Data Science newsletter – March 8, 2020

Newsletter features journalism, research papers, events, tools/software, and jobs for March 8, 2020


Data Science News

Hackers Are Everywhere. Here’s How Scholars Can Find Them.

Lawfare, Ben Buchanan


The world of cyber operations is full of hard national security choices. How do long-held ideas of counterintelligence, deterrence and deception apply in this new arena of competition? How does escalation work with hacking? Who carried out this intrusion, and what was the intention behind it? Most of all, what does any of this mean for geopolitics in the modern age, and how can scholars communicate that to policymakers?

There are a variety of ways to approach these questions. Some scholars have constructed intricate formal models that use game theory to predict how states will behave in cyberspace. Others have used surveys and war games, asking participants to imagine what they would do in various situations of crisis. Still others have expanded the aperture of study, creating vast catalogs of cyber incidents, even comparatively minor ones, and subjecting them to quantitative analysis. All these approaches are valid.

But I want to advocate for a different technique, one that does not replace the others but supplements them: Deeply study the hacks that have taken place. This case study method is out of vogue in political science, which has preferred large-n samples and regression models.

Army awards grants to eight universities to tackle modernization challenges

U.S. Army CCDC Army Research Laboratory Public Affairs


The U.S. Army awarded grants to eight academic teams from diverse scientific fields to develop disruptive solutions to some of the most promising challenges important to Army modernization.

The teams will study topics including adversarial machine learning, quantum state engineering, plasma driven solution electrochemistry and mechanical adaptive topologies.

The awards are a part of the Department of Defense Multidisciplinary University Research Initiative, known as MURI. Army Research Office, an element of the U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command’s Army Research Laboratory, represents the Army’s portion of the MURI program.

John Detlefs @jdetle Question for machine learning people in industry: what does it mean for your work to be “in production” what qualifies your models to be “production ready”?

Twitter, John Detlefs


See this a lot and I think the meanings change across different domains pretty quickly. [thread]

Academic twitter: What are your universities doing about PhD student visit days? I know a bunch of CS depts are cancelling/virtualizing (At least Princeton, Stanford, UW, Berkeley). Others?

Twitter, Aaron Roth, William Brown


Columbia had them this week, and most students were able to attend. Pretty sure Harvard/MIT happening this week(end) as well. We have a fallback date scheduled in a few weeks for students with conflicts, but not sure what will happen with that. [thread]

UC graduate students threaten more strikes as movement grows

Los Angeles Times, Nina Agrawal


A growing number of students and faculty members across University of California campuses walked out of class, held rallies and signed letters this week, as a systemwide movement takes hold in support of graduate students demanding cost-of-living adjustments to their salaries.

During widespread UC campus demonstrations, students filled the Janss Steps at UCLA, Sproul Plaza at UC Berkeley and Cheadle Hall at UC Santa Barbara on Thursday and other pickets unfolded on Friday. At Santa Cruz — where the protests began three months ago with a wildcat grading strike that ended in the dismissal of some student workers — students blocked entrances to campus. At UC Riverside and UC Irvine crowds marched.

“Out of the labs, into the streets!” they chanted, and “Give us COLA, we demand it!”

Column: UC’s harsh response to a student strike shows it’s a business more than a university

Los Angeles Times, Michael Hitzik


Like many other public universities that have been systematically bled of financial support by their states, the University of California has been behaving less and less like an educational institution and more like a business.

Nothing illustrates that quite as well as the university’s reaction to graduate teaching assistants at UC Santa Cruz, who have staged a wildcat strike to protest UC’s failure to help them shoulder the crushing cost of housing in the community.

Notre Dame launches new BA in computer science major

University of Notre Dame, College of Arts and Letters


The University of Notre Dame is launching a bachelor of arts in computer science major, offering undergraduate students the opportunity to obtain rigorous training in the rapidly advancing areas where computer science intersects with the arts, humanities, or social sciences.

New programs in data science & analytics at UM-Flint offer innovative career pathwaysNew programs in data science & analytics at UM-Flint offer innovative career pathways

University of Michigan-Flint, UM-Flint Now


UM-Flint’s new programs in data science & analytics are offered across three departments and at the undergraduate and graduate levels.

  • B.S. in Mathematics with a concentration in Data Science (and a minor)
  • B.S. in Economics with a concentration in Data Analytics (and a minor)
  • Graduate Certificate in Data Sciences, which can be completed alone or as part of the M.S. in Computer Science & Information Systems.

  • CVPR 2020 Proceeding as Planned; Record 1470 Papers Accepted



    Despite increasing COVID-19 concerns, organizers of this year’s Conference on Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition (CVPR 2020) say the leading AI conference remains scheduled as planned, June 14 to 19 at the Washington State Convention Center in Seattle.

    Former Microsoft AI Head Harry Shum Returns to Academia, Takes New Position With Tsinghua University



    Shum will speak at China’s Tsinghua University in Beijing, where he will formally assume a Dual-Professorship position with the prestigious school’s Institute for Advanced Study.

    16 Minutes on the News #24: What’s Up With All These Fintech Acquisitions; SEC Rules

    Andreessen Horowitz, 16 Minutes on the News podcast


    “from Intuit announcing it’s acquiring Credit Karma this week to Morgan Stanley announcing it’s acquiring E-trade last week to Visa acquiring Plaid last month, and so on — what’s going on, why, and why now? — with a16z general partner Anish Acharya” [audio, 15:27]

    A Flashy New AI Tool Could Be a Producer’s Dream and a Copyright Nightmare

    Pitchfork, Noah Yoo


    Imagine being able to hear exactly what’s under the hood of any piece of recorded music. You upload a file and a few minutes later, a song like “Born to Run” splits apart to reveal its secrets. Each player’s mastery is laid bare: There’s Bruce Springsteen’s isolated vocal take, every murmur and cry heard clearly; Garry Tallent’s propulsive bassline; Clarence Clemons’ fired-up saxophone solo; and that memorable sprinkling of glockenspiel, courtesy of Danny Federici.

