Data Science making an impact at Brown

Brown Data Science Initiative Director Sohini Ramachandran

The Brown University Financial Report for fiscal year 2021 (which ended June 30, 2021) highlights the exciting work in data science happening on campus in the “Making an Impact" section.

DSI is featured, along with four other “key contributors to computation and data science at Brown.” The Departments of Computer Science and Biostatistics, the Center for Computational Molecular Biology, and the Center for Computational Brain Science in the Carney Institute for Brain Science are all DSI partners; the research outlined in the report is helping to make headway in treating disease, including increasing basic understanding of the human genome and brain; improve the tools and techniques used in data analysis; and create data science education curricula for grades 7-12, for just a few examples. 

Data science at Brown is not limited to these units by any means, and one of DSI’s primary goals is to support data science research and education across campus, including research fields where data science is a more recent arrival. Along with that goal is the intention to ensure that the fruits of data science research are available to all. As DSI Director Sohini Ramachandran says “My goal for the Data Science Initiative is to ensure that those most in need are not the last to benefit from fundamental research in data science or data-driven applied research. Brown is the perfect place for an inclusive, collaborative approach to data science in which we equally value data generation and methods development."

Some examples of the wide range of data science at Brown along with considerations of its actual and potentially unequal effects can be seen in a sampling of DSI seminars, lectures, and panel discussions in the past couple of years. 

Natalie Dean: COVID-19 Vaccine Evaluation 

Algorithmic Justice: A Panel on Race, Bias, and Big Data

Suresh Venkatasubramanian: Machine Readable: The power and limits of algorithms that are shaping society

Jennifer Forestal: Designing for Democracy: How to Build Community in Digital Environments