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Computational science faculty recruitment begins

Sep 11, 2014   |   by Amelia Rosch   |   The Dartmouth

Recruitment for the College’s first faculty cluster begins this week, as a committee led by engineering professor Laura Ray launches the search for the Thomas Kurtz chair in computational science. In addition to the Kurtz chair, search committees will select two other professors to join the cluster this year.

The first computational science classes will be offered next fall, Provost Carolyn Dever said.

Under the cluster initiative, announced by College President Phil Hanlon last fall, the College will hire groups of professors from different academic disciplines who are interested in similar research areas.

By recruiting new professors from outside the College, Dever said, clusters augment Dartmouth’s research networks.

The provost’s office plans to start recruiting faculty for several clusters this year, Dever wrote in an email. Currently, the provost’s office and academic deans are working with faculty members to revise proposals for future clusters.

Of the 29 responses the provost’s office received in its first call for proposals, four have been selected for revision, Dever said.

Over time, the office plans to add ten clusters in total, she wrote...

...In the spring, former Board of Trustees chair William Neukom ’64 donated $10 million to create the computational sciences cluster. Drawing on Neukom’s gift and $5 million in matching funds, the cluster will comprise three new professorships, a postdoctoral fellowship and increased opportunities for undergraduate students to research and study.

Kurtz, for whom the chaired full professorship is named, co-invented the programming language BASIC with former College President John Kemeny 50 years ago.

The cluster will integrate and extend computational work that is currently happening at the College, Neukom Institute for Computational Sciences director Dan Rockmore said in a May interview.

Interdisciplinary in nature, computational science focuses on data analysis across various academic fields, ranging from physics to anthropology, and uses mathematical models to solve scientific problems...

...Malika Khurana ’15, an engineering major and studio art minor, said in May that she appreciates opportunities for interdisciplinary learning.

“I have made a lot of connections between humanities and comp sci and engineering,” she said. “I like that Dartmouth is a liberal arts school, but you can still do engineering.”

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