About Us

Our History

Gerald J. Ford BuildingIn Fall 2016, the Provost convened a Task Force to consider the future of Data Science at SMU. The university had faculty with research interests in Data Science in nearly all its colleges: Lyle, Dedman, Dedman Law, Cox, and Meadows.  At that time, the university had an online Master's program in Data Science and several other on-campus Master's degrees in related fields. The Task Force report made several recommendations for how to accelerate the Data Science research enterprise at SMU and to offer opportunities to all our students in this field. 

The first recommendation was to establish a Data Science Institute, which came to fruition in Fall 2020. The second recommendation was to establish an interdisciplinary undergraduate major and minor in Data Science at SMU. This has also now been accomplished, with both programs also launched in Fall 2020. 

In 2022, the name was changed to the O’Donnell Data Science and Research Computing Institute. The institute was placed under the leadership of the O’Donnell Director, an endowed position created through a 2022 gift from the O’Donnell Foundation. The foundation’s new gift provides endowment and operational funding for:

  • Technology and hardware that will be used by faculty across the University.
  • Startup research by faculty that employs data science approaches and shows promise of securing long-term external funding.
  • Two endowed professorships that will each provide two years of support for faculty in a wide variety of disciplines.
  • An endowed associate director position to manage the institute’s internal operations and enable the O’Donnell Director to focus on building interdisciplinary initiatives and external research partnerships that employ data science methods.

Where to find us

The O’Donnell Data Science and Research Computing Institute is housed in Suite 106 in the Gerald J. Ford Hall for Research and Innovation.

Physical address

Gerald J. Ford Hall for Research and Innovation (view map)
3100 McFarlin Boulevard, Suite 106
Dallas, TX

Mailing address

Gerald J. Ford Hall for Research and Innovation
P.O. Box 750480
Dallas, TX 75275-0480

Contact Us

Phone: 214-768-6030
Email: lgilmore@smu.edu