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Cover Story, Fall 2020

Yelena Yesha Joins UM as IDSC Innovation Officer

by Richard Westlund

September 18, 2020

Yelena Yesha, PhD, an award-winning researcher and technology industry leader, has joined IDSC as Innovation Officer and Head of International Relations. She was also named a Knight Foundation Chair of Data Science and AI. “Dr. Yesha is an internationally recognized leader in many fields, including cybersecurity, big data analytics, medical research, electronic commerce, and climate change,” said IDSC Director Nick Tsinoremas. “She will play a key role in advancing our program, assisting our faculty, and engaging academic and industrial partners here and around the world.”

Dr. Yesha’s accomplishments in technology in the last 25 years, include leading initiatives for NASA, IBM, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), and the National Science Foundation (NSF). As Director of the Center of Excellence in Space Data and Information Sciences (CESDIS) at the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, she oversaw the development of Beowulf—a high-performance parallel computing system now used in universities and research labs worldwide—and major components of the Linux operating system, which were later commercialized by Red Hat.

Along with publishing 11 books as author or editor, Dr. Yesha has written more than 200 papers in refereed journals and conference proceedings, and she has been awarded more than $40M in external funding. She is a Fellow of the IBM Centre for Advanced Studies, and received the Faculty Fellow of the Year award in 2011.

Yelena Yesha IBM CAS Faculty Fellow of the Year

In the 1990s, Dr. Yesha represented the U.S. at the G7 Summit, leading the development of resources on electronic commerce, and examining its impact on policy, governance, and compliance. She later received funding from the European Union and NSF to build a Master of Science in Electronic Commerce program across Europe. From 1997 to 2005, Dr. Yesha was Editor-in-Chief of the International Journal on Digital Libraries, and she now serves as Editor-in-Chief of the journal Smart Homecare Technology and Telehealth.

Since 2004, Dr. Yesha has been a leader in bringing Data Science tools such as machine learning and AI to health care, improving physicians’ diagnostic capabilities, and advancing precision medicine. Additionally, Dr. Yesha was the Founding Director of the National Center for Accelerated Real Time Analytics (CARTA), one of the Industry/University Cooperative Research Centers (I/UCRC) funded through a grant from NSF (now with a site at the University of Miami).

Dr. Yesha is also a Distinguished University Professor at the Department of Computer Science and Electrical Engineering at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. A native of the Ukraine, she received her BSc degrees in Computer Science and in Applied Mathematics from York University, Toronto, Canada, in 1984, and her MSc and PhD degrees in Computer Science from The Ohio State University in 1986 and 1989, respectively.


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