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Big Data Expert Named Bloomberg Professor

Alexander Szalay, a professor in the Krieger School’s Department of Physics and Astronomy, has been named a Bloomberg Distinguished Professor. The professorships are supported by a $350 million gift to the university by Johns Hopkins alumnus and former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

Each Bloomberg Distinguished Professor is affiliated with two or more JHU divisions, conducts multidisciplinary research, and teaches students across the university.

Szalay, the founding director of the Institute for Data Intensive Engineering and Science at Hopkins, says his interest in big data began when he became a key contributor to the Sloan Digital Sky Survey. Since then, he has collaborated with colleagues at JHU to build scientific databases “that change the way we do astronomy” and to democratize access to supercomputer simulations.

Szalay, who is also a professor in the Department of Computer Science in the Whiting School of Engineering, has already helped build a similar database for radiation oncology, and is now collaborating on designing one for high-throughput genomics. The efforts, Szalay believes, will help the university become “a major player” in the world of high-performance computing.