The Stanford School of Engineering, Stanford, Calif., announces that Jen-Hsun Huang, founder of visual computing company NVIDIA and a 1992 Stanford electrical engineering alumnus, will donate $30 million to help build the Jen-Hsun Huang School of Engineering Center. The 130,000 ft2 building is expected to be complete in 2010. NVIDIA partnered recently with Stanford as a founding member of the Pervasive Parallelism Lab, the goal of which is to develop new techniques, tools, and training materials to help software engineers take full advantage of multi-processor computer systems.

According to project leaders, the Huang Center's most prominent architectural feature is a four-story rotunda housing a nearly “bookless” library, a large conference center, and café. Tucked between the rotunda and the main body of the building will be a terraced amphitheater leading to a commons of workshops, meeting rooms, and other student workspaces — an example of how the school is rethinking engineering education, notes Jim Plummer, dean of the engineering school.

By giving students ample facilities to imagine, design, prototype, and share their ideas, the commons will encourage the creative, entrepreneurial, and team-based aspects of engineering. For more information, visit www.stanford.edu.