UR expert to lead National Science Foundation unit on artificial intelligence
Henry Kautz, founding director of the Goergen Institute for Data Science at the University of Rochester, has been tapped to direct the National Science Foundation division that supports artificial intelligence, human-computer interaction, and data science.
“We at NSF are absolutely delighted to have Henry coming on board as division director of our Division of Information and Intelligent Systems,” says Jim Kurose, assistant director of NSF for computer and information science and engineering. “At this particularly important time for the field, it is critical to have a leader with such outstanding research accomplishments, deep insight, and tremendous national and international experience.”
Kautz will serve for a three-year rotation, before returning to Rochester. He is an expert in artificial intelligence, pervasive computing, and health care applications, and his research has been cited more than 20,000 times.
“This is a huge opportunity for Henry to help define the direction of research in the all-important areas of data science and intelligent information systems. And I cannot think of anyone more qualified than Henry to lead NSF efforts in these fields,” says Wendi Heinzelman, dean of the Hajim School of Engineering & Applied Sciences and co-chair of the search committee for a new director of the Goergen Institute. Ehsan Hoque, the Asaro-Biggar Family Fellow in Data Science and assistant professor of computer science, is serving as interim director while the search is conducted.
As division director, Kautz will help create calls for research proposals, manage the process for reviewing proposals and making award decisions, and work with other NSF officials to set strategy and policy.
“Artificial intelligence, human-computer interaction, and data science are changing the world in ways no one foresaw just a few years ago,” Kautz says. “I believe most of the changes are for the good, but we have seen that this kind of technology can also be used for unethical purposes. I hope and believe my work at NSF can help steer research toward enhancing the positive benefits of advanced computer technology.”
Kautz has interacted with NSF for decades as a grant recipient, and by volunteering to serve on NSF peer-review panels with other scientists to review proposals and offer recommendations to NSF’s science staff.