Commonly Asked Questions

Some of the most common questions about what we do

Who founded SU?

Singularity University was co-founded in 2008, by Dr. Peter H. Diamandis, who serves as Executive Chairman, and Ray Kurzweil, Chancellor.

Peter H. Diamandis is an international pioneer in the fields of innovation, incentive prize competitions, longevity, and commercial space. In 2014, he was named one of "The World’s 50 Greatest Leaders" by Fortune Magazine. He serves as Founder and Executive Chairman of the XPRIZE Foundation, Co-Founder and Vice-Chairman of Human Longevity Inc. (HLI), Co-Founder/Co-Chairman of Planetary Resources and the Co-Founder of Space Adventures and Zero-Gravity Corporation. Peter is the New York Times Bestselling author of Abundance – The Future Is Better Than You Think and BOLD – How to go Big, Create Wealth & Impact the World.

Ray Kurzweil is a futurist, author, and a director of engineering at Google, Alphabet, Inc. He has been described as “the restless genius” by The Wall Street Journal, and “the ultimate thinking machine” by Forbes. Inc. Magazine ranked him #8 among entrepreneurs in the United States, calling him the “rightful heir to Thomas Edison,” and PBS selected Ray as one of 16 “revolutionaries who made America,” along with other inventors of the past two centuries. He is considered one of the world’s leading inventors, thinkers, and futurists, with a 30-year track record of accurate predictions.

Who is the CEO of Singularity University?

Rob Nail is the CEO and Associate Founder of Singularity University. He brings a unique entrepreneurial and globally-focused approach to growing a non-traditional university as a platform to create a future of abundance where exponential technologies empower us to solve the global grand challenges. Prior to Singularity, he co-founded Velocity11 in 1999, building automation equipment and robotics for cancer research and drug discovery. After being acquired by Agilent Technologies in 2007, he traded the CEO role for a General Manager role attempting to be a catalyst for change at a big company. He gave up in 2009 to go surfing and eventually find his true calling and biggest challenge yet with Singularity University. He is a director at Harman (HAR) and Light&Motion. He is also a co-founder and director of Alite Designs, is an active angel investor and advisor, and holds degrees in Mechanical, Materials Science and Manufacturing Engineering from UC Davis and Stanford University.

What is the mission of Singularity University?

Our mission is to educate, inspire, and empower leaders to apply exponential technologies to address humanity's grand challenges.

We believe that by catalyzing an exponentially transformed, engaged, and activated community of inspired solvers, startups, corporations, development organizations, governments, academic institutions, and investors, we can better address systemic problems we face globally today.

What is Singularity University in one sentence?

Singularity University (SU) is a global community using exponential technologies to tackle the world’s biggest challenges.

How about three sentences?

Singularity University (SU) is a global community using exponential technologies to tackle the world’s biggest challenges. SU’s learning and innovation platform empowers individuals and organizations with the mindset, skillset, and network to build breakthrough solutions that leverage emerging technologies like artificial intelligence, robotics, and digital biology.  With our community of entrepreneurs, corporations, development organizations, governments, investors, and academic institutions, together the community has the necessary ingredients to create a more abundant future for all.

Media - Can I get Singularity University’s boilerplate?

Singularity University (“SU”) is a global learning and innovation community using exponential technologies to tackle the world’s biggest challenges and build an abundant future for all. 

Our collaborative platform empowers individuals and organizations to learn, connect, and innovate breakthrough solutions using accelerating technologies like artificial intelligence, robotics, and digital biology. Our offerings include educational programs, conferences, innovation workshops, corporate and startup accelerators, social impact programs, and online news and content. 

Our global community spans more than 110 countries and includes entrepreneurs, corporations, development organizations, governments, investors, and academic institutions. With over 370 impact initiatives, the SU community is driving positive change in the areas of health, environment, security, education, energy, food, prosperity, water, space, disaster resilience, shelter, and governance. 

A certified benefit corporation, SU was founded in 2008 by renowned innovators Ray Kurzweil and Peter H. Diamandis and is partnered with leading organizations such as Google, Deloitte, Genentech, UNICEF, and Autodesk. SU is headquartered at NASA Research Park in Silicon Valley. To learn more, visit SU.org, join us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter @SingularityU.

What learning programs are offered?

Located on the campus of NASA Research Park in Silicon Valley, one of the world’s great epicenters of innovation, Singularity University’s educational offerings include its signature Global Solutions Program (GSP), Executive Programs, and Custom Programs for corporate training. SU also produces three industry-targeted, high-level conferences each year: Exponential Medicine, Exponential Manufacturing and Exponential Finance, in addition to a Global Summit.

