Computing Catalyst Working Group to shape expanded computing resources and capabilities to advance university-wide research

Vanderbilt’s new Computing Catalyst Working Group will gather input from faculty and staff leaders on how to strategically expand the university’s computing resources and shape the university’s future in computing, AI and data science.  

The working group will focus on identifying computing resources such as hardware and software, staffing and personnel, and programs and services needed to spur a new wave of discovery and innovation powered by AI and computing at Vanderbilt.  

“Computing resources are as important for the success of the College of Connected Computing as are other research resources such as lab space. I am confident that the Computing Catalyst Working Group will optimize this key form of investment, paving the way for Vanderbilt faculty members’ pathbreaking research and teaching.” 

By leveraging existing resources and partnerships on campus, the group aims to foster a connected computing community that spans all schools and colleges. 

“Faculty needs continue to increase for sophisticated computing infrastructure along with ‘bilingual’ experts who can help them catalyze research outcomes by leveraging AI and data science,” Vice Provost for Research and Innovation Padma Raghavan said. “The insights from our working group will guide us in strategically enhancing and aligning our resources to empower the entire university community.” 

The working group is a complement of the recently announced College of Connected Computing task force that will focus on specific details about the new college, including its departments, degree programs and research infrastructure.  

The working group’s membership consists of computing and data experts from several Vanderbilt schools and colleges, reflecting the interdisciplinary approach Provost C. Cybele Raver is taking toward expanding connected computing capabilities across the university. 

The working group members are: 

  • Brett Byram – co-chair
    Associate Professor of Biomedical Engineering, Hoy Family Faculty Fellow
  • Sonya Sterba – co-chair 
    Professor of Psychology and Human Development 
  • Alex Christensen
    Assistant Professor of Psychology and Human Development
  • Emily Hodges
    Assistant Professor of Biochemistry 
  • Kelly Holley-Bockelmann
    Professor of Astronomy, Stevenson Chair in Physics and Astronomy, Director of the Fisk-Vanderbilt Master’s-to-Ph.D. Bridge Program 
  • Olivia Kew-Fickus
    Chief Data Officer and Executive Director of Data and Strategic Analytics 
  • Bennett Landman
    Chair of the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Professor of Electrical and Computing Engineering, Stevenson Chair, Professor of Biomedical Engineering, Professor of Computer Science, Professor of Neurology, Associate Professor of Biomedical Informatics, Associate Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Associate Professor of Radiology and Radiological Sciences
  • Hassane Mchaourab
    Professor of Molecular Physiology and Biophysics, Louise B. McGavock Chair, Professor of Chemistry 
  • Christian Presley
    Executive Director of the Advanced Computing Center for Research and Education
    Office of the Vice Provost for Research and Innovation 
  • Jon Shaw
    Vanderbilt University Librarian 
  • Matthew Shotwell
    Associate Professor of Biostatistics, Associate Professor of Anesthesiology 
  • Jesse Spencer-Smith
    Interim Director and Chief Data Scientist of the Data Science Institute, Professor of the Practice of Computer Science, Adjunct Professor of Psychology 
  • Shanmuga Sundaram
    Assistant Vice Chancellor for Finance, Information Technology  
  • Steven Wernke
    Chair of the Department of Anthropology, Associate Professor of Anthropology 
  • Richard Willis – ex officio
    Associate Provost for Research and Innovation, Senior Associate Dean for the Faculty, Professor of Accounting, Anne Marie and Thomas B. Walker Jr. Chair  
  • Padma Raghavan – ex officio
    Vice Provost for Research and Innovation, Senior Advisor to the Chancellor, Distinguished Professor of Computer Science