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Lehigh launches Data X initiative

According to government estimates, there will be 1.4 million new jobs in computing by the year 2020. However, only 400,000 college graduates will be qualified to fill them.

Through a new university initiative, Lehigh aims to ensure that its graduates are better equipped to fall within those ranks.

On Wednesday, Interim President Kevin Clayton and Provost Patrick V. Farrell announced the launch of Data X, a strategic university initiative that will significantly expand Lehigh’s capacities for teaching and learning in computer and data science, while increasing access to such courses for students, regardless of their major. Data X will see Lehigh recruit and hire new faculty in computer science and related fields, infuse the concepts of computer science into areas of study across the university, and position Lehigh as a leader in an increasingly essential field.

“Lehigh has long been a national leader in interdisciplinary teaching and research,” said Clayton. “Data X will build upon these strengths in an exciting and innovative way, at a time when computer and data science are shaping discovery and development in our economy, culture and society.”

Added Farrell: “To move Lehigh forward in a world where computer science and data analytics are becoming increasingly prevalent, we must make bold moves and focused investments. Data X will strengthen Lehigh’s already solid position as a national leader, enrich the student experience and develop in our graduates highly sought-after skill sets.”

Data X will be led by Daniel Lopresti, professor and chair of Lehigh’s department of computer science and engineering, who has served as interim dean of the P.C. Rossin College of Engineering and Applied Science since July. Lopresti is a widely respected researcher whose work in fundamental algorithmic and systems-related questions in pattern recognition, bioinformatics and computer security has placed him at the forefront of his field.

“Computer science as a field has grown up over the past several decades to infuse basically every discipline that we have at Lehigh,” Lopresti said. “Software and data impacts everything that we do now and is pervasive in business and industry as well.”

Student enrollment in computer science courses at Lehigh has increased 163 percent over the last five years. With its investment in Data X, Lehigh will be better able to meet this rising demand and help students gain a competitive advantage in a market where more and more employers rely on computer-science competency.

“The market now for computer science is incredibly aggressive,” said Lopresti. “A strategic initiative like this is exactly what we need to go out into the market and compete for the very best talent that’s out there.”

To learn more about Data X, Lehigh’s accomplished faculty and stories of student success in these fields, visit the new Data X website.

Read the full story at the Lehigh University News Center.

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