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Northwestern launches data science/AI initiative

Steering Committee begins work to lead a University-wide effort to integrate and elevate Northwestern’s DS/AI strength

From the social sciences to the STEM fields, disciplines across Northwestern are leveraging data science and artificial intelligence (DS/AI) to enhance research and boost discovery. With so much promising activity in this area across campuses, Northwestern leadership recently announced an ambitious, multifaceted initiative to further elevate its DS/AI capabilities by coordinating talent and resources across the University.

Planning for this broad-reaching initiative began last fall, and it is supported by President Michael Schill, Provost Kathleen Hagerty, and Vice President for Research Eric Perreault. The effort underscores Northwestern’s commitment to harnessing the power of data analytics and artificial intelligence,which is an institutional priority for Northwestern.

The new DS/AI Steering Committee is a key force in this transformative journey. The committee, composed of a multidisciplinary team of faculty from across the University, participated in a kickoff luncheon on Feb. 27, during which senior university leaders gave them their formal charge.

The 24-person committee is led by chair Vicky Kalogera (CIERA Director, physics and astronomy) and co-vice chairs Abel Kho (internal medicine) and V.S. Subrahmanian(computer science). A list of all committee members appears online.

This team’s charge is to create a vision that advances Northwestern’s DS/AI ecosystem over one to 10 years, identifying cross-cutting research and educational initiatives that amplify existing strengths. The aim is to make both more immediate and longer-term progress that leverages the university’s exceptional interdisciplinary capacity.

At the kickoff event, Schill expressed his support for this strategic project and emphasized its critical importance to the University’s future.

“In a world increasingly shaped by data science and artificial intelligence, our commitment to this initiative reflects Northwestern’s dedication to being a research innovation leader,” he said. “By embracing our unique cross-disciplinary strengths, we can make groundbreaking contributions to shape the future of DS/AI and address society’s most pressing challenges.”

Hagerty praised the University’s “exceptional faculty working across many schools and departments” who have and will continue to contribute to the institution’s DS/AI success.

She also noted the steps Northwestern IT has taken to bolster the infrastructure necessary for success, including providing expertise in DS/AI methods and applications across various disciplines; supporting researchers to meet data management and security requirements; and providing hands-on support for computing.

Continue to the full Northwestern Office for Research news article.