Chen Institute Celebrates Five Years and New Program in Data Science and AI

The Chen Institute at Caltech

Five years after its inception, the Tianqiao and Chrissy Chen Institute for Neuroscience at Caltech is expanding to include a new center in data science and artificial intelligence (AI).

Breakthrough techniques in neuroscience are generating enormous data sets, such as recordings of the activity of thousands of neurons over time, videos of complex animal behavior, and so on. But often, neuroscientists have not had formal training in the methods of data science and machine learning required to analyze and interpret such “big data.” To address this, the Chen Institute at Caltech has received funding to develop the Chen Center for Data Science and Artificial Intelligence (DataSAI). The Institute is directed by David J. Anderson, Seymour Benzer Professor of Biology and Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator. Anderson also holds the inaugural Tianqiao and Chrissy Chen Institute for Neuroscience Leadership Chair.

Caltech professors Lior Pachter (BS ’94), Bren Professor of Computational Biology and Computing and Mathematical Sciences, and Pietro Perona, Allen E. Puckett Professor of Electrical Engineering will co-direct the center, which will also involve several other faculty members.

The center will sponsor different programs, including an immersive 4-to-6-week boot-camp and workshops for students to learn how to interpret large data sets, access to the technical equipment to generate and analyze data, and opportunities for summer internships at research centers specializing in data science and artificial intelligence.

“We are all very excited about the opportunity to develop a program that could lead to the establishment of the Chen Institute at Caltech as an international center for training neuroscience students in data science and artificial intelligence,” says Pachter.

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