Noted computer scientist Jeannette Wing, the Microsoft Research corporate vice president, will leave the Redmond company to lead Columbia University’s Data Science Institute starting in early July.
“Jeannette Wing is a pioneering figure in the world of computer science research and education, and her addition to the University’s academic leadership team reflects the continuing expansion of our work in this field,” said Lee Bollinger, the Columbia University president, announcing Wing’s move today.
Wing originally joined Microsoft in 2012, after twice serving as the head of Carnegie Mellon’s computer science department. She worked at the National Science Foundation as an assistant director from 2007 to 2010, leading the area of the NSF that funds U.S. academic computer science research. Among other accomplishments, Columbia cites her 2006 essay, “Computational Thinking,” for helping to “reinvigorate computer science research and teaching.”
“I am thrilled to be joining Columbia and returning to my academic roots, working with colleagues to help the University fulfill its commitment to solving major challenges in our world,” Wing said in a statement. “Through rapid advances in computer science, statistics and operations research, we are just beginning to explore the power of data-driven discovery and decision-making. At the same time, the automated collection and analysis of personal data raise important new ethical concerns. Columbia is ideally positioned to lead this exploration.”
Under CEO Satya Nadella, Microsoft has been working to streamline the process of getting research projects out of the labs and into products. Microsoft executive Harry Shum ultimately oversees Microsoft Research as the head of the company’s Artificial Intelligence and Research Group.