In a move that underscores Old Dominion University's commitment to cutting-edge research and innovation, the University announces the appointment of Frank Liu, Ph.D., as the inaugural director of ODU’s new School of Data Science. Liu assumed his role on Sept. 9.

"Frank Liu's appointment as the first director of the ODU School of Data Science is not just exciting, it's a transformative moment for our institution. With his expertise and visionary leadership, Frank will guide our journey into the future of data science education," said Kenneth Fridley, dean of the Batten College of Engineering and Technology and interim vice president for research.

As director, Liu will focus on enhancing research partnerships with federal research laboratories located in the region, while also setting the strategic direction for the school. Some of his key responsibilities will be to accelerate ODU's journey towards becoming a leader in data science education and research, and foster innovation and collaboration within the academic and research communities.

"I am truly honored and excited to join the Old Dominion University family and am equally honored to work with a cutting-edge and innovative team of professionals. As director, my goal is to build a School of Data Science that can be the locus of research and academic excellence, while remaining mindful of the urgent needs of our rapidly changing world,” Liu said.

Throughout his career, Liu has been instrumental in initiating and leading interdisciplinary research projects, with multi-million dollar sponsored funding, in areas such as scientific machine learning, machine learning for decision and control of dynamic systems and AI for material sciences. He has published more than 120 papers in prestigious scientific journals and competitive technical conferences.

Prior to joining ODU, Liu served as a research manager and distinguished research scientist in the Computer Science and Mathematics Division at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), a premier open-science research lab sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy. Before his tenure at ORNL, he held a research staff position with the IBM Research Division.

Liu holds a Ph.D. in electrical and computer engineering from Carnegie Mellon University, and an M.S. degree in applied mathematics and statistics from the University of Minnesota. He is recognized as a Fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE), a testament to his outstanding contributions to the field.

In addition to his research contributions, Liu has served as the general chair of the IEEE International Conference on Computer-Aided Design (CAD) and is a member of the executive committee of the IEEE Design Automation Conference. He has also held elected positions on the executive committee of the Association for Computing Machinery’s Special Interest Group on Design Automation and holds an adjunct professorship at Texas A&M University.

“Frank Liu’s track record and dedication to advancing research and academic excellence not only make him an asset to ODU and the ODU School of Data Science, but the overall academic success of ODU students,” ODU Vice Provost for Academic Affairs Brian Payne said. “We are excited for the work that is yet to come under his leadership.”

The ODU School of Data Science is housed in Monarch Hall on ODU’s main campus, with additional research labs and office spaces in Kaufman Hall; the Engineering and Computational Sciences Building; the Virginia Modeling, Analysis, and Simulation Center in Suffolk; and the future Virginia Beach Institute of Data Science.

The ODU School of Data Science was approved by the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia (SCHEV) on Jan. 10, making it the central hub for coordinating academic programming that had previously been dispersed across various colleges within the university.

For more information about ODU’s School of Data Science, visit