Ludäscher named CIRSS director

Bertram Ludäscher
Bertram Ludäscher, Professor and Director, Center for Informatics Research in Science and Scholarship

GSLIS Professor Bertram Ludäscher has been named the new director of the Center for Informatics Research in Science and Scholarship (CIRSS) at the Graduate School of Library and Information Science at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.

Ludäscher is a leading figure in scientific data and knowledge management, focusing on the modeling, design, and optimization of workflows, foundations of provenance, data integration, and knowledge representation. He co-founded the open source Kepler project, and is a current member of the DataONE leadership team. As part of the National Science Foundation (NSF)-funded Kurator project, a collaboration with the Museum of Comparative Zoology at Harvard, Ludäscher is developing data curation technology for automating quality control of biodiversity data. He is also leading the NSF-funded Euler project, which is developing logic-based methods for the alignment and merging of biological taxonomies.

Ludäscher’s research ties in closely with CIRSS activities, which are aimed at advancing how scientists and scholars work with digital information and new technologies to support the dynamic interplay among information, people, and information systems. Current research at CIRSS spans many areas in data science, data curation, digital humanities, and science in public policy, including topics such socio-technical data analytics, eScience and cyberinfrastructure tools, text mining, understanding the gaps between curation and analytics, culture and science, information synthesis, and large-scale digital research collections. CIRSS also leads the development and management of two related academic programs, the Specializations in Data Curation and Socio-technical Data Analytics (SODA).

“CIRSS is a nexus for informatics research at GSLIS, where researchers with different backgrounds can come together to jointly tackle a wide variety of problems in science and scholarship. I’d like to invite my colleagues at GSLIS and across campus to collaborate on any of the wide range of research topics in data and information science,” said Ludäscher. “Many fields in the natural sciences and humanities are changing, often adapting to new data-driven methods and technologies. At CIRSS we’re studying this change, but we’re also part of it. To stay at the forefront, we’ll continue to expand existing collaborations and build new ones; e.g., to support a new breed of data librarians, or to help computational scientists through advanced platforms such as NDS Labs at the National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA).”

“Bertram has already made an impact at NCSA, and he exemplifies how we envision our faculty affiliates developing strong and connected research activities in both their home units and NCSA,” said NCSA Director Ed Seidel. “We are sure that Bertram’s new role as CIRSS director will strengthen and broaden connections between NCSA and GSLIS.”

GSLIS Dean and Professor Allen Renear said, “We are delighted that Bertram Ludäscher will be the next director of CIRSS. We are all very excited here.” Associate Professor Catherine Blake, who will continue as CIRSS associate director, echoed Renear’s sentiment and said, “Bertram’s workflow and curation research embodies a CIRSS perspective that integrates a scientist or scholar, data curation, and data analysis within the knowledge production lifecycle.”

Ludäscher takes over the post from GSLIS Professor Emerita Carole Palmer, founding director who led CIRSS from 2007-2014. Palmer recently joined the faculty of the Information School at the University of Washington.

Ludäscher joined the GSLIS faculty in 2014 and is a faculty affiliate at NCSA and the Department of Computer Science. He was most recently a professor at the Department of Computer Science and the Genome Center at the University of California, Davis. Prior to joining UC Davis, he worked at the San Diego Supercomputer Center at UCSD.

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