Joan & Irwin Jacobs Technion-Cornell Institute at Cornell Tech Names New Director
May 25, 2016
By: Cornell Tech
Incoming Director Ron Brachman brings highly influential academic research and industry experience from Yahoo Labs, Bell Labs, AT&T Labs and DARPA, where he led world-class research teams and drove the creation of innovative technology with exceptional real-world impact
Cornell Tech today announced that Ron Brachman, a computer scientist who is an internationally recognized authority on artificial intelligence, will join the campus as the new Director of the Joan & Irwin Jacobs Technion-Cornell Institute. The Jacobs Institute embodies the academic partnership between Cornell University and the Technion Israel-Institute of Technology at Cornell Tech, with an emphasis on moving beyond traditional structures of academia to offer a global perspective on research, education, technology transfer, commercialization and entrepreneurship.
As Director, Brachman will lead the Jacobs Institute’s strategic vision as it continues to grow its non-traditional, multidisciplinary, cutting-edge faculty research, degree programs, and the Runway startup postdoctoral program. Brachman will become a member of the Computer Science faculty at Cornell University and will succeed Adam Shwartz, who returns to the Technion Israel-Institute of Technology as Senior Executive Vice President. The leadership of the Jacobs Institute is shared by the Technion and Cornell, with the directorship rotating between the two universities. As part of this rotation, Shwartz will become the Chair of the Jacobs Institute Board of Directors.
“We are very excited to welcome Ron to the campus. His distinguished research record, industry and team-building career and multi-faceted experience developing new research initiatives will continue the great work at the Jacobs Institute as we broaden and grow,” said Cornell Tech Dean Dan Huttenlocher. “The Jacobs Institute serves as a sandbox of experimentation at Cornell Tech, with the growing success of its Runway startup program and groundbreaking research in the fields of connective media, health tech, cybersecurity and more.”
“I’m so proud of the Jacobs Institute’s growth and success over the past three years, launching a first-of-its-kind multidisciplinary dual-degree program – and seeing its first graduates – and
commercializing impactful, deep research through the Runway startup postdocs program,” said Adam Shwartz, outgoing Director of the Jacobs Technion-Cornell Institute. “Ron’s expertise creating and leading high-level research teams and his work developing successful new initiatives at top industry and government organizations makes him the perfect choice to grow the Institute.”
“The Jacobs Institute is an amazing, unique undertaking, and I am extremely excited about the opportunity to lead it in its next phase of growth and groundbreaking innovation in education, research, and impact. Under the leadership of Adam Shwartz, the Jacobs Institute is already leading the way in showing how academia can drive real-world innovation,” said Ron Brachman. “I am eager to build on this work in developing the Jacobs Institute’s world-class dual degree programs and innovative approach to research and industry partnership.”
Brachman was Yahoo’s Chief Scientist and Head of Yahoo Labs, where he oversaw all of Yahoo’s science activities worldwide, including teams in Haifa and New York, providing leadership at the intersection of research, applied science and academic partnerships. He was one of the founders of Yahoo Research and the creator of Yahoo’s Academic Relations group, and throughout his ten years at Yahoo helped drive the creation of experimental initiatives and hired and managed top talent. As the Director of the Information Processing Technology Office at DARPA, Brachman established the Cognitive Systems initiative, which developed the technology that led to the creation of Siri. At Bell Labs and AT&T Labs, he drove the overall vision and technical direction of multiple research labs and built world-class groups in AI, Machine Learning, HCI, Security, and other critical technology areas. He has won multiple awards, has served as President of AAAI, currently serves on the Board of the Computing Research Association, and is a Fellow of ACM, IEEE, and AAAI. He also advises Segovia Technology, a New York startup that builds software systems for bringing cash payments to the world’s poorest people, working to eliminate poverty in emerging economies and provide humanitarian relief.
“Throughout the search process, we were consistently impressed with Ron’s dedication to breaking new ground, both when creating new partnerships at DARPA and Yahoo Labs and in his research,” said Michael I. Kotlikoff, Provost of Cornell University. “Cornell University is proud to partner with the Technion through the Jacobs Institute at Cornell Tech, and I’m confident that Ron will take the Institute to new levels.”
“Ron worked closely with Israeli research teams, and navigated complex organizations. I trust that he will be able to bring the Technion-Cornell partnership to new levels, and leverage the power of the two universities, and of the two cultures, to move Jacobs Institute as a leader for the digital age: fast moving, flexible and innovative,” said Professor Moshe Sidi, Current Senior Executive Vice President of the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology.
The Joan & Irwin Jacobs Technion-Cornell Institute is the academic partnership between Cornell and the Technion, and is tasked with pushing the boundaries of academia at Cornell Tech. The Jacobs Institute is named for Dr. Irwin Mark Jacobs, Founding Chairman and CEO Emeritus of Qualcomm, and his wife Joan Klein Jacobs, who donated $133 million to create the Institute in 2013. The Institute has attracted top talent to its faculty, and is part of one of the strongest security and privacy groups in the world. Through a partnership with AOL, the Institute has advanced groundbreaking collaborative research with researchers from Jacobs Institute, Cornell Tech, Technion and AOL, at its AOL Connected Experiences Lab. Since the announcement of the Technion-Cornell historic partnership in 2011, the institute recruited faculty, Ph.D. students and post-docs, initiated the Runway program startup postdoctoral program to commercialize innovative, deep research, opened Masters programs, graduated its first cohort of Connective Media students this year, and will be home to over 50 Masters students – in Connective Media and Health Tech – in the coming academic year.
About Cornell Tech
The Joan & Irwin Jacobs Technion-Cornell Institute is a key component of Cornell Tech. Cornell Tech develops pioneering leaders and technologies for the digital age. Cornell Tech brings together faculty, business leaders, tech entrepreneurs, and students in a catalytic environment to produce visionary results grounded in significant needs that will reinvent the way we live in the digital age. Cornell Tech’s temporary campus has been up and running at Google’s Chelsea building since 2012, with a growing world-class faculty, and about 150 master’s and Ph.D. students who collaborate extensively with tech-oriented companies and organizations and pursue their own start-ups. Construction is underway on Cornell Tech’s campus on Roosevelt Island, with a first phase due to open in 2017. When fully completed, the campus will include 2 million square feet of state-of- the-art buildings, over 2 acres of open space, and will be home to more than 2,000 graduate students and hundreds of faculty and staff.