Institute sponsors four co-funded faculty positions in AI and data science

New Institute for Computational and Data Sciences co-hires span colleges, disciplines


UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — The Institute for Computational and Data Sciences (ICDS), in partnership with four academic colleges — the College of Agricultural Sciences, the College of Information Sciences and Technology, the College of Engineering and the Eberly College of Science — will sponsor four co-funded faculty positions focused on the development of novel methods or advanced applications in data science.

These new ICDS faculty co-hires build on Penn State’s position as a leader in data science, artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML).

“Research interests of these co-hired faculty will be focused on investigations that can lead to real-world benefits, such as improving health, securing our food supply, making science and research more efficient and designing vehicles that will take us out of this world,” said Jenni Evans, professor of meteorology and atmospheric science and director of the Institute for Computational and Data Sciences. “Artificial intelligence and data science are incredible tools to help us understand our world and our lives. Together with these four departments we will attract creative faculty who use these tools in an interdisciplinary framework to tackle critical research challenges.”

The positions and their goals include:

Soil Science for a Sustainable Future: College of Agricultural Sciences

Detailed exploration of the root-soil system exceeds the capacity of empirical research. To meet human needs in a changing climate requires understanding, design and optimization of plant systems. This challenge offers one of the best opportunities to generate and develop increasingly powerful multiscale mechanistic modelling—which is where plant science meets artificial intelligence.

Accelerating Science Using AI Techniques: College of Information Sciences and Technology

AI offers scientists a suite of tools and technologies that can help them conduct research in nearly every discipline. Candidates for this position will focus their research scholarship and expertise in developing data sciences and AI methodologies for accelerating all aspects of science. The faculty member will also engage in productive interdisciplinary research involving the application of AI methodologies in at least one scientific domain

AI for Aerospace Vehicle Design: College of Engineering

With a new surge in interest and investment in space flight, government and private organizations are seeking new aerospace vehicle designs. Without the necessary computational power to estimate and analyze a vast design space, aerospace vehicle design remains largely guesswork. This position will focus on bringing AI/ML to the challenges facing multi-disciplinary design, analysis, and optimization in the design of aerospace vehicles.

AI to Power Biochemical, Biological Insights: Eberly College of Science

“Big data” is being produced at an unprecedented rate in the field of molecular biology. This provides a unique opportunity to accelerate insights into biochemical and molecular biological systems and processes through development and application of machine learning techniques constrained by the laws of chemistry and physics.

The ICDS Faculty Co-Hire program started in 2016 and has grown to 33 faculty for the 2021-22 academic year. The four additional data science positions will increase this to 37 positions in 24 departments and seven academic colleges.

Searches for each position are expected to start in fall 2021 or spring 2022. For information on our current co-hires, associate and affiliate faculty members, please go here.


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