Data Science Professor Newest U of A Arkansas Research Alliance Scholar

by | Dec 5, 2019 | Research News

Justin Zhan, professor of data science in the Department of Computer Science and Computer Engineering, was formally inducted today into the Arkansas Research Alliance Academy during a ceremony with Gov. Asa Hutchinson at the Capitol in Little Rock.

Zhan’s research focuses on big data, blockchain technologies, information assurance, social computing and biomedical informatics. He has published more than 230 articles in peer-reviewed journals and conferences and delivered more than 30 keynote speeches and invited talks.

portrait of Justin Zhan

Justin Zhan

As a principal investigator or co-principal investigator, Zhan has been involved in more than 45 projects funded by the National Science Foundation, Department of Defense and the National Institutes of Health. Zhan has also served as editor-in-chief of two leading academic journals of data science, International Journal of Privacy, Security and Integrity and International Journal of Social Computing and Cyber-Physical Systems.

In September, Zhan received a $200,000 grant from the Army Research Office to build a graphics processing unit, a computer cluster to be used for big data research and education at the U of A. A GPU cluster is a network of computers equipped with graphics processing units that can perform calculations at least 100 times faster than a central processing unit, or CPU.

Before joining the U of A faculty in August, Zhan was director of the Big Data Hub and a professor in the Department of Computer Science, College of Engineering, at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. At the U of A, he will anchor the interdisciplinary program in data science.

“Justin Zhan achieved important accomplishments while director of Big Data Hub at UNLV,” Chancellor Joe Steinmetz said. “We are fortunate to have him here. His presence will help us implement and achieve our goals as a national leader in data science.”

The Arkansas Research Alliance Scholars program began in 2010 to help Arkansas research universities recruit superior research talent to the state. The ARA Fellows program is a companion to the Scholars program, and was created to recognize distinguished university research leaders who are currently working in the state – and already making a difference on our research campuses.

“Research is paramount to Arkansas’ future in the knowledge-driven economy of the 21st century,” Hutchinson said. “As we strive to create opportunities for high-paying, technology-based jobs, partners like the Arkansas Research Alliance are critical and help our state concentrate our energy and resources on the most effective paths to further success and prosperity.”

Zhan is the eighth and most recent U of A faculty member to be inducted into the ARA Academy of Scholars and Fellows. Other faculty are:

  • Jingyi Chen, associate professor, chemistry and biochemistry, Fellow, 2018
  • Laurent Bellaiche, Distinguished Professor, physics, Fellow, 2017
  • Min Zou, professor, mechanical engineering, Fellow, 2015
  • Jie Xiao, associate professor, chemistry and biochemistry, Scholar, 2015
  • Morten Jensen, associate professor, biomedical engineering, Scholar, 2015
  • Alan Mantooth, Distinguished Professor, electrical engineering, Fellow, 2014
  • Ranil Wickramasinghe, professor, chemical engineering, Scholar, 2010

About The Author

Matt McGowan writes about research in the College of Engineering, Sam M. Walton College of Business, School of Law and other areas. He is the editor of Short Talks From the Hill, a podcast of the University of Arkansas. Reach him at 479-575-4246 or

University Relations Science and Research Team

University Relations Science and Research Team

Matt McGowan
science and research writer

Robert Whitby
science and research writer

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