Data Science newsletter – August 30, 2018

Newsletter features journalism, research papers, events, tools/software, and jobs for August 30, 2018


Data Science News

NIH Taps Google Cloud to Tackle Disease with Data

HealthTech magazine, Juliet Van Wagenen


The National Institutes of Health joins a slew of research and provider organizations harnessing the power of the cloud to speed analysis and democratize medical data.

USciences Launches BS in Data Science Degree

University of the Sciences, News


With Big Data playing an integral part in nearly every facet of life today, nearly every industry needs more professionals who can extract meaningful information from data and provide scientific insights for decision making. In response to this need, USciences has launched a new bachelor of science degree in data science that provides students with an in-depth understanding of the science behind data.

“This program is uniquely designed to give students with the knowledge, skills, and technical foundation necessary to unlock the value of data and tackle complex, multidisciplinary problems,” said Provost Peter Miller, PhD. “Our case-based focus and practical approach provides a truly novel interdisciplinary data science education that leverages real-world data and integrates the statistical, computational, and mathematical core skills relevant in the modern world.”

Andrew Moore steps down as dean of CMU’s School of Computer Science

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Courtney Linder


During his tenure, the program saw gender parity for the first time. Last year, 50 percent of incoming graduates to the School of Computer Science were women.

He also oversaw the creation of the new CMU AI Initiative last summer. The program is essentially a bid to unite the university’s various disciplines of artificial intelligence research under one umbrella. The goal is to draw more startups, investors and funding to the university and region.

JPMorgan just made another high-profile artificial intelligence hire

CNNMoney, Julia Horowitz


Apoorv Saxena, a Google executive in charge of cloud-based AI products, joins the bank later this week as head of artificial intelligence and machine learning services. The role also places him in charge of asset and wealth management artificial intelligence technology, according to an internal memo seen by CNNMoney.

Honeywell, Carnegie Mellon University To Develop Advanced Supply Chain Robotics And AI Solutions For Connected Distribution Centers

PR Newswire, Honeywell


Honeywell (NYSE: HON) today announced a strategic collaboration with Carnegie Mellon University to advance artificial intelligence and robotic technologies to help distribution centers address rising demands fueled by rapid growth in e-commerce.

The initiative brings together Honeywell Intelligrated, a division of Honeywell Safety and Productivity Solutions, and Carnegie Mellon’s National Robotics Engineering Center. The two organizations are advancing the capability of artificial intelligence and robotics technologies to benefit distribution centers, which are becoming more integrated and complex, and looking to robotics solutions to improve productivity and performance in fulfilling orders.

“It is becoming increasingly difficult to staff supply chain operations fast enough to satisfy the growth in e-commerce. Developing advanced machine learning capabilities and applying it to critical distribution center applications is a key enabler for our customers,” said Pieter Krynauw, president of Honeywell Intelligrated. “Our industry expertise coupled with the research capability of Carnegie Mellon accelerates our ability to bring advanced technology to market at scale and deliver much-needed capacity and productivity gains for distribution centers through digital transformation.”

Sen. Wyden Confirms Cell-Site Simulators Disrupt Emergency Calls

Electronic Frontier Foundation, Cooper Quintin


Sen. Ron Wyden has sent a letter to the U.S. Department of Justice concerning disruptions to 911 emergency services caused by law enforcement’s use of cell-site simulators (CSS, also known as IMSI catchers or Stingrays).

New Knowledge just raised $11 million more to flag and fight social media disinformation meant to bring down companies

TechCrunch, Connie Loizos


Back in January, we told you about a young, Austin, Tex.-based startup that fights online disinformation for corporate customers. Turns out we weren’t alone in finding it interesting. The now four-year-old, 40-person outfit, New Knowledge, just sealed up $11 million in new funding led by the cross-border venture firm GGV Capital, with participation from Lux Capital. GGV had also participated in the company’s $1.9 million seed round.

We talked yesterday with co-founder and CEO Jonathon Morgan and the company’s director of research, Renee DiResta, to learn more about its work, which appears to be going well. (They say revenue has grown 1,000 percent over last year.) Our conversation, edited for length, follows.

