Garud Iyengar Appointed Avanessians Director of the Data Science Institute

February 27, 2024

Dear fellow members of the Columbia community,

I am very pleased to announce the appointment of Garud Iyengar as the next Avanessians Director of the Data Science Institute.  He will begin as DSI Director on July 1.

As the Data Science Institute builds on its decade-plus record of remarkable success in advancing the frontiers of the field, developing collaborations across Columbia’s many schools, and training the next generation of data science leaders, it is in exceptionally capable hands.  Garud brings a wealth of experience in academic leadership and long record of success in convening faculty from disparate fields to tackle pressing interdisciplinary challenges.  

President Shafik has identified artificial intelligence as one of the key priorities for the University in the coming years, and under Garud’s direction, DSI will partner with EVP for Research Jeannette Wing and Columbia Engineering Dean Shih-Fu Chang in leading Columbia’s AI initiative.

Garud, the Tang Family Professor in the Department of Industrial Engineering and Operations Research, has been a member of the Columbia Engineering faculty since 1998. He is currently the Senior Vice Dean for Research and Academic Programs, leading educational programs, and large-scale interdisciplinary research at the school. 

Garud has played central roles at DSI since its founding. He was Associate Director for Research from 2017-19 and helped launch the Institute’s PhD concentration, seed fund program, and postdoc program. His own research has brought significant advances to the study of information, control, and optimization, and his current work addresses a broad range of domains, including cellular signaling, labor platforms, power networks, supply chains, and causal inference.

I want to thank Clifford Stein, the Wai T. Chang Professor of Industrial Engineering and Operations Research and Professor of Computer Science, for his service as Interim Director of DSI. He led DSI through a period of critical growth. Through strategic recruitment, he helped build Columbia’s capacity to lead in data science and cancer research; fortified the excellence of the M.S. in Data Science program; and strengthened DSI's postdoc program.

I would also like to express my appreciation to the search committee for their outstanding work. The committee was chaired by Shih-Fu Chang, and included Katrina Armstrong, David Blei, Noemie Elhadad, Julia Hirschberg, Amy Hungerford, Costis Maglaras, Liam Paninski, and Jeannette Wing.

Please join me in congratulating Garud in taking on this vital role, and in thanking Cliff for his service.


Dennis A. Mitchell, DDS, MPH (he/him)
Interim Provost
Professor of Dental Medicine at CUMC