The University of Massachusetts Amherst
University of Massachusetts Amherst

Search Google Appliance


From the Director's Desk (Winter 2019)

The Fall 2019 academic semester is now in its final week. The university campus will go quiet from December 20th until classes resume on January 21st. Although the semester went by quickly, it was filled with a remarkable number of notable faculty accomplishments, new industry partnerships, and activities that are setting the stage for great achievements in the months ahead.


Here are a few of the most significant faculty highlights that made us proud:


  • Under the auspices of the Transdisciplinary Research in Principles of Data Science (TRIPODS) program, the National Science Foundation recently awarded a three-year, $1.5 million grant to a collaborative team led by Associate Professor Andrew McGregor, to establish a new Institute for Theoretical Foundations of Data Science. The team will conduct long-term research and training activities in data science that transcend traditional disciplinary boundaries. Read more... 


  • Professor Arun Venkataramani and computer engineer Lixin Gao received a three-year, $1.2 million grant to improve interdomain routing. This work promises to benefit all internet users by improving the network’s fundamental robustness, security and manageability. Read more...


  • Associate Professor Arjun Guha received a Most Influential Paper Award at the Association for Computer Machinery (ACM) Object Oriented Programming Systems Languages and Applications (OOPSLA) 2019 conference for his 2009 paper, “Flapjax: A Programming Language for Ajax Applications.” Read more...


  • Associate Professors Yuriy Brun and Charles C. Weems Jr. were selected as 2019 Distinguished Members of the ACM. This significant career recognition is based on their professional experience as well as significant achievements in the computing field. Read more...


  • Professor Erik Learned-Miller, along with alumnus Gary Huang and Facebook research scientist Tamara Berg, received the Mark Everingham Award from the International Conference on Computer Vision (ICCV). The award is given annually to researchers who have made a selfless contribution of significant benefit to other members of the computer vision community. Learned-Miller et al. were recognized for their work on Labeled Faces in the Wild, one of the most influential face datasets in the world. Read more...


CDS continues to expand its portfolio of engaged industry partners. This fall we were delighted to welcome Genpact, Goldman Sachs, and Stanley Black & Decker to our Industry Affiliates Program. We are working with these companies to meet their recruiting needs for well-trained data scientists, help them access faculty expertise, and more. These companies are able to participate in our industry mentorship program, and we’re especially pleased that Stanley Black & Decker has undertaken a collaboration with data science faculty members Woolf and Lan on a novel workforce development research project!


Looking ahead, we’re actively planning our 2020 Data Science for the Common Good program. We recently celebrated the accomplishments of last summer’s cohort, and launched efforts to engage prospective partners and students for next summer. This program provides a unique experiential learning opportunity for data science students, allowing them to apply data science tools and methods to help regional non-profits improve how they execute their missions. We’re seeking corporate sponsors and volunteer industry mentors for next summer’s projects. Write to us at to learn more.


Let me conclude by commending two upcoming events to your attention:


  1. HackHer413, February 8-9, 2020. This unique all-women (cis and trans) and non-binary students' hackathon was created here in Western Massachusetts by an amazing all-woman team. It has attracted over 25 sponsors (including CDS), and offers a not-to-be-missed opportunity to engage future women leaders in tech.

  2. Data Science Research Symposium, April 16, 2020. This annual showcase event brings industry partners and university researchers together to discuss the latest research findings and trends, and identify opportunities for new collaborations. Attendance grows each year, and we keep finding new ways to make the day both valuable and memorable.


That’s all I have room for here. Please read on for more news, and please send us your feedback!