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Raj Acharya named dean of IU School of Informatics and Computing

  • Feb. 24, 2016

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Raj Acharya will be the next dean of the Indiana University School of Informatics and Computing, IU Provost and Executive Vice President Lauren Robel has announced. Acharya currently serves as professor and director of the School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at Penn State in University Park, Pa.

He will start as dean of the IU School of Informatics and Computing on July 1; his appointment is subject to confirmation by the IU Board of Trustees.

"Raj Acharya's inclusive, interdisciplinary and international vision makes him the ideal leader for the school at this exciting period in its development," Robel said. "He has deep experience in bringing faculty together to create new programs as well as in bringing together existing programs and inspiring people to work together in new ways. I am eager to work with him to continue the momentum of this innovative and important school."

During Acharya's tenure, Penn State computer science research expenditure moved from 64th in 2001 to eighth in 2013 in the nation. The department was awarded the $48 million U.S. Army Collaborative Research Alliances award, a $10 million National Science Foundation Expedition award and a $35.5 million U.S. Army Network Sciences Center.

Acharya was head of the Department of Computer Science and Engineering at Penn State for 14 years. He holds an appointment at Penn State Applied Research Laboratory for conducting classified research; was a research scientist at General Electric (Thomson) CSF Laboratory in Paris; and has been a research fellow at various NASA and Department of Defense labs. He is also on the board of VideoMining and Technology Collaborative, a technology-based economic development organization.

He was selected as a result of a nationwide search by a committee of faculty members, alumni and student representatives created in the fall. Brad Wheeler, IU vice president for information technology and chief information officer, has served as interim dean since Nov. 1.

"I am delighted that Dr. Acharya will soon take the helm of the school," Wheeler said. "He has an extraordinary record of bringing people together, and his record of achievement in leading teams to excellence in research and education is outstanding. He joins the school at a time of tremendous momentum in its essential role to help strengthen the economy of the state."

A widely published scholar and thought leader on big data mining, network sciences and engineering, and genomics, Acharya developed systems that are routinely used in industry and academia.

Acharya said he was drawn to the IU School of Informatics and Computing in part because of its national reputation as one of the finest -- and one of the first -- informatics programs in the nation, as well as the opportunity to help build its new engineering program and work on solutions to grand challenges facing the nation.

After getting to know the school's faculty, Acharya looks forward to bringing together scholars from different fields to promote interdisciplinary collaboration.

"Once you bring all of these people together, there’s a cross-pollination of ideas," Acharya said. "Usually, the most exciting research happens at the frontiers of fields."

He added that the IU School of Informatics and Computing is the ideal place for such collaboration because of its existing variety of scholars in the areas of computer science, informatics, information and library science, and most recently, intelligent systems engineering.

At Penn State, Acharya initiated four centers of excellence; assembled a university-wide multidisciplinary team to secure a National Science Foundation research infrastructure grant; and initiated a graduate certificate in Embedded Systems (jointly with Carnegie Mellon University) and a graduate certificate in security.

Acharya holds Ph.D.s in electrical and computer engineering from the University of Minnesota and in biomedical engineering from the Mayo Graduate School of Medicine. He is also a fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers and the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering.

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