NSF funds new projects to ‘connect dots’ (and data) to address longstanding, multi-scaled environmental problems

National Science Foundation


The National Science Foundation (NSF) is investing $9 million in nine new projects to research biosphere processes and their complex interactions with climate, land use and invasive species at regional to continental scales. The awards are funded through NSF’s MacroSystems Biology and Early NEON (National Ecological Observatory Network) Science program.

“These projects leverage NSF investments in biological infrastructure to study how organisms and ecosystems respond to environmental changes from local to continental scales,” said Joanne Tornow, NSF acting assistant director for biological sciences. “Most of these projects use data from NEON to address long-standing questions that could not be addressed even five years ago, without access to standardized, replicated, publicly available ecological data from ecosystems across North America.”

Silicon Valley’s Jumio launches artificial intelligence lab in Montreal to hone ID verification

The Globe and Mail, The Canadian Press


Jumio Corp. has opened an artificial intelligence lab in Montreal, adding to the city’s ranks of machine-learning firms.

The Silicon Valley company says it plans to work on fraud detection and data extraction as part of a push toward refined identity verification.

Another giant leap for women and minorities in computer science exams

GeekWire, Alan Boyle


A year ago, the College Board saw the numbers of female students and underrepresented minority students taking the Advanced Placement exam for computer science more than double — but what about this year?

As CEO Hadi Partovi puts it, “the momentum continues.”

The statistics don’t quite match last year’s triple-digit percentage increases. But they do show a narrower gap between female students as well as black and Latino students on one side, and male students as well as white and Asian students on the other.

This year, 135,992 students took the AP Computer Science exam, which is a 31 percent rise over last year’s figures. The number of young women taking the exam rose by 39 percent, to 38,195.

Clashes Over Ethics At Major Tech Companies Are Causing Problems For Recruiters

BuzzFeed News, Caroline O'Donovan


Already dealing with backlash from employees who object to working with government agencies, major tech companies are now facing criticism from a new source — prospective hires.

With $500M Toyota Deal, Uber Sheds Go-It-Alone Driverless Car Goal

Xconomy, Sarah Schmid Stevenson


When an autonomous Uber car being tested in Arizona collided with a pedestrian last March, it resulted in the first known fatality caused by a driverless vehicle.

The accident had a jarring effect on the entire mobility industry, but Toyota was one of the few players that took direct action in the wake of the accident. The Japanese automaker announced that it would stop, at least temporarily, testing autonomous systems on public roads in the United States.

This week, Toyota announced it will invest $500 million in Uber, according to a joint statement by the two companies Tuesday that also heralded a new partnership in autonomous mobility. A fleet of purpose-built Toyota Sienna Minivans will be equipped with Uber’s self-driving technology, combined with Toyota’s Guardian driving safety software.

Online Bettors Know If Psychology Studies Will Replicate

The Atlantic, Ed Yong


Critics have argued that the so-called crisis is nothing of the sort, and that researchers who have failed to repeat past experiments were variously incompetent, prejudiced, or acting in bad faith.

But if those critiques are correct, then why is it that scientists seem to be remarkably good at predicting which studies in psychology and other social sciences will replicate, and which will not?

Consider the new results from the Social Sciences Replication Project, in which 24 researchers attempted to replicate social-science studies published between 2010 and 2015 in Nature and Science—the world’s top two scientific journals. The replicators ran much bigger versions of the original studies, recruiting around five times as many volunteers as before. They did all their work in the open, and ran their plans past the teams behind the original experiments. And ultimately, they could only reproduce the results of 13 out of 21 studies—62 percent.

Exclusive: Fitbit’s 150 billion hours of heart data reveal secrets about health

Yahoo News, David Pogue


Modern smartwatches and fitness bands can track your pulse continuously, day and night, for months. Imagine what you could learn if you collected all that data from tens of millions of people!

That’s exactly what Fitbit (FIT) has done. It has now logged 150 billion hours’ worth of heart-rate data. From tens of millions of people, all over the world. The result: the biggest set of heart-rate data ever collected.

