Turk joins iSchool faculty

Matthew Turk
Matthew Turk, Assistant Professor

The iSchool is pleased to announce that Matthew Turk has joined the faculty, effective September 9. Assistant Professor Turk holds a joint appointment with the Department of Astronomy in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. His work focuses on how individuals interact with data, and how that data is processed and understood. 

"We are very excited that Matthew Turk is joining us," said Dean Allen Renear. "Matt is a truly extraordinary researcher in data science who also embodies the commitment to interdisciplinary education that is at the heart of our School. A recipient of the prestigious Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation’s Moore Investigator Award in Data-Driven Discovery, Matt is already a leading figure in his field."

Turk's research areas include the organization of and meaning behind data, how groups of individuals collaborate in an inherently competitive system, and how the interaction of software and the human experience of knowledge generation can be influenced to increase productivity or understanding. "Sometimes this takes the form of developing and implementing algorithms for analysis and visualization," said Turk, "but in other cases, it involves understanding the way that communities form around software and scientific processes."

Turk came to Illinois in 2014 to work as a research scientist at the National Center for Supercomputing Applications and a research assistant professor in the Department of Astronomy. He earned a doctoral degree in physics from Stanford University, and he completed postdoctoral work at the University of California at San Diego as well as an NSF Fellowship in Cyberinfrasture for Transformative Computational Science at Columbia University. He is currently the group leader at the Data Exploration lab at NCSA.

Turk is a co-PI on the five-year, $5 million National Science Foundation-funded Whole Tale project which will enable researchers to examine, transform, and republish research data that was used in an article, with the aim of helping to ensure reproducibility and pave the way for new discoveries.

"The iSchool is in a unique position—the research going on, the world-class faculty, students, and staff, and the new programs (such as information management) make it one of the most exciting places to be on campus," Turk said.