science will act as a catalyst for a comprehensive program that extends our leadership in education and research.”

Building Intelligence

The Thomas M. Siebel Center for Computer Science will serve as a laboratory for exploring and evaluating 21st century computing environments, where everyday devices have embedded intelligence and are able to adapt to context and use, sharing information and user preferences by means of ubiquitous communication networks.  Information technology infrastructure will be “designed in” from the beginning, with embedded computers in doors, offices and laboratories, ubiquitous wearable devices, streaming multimedia and tracking, microelectromechanical systems (MEMS), and stereolithographic fabrication, all connected by wireless and high-speed wired networks for distributed collaboration and adaptation. 

Interacting components in the building will continuously negotiate with one another, adapting to changing inputs and context – for example, the building would know when a person entered the building while on a cell phone, and that phone conversation would automatically shift to a wall-sized video display.  All classrooms will be fully automated and equipped with digital audio/video capture, intelligent whiteboards, wireless networking and HDTV displays.

Building for the Future of the Industry

With the construction of the Thomas M. Siebel Center for Computer Science, the computer science department will create an integrated education and research facility that will attract the world’s best and brightest faculty and students, who will together shape the future of computing for Illinois and the world.  Through this contribution, the building will allow the department to accommodate almost twice the number of faculty and students, allowing for more than 70 educators, 1,500 undergraduates and 500 graduate students.

“The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign is recognized as a global leader in information technology,” said Siebel, the chairman and chief executive officer of Siebel Systems Inc.  “I am one of the many, many people who have benefited greatly from this leadership.  It gives me great pleasure to be able to play a role in the enhancement of this great resource.”

“It is our hope and our expectation that the Siebel Center for Computer Science – in combination with the other great wealth of information technology facilities on this campus – will constitute an education and resource facility that is second to none,” Siebel said.

Groundbreaking for the Siebel Center is expected in 2001, and the building is expected to be ready for occupancy no later than 2003.

Faculty and students from the UI department of computer science designed the groundbreaking ILLIAC IV, the world’s fastest computer; and a model for HAL, the intelligent computer in the movie “2001:  A Space Odyssey”; and they helped create the Internet revolution with the Mosaic™ Web browser.  The university also is home to research efforts of national import, such as the National Center for Supercomputing Applications.

About Thomas M. Siebel

Siebel is the founder of Siebel Systems Inc., the world’s leading provider of eBusiness applications software.  Founded in 1993 and based in San Mateo, Calif., Siebel Systems has become the fastest growing application software company in history.  Siebel earned three degrees from the UI:  a bachelor’s in history (1975), a master’s in business administration (1983) and a master’s in computer science (1985).

About Siebel Systems
Siebel Systems Inc. (NASDAQ:  SEBL) provides an integrated family of eBusiness application software enabling multi-channel sales, marketing and customer service systems to be deployed over the Web, call centers, field, reseller channels, retail and dealer networks.  Siebel Systems’ sales and service facilities are deployed locally in more than 28 countries.


Background information is available at: Siebel Systems:

U. of I. department of computer science:

Video of Siebel at the UI will be accessible from 9:30 a.m. to 9:45 a.m. CST today (Feb. 24) by means of C-Band satellite Galaxy 6 (at 99 degrees west), transponder 9, audio 6.2-6.8; downlink frequency 3880 MHz.  Advanced Audio Video, (217) 528-8273, can answer technical questions about the feed.

For photos of Siebel, contact the UI News Bureau at (217) 333-1085.