Founding Institute Directors

Rajesh GuptaRajesh Gupta | (858) 822-4391
Distinguished Professor and Qualcomm Endowed Chair, Department of Computer Science and Engineering

Professor Gupta’s research interests span topics in embedded and cyber-physical systems with a focus on energy efficiency from algorithms, devices to systems that scale from IC chips, and data centers to built environments such as commercial buildings. He currently leads NSF project MetroInsight with the goal to organize and use city-scale sensing data for improved services. His past contributions include SystemC modeling and SPARK parallelizing high-level synthesis, both of which have been incorporated into industrial practice. Earlier, Gupta led NSF Expeditions on Variability, and DARPA-sponsored efforts under the Data Intensive Systems (DIS) and Circuit Realization at Faster Timescales (CRAFT) programs. Gupta and his students have received a best demonstration paper award at ACM BuildSys'16 , best paper award at IEEE/ACM DCOSS’08 and a best demonstration award at IEEE/ACM IPSN/SPOTS’05.

Gupta received a Bachelor of Technology in electrical engineering from IIT Kanpur, India; a Master of Science in EECS from University of California, Berkeley; and a PhD in electrical engineering from Stanford University, US. He currently holds INRIA International Chair at the French international research institute in Rennes, Bretagne Atlantique. Gupta is a Fellow of the IEEE and the ACM.


Jeffrey Elman - in memoriamJeff Elman
Distinguished Professor and Chancellor’s Associates Chair, Department of Cognitive Science (1948-2018)

We honor the wise leadership of Professor Elman in helping build the foundation of the Data Science Institute. Dr. Elman, who died June 28, left a legacy from his pioneering work in artificial neural networks, and as an internationally recognized scholar in the field of language processing and learning.

His early TRACE model of speech perception, with Jay McClelland, remains one of the major theories in the field. In 1990, he developed the Simple Recurrent Network architecture (the so-called “Elman net”) that is today widely used in many fields to model behaviors that unfold over time. In his last research, he used a wide range of scientific methods, including computational simulations, neuroimaging and behavioral measures.

Elman earned his bachelor’s degree in social relations from Harvard and his Ph.D. in linguistics from the University of Texas at Austin. A member of the UC San Diego faculty since 1977, Elman was a founding member of the Department of Cognitive Science, the first of its kind in the world, as well as founding director of the Center for Research in Language. He was founding co-director of the university’s Kavli Institute for Brain and Mind. He served as dean of the Division of Social Sciences from 2006 – 2014.

Among his honors is the prestigious David E. Rumelhart Prize, which he received in 2007 in recognition of his groundbreaking contributions to the theoretical foundations of cognitive science. Elman was elected a Member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2016. For more on Professor Elman, click here.


Faye Chou Kurpanek | (858) 822-4536
Chief Administrative Officer

Faye Chou Kurpanek joined UC San Diego in 2011 to launch the new master's degree programs for working engineering professionals at the Jacobs School of Engineering. Since 2011, the four programs have graduated more than 550 students and more than 150 local companies have sent engineers to the programs. Prior to UC San Diego, Faye worked in engineering management at Teradata, Hewlett-Packard and Cadence Design Systems. Faye also has experience in start-up environments, including the development of pioneer eBook systems and data visualization solutions.

Faye graduated from UC San Diego with a degree in applied mathematics and computer science. She also has an MS in information systems and an MBA from San Diego State University.


Lisa Petrillo HeadshitLisa Petrillo | (858) 382-1252
Communications/Media Officer

Science writer Lisa Petrillo joins the Halicioğlu Data Science Institute as its first Communications/Media Specialist, to spotlight the pioneering cross-discipline work here at UC San Diego’s new hub for decoding the world.

Lisa is an award-winning news reporter who ran communications and media for major organizations, including the National Ignition Facility at Lawrence Livermore Laboratory, General Atomics-Energy Group, San Diego Unified School District and Rady Children’s Hospital. Among her professional service includes serving as an elected trustee of San Diego Press Club, and as a member of the National Association of Science Writers and San Diego Professional Journalists Association. She is a former competitive ice skater, and author of more than 10 nonfiction books, including the first nonpartisan young adult biography on politician Sarah Palin, and a mass-market true crime book.

Infrastructure and Services

Stephanie LabouStephanie Labou | (858) 822-4808
Data Science Librarian

Stephanie Labou is the UC San Diego Library's new Data Science Librarian as of June 11, 2018. As Data Science Librarian, Stephanie will provide user assistance with datasets and data analysis through general reference, in-person consultations, and collection development of licensed and open access data. In addition, she will be providing instruction and short-form workshops, such as Carpentries workshops, on data-centric topics. She also joins the team that jointly manages the Data & GIS Lab in Geisel Library. Most recently, Stephanie was Data Manager/Research Assistant at the Center for Environmental Research, Education, and Outreach at Washington State University, where she worked closely with interdisciplinary research groups, led instructional workshops, and facilitated regular meetup groups for R and Python users 


Christine Kirkpatrick HeadshotChristine Kirkpatrick | (858) 822-3322
Executive Director, National Data Service
Deputy Director, West Big Data Innovation Hub
Division Director, Research Data Services, SDSC

Christine Kirkpatrick holds a variety of positions in different institutions, including Executive Director of the National Data Service (NDS), Deputy Director and co-Pi for the National Science Foundation-funded West Big Data Innovation Hub, and Division Director for Research Data Services at the San Diego Supercomputer Center (SDSC) at the University of California San Diego. Christine also co-chaired the Women in Data Science & Engineering Workshop at the 2017 IEEE International Conference on Data Engineering and is a founding member of Ada’s Lunch Club, an outreach initiative designed to connect underserved undergrad and graduate populations with the (SD) Supercomputer Center.

Through partnerships with HDSI, Christine’s groups provide data sharing, analysis, and related services for researchers.