A busy spring for the Harvard Data Science Initiative

June 23, 2017


New community members, new research, new connections. We’ve been busy since the Harvard Data Science Initiative was announced this spring. Here’s a peek at the highlights:

Eight new Data Science Postdoctoral Fellows arriving soon

In February, the Data Science Initiative issued a call for applications for the first-ever Harvard Data Science Postdoctoral Fellows. From over 150 proposals received from around the world, a faculty committee selected eight early career investigators who will form the inaugural cohort of Fellows arriving this fall:

  • Melanie Fernandez Pradier
    PhD, Signal Theory and Communications, University Carlos III de Madrid
    Fellowship Mentors: F. Doshi-Velez, B.J. Grosz, K. Gajos, M. Seltzer
    Jointly appointed with Center for Research on Computation and Society.

  • Cristina Herren
    PhD, Freshwater and Marine Sciences, University of Wisconsin-Madison
    Fellowship Mentors: R. Irizarry , M. Baym, R. Kotler, C. Huttenhower

  • Samuel Mehr
    EdD, Human Development and Education, Harvard University
    Fellowship Mentors: S. Pinker, G. King, I. Monson

  • Michelle Ntampaka
    PhD, Physics, Carnegie Mellon University
    Fellowship Mentors: C. Conroy, L. Hernquist, D. Eisenstein, A. Vikhlinin, T. Zickler

  • Eric Schulz
    PhD, Cognitive Science, University College, London
    Fellowship Mentors: S. Gershman, J. Drugowitsch, F. Doshi-Velez

  • Xu (Rita) Shi
    PhD, Biostatistics, University of Washington
    Fellowship Mentors: T. Cai, S. Gruber, E. Tchetgen

  • Minsuk Shin
    PhD, Statistics, Texas A&M University
    Fellowship Mentors: N. Pillai, J.S. Liu

  • Kun-Hsing Yu
    MD, National Taiwan University
    PhD, Biomedical Informatics, Stanford University
    Fellowship Mentors: I. Kohane, S. Kou, F. Doshi-Velez, P. Ellen Grant, D. MacArthur

Welcome, Fellows!

Five awards made to Harvard faculty

We also announced the creation of the Data Science Initiative Competitive Research Fund to support projects from Harvard faculty who are pursuing novel methods in solving challenging problems through data science. Five awards were made for projects across a wide range of topics:

  • Matthew Schwartz, Professor of Physics (FAS). “Deep Learning in Particle Physics” 

  • Yilling Chen, Gordon McKay Professor of Computer Science (SEAS). “Learning from Noisy and Strategically-Generated Data”

  • Finale Doshi-Velez, Assistant Professor of Computer Science (SEAS). “Optimizing Sepsis Management with Reinforcement Learning”

  • Jeffrey Miller, Assistant Professor of Biostatistics (SPH) & William Mair, Assistant Professor of Genetics and Complex Diseases (SPH). “Inference, Design of Experiments, and Experimentation in an Automated Loop (IDEAL) for Aging Research”

  • Sherri Rose, Associate Professor of Health Care Policy (HMS). “Improving Health Care System Performance: Computational Health Economics with Normative Data for Payment Calibration”

We look forward to catching up with our awardees as their work begins.

First Data Science Initiative networking event a success

At the end of April, the Data Science Initiative hosted its first official networking event, connecting the campus-wide data science community. Attendees were treated to short “speed dating” talks by faculty and researchers – including five of our eight incoming Data Science Postdoctoral Fellows – followed by a cocktail hour with hors d'oeuvres. This is the first of many events designed to bring our community together around shared interests and solutions. Thank you to all who participated!

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