School of Engineering welcomes Thomas Tull as visiting innovation scholar

Thomas Tull, leading visionary entrepreneur and investor, has been appointed a School of Engineering visiting innovation scholar, effective April 1.

Throughout his career, Tull has leveraged the power of technology, artificial intelligence, and data science to disrupt and revolutionize disparate industries. Today, as the founder, chair, and CEO of Tulco LLC, a privately held holding company, he looks to partner with companies employing cutting-edge ideas in industries that are established but often underfunded and under-innovated. Under Tull’s leadership Tulco has deployed proprietary technology, including new methods in data creation and deep learning, to help companies bring their ideas to fruition and facilitate industry-leading change.

Tull’s hands-on approach involves not only data science and analytical tools, but also a close partnership with business leaders. Along with Tull’s success on the infusion of transformational technology into business practices has come a focus on its societal impact and human interface.

As part of his role in the School of Engineering, Tull will focus on how cutting-edge programs centered around AI, quantum computing, and semiconductors might be leveraged for the greater good, while likewise helping to advance the role of humanities in developing emerging technologies and leaders. Tull will also engage with students, faculty, and staff through a variety of activities including seminars and speaking engagements, and will serve as a strategic advisor to the dean on various initiatives.

“Thomas is an incredible advocate and ambassador for innovation and technology,” says Anantha Chandrakasan, dean of the MIT School of Engineering and Vannevar Bush Professor for Electrical Engineering and Computer Science. “His commitment to these areas and impact on so many industries have been impressive, and we’re thrilled that he will join us to foster innovation across the school.”

Prior to starting Tulco, Tull was the founder and CEO of the film company Legendary Entertainment, which he started in 2004, producing a number of blockbuster films including “The Dark Knight” trilogy, “300,” “The Hangover” franchise, and many others. At Legendary, Tull deployed sophisticated and innovative AI, machine learning, and data analytics into the company to increase the commercial success of its films,  forever changing how movies are marketed.  

“Technological advancement is essential to our future and MIT is one of the leaders committed to exploring new frontiers and the latest technologies to enable the next generation to continue to create cutting-edge innovation,” says Tull. “I have always greatly admired MIT’s and the School of Engineering’s work on this front and it is an honor to be invited to contribute to this amazing institution. I look forward to working with the school over the next year.”

Tull is also an active supporter of philanthropic causes that support education, medical and scientific research, and conservation through the Tull Family Foundation. He is a member of the MIT School of Engineering Dean’s Advisory Council, and a trustee of Carnegie Mellon University, Yellowstone Forever, the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum, and the Smithsonian Institution. Tull is also part of the ownership group of the Pittsburgh Steelers and owns a farm in Pittsburgh where he has implemented the use of robotics, drones, analytics, and other advanced technologies to boost yields of high-quality natural foods.

Tull received his undergraduate degree from Hamilton College and resides in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

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