Francine Berman

Edward P. Hamilton Distinguished Professor of Computer Science, Computer Science

Dr. Francine Berman is the Edward P. Hamilton Distinguished Professor in Computer Science at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. She is a Fellow of the Association of Computing Machinery (ACM) and a Fellow of the IEEE. In 2009, Dr. 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, Dr. Berman was nominated by President Obama and confirmed by the U.S. Senate to become a member of the National Council on the Humanities. 

Dr. Berman is former Director of the San Diego Supercomputer Center (2001 to 2009) and former Vice President for Research at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (2009-2012). In 2012, she became U.S. lead of the emerging Research Data Alliance (RDA), a community-driven international organization created to accelerate research data sharing world-wide, and to develop the technical, organizational and social infrastructure needed to support data-driven innovation. Dr. Berman is Chair of RDA/U.S. and Co-Chair of RDA's leadership Council. Prior to joining Rensselaer, Dr. Berman was Professor in the UC San Diego Department of Computer Science and Engineering and first holder of the High Performance Computing Endowed Chair in the Jacobs School of Engineering. As Director of the San Diego Supercomputer Center (SDSC), she led a staff of 250+ interdisciplinary scientists, engineers, and technologists. Dr. Berman  directed the National Partnership for Advanced Computational Infrastructure (NPACI), a consortium of 41 research groups, institutions, and university partners with the goal of building national infrastructure to support research and education in science and engineering.

Dr. Berman currently serves as Chair of the the Anita Borg Institute Board of Trustees, and is co-Chair of the National Science Foundation Advisory Committee for the Computer and Information Science and Engineering (CISE) Directorate. She is a member of the Sloan Foundation Board of Trustees and the Board of Directors of the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute.  Berman has served on a broad spectrum of national and international leadership groups and committees including the National Science Foundation's Engineering Advisory Committee, the National Institutes of Health's NIGMS Advisory Committee, the U.S. President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) Networking and Information Technology Research and Development (NITRD) Review Working Group, and others. From 2007-2010, she served as co-Chair of the US-UK Blue Ribbon Task Force for Sustainable Digital Preservation and Access, and from 2011-2013 she served as Chair-Elect, Chair, and Past Chair of the Information, Computing and Communication Section (Section T) of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). For her accomplishments, leadership, and vision, Dr. Berman was recognized by the Library of Congress as a "Digital Preservation Pioneer", as one of the top women in technology by BusinessWeek and Newsweek, and as one of the top technologists by IEEE Spectrum.


Ph.D. in Mathematics from University of Washington; M.A. in Mathematics from University of Washington; B.A. in Mathematics from University of California, Los Angeles

Research Focus
  • Data Policy and Cyberinfrastructure
  • Data Preservation and Stewardship
  • High Performance Computing
  • Grid Computing
Select Works
  • Berman F. and Cerf, V., “Who will Pay for Public Access to Research Data?”, Science Magazine, August 9. 2013
  • Berman, F., “Despite Growing Data, Infrastructure Stands Still – Why the gap puts research data at risk”, IEEE The Institute, September 16, 2014,
  • Berman, F. and Bourne, P., “Let’s Make Gender Diversity in Data Science a Priority Right from the Start.” PLOS Biology, 13(7):e1002206. July, 2015
  • Blue Ribbon Task Force on Sustainable Digital Preservation and Access (Berman is co-Chair), "Sustainable Economics for a Digital Planet: Ensuring Long-term Access to Digital Information". Final Report. 2010
  • Berman, F., “Got Data? A Guide to Data Preservation in the Information Age,” Communications of the ACM, December 2008.
  • Berman, F., “Making Cyberinfrastructure in Research and Education Real,” Educause Review, vol. 43, no. 4 (July/August 2008).
  • Berman, F., Fox, G., and Hey. T., editors, Grid Computing: Making the Global Infrastructure a Reality”, 1st Edition, John Wiley and Sons, LTD, England, 2003.