Fitbit also knows these people’s ages, sexes, locations, heights, weights, activity levels, and sleep patterns. In combination with the heart data, the result is a gold mine of revelations about human health.

New Digital Platform By NYU Tandon And The Frick Collection Brings Art History Research Into The Digital Age

NYU Tandon School of Engineering


The NYU Tandon and Frick Art Reference Library teams responded by building ARIES, an intuitive web-based software platform now free for all to try at The new tool simplifies the exploration, analysis, and organization of digital collections by allowing experts to easily manipulate images. While it is designed for art historians, curators and conservators, it can be used by editors, photographers, and even, potentially, physicians — anyone whose work involves manipulating and comparing images.

ARIES was developed by a multidisciplinary team including Claudio Silva and Juliana Freire, professors in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering at NYU Tandon and faculty members of the VIDA Center; Lhaylla Crissaff and Marcos Lage, visiting research scholars at NYU Tandon; Joao Rulff, research associate at VIDA; R. Luke DuBois, artist, professor, and co-director of NYU Tandon’s Integrated Digital Media program; and Louisa Wood Ruby and Samantha Deutch, the Frick Art Reference Library’s head of research and assistant director of its Center for the History of Collecting, respectively.


California Water Data Hackathon

Division of Data Sciences at UC Berkeley and Berkeley Institute for Data Science


Berkeley, CA September 14-15, organized by the Division of Data Sciences at UC Berkeley and Berkeley Institute for Data Science. [free, registration required]

WeCNLP Summit 2018 RSVP

Organizers from Stanford:, Google:, Amazon:, Apple:, Microsoft:, University of Southern California:, University of Washington:, Facebook


Menlo Park, CA September 29 at Facebook headquarters. “The first annual WeCNLP Summit is an opportunity to foster discussion and collaboration between NLP researchers in academia and industry.” … “In order to make sure we get a equitable distribution of people from each institution, signing up on the website will add people to a waitlist.”


Solidarity Across Borders – 2018 CSCW Workshop

New York, NY “The goal of our workshop is to brainstorm and discuss how we might demarginalize these researched, this research, and these researchers within CSCW scholarship.” Workshop is November 4. Deadline for submissions is September 28.
Tools & Resources

Deep EHR: Chronic Disease Prediction Using Medical Notes

arXiv, Computer Science > Machine Learning Deep; Jingshu Liu, Zachariah Zhang, Narges Razavian


“The significance of the work is that most of medical information today is locked inside free-text medical notes. And models need to be able to handle abbreviations, arbitrary style of writing, critical numerical values inside the text, negations, and temporal inference. Our team tackled this problem and offered a successful solution. We are now in the process of deploying this at the medical center to prevent heart failure, kidney failure and stroke.”

Twitter for Educators: New guide for educators who are teaching with Twitter APIs



Twitter published a new playbook for educators working with our Twitter APIs: “After speaking with several educators over the last few weeks, we’ve built out a guide including FAQs and steps for getting access to provide clarity so that they can easily get their classrooms ready for the year.”


Full-time positions outside academia

Programmer Analyst, Research

The Urban Institute; Washington, DC

Junior Data Scientist

Human Rights Data Analysis Group; San Francisco, CA

Data Scientist

District of Columbia, The Lab @ DC; Washington, DC
Internships and other temporary positions

Data Scientist Intern

Greening Youth Foundation; Atlanta, GA

Postdoctoral Fellowship in Health Informatics

Norwegian University of Science and Technology; Trondheim, Norway

Postdoctoral Position in How Programming Languages Shape Thought

University of Chicago, Knowledge Lab; Chicago, IL

Postdoc Position in Expanding Machine Learning Beyond Social Prediction to Explanation, Intervention

University of Chicago, Knowledge Lab; Chicago, IL

Postdoctoral Position in the Science of Teams and Innovation

University of Chicago, Knowledge Lab; Chicago, IL

Postdoctoral Position in Understanding and Improving Peer Review

University of Chicago, Knowledge Lab; Chicago, IL
Tenured and tenure track faculty positions

Assistant Professor

Washington University in St. Louis, Department of Sociology; St. Louis, MO

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