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McCallum Appointed Distinguished Professor

Andrew McCallum
Andrew McCallum

Andrew McCallum, director of the Center for Data Science in UMass Amherst's College of Information and Computer Sciences, was appointed Distinguished Professor following approval by the Board of Trustees at its June 20 meeting.

The title Distinguished Professor is conferred on select, highly accomplished faculty who have already achieved the rank of professor and who meet a demanding set of qualifications.

In their letter of nomination, Chancellor Kumble Subbaswamy and Provost John McCarthy wrote, "Professor McCallum is a world-renowned data scientist, specializing in machine learning, natural language processing, information extraction, and knowledge-base construction. His work in developing algorithms that allow computers to 'read' and categorize text using 'Conditional Random Fields' (CRF) has had a foundational impact on these areas. His fundamental 2001 paper on CRF won the ICML Test of Time award in 2011 for the most significant paper published in the ten preceding years; it has been cited more than 11,000 times. Professor McCallum's profile on Google Scholar shows a total of more than 57,000 citations including almost 25,000 in the past five years. His h-index of 90 is another measure of his importance in the field: 90 of his publications have been cited 90 or more times, placing him among the leading scholars in his field worldwide. Since joining UMass Amherst, he has attracted an impressive $60M in funding from government, industry, and philanthropy."

McCallum is a fellow of the Association for Computing Machinery, a fellow of the American Association for Artificial Intelligence, and a Kavli Fellow of the National Academy of Sciences. He has received an Outstanding Paper Award from the premier conference in computational linguistics, a Yahoo Big Thinkers Award, and multiple IBM Faculty Partnership Awards.

At UMass Amherst, he has garnered a Conti Fellowship, the Chancellor's Award for Outstanding Accomplishments in Research and Creative Activity, the UMass President's Science and Technology Award, the College of Natural Science and Mathematics Distinguished Research Award, and a Lilly Teaching Fellowship. His software has taken first place in two major competitions: the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office's international competition in author disambiguation, and the Stanford Knowledge Base Population leaderboard.

He received his Ph.D. from the University of Rochester in 1995. Following a postdoctoral position at Carnegie Mellon, he served as vice president of research and development at WhizBang Labs in Pittsburgh. He joined UMass Amherst in 2002 as a research associate professor as he transitioned from industry to academia, then quickly became a tenured associate professor. He was promoted to professor in 2009.

External reviewers cite his extraordinary contributions to and impact on data science, describing him as "one of the world's most important and influential researchers in artificial intelligence," "a real academic superstar," and "a world-leading scientist and pre-eminent scholar who has made pioneering contributions and is held in the highest regard in the computer science community."

Subbaswamy and McCarthy wrote, "Professor McCallum is a talented and engaging teacher who exemplifies the role of professor as a facilitator for connecting students with cutting-edge techniques and developments in the field."

He is currently advising 12 Ph.D. students, five master's students, two postdocs and several undergraduates. He has previously graduated 15 Ph.D. students, many of whom are now prominent researchers themselves in academia or industry.

Letter writers highlight McCallum's impressive service contributions to the machine learning community, including his work as president of the International Machine Learning Society and one of the leaders of the Northeast Big Data Innovation Hub. One describes him as "the leading thinker and doer regarding new models of journal reviewing and publication." His work on open peer review aims to revolutionize scientific peer review; he leads the project that created the service at OpenReview.net, which is now being used by multiple flagship computer science research publishing venues.

At the campus level, he was the founding director of the Computational Social Science Initiative (now Institute), which has been highly successful at building cross-campus ties, and he conceived of and is the founding director for the Center for Data Science, for which he has raised more than $25 million since 2015.

Qualifications for the title of Distinguished Professor include outstanding research, teaching and/or public service contributions that are widely recognized; an extraordinary level of productivity and impact in his/her field of study; a level of productivity and impact that has been demonstrated for an extended time; pre-eminence in his/her field; recognition by professional organizations for outstanding contributions; being a person who would be a major loss to the university if he/she were to leave; and being a role model for faculty and students.

(Source: UMass Amherst Office of News & Media Relations)