Office of the Vice President for Global Communications

Monday, January 14, 2013

AOSS researcher and lecturer Jason Daida dies

Editor's note: This article has been updated with information about a memorial service for Jason Daida.

Jason Daida, an associate research scientist and lecturer in the Department of Atmospheric, Oceanic and Space Sciences and the Department of Industrial and Operations Engineering, died Jan. 9 after battling with cancer. He was 53.

  Jason Daida

“Jason was a beloved teacher of many of our first-year students and made a real difference in their lives,” said James P. Holloway, associate dean for undergraduate education in the College of Engineering. 

In addition to his work on the Ann Arbor campus, Daida was a frequent visiting faculty member at the UM-Shanghai Jiao Tong University Joint Institute in Shanghai.  

Holloway said Daida was well known as an “innovative, friendly and compelling teacher” who taught introductory classes for first-year engineering students. In recognition of his work, Daida earned the college's Teaching Excellence Award. 

In a message to colleagues in the departments of Atmospheric, Oceanic and Space Sciences and Industrial and Operations Engineering, department chairs James Slavin and Mark Daskin said Daida would be missed by his colleagues and also by the many students who took his introductory classes.

“We are especially grieved to think of the students who will now never be able to learn from this extraordinary teacher and mentor,” they said.

Daida’s research was in the theory and application of computational intelligence supporting open-ended problem solving, discovery and innovation. His work had applications across disciplines, including earth and space sciences and genetic programming. He was a founding editorial board member of the Journal in Genetic Programming and Evolvable Machines. 

Daida is survived by his wife, Sandy Daida, and three children, Kaily, Matt and Jeannie.

A memorial service will take place Jan. 18, from 5-7 p.m. at Tishman Hall in the Bob and Betty Beyster Building, 2260 Hayward St., on North Campus. Those who would like to share stories or notes about Daida's life are asked to email them to so speakers for the service can be coordinated.

Also, a "Memorial Tree" has been set up in the Student Affairs Office, 143 Chrysler Center Building, for anyone to sign a memorial before Friday's service.