About Us

The University of Maryland Institute for Advanced Computer Studies, known by its acronym UMIACS (pronounced YOU-me-acks), is a multidisciplinary computing research institute led by distinguished researchers and supported by a cutting-edge infrastructure. UMIACS pioneers computational science involving national defense, precision medicine, big data, cybersecurity, language and culture, and more.

Established in 1984, the institute's primary mission is to use a team-based approach—supported by powerful computing resources—to address grand challenges in science and society. Much of our research (currently exceeding $25 million annually in external awards) is funded by the numerous federal agencies and labs that dot the region. We also regularly partner with physicians and clinicians at the University of Maryland School of Medicine in Baltimore.

The institute is involved in educational activities in several ways. We currently support more than 200 graduate students (most at the Ph.D. level) from multiple disciplines—computer science, engineering, linguistics, physics, information science, human-computer interaction, geographical sciences, and more—in our centers and labs. Our faculty regularly mentor visiting undergraduates through NSF-funded summer internship research programs. And the institute provides substantial administrative and technical support for undergraduate interdisciplinary educational programs such as the Immersive Media Design (IMD) program.

In 2019, most of our faculty, staff and graduate students moved into the Brendan Iribe Center for Computer Science and Engineering, a stunning 215,00 square foot facility that encourages innovation and collaboration. We also maintain a powerful data center and auxiliary office space in the nearby A.V. Williams Building (our former home). Faculty and students active in quantum information science have modern, renovated offices and meeting rooms in the Atlantic Building.

The success of UMIACS in catalyzing and excelling in interdisciplinary applications of computing is often attributed to: (1) identification and focus on grand challenge applications of computing with significant societal impact, (2) identifying and incentivizing outstanding faculty to excel in their research through rotating appointments, and (3) mediating interaction amongst interdisciplinary researchers through an outstanding computational infrastructure. We have developed the skill set and culture necessary for building strong interdisciplinary research programs, providing advanced computing research infrastructure, and first-rate technical support, which have greatly facilitated our national and international leadership role in multi-disciplinary computing.

The synergistic environment provided by UMIACS is currently enabling innovative collaborations between faculty from computer science, electrical and computer engineering, linguistics, biology, geographical sciences, cell biology and molecular genetics, the Robert H. Smith School of Business and the College of Information Studies (iSchool).

We also have affiliate or adjunct faculty from physics, chemistry and biochemistry, philosophy and mechanical engineering, as well as nine federal scientists from the National Institute of Standards and Technology that are embedded full-time on the UMD campus working in our quantum information science groups.

Who is UMIACS?

UMIACS is comprised of many talented individuals that fall largely into one of the categories listed below. Except for graduate students and affiliate or adjunct members, an individual is a member of UMIACS if they have a payroll appointment in the institute, i.e., if at least part of their salary is paid through the institute.

Staff

Business office, technology, and communication staff provide the core services offered to our community.

Students

UMIACS faculty serve as mentors to many graduate students. These students are initially admitted to the campus through one of the graduate programs to which our faculty belong, then join the institute when they join the labs of our faculty. Students with a payroll appointment in UMIACS are paid at UMIACS graduate stipend rates.

Professional track faculty

Professional track (PTK) faculty is a University of Maryland term/category for faculty who are not eligible for tenure. In UMIACS, such faculty are mostly engaged in research activities, are appointed on a contractual basis, and largely supported through external funding. Professional track faculty appointments are governed by the UMIACS Appointment, Evaluation, and Promotion (APT) policy for professional track faculty.

Postdoctoral researchers

According to the University of Maryland policies, postdoctoral researchers are classified as professional track faculty (see above). Unlike other professional track titles, postdoctoral appointments are temporary. An individual may hold this title for a maximum of 6 years, and new hires must have completed their Ph.D. within five years of the start of their appointment.

