Nitesh Chawla appointed the founding director of Notre Dame’s Lucy Family Institute for Data & Society

Nitesh Chawla
Nitesh Chawla Feature

Nitesh V. Chawla, the Frank M. Freimann Professor of Computer Science and Engineering, has been appointed the founding director of the University’s Lucy Family Institute for Data & Society.

Launched in December of 2019 with a $25 million gift from alumnus Robert Lumpkins and his wife, Sara, the Lucy Family Institute for Data & Society will serve as Notre Dame’s interdisciplinary, University-wide hub for data science programs committed to using the power of data and innovation as a force for good in the world.

The institute will also pursue strategic partnerships with industry, government, non-profits and academia, as part of a broader effort to establish Notre Dame as a leader in data science and analytics research and innovation while developing graduates who are data-enabled, analytically savvy and ethically driven. 

“Nitesh’s expertise in data science, artificial intelligence and analytics, his commitment to serving the less privileged through the ethical application of technology and data science and his infectious enthusiasm and entrepreneurial spirit position him well to help establish and lead this new institute,” said Thomas G. Burish, the Charles and Jill Fischer Provost at Notre Dame. 

“Like many faculty members at Notre Dame, Nitesh has an excellent scholarly reputation that precedes him,” said Provost-elect Marie Lynn Miranda, who is herself a data scientist. “Nitesh is widely known as someone who is not only advancing the science, but also applying it to serve disadvantaged communities.”  

Chawla, who joined the Notre Dame faculty in 2007, is an expert in artificial intelligence, data science and network science, and is motivated by the question of how technology can advance the common good through interdisciplinary research. As such, his research is not only at the frontier of fundamental methods and algorithms but is also making interdisciplinary advances through collaborations with faculty at Notre Dame and community, national and international partners.

“Notre Dame has tremendous capabilities and faculty expertise in the rapidly evolving fields of data science, artificial intelligence and analytics,” Chawla said. “I look forward to working with colleagues across the University as we pursue new interdisciplinary research and translational opportunities, advance data science, artificial intelligence and analytics, strengthen our scholarship, nourish existing connections and build new ones with others outside the University. I believe the Lucy Family Institute will be an intellectual and interdisciplinary beacon that produces impactful and equitable data-driven solutions for the good of society.”

Chawla is the recipient of multiple awards for research and teaching innovation including outstanding teacher awards (2007 and 2010), a National Academy of Engineers New Faculty Fellowship and a number of best paper awards and nominations. He also is the recipient of the 2015 IEEE CIS Outstanding Early Career Award, the 1st Source Bank Commercialization Award,  the IBM Watson Faculty Award and the IBM Big Data and Analytics Faculty Award. In recognition of the societal and community driven impact of his research, Chawla was recognized with the Rodney F. Ganey Award. 

He is a fellow at the Reilly Center for Science, Technology, and Values, the Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies, the Kellogg Institute for International Studies, the Pulte Institute for Global Development and the Liu Institute for Asia and Asian Studies. He also serves on the steering committee for the Notre Dame Technology Ethics Center and the Health and Wellbeing Initiative. He is also a concurrent professor with the Department of Applied and Computational Mathematics and Statistics.

Chawla is presently the director of the Center for Network & Data Science and co-founder of Aunalytics, a data science and cloud computing company, headquartered in South Bend, Indiana.

Originally published by Patrick Gibbons at on June 23, 2020.