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Granger to Lead Neukom Institute

Richard Granger Jr., a professor at the University of California, Irvine, in both the computer science and the cognitive science departments, has been named the first director of the Neukom Institute for Computational Science at Dartmouth. Granger will bring more than 25 years of experience in the highly interdisciplinary field of computational science to the institute. He will assume his new post on July 1, 2006.

The Neukom Institute was established in 2004 through a $22 million commitment by William H. Neukom '64, chair of the Board of Trustees, continuing the College's legacy of leadership in computing, in both application and theory. The institute's director serves as the William H. Neukom Distinguished Professor in Computational Science, and Granger will also have a faculty appointment in the psychological and brain sciences department.

As the director of UC Irvine's Brain Engineering Laboratory and a leading authority on computational analysis and cognitive neuroscience, especially as it applies to brain circuitry, Granger has extensive experience in cross-disciplinary interactions and interdisciplinary teaching and research. He has published numerous studies that focus on neurobiological mechanisms and pharmacological advances. Granger's basic research has led to a series of patents and products, including developing computational methods used in concert with electroencephalographic data to aid clinicians in early detection of brain diseases such as Alzheimer's. He has received recent research funding from the Office of Naval Research and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, and he is a cofounder and consultant to a number of technology corporations and government agencies.

"Dartmouth's proud history of combining computing innovation and a commitment to undergraduate liberal arts education is embodied in the Neukom Institute," President James Wright says. "Professor Granger is joining Dartmouth at an exciting time as demand from our students interested in computer science continues to rise in response to the global importance of computing in society."

"This is a time of tremendous excitement and challenging opportunity; a time of groundbreaking interdisciplinary understanding across disparate fields, from brain sciences to earth sciences, from the arts to engineering, from economics to nanotechnology—all of which are becoming understood computationally," says Granger. "The Neukom Institute at Dartmouth establishes a new world-class institute at a world-class institution, whose faculty, students, and facilities afford an unmatchable environment for innovation, learning, and progress. I look forward to rich collaborations with students and faculty throughout the arts and sciences, and to participating in and contributing to the grand and enduring tradition of Dartmouth College."

"Professor Granger is joining Dartmouth at an exciting time as demand from our students interested in computer science continues to rise in response to the global importance of computing in society."

- President James Wright

The mission of the Neukom Institute for Computational Science is four-fold: to strengthen and broaden interdisciplinary and collaborative research between computer science and other disciplines; to leverage cutting-edge research to develop new ways to study, interpret, and apply complex information; to educate, through research, future generations of interdisciplinary researchers; to provide leadership and inspiration in the development of new curricular, mentoring, and collaborative learning opportunities.

The institute will include several faculty positions, in computer science and in additional departments, to foster breadth in backgrounds and approaches and to ensure exposure to computational science across the campus. It will also provide a range of research opportunities and fellowships to undergraduates, graduate students, and postdoctoral fellows, as well as an annual symposium on computational science.

Carol Folt, dean of the faculty of arts and sciences and a professor of biological sciences, says, "I look forward to Professor Granger's arrival at Dartmouth. Under his leadership, I'm sure that the Neukom Institute will fast become vital to our academic mission by making computational science widely accessible to students, while also enhancing the quality of our faculty's work in a range of fields where computational approaches are ripe for development and promise significant advances."

"My hope is that the Institute can both enhance the learning experience and contribute to critical research in the arts and sciences," says Neukom. "With Professor Granger's help, I'm sure that Dartmouth will continue to have a leading role in pushing the frontiers of computation." Neukom is chair of the Seattle law firm Preston Gates & Ellis and former executive vice president of law and corporate affairs at Microsoft Corporation.

Dartmouth's history in computer science began in the late 1940s, when the College demonstrated the first remote access to a digital computer. In 1955, mathematician John McCarthy, then at Dartmouth, coined the term "artificial intelligence" and hosted a two-month summer conference on the subject in 1956 (see related story). In 1964, mathematicians John Kemeny and Thomas Kurtz developed the time-sharing prototype and the popular and widely used computer language BASIC.

More recently, Dartmouth has deployed one of the nation's leading campus network infrastructures. In 2001, Dartmouth was the first Ivy League institution to have a 100 percent wireless campus, and Dartmouth's Class of 2009 will be the first generation of Dartmouth students to experience a totally "converged" campus environment that enjoys Internet (both wired and wireless), cable television (DarTV), and phone service (VoIP), all courtesy of the Dartmouth computer network.

By SUSAN KNAPP

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Last Updated: 12/17/08