Partha Mukherjee, assistant professor of data analytics at Penn State Great Valley, died on Aug. 22.
Mukherjee became a valuable member of the Great Valley faculty in August 2018, two years after earning his doctorate in information science from the School of Information Science and Technology at Penn State. He taught courses in data analytics, artificial intelligence and data mining, and was heavily involved in the Great Valley campus’ Big Data Lab.
“Partha was a friend, a colleague, a mentor, and a gentleman.” said Colin Neill, interim chancellor, dean and chief academic officer. “We will miss his deep thinking; his dedication to his work, his students, and this campus; but most of all, his humility and kindness. He impacted many through his scholarship, but even more through his quiet generosity and philanthropy. His passing is a tragic loss to the campus.”
Mukherjee’s research focused on social computing and web analytics; text simplification using natural language processing; and block chain-based secured, decentralized peer-to-peer lending systems and analytics. His work played an important role in the field by establishing the relationship between mobile social media interaction and people’s interest in real-time television events.
Recently, Mukherjee was also working to identify patterns in coronavirus, as well as investigating misinformation about COVID-19 on social media networks.
Colleague and friend Youakim Badr, professor of data analytics, worked with Mukherjee on several articles, as well as in the Big Data Lab and on the development of the Master of Professional Studies in Artificial Intelligence program offered through Penn State World Campus.
“We joined Great Valley together in August 2018 to teach in the data analytics programs. Since then, we were close. We had the chance to publish together and co-supervise students,” Badr said. “He will be greatly missed.”
In addition to working with students in the Big Data Lab, Mukherjee served as the adviser for multiple graduate thesis projects in his four years at Great Valley. Deeksha Joshi, a current master of science in data analytics student, had been working with Mukherjee for close to a year prior to his death.
“Dr. Partha Mukherjee was a great mentor who not only guided me for my thesis, but also provided me with professional guidance,” Joshi said. “He was one of the most knowledgeable professors and a kind human being who was a great asset to Penn State University. It is an unsurmountable loss for all of us.”
Mukherjee’s beloved wife, Samhita Chatterjee, predeceased him. Following her death, Mukherjee worked with former Great Valley Chancellor and Chief Academic Officer James A. Nemes to commemorate Chatterjee on campus; a piece of her artwork is displayed in the Penn State Great Valley Knowledge Commons.