Data Science newsletter – February 16, 2022

Newsletter features journalism, research papers and tools/software for February 16, 2022


Department of Energy Announces $18 Million for Research to Advance Particle Accelerator Technology

U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Science


This research seeks to advance the state of the art in accelerator technology toward improving cost effective operation of Nuclear Physics accelerator user facilities and to improve scientific capabilities of existing Nuclear Physics facilities.

DOE national laboratories, universities, and nonprofits will be eligible to lead applications for the two-year awards, which will be selected based on peer review. The funding opportunity envisions awards both for single investigators/small groups and for large multidisciplinary teams.

SPIA program for data science research welcomes its first fellows

Princeton University, News


In fall 2021, Princeton’s Empirical Studies of Conflict Project (ESOC), with support from the School of Public and International Affairs (SPIA), launched the ESOC Fellowship for Data-Driven Research, a program that prepares recent college graduates from underrepresented backgrounds to conduct data-driven research.

UC Berkeley must slash new enrollment by a third unless high court intervenes

Berkeleyside, Frances Dinkelspiel


UC Berkeley will have to significantly reduce the number of undergraduate and transfer students it admits for 2022-23 unless it gets the California Supreme Court to intervene in a lower court ruling, the university said Monday.

About 5,100 fewer high school seniors and transfer students will be offered a place at Cal for the next academic year because of an Alameda County Superior Court ruling that ordered UC Berkeley to freeze enrollment at the same level as 2020-21. The 24% drop in offer letters would bring about 6,450 new students to Cal — about 32% fewer than in a typical year.

UC Berkeley applied for a stay of the decision to the California First Court of Appeal, but the court turned down the university’s request on Thursday, Feb. 10.

Google Search Is Dying



Reddit is currently the most popular search engine. The only people who don’t know that are the team at Reddit, who can’t be bothered to build a decent search interface. So instead we resort to using Google, and appending the word “reddit” to the end of our queries.

Paul Graham thinks this image means Reddit as a social media site “still hasn’t peaked”. What it actually means is that the amount of people using Reddit as a search engine is growing.

Why are people searching Reddit specifically? The short answer is that Google search results are clearly dying. The long answer is that most of the web has become too inauthentic to trust.

Underwriters Laboratories and Northwestern University Launch Research Hub Supporting Safety, Equity in Artificial Intelligence

PR Newswire, Underwriters Laboratory and Northwestern University


To help examine artificial intelligence (AI) systems and evaluate their impact, Underwriters Laboratories Inc. and Northwestern University today announced the creation of a research hub that seeks to better incorporate safety and equity into the fast-growing technology.

The Digital Intelligence Safety Research Institute (DISRI) at Underwriters Laboratories will support the research collaboration, committing $7 million to the research hub over the next three years as well as expertise and resources.

America must win the race for artificial intelligence ethics

Fortune, Commentary, Will Griffin


For the first time ever, Congress has signaled that the federal government is finally moving towards defining A.I. ethics as a core requirement of the U.S. national strategy, while also asserting that traditional American values must be integrated into government and Department of Defense (DOD) A.I. use cases.

While this legislation falls far short of the calls for regulation consistent with the European Union model and desired by many in the A.I. ethics community, it plants the seeds of a thoughtful and inevitable A.I. ethics regulatory regime.

Overall, the AICT and AIM Acts seek to accelerate the federal government and DOD’s ability to compete with the geopolitical reality of China’s (and, to a lesser extent, Russia’s) attempts to use artificial intelligence in ways that threaten the national security and economic interests of the United States.

Sweating the small stuff: Newly developed smartwatch measures key stress hormone

University of California, Los Angeles; UCLA Newsroom


A UCLA research team has developed a device that could be a major step forward: a smartwatch that assesses cortisol levels found in sweat — accurately, noninvasively and in real time. Described in a study published in Science Advances, the technology could offer wearers the ability to read and react to an essential biochemical indicator of stress.

“I anticipate that the ability to monitor variations in cortisol closely across time will be very instructive for people with psychiatric disorders,” said co-corresponding author Anne Andrews, a UCLA professor of psychiatry and biobehavioral sciences, member of the California NanoSystems Institute at UCLA and member of the Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior. “They may be able to see something coming or monitor changes in their own personal patterns.”

