The building of the Centre for Information Technology (CIT) in the University of Groningen has been given a new name: Smitsborg. The name is a reference to Prof. Donald W. Smits, the first director of the University Computing Centre.
The name has been changed after it was decided to use the original name of the CIT building, Zernikeborg, for the new Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences (FWN) building, which will open in 2019. Tuesday 2 September the name Zernikeborg is handed over to FWN.
Change of department name
In addition to changing the name of the building, it was also decided that the name of the department (Donald Smits Centre for Information Technology) should be abbreviated to Centre for Information Technology (CIT), the name that is already most commonly used.
First director of the Computing Centre
Prof. Donald W. Smits (1919-1998) was a pioneer in the field of computer science. He gained national fame as a driving force behind high-performance computing in the Netherlands. In 1959, he was responsible for buying the first electronic calculator at the University of Groningen; the ZEBRA (Dutch acronym for very easy binary computing device). Smits was director of the University of Groningen Computing Centre from its launch in 1964 until his retirement in 1984.
The name Zernike (a reference to the physicist and Nobel prize-winner Frits Zernike) is inextricably linked with natural sciences. After consulting with the CIT, it was decided in March of this year to transfer the name Zernikeborg to the new Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences building. The CIT then held a competition to find a new name for its own building. The name Donald Smits was suggested by three entrants, all of whom will be rewarded with an iPad.
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