Announcing a new data science and translation institute

Dear Johns Hopkins Community, 

I am thrilled today to announce a transformative new investment in data science and the exploration of artificial intelligence at Johns Hopkins, one that will build on our existing strengths and position our university as a leading hub for engaging the challenges and opportunities of the data revolution now upon us and ensuring that the rapid rise of artificial intelligence is harnessed for society’s great challenges.

The university’s latest strategic plan, the Ten for One, elevated data science and AI as among our highest priorities for the future, reflecting the vision and aspirations of our research faculty, among many others. We have decided to advance this aim deliberately but with haste. 

At the heart of this interdisciplinary endeavor will be a new data science and translation institute led by the Whiting School of Engineering. This institute will bring together the distributed capabilities and research interests of every division of the university toward the application, understanding, collection, and risks of data, machine learning, and artificial intelligence systems across fields and disciplines—from neuroscience and precision medicine to climate resilience and sustainability, public-sector innovation, and the social sciences and humanities, among many others. It will also support multidisciplinary research that investigates the societal and ethical concerns posed by artificial intelligence and explore the role for, and character of, appropriate government policy and regulation.

To accomplish these ambitious goals, the institute will expand our core faculty in artificial intelligence, machine learning, applied mathematics, computer engineering, and computer science, with 80 new affiliated faculty positions in the Whiting School, as well as 30 new Bloomberg Distinguished Professors whose appointment is aimed at bridging disciplines and schools. We will start immediately, and within the next several years construct a home for this institute on the Homewood campus, with state-of-the-art computing power, advanced technologies, and the tools and expertise for accelerating the translation of data science and AI research into real-world innovations.

Over the past decade, we have witnessed an explosion of data in every area of human life and endeavor. By 2025, the total amount of digital data generated is estimated to be more than five times what it was in 2021. From the rise of personalized health data and autonomous systems to deceptively accurate chatbots, the effects of this acceleration are all around us. This new investment is intended to empower researchers across our university—those who are already here and those who will join us—to meet the challenges and seize the opportunities of this moment by harnessing the Hopkins ethos of interdisciplinary collaboration and building upon our demonstrated capacity to make discoveries that improve society and sustain human flourishing.

We are fortunate in this endeavor to draw upon the extraordinary insights and capacities of our existing data-focused efforts, like our Whiting School of Engineering’s recently launched AI-X Foundry, the Institute for Data Intensive Engineering and Science, the Bloomberg Center for Government Excellence, the Malone Center for Engineering in Healthcare, and the Center for Language and Speech Processing, all of which are nationally recognized leaders in their respective fields.  

AI pioneer Rama Chellappa and executive director of the AI-X Foundry KT Ramesh will serve as interim co-directors of the institute while the university launches an international search for a director. Additionally, we will partner closely with our Applied Physics Laboratory, the nation’s largest university-affiliated research center, which has for decades conducted cutting-edge research in data science, artificial intelligence, and machine learning to help the U.S. address an array of critical challenges.

I look forward to the ways each and every part of our institution will help drive forward this effort in the years ahead.