Our Mission

I-DISC is a hub to catalyze, support, and promote research in areas related to data, intelligent systems, and computation, especially interdisciplinary, collaborative research.

The analysis of complex and massive datasets and the development of sophisticated computational models are essential to our understanding and prediction of complex phenomena and systems associated with personalized medicine, healthcare delivery, transportation systems, social networks, the human brain, global climate, and international economic development. Building upon a foundation of Lehigh research expertise and resources in computationally-intensive and computationally-focused research, The Institute for Data, Intelligent Systems, and Computation (I-DISC) cultivates and supports collaboration with industrial, academic, and governmental partners in attacking some of the most pressing challenges in technology and society.

During the 2016 Fall Semester, the Rossin College initiated an Envisioning Process. Its primary focus was to identify approaches that would enhance the research scholarship, impact, and reputation of the College, and, by extension, of Lehigh University. The Process was implemented by three faculty-led teams with three separate missions. Envisioning Team 3 was asked to identify broad interdisciplinary research themes in which Lehigh should strive to be the (or one of the) intellectual leader(s) over the next decade. These themes must be of significant long-term importance to society and must be areas in which Lehigh can differentiate itself, building on current strengths and growing via University investment.

In the summer of 2017, Dean DeWeerth invited faculty to be part of the Data Science and Intelligent Systems Faculty Council, primarily from engineering but also including faculty from other colleges. Co-chairs of the council were Katya Scheinberg and Héctor Muñoz-Avila. Other members included Wei-Min Huang (Mathematics), Wonpil Im, Brian Davison, Paolo Bocchini, Srinivas Rangarajan, Parv Venkitasubramaniam, Rebecca Wang (Marketing), and Nader Motee.

That fall, the Council voted to name the proposed IRI “DISC: Data, Intelligent Systems and Computation.” That semester (and into the following spring) that group worked to develop core themes and proposed an organization of the Institute. The three initial IRIs were announced by the Provost in April of 2018, and Profs. Scheinberg and Muñoz-Avila were named as founding Co-Directors for I-DISC. In the following weeks, I-DISC invited faculty across the university to become members of the new Institute. Institute operations began in earnest that fall, albeit with a much smaller scale than originally envisioned.

In September 2020, Prof. Larry Snyder, Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering, was appointed Director of I-DISC, having previously served as Co-Director. Prof. Kate Arrington, Department of Psychology, in the College of Arts and Sciences, and Prof. Brian Davison, Department of Computer Science and Engineering, were appointed as Associate Directors; both previously served on the Faculty Advisory Council. Profs. Héctor Muñoz-Avila and Katya Scheinberg, founding Co-Directors of I-DISC, took on new roles. Prof. Muñoz-Avila is now a Program Director for Information Integration and Informatics (III) at the National Science Foundation (NSF). Prof. Scheinberg is a faculty member in the Operations Research and Information Engineering department at Cornell University.


I-DISC has identified the following objectives and goals. 

  • Have I-DISC faculty members from a wide range of departments, programs, and disciplines, including both methodological data- and computation-related fields (e.g., computer science, industrial engineering) and fields that make applied use of data and computation (e.g., psychology, education, public health, business). 
  • Have I-DISC Research Groups that cover a broad range of methodological and applied fields.
  • Provide grant-writing and reviewing services to I-DISC faculty working on collaborative grant proposals. 
  • Offer expertise to faculty members in the form of I-DISC Fellow services and other resources.
  • Host events throughout the year to foster collaboration and education. Provide administrative, planning, and logistical support for larger events such as conferences and workshops.
  • Center diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) as a critical aspect of both I-DISC-related science and I-DISC’s procedures, policies, and practices.

I-DISC Leadership Team

Kate Arrington

Kate Arrington


Mooi Choo Chuah

Associate Director

Parv Venkitasubramaniam

Associate Director

I-DISC Staff & Affiliated Support

  • Sarah Wing, I-DISC Administrative Specialist

    srw208@lehigh.edu | office: 610-758-4794 | cell: 610-297-2743 | fully remote

    Dr. Kevin Major, Research Engagement Office (IRI's)


    Zach Polzer, Business Manager (IRI's)



I-DISC Faculty Advisory Council

  • This includes professors from Lehigh’s colleges of engineering, business and arts & sciences who help guide the institute’s research and collaborative initiatives.

    Current Faculty Advisory Council Members:

    • Paolo Bocchini, Civil & Environmental Engineering, Rossin College of Engineering & Applied Science

    • Nancy Carlisle, Psychology, College of Arts & Sciences

    • Frank E. Curtis, Industrial & Systems Engineering, Rossin College of Engineering & Applied Science

    • Brian Davison, Computer Science and Engineering, Rossin College of Engineering & Applied Science

    • Chinedu Ekuma, Physics, College of Arts & Sciences

    • Kathleen Weiss Hanley, Finance, College of Business

    • Alberto J. Lamadrid, Economics, College of Business

    • Nader Motee, Mechanical Engineering & Mechanics, Rossin College of Engineering & Applied Science

    • Roberto Palmieri, Computer Science & Engineering, Rossin College of Engineering & Applied Science

    • Larry Snyder, Industrial & Systems, Rossin College of Engineering & Applied Science

    • Yahong Rosa Zheng, Electrical & Computer Engineering, Rossin College of Engineering & Applied Science

I-DISC External Advisory Council

  • The I-DISC External Advisory Council (EAC) includes thought leaders from industry and national labs who provide input and guidance to help shape I-DISC activities and research directions.

    Current External Advisory Council Members:

    • David Aha - The U.S. Naval Research Laboratory

    • Jon Bentley - Bell Labs (Retired)

    • Banu Gemici-Ozkan, Intelligent Systems & Optimization Lab, GE Research

    • Lin He - Intel

    • Michael Liebman - Bloomberg LP

    • David Stracuzzi - Sandia National Laboratory

    • Mike Watson 

    • Stefan M. Wild - Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

    • Yan Xu - SAS