Vani Mandava joins UW as Head of Engineering for SSEC

Vani Mandava joins UW as Head of Engineering to build a world-class software engineering team to transform scientific software development.

The University of Washington eScience Institute welcomes Vani Mandava as the Head of Engineering for the newly formed UW Scientific Software Engineering Center SSEC (pronounced S Seek).

Vani has most recently been leading Trustworthy AI research engagements at Microsoft Research Outreach as Director of Data Science, and has over two decades of experience related to shipping software that scales across clients, enterprise, and cloud services. She has driven numerous successful collaborations across academic, government and industry research to enable robust and reproducible scientific tools and pipelines. She is deeply interested in creating software driven solutions that can contribute to open and reproducible science. 

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Software engineering is vital to Seattle’s emergence as a tech leader driving a local climate of innovation. With new leadership in place, the Schmidt Futures supported SSEC expects to execute its mission by leveraging local software engineering talent to advance scientific frontiers that will change the world around us and respond to the challenges that face humanity. Vani Mandava, with reference to her new role, said “I am excited to bring together best practices and talent from the software industry, with deep commitment to fundamental science and open reproducible tool development under one roof at a world class academic institution such as UW.” She further added, “Through SSEC and eScience Institute, academic researchers now have this golden opportunity to build the next generation of software solutions that will unlock the potential of large scientific datasets to accomplish significant research breakthroughs.” 

The eScience Institute is hopeful that she will continue to collaborate with industry partners and other academic institutions while building and leading a diverse software engineering team to execute on the core SSEC themes of applied machine learning for science, cloud computing and data management, and community building around scientific software. David Beck, Director of Research and Education at the eScience Institute, and Faculty Director at SSEC, said “Scientific breakthroughs based on massive data need both ML/AI model development and robust engineering infrastructure investment. Vani’s unique background in software development, data science, and research partnerships will help SSEC augment the stellar data science organization within eScience to continue to leverage software to not just accelerate the pace of discovery but to change the questions we can ask.” 

Vani Mandava is a true northwest implant. From Mumbai, India, she studied in Pune and went to graduate school at the University at Buffalo, State University of New York, prior to moving to Seattle to join Microsoft. She lives in Bellevue, WA with her husband, and their 12-year-old daughter. She is an avid writer and quilter and when not designing software, she likes to dream of mathematical conundrums that make intricate patterns fit together on fabric.