Featured in the latest issue of The Digest: The Influence of Grade Forgiveness on Students’ Course Choices

Twitter, National Bureau of Economic Research


Tomorrow the Georgia Board of Regents will meet. The @ajc reports that meeting will be a vote to name a sole finalist for the USG chancellorship and that finalist is Sonny Perdue, former governor and Trump agriculture secretary.

Twitter, Matthew Boedy


I’m outraged. 1/x

UMich alumni aim to help students ‘get back to human interaction’ with Dabl app

University of Michigan, Michigan Daily student newspaper, Carlin Pendell


When University alum Nathan Reynolds graduated from the University of Michigan in May 2021, he said he looked around at his classmates and realized how few of them he had met. After over a year of fully virtual classes and extracurriculars, Reynolds said he wanted to help future students form new friendships across campus during the transition back out of the pandemic. So Reynolds tossed his cap in the air and set out to create an app that would do just that. That fall, Dabl was born.

Dabl CEO Reynolds worked with co-founders Aadish Shah, a 2021 U-M alum, and 2021 Ithaca College graduate Alex Elconin to launch the app on the Apple App Store. After its pilot launch, Reynolds and Elconin added new features and re-designed the app for its relaunch on Dec. 31, 2021.

Dabl is a social media app where U-M students can create a profile and find other students to chat with. The interface displays the physical distance between the user and other Dabl profiles, allowing users to see their proximity to other students.

Nationally Recognized Diversity Equity and Inclusion in Artificial Intelligence Program Coming to WPI

Worcester Polytechnic Institute, Beyond These Towers


A new opportunity for WPI students to bolster their understanding of diversity, equity, and inclusion in Artificial Intelligence (AI) is coming to WPI. Through AI4ALL, a national program supported by Melinda Gates’ Pivotal Ventures, students will be able to take a series of classes on the ethics of AI, collaborate with industry partners, and gain access to AI4ALL’s alumni network, to pursue internships and jobs. Students will also receive a certificate upon completion of the program.

Associate Professor of Computer Science Rodica Neamtu spearheaded the effort to bring AI4ALL to WPI and will lead the program. AI4ALL seeks to help students become different kinds of leaders,” says Neamtu. “Leaders who are not just knowledgeable scientists invested in the work, but also have a deep understanding of the social and ethical implications of their work.”

New data science minor set to join Computer Science curriculum for fall 2022

University of New Haven, The Charger Bulletin student newspaper, Mia Adduci


The University of New Haven already offers a Masters program in data science, however the introduction of this new program will expand these areas of study to the undergraduate student population.

Studies under this program are sought to expand students’ understanding in the primary areas of statistics, probability, computation and artificial intelligence.

Behzadan said “the program offers a core foundation in data science and trains students in competencies to work with data using computational and statistical techniques and tools as well as applying models and algorithms.”

UCI announces launch of Institute for Precision Health

University of California, Irvine; UCI News


The University of California, Irvine today announced the launch of the Institute for Precision Health, an endeavor that marries UCI’s powerhouse health sciences, engineering, machine learning, artificial intelligence, clinical genomics and data science capabilities to deliver the most effective health and wellness strategy for each individual person and, in doing so, confronts the linked challenges of health equity and the high cost of care.

The institute will bring a multifaceted, integrated approach to what many call the next great advancement in healthcare. Precision medicine collects patient data – history, exams, demographics, molecular and diagnostic tests – and uses the power of computer algorithms, predictive modeling and AI to develop personalized treatment and lifelong health maintenance plans.

Yale sued for violating antitrust law by considering financial need in admissions

Yale University, Yale Daily News student newspaper, Jordan Fitzgerald


An amended complaint in the 568 Presidents Group lawsuit directly accused Yale of practicing need-conscious admissions, thus violating antitrust law in its collaboration with other schools to determine financial aid formulas.

