Tuesday, October 23 , 2018, 4:03 pm | Fair 73º


UCSB Series Explores Emerging Field of Data Science

With the surge of devices that generate enormous amounts of information (think Internet of Things) and major advances in the computing power of our machines, we are awash in an unprecedented amount of data.

This phenomenon, in turn, opens up possibilities for how this data may be used, and how it can be handled. And it will all be addressed in a new lecture series at UCSB.

Created by faculty members in UCSB’s Department of Statistics and Applied Probability (PSTAT), leaders in the diverse fields that generate and rely on massive data sets will visit campus to discuss hot topics and emerging trends in the field of data science.

“The goal is to promote the campus-wide effort to contribute to research and teaching in the area of data science from theory to applications,” said PSTAT professor Jean-Pierre Fouque, one of the creators of the lecture series.

Designed to be accessible to a wide audience, from undergraduate and graduate students to faculty and the general public the lectures are set to occur at least once per quarter. All are free and open to the public.

“We are delighted that more cross-disciplinary conversations are developing around this lecture series,” said Sang-Yun Oh, another PSTAT faculty member behind the lecture series.

“We hope they will contribute to advancing UCSB to become one of the leaders in data science research and education,” Sang-Yun Oh said.

The series kicked off Oct. 25 with Peter Norvig, a director of research at Google, Inc.

Speaking on Creating Software with Machine Learning: Challenges and Promise, Norvig's talk focused on software and applications built not through programming, scripts, rules and code, but by an iterative process that “trains” a machine to perform a task until it does so correctly.

A co-author of Artificial Intelligence: A Modern Approach, which has become the leading textbook in its field, Norvig has a scientific career that includes work at NASA’s Ames Research Center, Harlequin, Inc., and Sun Microsystems.

In his teaching career, he developed an online course in artificial intelligence at Silicon Valley think tank Singularity University.

He is a member of the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence, the Association for Computing Machinery, the California Academy of Science and the American Academy of Arts & Science.

The 2017-18 Distinguished Lecture Series in Data Science was developed in collaboration with Santa Barbara semantic technology startup GRAPHIQ (recently acquired by Amazon.com) and the UCSB Center for Financial Mathematics and Actuarial Research.

Future lectures in this series will be presented by Ron Kaplan, chief scientist and vice-president at Amazon.com; Stéphane Mallat, professor of applied mathematics at École Normale Supérieure in France; Afsheen Afshar, chief data science officer at J.P. Morgan; and Yann LeCun, director of AI research at Facebook.

— Sonia Fernandez and Andrea Estrada for UCSB.


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