Francine Berman is the Edward P. Hamilton Distinguished Professor in Computer Science at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI). Her research and leadership have focused on data stewardship, preservation, and cyberinfrastructure, particularly with respect to the policy, practice, technical infrastructure, and community agreements needed to ensure the integrity and longevity of the data on which modern research relies.
Berman’s current work focuses on the social and environmental impact of the Internet of Things (IoT)—a deeply interconnected ecosystem of billions of devices and systems that are transforming commerce, science, and society. IoT technologies can be used to disrupt, exploit, bias, bully, and intrude as well as to make our lives safer, more efficient, and more convenient. Berman is exploring the larger social and environmental ecosystem needed to develop an IoT that maximizes benefits, minimizes risk, and promotes individual protections, the public good, and planetary responsibility.
Berman is a founder of the international Research Data Alliance and a member of the AnitaB.org board of trustees. She is a fellow of the Association of Computing Machinery (ACM), the IEEE, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science and an elected member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Berman was the inaugural recipient of the ACM/IEEE-CS Ken Kennedy Award for “influential leadership in the design, development, and deployment of national-scale cyberinfrastructure.” In 2015, Berman was appointed by President Obama to the National Council on the Humanities. She earned a PhD in mathematics from the University of Washington.