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Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute’s Computer Science and Physics Departments Appoint New Leaders

Newswise — Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute’s School of Science has appointed two new department heads. Mohammed Zaki currently heads the Department of Computer Science and Gyorgy Korniss heads the Department of Physics, Applied Physics, and Astronomy. The departments are ranked third and fourth in New York state, respectively, and 24th in the nation by College Factual.

“We are fortunate to have so many accomplished and dedicated scholars at our school,” said Curt M. Breneman, Dean of the School of Science. “I look forward to working with Professors Zaki and Korniss, who are not only leaders in their respective fields, but also administrative leaders dedicated to the growth and development of their departments and programs.”

Zaki’s expertise is in the development of new data mining and machine learning methods, especially for text mining, social networks, bioinformatics, and personal health. His nearly 300 publications include Data Mining and Machine Learning textbook (2nd Edition, Cambridge University Press, 2020) and he holds six patents. Zaki is currently an associate editor for Data Mining and Knowledge Discovery. Previously, he served as the area editor of Statistical Analysis and Data Mining and associate editor of ACM Transactions on Knowledge Discovery from Data, Knowledge and Information Systems; ACM Transactions on Intelligent Systems and Technologies; Social Networks and Mining; and International Journal of Knowledge Discovery in Bioinformatics. He has co-chaired all major data mining conferences and is currently co-chairing the ACM International Conference on Information and Knowledge Management ’22.

Zaki’s research is supported in part by the National Science Foundation (NSF), Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), National Institutes of Health (NIH), Department of Energy (DOE), IBM, Google, HP, and Nvidia. He is a fellow of the IEEE and a fellow of the Association for Computing Machinery. He is a recipient of the National Science Foundation CAREER Award, the DOE Early Career Principal Investigator Award, the HP Innovation Research Award, and the Google Faculty Research Award.

Zaki has been a Rensselaer faculty member since 1998 and a professor since 2009. Previously, he served as associate department head and graduate program director for the Department of Computer Science. He earned a Ph.D. in computer science from the University of Rochester.

“Computer science has revolutionized all fields of inquiry and profoundly changed how we live,” Zaki said. “We are on the cusp of an exciting future that includes autonomous cars, assistive robots, personal health, artificial general intelligence, and more, all powered by computer science. I look forward to to create a bold, shared blueprint for a vibrant and high-ranking computer science department,” Zaki said.

Korniss’s research focuses on transport failures, flows, and cascading in complex networks; synchronization, coordination, and extreme events in coupled stochastic systems; and dynamics of opinion and influence in social networks. His background is in statistical physics, stochastic processes, and interacting agent-based systems. Korniss has authored or co-authored more than 100 mostly interdisciplinary papers and book chapters in publications such as Science, Physical Review Letters, Journal of Theoretical Biology, Scientific reportsand riots. He is an editorial board member of Fluctuating and Noise Letters and Scientific reports.

Korniss’s research has been externally funded since 2001, including support from the NSF, Office of Naval Research, Defense Threat Reduction Agency, DARPA, Army Research Office, and Army Research Laboratory.

Korniss has been a faculty member at Rensselaer since 2000 and a professor since 2012, earning the Trustees’ Faculty Achievement Award in 2006, 2009, and 2012. He is affiliated with Rensselaer’s Network Science and Technology Center (NEST) and the Social Cognitive Research Networks Academic. Center (SCNARC). Before Rensselaer, he was a postdoctoral research associate at the Supercomputer Computations Research Institute at Florida State University. Korniss earned a Ph.D. in physics from Virginia Tech and a diploma in physics from Eotvos University, Budapest.

“I am excited to enter this role and I look forward to working with our new Institute leadership, my colleagues, and the dean to effectively lead the immediate and strategic, long-term goals of the department ,” Korniss said.

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