The Global Solutions Program (GSP) is the flagship program of SU, first offered in 2009. The GSP convenes future leaders, entrepreneurs, and technologists from around the world in a 10-week collaborative experience to develop team-based technology solutions to widespread global challenges. During the GSP, SU challenges participants to design sustainable global solutions to the Global Grand Challenges in Team Projects, leveraging exponential technology trends, innovation and the power of entrepreneurship to help create solutions in the areas of food, water, energy, environment, health, security, education, prosperity, shelter, space, disaster resilience and governance.

Executive Programs (EP) are week-long intensive and interactive programs designed to bring together leaders across a variety of fields -- corporate executives, entrepreneurs, academics, government leaders and influencers -- to learn about the technologies, tools, and mindsets that will best help them understand and respond to the current wave of accelerating change.

Custom Programs incorporate the core curriculum content from Executive Programs, but are tailored to the needs of a specific industry or community. SU has delivered these programs worldwide for corporate, non-profit, NGO, and government organizations.

Innovation Partnership Program (IPP) is a joint venture of Singularity University and the XPRIZE Foundation, and is presented by Deloitte. IPP curates a select group of Fortune 500 companies to participate in a three-year program,  positioning them to identify and drive breakthroughs in their industries. The experience includes educational sessions on exponential technologies and use of the tools, ‘insights-to-action’ workshops, and thematic field trips to emerging tech companies and innovative hubs around the world.

SU Exponential Summits are multi-day events that look at breakthrough innovations and accelerating technologies as they impact individual verticals, including Finance, Medicine & Healthcare, and Manufacturing.

Singularity University is Global, with Chapters being organized in scores of countries around the globe and SingularityU Global Summits, two-day programs that showcase the profound influences of exponential technologies and the opportunities for impact created by the resulting disruptions. In 2016, Summits were held in India, Chile, Germany, The Netherlands and New Zealand. In collaboration with its alumni, community and corporate partners in The Netherlands, SU opened its very first Exponential Partnership and Innovation Hub in Eindhoven.

What are the topics of study at SU?

To achieve our mission of finding solutions to humanity’s global grand challenges through the use of exponential technologies, SU concentrates on the following tracks of study:

  • Artificial intelligence (AI) and robotics
  • Augmented and virtual reality
  • Synthetic biology
  • Energy and environmental systems
  • Medicine and neuroscience
  • Nanotechnology and digital fabrication
  • Networks and computing systems
  • Policy, law, and ethics
  • Finance and economics
  • Synthesis and convergence
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Corporate innovation
  • Exponential organizations

Who are SU faculty and speakers?

SU has attracted a world-class faculty, which is complemented by cutting-edge practitioners and thinkers, experts in their respective fields who serve as guest lecturers, mentors, and advisors. The SU faculty includes scientists, engineers, entrepreneurs, and researchers from Stanford, MIT, Carnegie Mellon, Harvard, and other major educational institutions, and experts and executives from businesses including Alphabet, Cisco, Deloitte, ePlanet Ventures, Genentech, Google, the Kauffman Foundation, Nokia, and others.

Does SU offer degrees and accreditation?

SU programs complement formal, for-credit curricula and as such, SU does not offer degrees. Participants who wish to negotiate academic credits at their home university or individuals who would like to get tuition reimbursement for programs credited towards their degree should contact their individual universities for specific credit requirements. Upon successful completion of the SU GSP or Executive Program, participants receive a transcript of their results and a Certificate of Completion.

What are the costs of SU programs?

Costs vary for each program. For detailed information about all Singularity University Programs, see the specific pages for each of our programs at: www.su.org. For corporate training and innovation programs, you may also email [email protected]

What is the relationship between Singularity University and the Singularity talked about by Ray Kurzweil?

The inspiration for Singularity University is derived from Ray Kurzweil’s book, “The Singularity is Near,” where he defines the Singularity as “a future period during which the pace of technological change will be so rapid, its impact so deep, that human life will be irreversibly transformed. Understanding the Singularity will alter our perspective on the significance of our past and the ramifications for our future.”

Singularity University programs cover myriad tracks of technology from AI to robotics to energy and environment, breakthroughs in medicine and neuroscience, computing and networks as well as entrepreneurship and exponential organizations in order to understand the disruptions and opportunities presented by exponential technologies.

How does SU drive innovation?

