Microsoft Research boss headed back to academia

Jeannette Wing taking reins at Columbia University Data Science Institute

Columbia University has announced that Jeannette Wing, who has led Microsoft Research since the start of 2013, will be circling back to the world of academia in July as director of Columbia’s Data Science Institute and professor of computer science. 

“Jeannette Wing is a pioneering figure in the world of computer science research and education, and her addition to the University’s academic leadership team reflects the continuing expansion of our work in this field,” said Columbia President Lee Bollinger said in a statement. “Our Data Science Institute is indispensable to virtually every scholarly initiative at the University dedicated to addressing a societal problem.  The benefits to be derived from Jeannette’s leadership and her presence here will be immense.” 

The Data Science Institute began in 2012 and has grown from its base at Columbia Engineering to include more than 200 researchers across the university. Data science, from big data analysis to algorithmic innovations, has become a hot area of study at colleges and an attractive career option for those already in the workforce as demand for jobs in the field explodes.

The move to Columbia marks a return to academia for Wing, an MIT grad who prior to joining Microsoft had been with Carnegie Mellon University, where she was head of the Department of Computer Science, and the National Science Foundation, where she served as assistant director of the Computer and Information Science and Engineering Directorate. Wing's areas of expertise include security/privacy, distributed systems and programming.

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