Core/joint tenure track faculty

Tenured or tenure-track faculty members who have a payroll appointment in the institute represent the core faculty of the institute and are responsible for staffing the committees that govern our operations, and for leading the scientific activities of the institute. UMIACS is not a tenure-granting unit, thus all core tenure-track faculty have joint appointments in other departments on campus. All joint appointments in the institute are made on a rotating basis and are reviewed by the UMIACS Appointments, Promotion, and Tenure (APT) committee. Appointments at the assistant and associate professor levels are typically renewed every 3 years, while appointments at the full professor level are typically renewed every 5 years.

Affiliate and adjunct faculty

Faculty from outside the University of Maryland (adjunct) as well as campus faculty with no-cost appointments in the institute (affiliate) may have an affiliation with the institute to create stronger ties with our faculty. Generally, such affiliations do not make any UMIACS resources available to these affiliate and adjunct faculty other than including them in institute-wide communications. Resources may be provided to affiliate and adjunct faculty only in the context of externally funded research projects that are led by UMIACS faculty and that are routed through the UMIACS business office.

What services does UMIACS provide?

Basic technical services that are available to all UMIACS faculty, postdocs, staff, and students:

  • UMIACS Help Desk support for faculty and their affiliated postdocs, staff, students, and external collaborators who have UMIACS accounts
  • UMIACS-hosted collaboration technologies such as GitLab and Wikis
  • Printing services
  • Physical and virtual network connectivity
  • Advanced technical services

The following are provided to UMIACS faculty and, depending on scope, may require additional financial resources to be identified:

  • Assistance in grant preparation: design of computational system, budget preparation, etc.
  • Assistance in purchasing of computational/technological equipment: negotiation with vendors, purchasing, etc.
  • 1TB storage in an object store (similar to AWS S3) for staging and sharing of data
  • Data backup services
  • Modern data center facilities

Business office services

  • Pre-and post-award management of complex grants: including budgeting, proposal preparation, financial management, compliance, and reporting, etc.
  • Personnel management: appointments, benefits, visas, travel, etc.
  • Purchasing
  • Conference management: managing registrations, space scheduling, catering, etc.

Communications services

  • Developing well-written stories about research achievements and other newsworthy items and sharing them with college and campus communication groups
  • Pitching news items to local, national and international media and coordinating media interviews
  • Dissemination of news/research achievements through social media

Additional communication services that go beyond what can be supported by the Institute are also offered under a cost-recovery model:

  • Development of visual media such as photo shoots and video production
  • Creation of high-quality brochures or other printed materials
  • Assistance with the development of content for websites (note: only limited support provided contingent on the availability of communications personnel)

How can I join UMIACS?

If you are a prospective tenure track faculty member, express your interest to join UMIACS to the chair of the search committee and/or the chair of the department in which you are being hired. Ideally you should also seek to meet the director of UMIACS during your campus visit to assess whether an appointment in UMIACS will be mutually beneficial to you and the institute.

If you are a prospective professional track faculty member (including postdocs), look for job openings at https://ejobs.umd.edu. On occasion, jobs specific to UMIACS are cross posted on the UMIACS employment page.

If you are a graduate student, look for faculty in your graduate program who are members of UMIACS. An updated list of UMIACS faculty is available here.

If you are a tenure track faculty member looking for a “core” joint appointment in UMIACS, meet with the UMIACS director to assess whether an appointment in UMIACS will be mutually beneficial to you and the institute. If you desire to proceed, you will also have to receive the approval of the chair of your tenure home department, and the chair, together with the UMIACS director, will have to agree on the financial terms of your appointment. Finally, the appointment will have to be approved by the UMIACS APT committee. New appointments typically start on July 1st, aligned with the fiscal year.

If you are a faculty member looking for an affiliate (on campus) or adjunct (off-campus) appointment in UMIACS, meet with the UMIACS director to assess whether an appointment in UMIACS will be mutually beneficial to you and the institute. If you desire to proceed, the appointment will also have to be approved by the UMIACS APT committee. New appointments typically start on July 1st, aligned with the fiscal year.