David Gondek aims to “build a buzz around AI and computer science” at SAIC.
David Gondek aims to “build a buzz around AI and computer science” at SAIC.
January 23

SAIC Welcomes Its First-Ever Scientist-In-Residence

In an interview with SAIC Associate Director of Editorial Jeremy Ohmes featured in the Spring 2014 issue of E+D, computer scientist David Gondek outlines his role as SAIC’s first-ever Scientist-In-Residence. Gondek will teach the multidisciplinary liberal arts course Algorithms, Information, and AI at SAIC this spring. He will also present a lecture about his research on February 19 as part of SAIC's Conversations on Art and Science lecture series. An expert in machine learning and data mining, Gondek played a key role on the IBM team that developed Watson—the artificial intelligence (AI) machine that conquered contestants on Jeopardy! in 2011. Gondek says he hopes to “build a buzz around AI and computer science” during his residency. “There's a common misperception that computer scientists just sit in front of a computer and program and drink Mountain Dew in the dark for 12 hours a day. My experience was nothing like that,” he says. “Building AI is really a collaborative research effort—talking with other scientists and hashing out ideas. I hope to bring some of that ethos to this class at SAIC.” Science, mainly taught through SAIC's Liberal Arts program, has a growing presence at the school. In one recent development last summer, students and faculty members from Northwestern University (NU) and SAIC combined "big data" analysis with collaborative research, studio arts, and visual communication design in the intensive new course Data Viz Collaborative