Data Science at Harvard:  An Opportunity

Data science is a field for the 21st century – and beyond. It lies at the intersection of the statistical and the computational sciences, and domain specific scholarly disciplines and application areas.  It incorporates the availability and diversity of quantitative information, and the theory and practice of statistics and computer science that makes processing and understanding data possible.  Data science stands to revolutionize almost every empirical scholarly field, and is having a profound effect on a wide range of practical areas including business and commerce, government and politics, pure and applied science and engineering, medicine and public health, law, education, design, and many others.

Every day, each of us generates an incredible volume of data that is routinely collected. The revolutionary ability to apply new analytics to extract powerful insights from these data has a tremendous influence on our lives, enabling new understandings of how we make decisions, interact with our physical environment, and participate in society. And the applications are by no means limited to academia. Data scientists are currently key contributors in seemingly every enterprise. They grow our economy, make our cities smarter, improve healthcare, and promote civic engagement. All these activities – and more – are catalyzed by the partnership between new methodologies in research and the expertise and vision to develop real-world applications.

We have now arrived at a defining moment in Harvard’s history. Until now, data science at Harvard has grown through organic development of expertise in many distinct domains and an increasing array of applications. The diversification of this expertise is increasing. We have a tremendous opportunity to bridge the intellectual domains and to unlock the full potential of data science. Already, a large cohort of faculty and staff across the university have come together as One Harvard to give their strongest possible support to a unified vision: the Harvard Data Science Initiative.

The Harvard Data Science Initiative will unite efforts across the university, foster collaboration in both research and teaching, and catalyze research that will benefit our society and economy. It will be home to a research platform to accelerate the pace of discovery. It will strengthen the fabric of connections among departments to create an integrated data science community, all to empower research progress and education across the University.

Whether you are a student seeking training, a researcher seeking collaborators, or a member of the community seeking insights through our research and scholarship, we invite you to learn more as the Harvard Data Science Initiative unlocks advances both anticipated and not yet imagined – advances that will create solutions the world’s most important challenges.