Gerard Barkema appointed Distinguished Professor of the Faculty of Science

Focus on AI and data science

Gerard Barkema has been appointed Distinguished Professor of the Faculty of Science, because of his great merits and the important positions he holds at the faculty and university level. He serves as Professor of Simulation of Complex Systems at the department of Information and Computing Sciences, and was Vice Dean of Education of the faculty until September, 2022. Barkema is the seventh Distinguished Professor of the Faculty of Science. Bert Weckhuysen, Corné Pieterse, Albert Heck, Gerrit van Meer, Piet Gros and Rens Voesenek preceded him.

Tireless

In addition to his tireless efforts as vice dean, the faculty praises a number of activities in particular: "Gerard has in recent years put a lot of effort into 'continuing education', and our external profiling in the field of computer science, data science and artificial intelligence. This started with the HR-ICT collaboration programme with the Dutch government," says Isabel Arends, Dean of the faculty. The Utrecht AI Labs are also mainly Barkema's initiative. Arends: "Together with colleague Thomas Dohmen and the department of Information and Computing Sciences, he developed the concept and established a faculty-transcending vision."

AI and data science

With the appointment as Distinguished Professor, the faculty gives Barkema the opportunity to fully engage in these, and new initiatives. For example, as chair of the AI & data science task force, he is currently working to develop a university-wide profiling of these fields, with a particular focus on societal impact. And as leader of the national sector plan for computer science, he acts as the connector between all Dutch universities where computer science education is provided.

Intersection

Gerard Barkema studied physics and computer science. Since he was an undergrad, Barkema has been fascinated by the combination of these fields of research. In 1992, he received his PhD from Utrecht University, and in 2016 he was appointed Professor of Simulation of Complex Systems. With this appointment, he made the transition from the department of Physics to the department of Information and Computing Sciences. Barkema was Vice Dean of Education at the Faculty of Science from 2014 to 2022.