CICS Mourns the Passing of Research Professor Georges Grinstein

Georges Grinstein
Georges Grinstein

Georges Grinstein, research professor in UMass Amherst's College of Information and Computer Sciences (CICS), passed away unexpectedly on Monday, February 26, 2018.

Grinstein joined the UMass Amherst community in spring 2016 after over 30 years at UMass Lowell, where he was a professor of computer science, head of the bioinformatics program, and director of the Institute of Visualization and Perception Research.

At UMass Amherst, Grinstein taught courses on data visualization and was involved in several new research collaborations with CICS faculty. "Within a very short time after his arrival, Georges had forged a potent intellectual and emotional connection with a remarkable number of students and faculty colleagues. He was exhilarated, exhilarating, and having the time of his life," said CICS professor David Jensen. 

Grinstein was especially active within the Center for Data Science, excited by the opportunity to bridge the scientific gap between machine learning and visualization. In recent months, Grinstein had been enthusiastically orchestrating several new research partnerships with government sponsors as well as area companies, and was on the verge of launching a new initiative to develop general-purpose tools for visualizing the activities and outputs of machine learning algorithms.

Grinstein's research was broad and interdisciplinary, covering the perceptual and cognitive foundations of visualization, very high-dimensional data visualization, visual analytics, and applications of visualization -- all focused on the modeling, analysis, visualization and presentation of complex information. Most recently, his work concentrated on goal-directed cognition of static and interactive visualizations.

During his forty-year career, Grinstein mentored over 40 doctoral students and hundreds of graduate students, participated in over 300 research grants, received several patents, and published several hundred papers in journals and conferences. He also organized or chaired national and international conferences and workshops in computer graphics, visualization and data mining, and gave numerous keynotes.  

For the last ten years, Grinstein co-chaired the IEEE Visual Analytics Science and Technology Challenges in visual analytics, leading to new research areas. He was also a member of the Department of Homeland Security's Center of Excellence CCICADA (Command, Control and Interoperability Center for Advanced Data Analysis), and directed the development of Weave, an open source web-based interactive collaborative visual analytics system incorporating numerous innovations.

He received a B.S. in mathematics from the City University of New York in 1967, an M.S. in applied mathematics from New York University in 1969, and a Ph.D. in mathematics from the University of Rochester in 1978.

Calling hours will be held on Saturday, March 10, from 1:00 to 4:00 pm at Douglas Funeral Home in Amherst, MA. A Celebration of Life will be held on Sunday, March 11, from 1:00 to 4:00 pm at the Marriot Center on the 11th floor of UMass Amherst's Campus Center. Both events are open to the public.