The University of Wyoming is reimagining its Data Science Center by relocating it to the new School of Computing. The reenvisioned center will provide an academic hub for data science, catalyzing new programs and opportunities in data science for UW students at all levels.
The UW Data Science Center was established in 2018 as a deliverable of the $20 million research infrastructure improvement award from the National Science Foundation that focused on microbial ecology and data science.
In the initial phase, the center played a role in applying data science discussions across UW; served as a data science hub with weekly seminars and working sessions; and hosted and facilitated data science internships for the university’s undergraduate and graduate students.
“The move of the Data Science Center to the interdisciplinary School of Computing will allow us to grow the center to impact all disciplines,” says School of Computing Director Gabrielle Allen. “Data science is an in-demand career path as companies, research labs, national defense units, nonprofits and other private and public organizations struggle to take advantage of the massive and growing data in the world. The center will work to enhance data science offerings for students across disciplines and contribute to building a broader data science initiative with other UW partners and initiatives.”
Immediate goals of the center are to appoint a director; establish a broad faculty group to work on new academic programs and student opportunities in data science; provide incentives for faculty to include data science in existing courses; provide students with research opportunities and experiential learning in data science; and to pursue external funding.
A weekly seminar series on data science — led by Lars Kotthoff, a UW Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science assistant professor — will continue. The center also will play a leadership role in the Wyoming Innovation Partnership (WIP) project to develop a DataHub to facilitate the sharing and reuse of research data.
“Formalizing a new home for the Data Science Center will benefit efforts to build the Wyoming DataHub, within WIP, by contributing pathways to engage more students and faculty with the DataHub infrastructure through new and innovative coursework and related experiential learning opportunities,” says Jeff Hamerlinck, the Wyoming Geographic Information Science Center (WyGISC) director and WIP DataHub component lead.
The Data Science Center benefits from financial support from the Trent and Mary McDonald fund, which is making possible two immediate opportunities to support excellence in data science: The Graduate Student Summer School Support program provides up to $1,000 to cover summer school attendance or workshops relevant to the student’s research and future career. The Faculty Fellows program provides two faculty members with $5,000 each to support their data science research, teaching and engagement activities.