On Thursday, December 13, Governor Gina Raimondo 's initiative, Computer Science for Rhode Island (CS4RI), brought over 2000 Rhode Island youth from across the state’s middle through high schools to a special summit to learn how to use computer science tools and concepts to analyze data and impact the world around us.

The summit’s activities centered on Virtual and Augmented Reality, Gamification, Data Science, Drones, Robots and many other applications. 

Professor Meenakshi Narain’s collider team, led by postdoctoral fellow Dr. Emanuele Usai, taught students how to use Python programming language and the basics of machine learning to enable discovery in particle physics and planetary science. The exhibit featured Jupyter notebooks, a popular programming tool for learning how to perform interactive data analysis using only a computer browser. Screen Shot 2018-12-20 at 10.31.05 AM.pngExamples used in the exhibit were created as part of outreach project CODER by Sergei Gleyzer from the University of Florida in collaboration with Brown University’s researchers. They featured CMS Open Data to re-discover past Nobel Prize-winning discoveries and showcased how to use machine learning in particle physics and planetary science.  In one of the popular examples, students used machine learning techniques to predict the albedo map of the Moon based on elemental composition.

The collider team members: Emanuele Usai, graduate students Bjorn Burkle, Mary Hadley, Daniel Li, and post-bachelor students Michelle Miller, Emily Yaruss, and Lucas Kang, shared their enthusiasm by guiding the students through instances of scientific data analysis.

Efforts and funding from the co-organizers Geoff Gunter of Citizens Bank and Andrea Russo of Microsoft TEALSK12, gave the collider team the opportunity to add a new dimension focused on data science to the CS4RI Summit. By combining the study of the smallest fundamental particles with examples from planetary science the exhibition enabled students to learn how to apply machine learning concepts to scientific challenges.  RI students walked away enriched with new knowledge about computer and data science that can help them in their future careers.