Vipin Kumar appointed first director of Data Science Initiative

Kumar will enhance visibility of data science research and build partnerships

University of Minnesota College of Science and Engineering (CSE) Dean Mos Kaveh has appointed Regents Professor Vipin Kumar as the first director of the new CSE Data Science Initiative. Kumar will concurrently hold the ADC Data Science Initiative Director Chair. He was appointed to a three-year, renewable term effective October 1, 2021.

The new CSE Data Science Initiative was launched to support data science research within the college and in partnership with other units and external entities. It grew out of a series of planning activities, including a task force on data science and subsequent broader consultation with a variety of stakeholders.

As the inaugural director of the CSE Data Science Initiative, Kumar will lead the effort to enhance the quality, impact, and visibility of data science research in the college as well as build collaborations within the University of Minnesota and with outside partners.

Kumar, who has been a faculty member at the University of Minnesota since 1989, holds the William Norris Endowed Chair in the Department of Computer Science & Engineering. In the past, he has served as the head of the Computer Science & Engineering department from 2005 to 2015 and the Director of Army High Performance Computing Research Center (AHPCRC) from 1998 to 2005.

Kumar's current research interests span data mining, high-performance computing, and their applications in climate/ecosystems and health care. He has authored more than 300 research articles, and has co-edited or co-authored 10 books, including two text books that are used worldwide and have been translated into multiple languages.

Kumar's current research focus is on advancing machine learning to enable the use of big data to better understand the impact of human induced changes on the Earth and its environment. Kumar served as the lead of a five-year, $10 million project entitled “Understanding Climate Change - A Data Driven Approach” funded by the U.S. National Science Foundation’s Expeditions in Computing program aimed at pushing the boundaries of computer science research.

He has served as chair/co-chair for many international conferences in the area of data mining, big data, and high performance computing. Kumar co-founded the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics (SIAM) International Conference on Data Mining and served as a founding co-editor-in-chief of Journal of Statistical Analysis and Data Mining.

Kumar has received numerous awards including being elected a Fellow of the American Association for Advancement for Science (AAAS), Association for Computing Machinery (ACM), Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), and Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics (SIAM). He also received the Distinguished Alumnus Award from the Indian Institute of Technology Roorkee in 2013, and the Distinguished Alumnus Award from the University of Maryland College Park Department of Computer Science Department in 2009.

His foundational research in data mining and high performance computing has been honored by the ACM Special Interest Group on Knowledge Discovery and Data Mining 2012 Innovation Award, the highest award for technical excellence in the field of Knowledge Discovery and Data Mining (KDD); and the 2016 IEEE Computer Society Sidney Fernbach Award, one of IEEE Computer Society's highest awards in high-performance computing.

Kumar received his B.E. degree in electronics and communication engineering from Indian Institute of Technology Roorkee; an M.E. degree in electronics engineering from Philips International Institute, Netherlands; and a Ph.D. degree in computer science from University of Maryland, College Park.