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The Faculty establishes a Center for Data Science and Computing

Before the summer, the Faculty Board decided to establish a Center for Data Science and Computing. The aim of the center is to support international cooperation in research and education. The new center will become very important in our efforts to strengthen the Faculty’s position as an outstanding European research-intensive faculty and implement our strategy: Knowledge development for a changing world. Science and technology towards 2030.

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Data science and computational science are central research and educational areas at the faculty and have strong academic environments across our disciplines and units. Researchers from all nine departments have reported that these are important areas for their research (Dahl et al. 2019). The field is extensive, and is significant for all research areas at the University of Oslo (figure 1).

Figure 1: Perspective on the importance of Data Science and Computing at UiO (Dahl et al. 2019).

On Friday 27 September, 60 researchers and leaders at the faculty gathered at a kick-off seminar for the new center. Head of the Department of Mathematics Geir Dahl started the seminar by presenting the work on the foundation report for the new center, which he has led. Then, Professor of Statistics Idris Eckley from the Data Science Institute at Lancaster University and Professor of Astrophysics Ofer Lahav from the Centre for Doctoral Training in Data Intensive Science at the University College London both held inspirational lectures. Their talks were great preliminaries to the presentations held by Professor of Statistics Arnoldo Frigessi, the Center Leader of Oslo Center for Biostatistics and Epidemiology (OCBE), and Professor of Theoretical Chemistry Trygve Helgaker, the Center Leader of Hylleraas Centre for Quantum Molecular Sciences. Both center leaders gave their view on visions and opportunities for the new center for data science and computing. Next, the heads of departments had the opportunity to give their comments and thoughts. 

The participants then discussed how the new center can contribute to establish and further develop method-oriented and application-oriented research, collaborating with existing centers at the University of Oslo (UiO), strategic cooperation with external partners – especially with regard to increased external funding, the organization and establishment of the new center, and how the center can contribute to the development of existing education and innovative start-ups. 

The input from the seminar is now taken into the further work of establishing the center. Initially, a core group (hub) and central nodes will be in place at some of the departments. The research field will be the main focus in this phase. Then the plan is to expand with more departmental nodes beyond core areas, and include a clear plan for education. In the third phase, the aim is to expand with nodes to other faculties at UiO. An important, and ongoing, part of the work is to establish formalized cooperation with external partners. 

I encourage all interested to follow our blogs and newsletters ahead for more information. 

Reference: Geir Dahl et al. (2019) Data Science and Computational Science - report from a committee at the Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences, University of Oslo.

By Vice-Dean Solveig Kristensen
Published Oct. 3, 2019 1:15 PM - Last modified Oct. 3, 2019 1:15 PM