It’s Not the DALI You’re Thinking Of


DALI at Dartmouth means something other than the mustachioed Spanish surrealist painter. Rather, it refers to a group of students, staff, and faculty, who work on real-world computational problems. They focus on communicating complex ideas and data in meaningful ways, using a mix of technology and design. The group is the Digital Arts Leadership and Innovation Lab—the DALI Lab.

Jordan Craig ’15 interviews Caleb An ’15 during a creative communication exercise. (Photo courtesy of Lorie Loeb)

In the eight months since its creation, the lab has become a hive of activity. More than 60 students are working on approximately 30 projects with a waiting list of faculty projects and students interested in working at the lab.

Supported by The Neukom Institute for Computational Science, the DALI Lab was co-founded by Daniel Rockmore, the William H. Neukom 1964 Distinguished Professor of Computational Science, Lorie Loeb, a research professor in computer science, and Tim Tregubov, a staff member in the computer science department.

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“DALI provides a space and framework for increased interaction and collaboration between faculty and students in a multi-disciplinary entrepreneurial arena,” says Rockmore. “As part of The Neukom Institute’s mission to promote computational science, many of the DALI projects bring computation to problems ranging from energy visualization to mapping complex data.”

“We provide students a unique learning and experiential opportunity to work on real-world projects. Each project is about communicating an idea, data, information, and scholarship in a meaningful way. The faculty keep coming to us with projects, and we are working with nonprofits such as the United States Holocaust Museum, the Center for the Prevention of Genocide, and the World Justice Project,” adds Loeb.

Lorie Loeb and Dan Rockmore co-founded the DALI Lab 8 months ago and it is now overflowing with student volunteers and faculty proposals. (Photo by Eli Burakian ’00)

Last month, DALI hosted The Pitch, a series of two-minute presentations by people across the Dartmouth campus. The audience voted for the most innovative ideas with the biggest impact and potential for completion. A panel of judges made the final selection of winners.

“The Neukom Institute supports and encourages computational thinking throughout the campus and ‘The Pitch’ is well-aligned with this mission, providing a venue for the Dartmouth community to share creative ideas enabled by computation, with the best ideas getting financial support and technical assistance from the Neukom DALI Lab,” says Rockmore.

Joseph Blumberg