Two renowned, cross-disciplinary Whiting School scholars—Steven Salzberg and Alexander Szalay —join the ranks of Bloomberg Distinguished Professors at Johns Hopkins University. To date, Johns Hopkins has named 10 Bloomberg Distinguished Professors, a number expected to swell to 50 in four years. The endowed professorships, supported by a $350 million gift by alumnus and former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg ’64, encourage collaboration across disciplines to answer important global challenges.
Salzberg, a professor of biomedical engineering, computer science, and biostatistics, focuses on the development of new computational methods for the analysis of DNA gathered through the latest sequencing technologies. He began his career at Johns Hopkins as an assistant professor of computer science, and then joined the Human Genome Project. He moved to the Institute for Genomic Research, where he was one of two computer scientists working on first genomes ever sequenced. In 2012, Salzberg returned to Johns Hopkins. Today he serves as director of the Center for Computational Biology.
Also a professor of computer science, Szalay, the Alumni Centennial Professor of Astronomy, is a cosmologist, working on statistical measures of the spatial distribution of galaxies and galaxy function. He estimates more than 90 percent of the world’s data has been created in the last two years, and each day, 2.5 quintillion bytes more are added.
“We can’t continue storing and analyzing data as we’ve done before. It’s time for a different approach,” says Szalay, who is founding director of the Institute for Data Intensive Engineering and Science at Johns Hopkins. He has been a key contributor to the Sloan Digital Sky Survey, a collaboration of 11 institutions that has created the most detailed three-dimensional maps of the universe.