Meet Srinivas Aluru, executive director of the Institute for Data Engineering and Science (IDEaS).
IDEaS is one of Georgia Tech's 11 interdisciplinary research institutes within the Georgia Tech Research enterprise.
What is your field of expertise and why did you choose it?
As a graduate student in the early 90s, I chose high performance computing for the same thrill people experience when driving sports cars. There are these wonderful, expensive, and high-performance supercomputers readily available, and writing superfast code and solving the largest-scale problems is such a rush!
My core areas of expertise are high performance computing and data science. Using these as a launching pad, I work in large-scale applications in science and engineering. For the past 25 years, I have done so much work in bioinformatics and computational biology that it has become another core area.
What makes the way in which your IRI enables campus research unique?
Data science is everywhere – it is relevant to almost every unit on campus. This breadth provides both challenges and opportunities for IDEaS. To make progress, we support working groups and events in many focused areas and at the same time look for opportunities to avoid silos. We also leverage Georgia Tech’s vaunted position as leading technological university to drive forward big data driven science and engineering. We support data cyberinfrastructure needs of major centers such as the National Science Foundation (NSF) Cell Manufacturing Technologies (CMaT) Engineering Research Center and expect to serve upcoming projects in artificial intelligence (AI). Our services are valuable to many other IRIs and centers.
What couldn’t have happened without your IRI?
Catalyzation of Georgia Tech community in data engineering and science. The collective visibility is instrumental in winning large center-scale grants such as the South Big Data Regional Innovation Hub, the NSF TRIPODS institute, and the Hive supercomputer project. The IRI also exerts thought leadership at national and international levels and ensures GT has a seat at the table in U.S. data science leadership summits. For example, we organized the first US-Japan Big Data meeting for NSF.
What impact is your IRI GT research having on the world?
IDEaS has over 200 affiliated faculty working in many theoretical and applied areas. It is hard to summarize their impact in a just few words. Considering COVID situation as an example, we worked collaboratively with other big data regional hubs to launch COVID Information Commons for NSF, enabled faculty COVID research on HIVE which led to disease spread simulations advising the state, and supported events such as pandemic prevention workshop. I would also single out our management of the South Hub for outsized external impact. With 290 participating organizations, the Hub leads in community mobilization, tackling regional big data challenges, and education and workforce training.