SU is dedicated to using technology as a catalyst for change, not only through education programs, but also by enabling innovation in organizations.  SU Labs help entrepreneurs, startups, large organizations and corporate innovators apply exponential technologies and tools to create new sustainable business solutions and tackle the world’s most challenging problems. We do this through programs like our Startup Accelerator, idea generation workshops, prototyping sprints and other products designed specifically for our innovation ecosystem partners.

What are SingularityU Chapters?

A global network of local teams whose mission is to facilitate engaged communities to solve humanity’s global grand challenges by leveraging exponential technologies. Chapters are formal partnerships with SU. SU has an active alumni network in more than 110 countries.

What are the responsibilities of Chapters?

Chapters are responsible for inviting and encouraging local innovators to share ideas and projects. Chapters organize events and can support SU Global Impact Challenges (GICs).

Who are SU development organization partners?

SU is building a global ecosystem of innovators and organizations working to solve humanity’s grand challenges. Field Innovation Exchanges (FIX) are central to each partnership and provide the critical link between the technological innovation and the realities of what is needed onsite - in the field.

To date, SU has Development Organization Partners with: Ashoka, UNICEF, Socialab, Field Innovation Team, Stockholm Resilience Center, VivaRio, Yunus Social Business, missing Amnesty International, UN World Food Programme, and World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF).

How does the SU community spearhead local innovation?

SU’s biggest asset is our global community, now in more than 106 countries. SU creates a unique environment for continued learning and engagement through in-person gatherings and online programs, Summits, and other locally produced programs around the world, including Global Impact Competitions (GIC).

More than 90 percent of our Executive Program participants “highly recommend” SU, with many saying it has been the “best program ever.” Many of these quotes can be found on the SU website.

What are SU Global Impact Challenges (GICs)?

Global Impact Challenges are annual competitions held in partnership with SU, SU Alumni, and sponsor organizations worldwide, and are organized by geography and theme. These events act as a platform to identify outstanding entrepreneurs, leaders, scientists, and engineers with the most innovative ideas for positively impacting millions of lives locally and globally within the next 3-5 years. The winner of each competition is invited to attend SU’s Global Solutions Program (GSP) free of charge.

Do you have any thought leadership or up to date information on technology?

Singularity Hub chronicles technological progress by highlighting the breakthroughs, players, and issues shaping the future as well as supporting a global community of smart, passionate, action-oriented people who want to change the world. Since 2008, Singularity Hub has offered daily news coverage, feature articles, analysis, and insights on key breakthroughs and future trends in exponential technologies as well as highlighting how they’re being leveraged for social impact and utilized to tackle the world’s grand challenges. Singularity Hub joined Singularity University in 2012. With a dedicated editorial staff and a network of expert contributors, stories are targeted at futurists, researchers, entrepreneurs, science enthusiasts and technophiles in addition to the global Singularity University community.

Sign up for the Singularity Hub newsletter and follow our social channels: Facebook, Twitter and Medium

In addition, you can sign up for other SU newsletters, and follow SU’s corporate social media accounts on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube

How is Singularity University funded?

As a certified California Benefit Corporation, SU is supported by generous contributions from individuals and organizations: Corporate, Platinum and Founding Partners, and through revenue from our programs and conferences. Participants in the SU Global Solutions Program are funded through donations and monies provided by GIC sponsors and Google, Inc, as a SU Title Sponsor. Singularity University welcomes partnerships and collaboration with companies, individuals, educational institutions, and other innovation organizations, including media, technology, and science museums and business organizations worldwide.

Are courses offered online?

We are investigating new ways to share the knowledge that is imparted within our campus via online curricula. Our lectures, seminars, and thought leadership perspectives are published frequently on our website, on our media site Singularity Hub, or on our Youtube, Facebook, Twitter,  Medium, and LinkedIn accounts, and other social channels.

Is NASA involved with Singularity University?

Singularity University has a Space Act Agreement with NASA Ames Research Center, permitting SU to house its facilities in the NASA Research Park and facilitates a partnership with NASA through joint public events, speaker presentations, team projects collaboration and NASA Ames STEM program. However, NASA and NASA employees are not engaged in the University’s operation, nor do any NASA employees have personal or financial interests in Singularity University.    

How do I contact or apply to Singularity University?

Singularity University
NASA Research Park
Building 20, South Akron Road MS 20-1
Moffett Field, CA 94035 USA

Phone: +1 650-200-3434
Media contact: [email protected]
Careers: [email protected]
Applicants and general questions: [email protected]

Stay In Touch

We'd love to send you the most up to date information about Singularity University, our programs, partners and the latest in exponential tech. Fill out your contact info to sign up.