Penn State ICS now the Institute for Computational and Data Sciences

November 05, 2019

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – Reflecting the rapid growth and ever-expanding mission of the organization, Penn State’s Institute for CyberScience (ICS) is now the Institute for Computational and Data Sciences (ICDS).

New advances in technologies and how those technologies are used across the disciplines, as well as changes in terminology, prompted the name change, according to Jenni Evans, professor of meteorology and atmospheric science and director of ICDS.

“Interdisciplinary research necessarily involves complex systems of diverse and disparate data, explored via advanced data interrogation techniques and predictive modeling. Computational and data science are more accurate descriptors reflecting this complexity,” said Evans.

Evans added that the types of research tools that scientists currently use — big data, artificial intelligence and machine learning, forecast and empirical models, all implemented with cutting-edge supercomputing — are well-suited for tackling science and society’s biggest problems and challenges.

“Calling out these specializations in our institute’s name helps to identify Penn State and our faculty for their broad and deep expertise encompassing these methodologies," said Evans.

ICDS has experienced considerable growth in the past few years, Evans added. More than 4,000 people, from 12 colleges and 75 departments, are currently using the institute’s supercomputing resources, the ICDS Advanced CyberInfrastructure (ICDS-ACI). That resource has grown substantially to meet researchers’ needs, from 26,000 compute cores in 2017 to more than 36,000 cores today.

Currently, the institute has more than 325 affiliated faculty members. These researchers are involved in investigations of everything from exoplanets to quantum mechanics to power flows in politics. The power of supercomputing allows these researchers to use the latest tools of data science, including artificial intelligence and machine learning, and to develop models based on physical principles and empirically derived interdependencies.

The institute has also focused on hiring talented computational scientists — known as the Research Innovation with Scientists and Engineers (RISE) team — who can collaborate with researchers throughout the University. RISE team members typically have advanced disciplinary specializations. They serve a critical support role for researchers using computational methods regardless of discipline, helping to troubleshoot and optimize code, develop and implement science workflows, and improve their overall computational research experience.

(Media Contacts)

Last Updated November 19, 2019