Director's Message to UMIACS

UMIACS is fortunate to have had giants within our ranks. Pioneering work—by Rita Colwell in computational biology, Ben Shneiderman and Catherine Plaisant in human-computer interaction, Hanan Samet in spatial data structures, and Jack Minker in AI and deductive databases—resonates on a large scale.

Yet each of them had a beginning as a graduate student, postdoc or assistant professor, or early career scientist in the private sector. They learned the basics from those that came before them before setting out on their own scientific journey. They would all subsequently share their expertise and knowledge with those who followed in their paths.

I was reminded of this at the recent quantum cryptography conference held in the Iribe Center. In their welcoming remarks, UMD President Darryll J. Pines and NIST Associate Director for Laboratory Programs Charles H. Romine each spent considerable time recognizing the graduate students and early-stage faculty in attendance.

They highlighted the importance of mentorship and training of young scientists to generate novel ideas and new knowledge. They also spoke of the impact that these young researchers will have on the future of quantum computing—and society—moving forward.

We strive to have that same model of forward-looking mentorship, support and impact in UMIACS.

As we welcome new early career faculty—Murphy Yuezhen Niu (quantum optimization and metrology), Hernisa Kacorri (human-computer interaction and assistive technologies), Yizheng Chen (adversarial machine learning and network security), Yonghwi Kwon (software security and engineering), and Jun Nushida (human-computer interaction and immersive media design)—I want to reiterate that UMIACS is committed to providing them the very best in administrative and technical support.

This support includes incentivizing interdisciplinary collaboration, both with researchers on campus and those working at nearby academic institutions and federal agencies.

We strongly believe in carrying our message of collaboration, mentorship and professional camaraderie across every facet of our operations. Our senior staff readily welcomes new staff members, giving them a hands-on tutorial of the excellent work that we do each day. Our talented graduate students also offer a positive learning environment—sharing ideas, experiences and sometimes even coffee and tea with their new lab mates. And our stellar faculty, no matter what stage of their career, are committed to mentoring and supporting their peers.

By working together—respecting, encouraging, and carrying each other forward—we will continue to have a significant impact on research and education, following in the footsteps of the giants that came before us.

Mihai Pop, UMIACS Director