Rensselaer Has A New Idea

Jun 13, 2013

Professor James Hendler

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute today announced a new university-wide initiative to tackle the challenges and opportunities of Big Data.

At a morning ceremony at the Troy campus, RPI officials christened it "IDEA" - the Institute for Data Exploration and Applications – the college’s $60 million initiative involves students and faculty from more than 12 departments across the five schools of the university.

Professor James Hendler, head of the Department of Computer Science, says IDEA bundles high-performance computing, predictive analytics, data visualization, and cognitive computing research at RPI.

“The Rensselaer IDEA will maximize the ability of our researchers to harness the expanding possibilities for discovery and innovation in a data-driven, supercomputer-powered, web-enabled, globally interconnected world,” said Rensselaer President Shirley Ann Jackson. “Working across disciplines and sectors, they will apply powerful new tools and technologies to access, aggregate, and analyze data from multiple sources and in multiple formats, in order to address challenges and opportunities across the spectrum, including in basic research, environment and energy, water resources, health care and biomedicine, business and finance, public policy, and national security. Educated in this context, with new approaches and analytical capabilities, our students—the next generation of discoverers, innovators, and entrepreneurs—will be better equipped to truly change the world.”


A recent high-profile hire, Hendler has been named the director of IDEA. He says the ultimate goal is to get shared benefit from researchers working together.

Dan Moran, with Colonie-based career-transition management firm Next-Act, says the plethora of recent announcements by RPI and by the University at Albany’s College of NanoScale Science and Engineering are solidifying the Capital Region's reputation as the technology hub of New York state.

RPI will make new seed funding available for IDEA-related projects, and dedicate campus and Rensselaer Technology Park space and facilities to the Rensselaer IDEA.