    Such is the promise of Spleeter, a free, open-source AI tool that was developed and released by the streaming service Deezer late last year. Using a process called source separation, Spleeter splits the audio file of any given song into four new audio “stems,” which isolate particular instruments or groups of instruments: vocals, bass, drums, and so on. Some songs and instruments yield better results than others. Bass and drum stems tend to sound muddy or distorted on their own, but vocals fare better, especially if the surrounding music is relatively sparse.

    How Purdue University’s President Froze Tuition

    The Atlantic, Andrew Ferguson


    Most of the attention centers on that all-important number, 9,992. Not only is that the dollar amount an in-state student will pay Purdue for tuition and fees next year; it is also the amount such a student paid Purdue when Daniels became university president, in 2013. The university has also reduced the price of food services and textbooks. An undergraduate degree from Purdue, in other words, is less expensive today than it was when Daniels arrived.

    Only when seen against the inflationary helix of American higher education can the singularity of this achievement be fully appreciated. The college-affordability crisis has become a staple of academic chin pulls, news stories, congressional hearings, and popular books written in tones of alarm and commiseration. From 2007 to 2017, the average annual cost of a degree at a four-year public university like Purdue rose from about $15,000 to more than $19,000—a jump of 28 percent after taking inflation into account. Only health care rivals higher education as an economic sector so consumed by irrational inefficiencies and runaway prices.

    Multi-million government investment in the future of UK science

    GOV.UK, Press Release


  • Major £179 million government investment will support the next generation of scientists, mathematicians and engineers from all backgrounds
  • first-ever Stephen Hawking Fellows also announced, furthering the legacy of science’s brightest star while enhancing our understanding of the universe
  • comes alongside government funding to improve and boost uptake of science subjects at school

  • Owkin and The University of Pittsburgh Launch a Collaboration to Advance Cancer Research with Artificial Intelligence and Federated Learning

    Globe Newswire, Owkin and University of Pittsburgh


    Owkin, a startup that deploys AI and Federated Learning technologies to augment medical research and enable scientific discoveries, announces a collaboration with the University of Pittsburgh. This pilot leverages the high-quality datasets and world-class medical research within Pitt’s Departments of Biomedical Informatics and Pathology, as well as Owkin’s pioneering technologies and research platform. Collaborations such as these have potential to advance clinical research and drug development.

    Pitt researchers led by Michael Becich, MD, PhD, Associate Vice Chancellor for Informatics in the Health Sciences and Chairman and Distinguished University Professor of the Department of Biomedical Informatics (DBMI), will team up with Owkin to develop and validate prognostic machine learning models. The pilot project will then have the potential to expand into several key therapeutic areas for the University.


    Dataiku EGG, The Human-Centered AI Conference



    New York, NY June 11. “EGG New York 2020 will bring together a wide variety of global data leaders (from data team managers to CIOs, CDOs, and more) with sessions around overcoming both organizational and technical challenges on the path to Enterprise AI. ” [$$$]

    2020 Digital Commonwealth Annual Conference

    Digital Commonwealth


    Worcester, MA April 7 at College of the Holy Cross. “Digital Commonwealth’s 14th Annual Conference, centered around the theme of ‘Contextual Conversations: Representation and Digital Practice'” [$$$]


    The Seventh Workshop on Fine-Grained Visual Categorization

    Seattle, WA June 19 in conjunction with CVPR 2020. “Do you use visual recognition in your fieldwork or research? The Seventh Workshop on Fine-Grained Visual Categorization is now accepting submissions of papers for presentation.” Deadline for submissions is March 27.
    Tools & Resources

    ACM publishes new journal on the Internet of Things

    EurekAlert! Science News, Association for Computing Machinery


    The Association for Computing Machinery “published the inaugural issue of ACM Transactions on Internet of Things (TIOT). The new ACM journal features novel research contributions and experience reports in several research domains whose synergy and interrelations enable the Internet of Things vision. TIOT focuses on system designs, end-to-end architectures, and enabling technologies, and publishes results and insights corroborated by a strong experimental component.”

    This week’s #JournalClub! Idiographic network analysis of discrete mood states prior to treatment

    Twitter, Control Group


    First, what does ‘idiographic’ mean?

    Adjective, Relating to the study or discovery of particular scientific facts and processes, as distinct from general laws.

    Default Security in Solr 8.4

    Lucidworks, Erik Hatcher


    The Apache Solr team wrangled several security vulnerabilities over the last year. With immense credit and gratitude to the other Solr committers notably Ishan and Noble in this case, I swept up behind the mess that I had made in an age-old feature I contributed to Solr and worked directly to address its zero-day RCE (remote code execution) vulnerability.

    There are several categories of security related changes in this release: addition of security related HTTP response headers, the removal of built-in “contrib” modules from the default collection configuration, the hardening of VelocityResponseWriter, and package/plugin management features.


    Full-time positions outside academia

    Data Analysis Team Manager

    Space Telescope Science Institute; Baltimore, MD

    Senior Data Visualization Editor

    McKInsey, Global Editorial Services; Atlanta, Boston, New York City or Waltham, MA
    Internships and other temporary positions

    Adelie Penguin Population Ecology Internship

    Point Blue Conservation Science; Ross Island, Antarctica

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