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Professor James Hendler Named Director of The Rensselaer IDEA

To: The Rensselaer Community
From: Shirley Ann Jackson, Ph.D.
Professor of Physics, Applied Physics, and Astronomy
Professor of Engineering Sciences
Date: September 12, 2013
Re: Professor James Hendler Named Director of The Rensselaer IDEA

I am pleased to announce the appointment of Professor James A. Hendler, Ph.D., as Director of the Rensselaer Institute for Data Exploration and Applications (IDEA).

James Hendler, Senior Constellation Chair and former Department Head, will now assume the responsibility of leveraging the wealth of data science, high performance computing, predictive analytics, data visualization, and cognitive computing research being done at Rensselaer. The Rensselaer IDEA will be the hub for these and other multidisciplinary data-related programs and projects on campus, which range from healthcare, to business analytics, to smart buildings, to cyber security.

Big data, broad data, high performance computing, data analytics, and web science are creating a significant transformation globally in the way we make connections, make discoveries, make decisions, make products, and ultimately, make progress. The Rensselaer IDEA is our university-wide effort to maximize the capabilities of these tools and technologies for the purpose of expediting scientific discovery and innovation, developing the next generation of these digital enablers, and preparing our students to succeed and lead in this new data-driven world.

The Rensselaer IDEA draws upon the power of four unique platforms: the Computational Center for Nanotechnology Innovations supercomputing center; the Curtis R. Priem Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center; the Center for Biotechnology and Interdisciplinary Studies; and, the IBM Watson cognitive computing system. Finding new and exciting opportunities to connect students and faculty with these powerful platforms will strengthen the position of Rensselaer as a world leader in data-related research.

Dr. Hendler is the Tetherless World Senior Constellation Chair at Rensselaer, and a member of the faculty in the Department of Computer Science and Department of Cognitive Science. Since joining the Institute in 2007, he has also served as head of the Department of Computer Science, and as assistant dean of the Information Technology and Web Science program.

Dr. Hendler received his bachelor's degree in computer science and artificial intelligence from Yale University, his master's degree in cognitive psychology and human factors engineering from Southern Methodist University, and his master's and doctorate degrees in computer science and artificial intelligence from Brown University. He has authored more than 200 technical papers in the areas of artificial intelligence, Semantic Web, agent-based computing, and high-performance processing.

One of the inventors of the Semantic Web, an extension of the World Wide Web that enables computers to better interpret the meaning and context of words, Dr. Hendler was a recipient of a 1995 Fulbright Foundation Fellowship. He is a former member of the U.S. Air Force Science Advisory Board, as well as a Fellow of the American Association for Artificial Intelligence, the British Computer Society, IEEE, and AAAS.

In addition to receiving numerous awards and accolades for his research and contributions to his field, Dr. Hendler serves as an "Internet Web Expert" for the U.S. government, providing guidance to the Data.gov project.

Please join me in congratulating Dr. Hendler on this important new chapter of his career. We look forward to great things from him and The Rensselaer IDEA.