Director’s Message to UMIACS

Welcome back to a new semester. I’d like to reflect on several recent events that I believe represent the strength and momentum of UMIACS.

In January, the Joint Center for Quantum Information and Computer Science (QuICS) held a research symposium celebrating its five-year anniversary. Quantum experts from across the nation and around the world came to College Park to explore the future of quantum information science and quantum computing.

The following day, faculty in our Center for Automation Research (CfAR) hosted a conference for computer vision experts working on complex problems for the federal government.

The Iribe Center was abuzz with activity on both days. Senior officials from nearby federal agencies, faculty and students from other universities, and corporate partners all came together to work in partnership with our research community.

What struck me was that these activities mirror the broader mission of UMIACS itself. That is, we incentivize our faculty to form interdisciplinary clusters that work with other institutions and agencies on grand challenges that can best be solved using a team-based approach.

Activities and research expenditures in our centers—QuICS, CfAR, the Center for Bioinformatics and Computational Biology, the University of Maryland Center for Machine Learning, and the Maryland Blended Reality Center—remain strong.

I believe the centers—and other interdisciplinary units we support like the Computational Linguistics and Information Processing Laboratory or the Human Computer Interaction Lab—are key to catalyzing active and highly successful research programs that benefit all of the faculty and students involved.

We look to expand upon these types of activities in the near future.

David Jacobs, who currently leads our machine learning center, is spearheading an ambitious proposal to establish a National Science Foundation AI Research Institute at the University of Maryland. And Michael Cummings, Philip Resnik and John Dickerson have received funding as part of the MPower Maryland AIM-HI program that is focused on bringing the power of artificial intelligence to medicine in partnership with the University of Maryland, Baltimore.

These efforts highlight leadership, collaboration within UMIACS and beyond, and a commitment to research that will have a societal impact. I firmly believe we can accomplish more and have a greater impact in both science and education by working together.

I’d like to hear your thoughts on this. Let’s continue this discussion in the coming months.

Mihai Pop, UMIACS Director