Dean of the Luddy School of Informatics, Computing, and Engineering Raj Acharya will step down mid-March to participate in an artificial intelligence research initiative.
Acharya said the school will hire an acting dean to replace him and then conduct a national search to find a permanent dean.
Acharya launched the Department of Intelligent Systems Engineering in 2016 and has been dean since July 2016. He will now be associate vice president for research with the specific task of promoting artificial intelligence. In this position, he will work with government agencies and the Department of Defense. IU alumnus and namesake of the school Fred Luddy donated $60 million in October 2019 for the research initiative, which will start in March and be conducted through the Luddy Center for Artificial Intelligence.
“This school is at the cutting edge,” Acharya said. “It’s almost like the future is being done here.”
Prior to working at IU, Acharya was the founding director of the School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, and head at Penn State University for 14 years. He said he was also part of the research lab at Penn State and worked on military defense projects.
Acharya said he hopes the Luddy School will be a global leader by investing in the technology and science of the future.
The Luddy Center for Artificial Intelligence facility will begin construction this spring and is expected to be completed by fall of 2021, according to the Luddy School website. Vice President for Research Fred Cate said the center will focus on interdisciplinary research, such as connecting animal and human cognition to artificial intelligence.
Cate said he has worked with Acharya since their lines of work overlap. Cate said the AI research initiative is a big project for the university with lots of pieces including work in Indianapolis, on the IU Bloomington campus and at the Luddy Center for Artificial Intelligence.
The goal of the center is to make the technology for artificial intelligence require less computing power and data, Cate said. He said he hopes to see more opportunities for people to engage in the real world application of these skills.
Cate said Acharya will also work to develop a collaboration space, separate from the new Luddy Center for Artificial Intelligence, where people from the university can work with others in the AI industry in order to develop solutions to critical problems in artificial intelligence technology.
Haixu Tang, director of the Data Science Academic Programs at IU said he thinks the research initiative is a great opportunity.
Tang said artificial intelligence research is important and useful. He said he’s excited to see how this research can be applied to medical and chemical data.
Tang said he appreciates that Acharya has been involved in many research projects and activities to benefit the Luddy School.
“I think he has a good, positive impact to our school,” Tang said.