On Jan. 9, five alumni sued the 568 Presidents Group — 17 elite universities who collaborate in devising financial aid formulas — on the grounds that they breached section 568 of the 1994 Improving America’s Schools Act, which states that such a collaboration can only exist if all members of the group do not consider financial need in their admissions process. In an earlier complaint, only nine members were alleged to consider student need in their admissions practices. The new complaint charges that all 17 schools, including Yale, factored family finances into the process through methods including the consideration of donor gifts and the examination of ability to pay during waitlist and transfer admissions.

A Network of Fake Test Answer Sites Is Trying to Incriminate Students

The Markup, Colin Lecher


When Kurt Wilson, a computer science student at the University of Central Florida, heard that his university was using a controversial online proctoring tool called Honorlock, he immediately wanted to learn more.

The company, whose business has boomed during the pandemic, promises to ensure that remote students don’t cheat on exams through AI-powered software used by students that “monitors each student’s exam session and alerts a live, US-based test proctor if it detects any potential problems.” The software can scan students’ faces to verify their identity, track specific phrases that their computer microphone captures, and even promises to search for and remove test questions that leak online.

One feature from Honorlock especially piqued Wilson’s interest. The company, according to its materials, provides a way to track cheating students through what Honorlock calls “seed sites” or others call “honeypots”—fake websites that remotely tattle on students who visit them during exams.


Yale Cyber Leadership Forum Examines Artificial Intelligence and National Security

Yale University, Yale Law School


The 2022 Yale Cyber Leadership Forum, a three-part series featuring in-person and virtual discussions, will convene leading attorneys, technologists, entrepreneurs, policymakers, and academics to address urgent and evolving challenges in the domains of artificial intelligence (AI) and national security.

Oona A. Hathaway ’97, Gerard C. and Bernice Latrobe Smith Professor of International Law, directs the Forum, a collaboration between Yale Law School’s Center for Global Legal Challenges and Yale’s Jackson Institute for Global Affairs.

The Forum comprises six 75-minute panel discussions, which will take place between 9:00 a.m. and 12:00 p.m. ET on Feb. 18, March 4, and April 4, respectively.

Hi <>!

Andrea Jones-Rooy


I’m writing today to invite you to my brand-new one-person show, The Data Science Spectacular on March 1st, 7p ET, at the beautiful Caveat theater in NYC and live-streaming worldwide. … I believe very strongly that all of us can and should(!) participate in data science.

How do I know this? For one, I became a data scientist by accident, and if I can do it, anyone can.

Data Visualization New York has scheduled a talk by @LacePadilla about uncertainty in #dataViz; this will be good

Twitter, Alberto Cairo



It took forever, but applications are finally open for the “Astronomical Software Development” workshop that we’re hosting at @FlatironCCA, May 16–20, 2022!

“Check out the website for the link to the application form & all the other details:” Deadline for applications is February 28.



The eScience Institute’s Data Science for Social Good program is now accepting applications for student fellows and project leads for the 2021 summer session. Fellows will work with academic researchers, data scientists and public stakeholder groups on data-intensive research projects that will leverage data science approaches to address societal challenges in areas such as public policy, environmental impacts and more. Student applications due 2/15 – learn more and apply here. DSSG is also soliciting project proposals from academic researchers, public agencies, nonprofit entities and industry who are looking for an opportunity to work closely with data science professionals and students on focused, collaborative projects to make better use of their data. Proposal submissions are due 2/22.


Tools & Resources

Turning off my phone improved my science

Nature, Career Column, Adam Weiss


In early 2021, I hit a rut in my studies. As a doctoral candidate at the University of Chicago in Illinois, I work at the interface of polymer chemistry and immunology, using synthetic strategies to design safer, more effective materials for vaccine and gene delivery. Although I had been productive early in my graduate career, my long hours and hard work were no longer translating into success in the laboratory, and I felt hopeless about achieving my goals. Something had to change.

As I began to search for the cause of my struggles, I became increasingly aware that my ‘quiet time’ at the lab bench — for instance, when I was running chromatography columns or microscopy experiments — was anything but.

Equidock, a ML model developed by Regina Barzilay, @octavianEganea, @xinyuan_huang_, Tommi Jaakkola and colleagues

Twitter, Jameel Clinic for AI & Health @MIT


can rapidly predict the complex that will form when two proteins bind together — potentially accelerating the development of new medicines.

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