About Rhodes iiD

The Rhodes Information Initiative at Duke (iiD) is an interdisciplinary program designed to increase “big data” computational research and expand opportunities for student engagement in this rapidly growing field. Started in 2013, the program is led by Robert Calderbank.

Launched as an initiative of Duke University, Rhodes iiD is partnered with the Duke University Quantitative Initiative, which promote cross-pollination of ideas throughout Duke’s programs and research projects, and works to increase the number of quantitative faculty in all disciplines on Duke campus.

Rhodes iiD Makes Data Matter

We used to live in a world where it was hard to collect data, but that world is disappearing.

Access to unprecedented amounts of information is creating new opportunities for Duke students and faculty, working together in multidisciplinary teams, to comprehend and to change the world around them. And part of this new opportunity is navigating the risks associated with unprecedented availability of personal information published by smartphones, web browsers and social media.


Our efforts focus on:

  • Transforming the curriculum: Rhodes iiD is working with departments across Duke to introduce undergraduates to data analytics earlier in their Duke experience through programs like Data+Data Expeditions, and internships.
  • ResearchResearch projects at Rhodes iiD focus on building connections. We provide seed funding to encourage cross pollination of ideas across disciplines, and to develop new forms of collaboration that will advance research and education across Duke.
  • Bass Connections: The Information Society and Culture Theme provides undergraduate and graduate students with opportunities to explore the evolution of society and culture through the lens of information, using the latest computational methods to understand society’s most pressing problems in new and creative ways.

Big Data Is a Big Deal at Duke

50+ faculty are:

  • Transforming research and education by infusing data-based expertise into projects spanning the humanities, social sciences, and life sciences
  • Joining forces with firms, the public sector, and leading Duke centers—the Duke Energy InitiativeDuke Medicine, and the Duke Social Science Research Institute, among others—to tackle global issues and bring groundbreaking technology to life
  • Providing students of all levels and of every discipline a deep and broad understanding of data science and its boundless applications

1,482 students are:

  • Collaborating with faculty, outside experts, and other students to inform policies that combat unemployment and wage stagnation, increase public access to government information, and create other outcomes that make a difference
  • Gaining amazing experience by helping real clients develop solutions to data challenges while honing their problem-solving, communication, and other career skills
  • Taking eye-opening courses and engaging in deep-dive Data ExpeditionsData+ research, Bass Connections project teams, and internships


The Rhodes iiD developed out of a faculty-led assessment in the spring of 2012, looking at how Duke’s research could evolve with a stronger enabling focus on big data as a foundation. The assessment was organized by Calderbank and then Vice Provost Keith Whitfield and included more than 30 faculty from all three divisions of Trinity College of Arts and Sciences (humanities, social sciences and natural sciences), the Pratt School of Engineering, the Sanford School of Public Policy, the Fuqua School of Business, the School of Medicine, the Duke Library system as well as representatives from the library and department of statistics at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill.

Dr. Calderbank

Program Leadership and Staff

Robert Calderbank

Lisa Kiester
Deputy Director

Jim Moody
Deputy Director

Katherine Peterson
Administrative Coordinator

Ariel Dawn
Events & Communications Specialist

Where to Find Rhodes iiD

Gross Hall 3rd floor

The third floor of Gross Hall features labs, team rooms, classrooms, offices, and the Ahmadieh Family Atrium, which is designed to incubate cross-disciplinary interaction.

Contact us