by Cory Nealon
Published November 22, 2021
Simply put, artificial intelligence and data science are transforming the world.
Both fields are at the forefront of innovation in robotics, health care, materials science, autonomous vehicles and countless other areas that are key to the United States’ future economy and security.
They offer hope for solving complex problems like detecting fraud buried deep in financial systems, reducing human bias in the judicial system and efficiently finding the right compound for the safest and most effective medicine.
To continue growing its research expertise and educational leadership position in artificial intelligence and data science, as well as support Western New York’s growing entrepreneurial ecosystem, UB has formed the Institute for Artificial Intelligence and Data Science (IAD).
“At UB, we’re committed to tackling globally pressing problems through cutting-edge research and groundbreaking educational programs. The Institute for Artificial Intelligence and Data Science will help the university achieve this mission, as artificial intelligence, data science and related fields offer unparalleled potential to improve everything from medicine and transportation to digital literacy and robotic systems,” says A. Scott Weber, provost and executive vice president for academic affairs.
The new institute combines two UB research organizations — the Artificial Intelligence Institute and the Institute for Computational and Data Sciences.
David Doermann, a SUNY Empire Innovation Professor in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering who is founding director of the Artificial Intelligence Institute, will serve as the Institute's director.
Venu Govindaraju, vice president for research and economic development, says IAD will bring together faculty and labs from across the university, as well as existing centers of excellence, to promote groundbreaking multidisciplinary research and curriculum development.
“IAD will serve as an umbrella organization for scholarship and creative activities, as well as innovation and technology transfer,” he says. “It will help ensure that UB continues its upward trajectory as one of the nation’s premier public research universities that’s focused on applying technological innovation and holistic thought processes to solve society’s grand challenges.”
Affiliate research organizations at UB will include the Center for Computational Research, the Center for Unified Biometrics and Sensors, and the SMART (Sustainable Manufacturing and Advanced Robotic Technologies) community of excellence. More collaborating entities will be added with time.
Kemper Lewis, dean of the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, says IAD will promote collaboration and showcase UB’s groundbreaking, multidisciplinary research in artificial intelligence and computational and data sciences.
This includes — but is not limited to — work in machine learning; big data; health and medicine; advanced materials; autonomous vehicles; robotics; law, policy and ethics; mobile computing; intelligent spaces/architecture; arts and humanities; media forensics; computer vision and natural language processing; and high-performance computing.
“The fields of artificial intelligence and data science are growing rapidly, touching nearly all sectors of the economy and society,” Lewis says. “A robust and multidisciplinary research and educational organization, such as the Institute for Artificial Intelligence and Data Science, will ensure that UB remains a leader nationwide in the use of these innovative computational technologies to address pressing challenges that society faces.”
Located in newly built facilities at 215 Lockwood Library on the North Campus, IAD will work with educators across decanal units to understand the artificial intelligence and data science needs of students throughout UB. It will offer new courses and certificate programs, as well as new master’s degree programs in both artificial intelligence and data science.
“In addition to conducting pioneering research that benefits society, IAD will serve as the primary resource for the development of multifaceted educational programs in artificial intelligence and data sciences,” says Doermann. “The curriculum that IAD develops will ensure our students continue to graduate with the knowledge, skills and hands-on experience to form startups, join government agencies and the private sector, and serve as the next generation of academic thought leaders.”
Before arriving at UB in 2018, Doermann was a program manager at the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), where he developed, selected and oversaw research and transition funding in computer vision, human language technologies and voice analytics.
From 1993-2018, he was a member of the research faculty at the University of Maryland, College Park. In his role at the university’s Institute for Advanced Computer Studies, he served as director of the Laboratory for Language and Media Processing, and as an adjunct member of the graduate faculty for the Department of Computer Science and the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering.
The lab he led focused on innovative topics related to the analysis and processing of document images and video, including triage, visual indexing, retrieval, enhancement, and recognition of textual and structural components of visual media.
Doermann has more than 250 publications in conferences and journals, is a fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers and the International Association for Pattern Recognition, and has received numerous awards, including an honorary doctorate from the University of Oulu, Finland. He is a founding editor-in-chief of the International Journal on Document Analysis and Recognition.