Brant Cheikes Joins the Center for Data Science as Executive Director

Brant Cheikes joined the Center for Data Science (CDS) on August 1, 2016 as the Center's first executive director. Cheikes will be working with Professor Andrew McCallum, director of the Center, on the full range of CDS activities, including the coordination of research and educational programs, outreach to industry and faculty across campus, directing operations and developing events, and interacting with Center visitors.

Cheikes comes to UMass after a 23-year career at The MITRE Corporation in Bedford, Massachusetts. At MITRE, a non-profit operator of federally-funded research and development centers, he held a variety of technical leadership and management roles.

Cheikes' early work at MITRE leading internally- and externally-funded research projects led to invitations to assist government program managers in the design and execution of advanced R&D projects, including the Foresight and Understanding from Scientific Exposition (FUSE) project. In 2014, he shifted his focus to cybersecurity and took a role supporting the chief technology officer (CTO) of the Department of Homeland Security's Office of Cybersecurity and Communications. In this role, he advised the CTO on a variety of initiatives to enhance automation and interoperability of cyberdefense products and services deployed on United States government information systems.

Cheikes got his B.S. in Computer Engineering from Boston University, and his M.S. and Ph.D. in Computer and Information Science from the University of Pennsylvania, where his research was focused on computational linguistics, in particular cooperative question-answering systems. He is thrilled to have joined CICS and CDS, and welcomes visitors. Outside of work, Cheikes is an avid cyclist and is always looking for tips on great road bike rides in the Amherst area.