Rajan appointed chair

CATEGORIES: News, Notable

Iowa State University’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences has announced the appointment of Kingland Professor of Data Analytics Hridesh Rajan as chair of the Department of Computer Science.

Rajan, the department’s current interim chair, begins his three-year term Nov. 1, 2020.

“These are truly exciting times to serve the Department of Computer Science as its chair,” Rajan said. “Our field has transformed virtually all sectors of society, and these tremendous transformative impacts will continue. Our scientists, engineers, and entrepreneurs have the opportunity to solve fundamental problems in artificial intelligence and data science, cloud computing, cybersecurity, quantum information sciences and many other areas, as we form transdisciplinary collaboratives to tackle large societal challenges in food, health, environmental insecurities and beyond. There are also significant opportunities to engage new talent in underrepresented minorities and persons with disabilities groups.”

A highly-regarded researcher in data science and software engineering, Rajan is also widely respected for his departmental and university leadership in advancing education programs at Iowa State.

As Professor-in-Charge of Iowa State’s Data Science program, he helped co-lead the effort to establish a new undergraduate data science degree, minor and certificate. In 2016, he founded the Midwest Big Data Summer School to deliver broadly accessible data science curricula to early career researchers from across the nation.

Rajan said he looks forward to working with colleagues to advance the department’s research, education and outreach efforts; engage alumni; foster community and industry partnerships; and produce career-ready, entrepreneurial-minded graduates who are sensitive to diverse viewpoints.

“Hridesh has provided exemplary leadership as interim chair and has a dynamic vision for the future of the department,” said Beate Schmittmann, dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. “I am delighted that he will continue to advance the department’s excellence in its research and teaching agendas.”

As a principal investigator, Rajan has secured more than six million dollars in research grants from institutes and organizations such as the National Science Foundation (NSF). Earlier this year, he and his collaborators were awarded a $1.5 million grant from the NSF’s highly competitive TRIPODS (Transdisciplinary Research in Principles of Data Science) program to develop and establish the Dependable Data-Driven Discovery Institute (D4) at Iowa State.

He received a National Science Foundation (NSF) CAREER award in 2009, LAS Early Achievement in Research Award in 2010, a Big-12 Fellowship in 2012, an Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) Senior Membership in 2014, a Kingland Professorship in 2016, an ACM Distinguished Membership in 2017, a Sigma Xi membership in 2017, a Fulbright Award in 2018, and a Facebook Probability and Programming Award in 2020.

Rajan is also a faculty member in Iowa State’s information assurance, software engineering and human-computer interaction programs.

Rajan earned his master’s degree and Ph.D. in computer science from the University of Virginia. He currently serves as a program evaluator for the ABET Computing Accreditation Commission, serves as an editorial board member of several journals, and is actively engaged in numerous conferences and committees around the nation.