Data Science newsletter – October 11, 2021

Newsletter features journalism, research papers and tools/software for October 11, 2021


Soft Pressure Sensor Breakthrough Solves Field’s Most Challenging Bottleneck

University of Texas at Austin, Aerospace Engineering and Engineering Mechanics


Medical sensing technology has taken great strides in recent years, with the development of wearable devices that can track pulse, brain function, biomarkers in sweat and more. However, there is one big problem with existing wearable pressure sensors: even the slightest amount of pressure, something as light as a tight long sleeve shirt over a sensor, can throw them off track.

Texas Engineers have solved this problem, which has been vexing the field for years now. And they did it by innovating a first-ever hybrid sensing approach that allows the device to possess properties of the two predominant types of sensors in use today.

“The field of flexible pressure sensors is extremely crowded, and after two decades we hit a bottleneck because no one could solve the tradeoff between pressure and sensitivity,” said Nanshu Lu, an associate professor in the Department of Aerospace Engineering and Engineering Mechanics and the corresponding author of the new research published today in Advanced Materials. “This is the first sensor able to leverage a new hybrid mode to withstand pressure without a significant decay in sensitivity.”

Computational biology researcher at Brown wins prestigious early-career NIH award

Brown University, News from Brown


Ritambhara Singh, an assistant professor of computer science at Brown University, is one of 11 researchers nationwide to receive a 2021 Genomic Innovator Award from the National Human Genome Research Institute.

The research institute, part of the National Institutes of Health, developed the award to support innovative work by genomics investigators who are early in their careers and play key roles in team-science efforts. Singh’s award, totaling $1.9 million, will support her work developing machine learning approaches to reveal gene regulation mechanisms in diseases.

Artificial intelligence deters one-sixth of medical students from pursuing radiology

HealthImaging, Matt O'Connor


The radiology community has largely accepted that artificial intelligence will positively impact their day-to-day life, but new survey results suggest this train of thought hasn’t yet made its way to medical students.

In fact, about one-sixth of students who would have listed radiology as their top choice did not do so because of AI’s potential impact on the specialty. More than 50% said they had a good understanding of radiology, but only 30% said the same for how AI is being used during imaging.

While most respondents believe such technology will increase radiologists’ efficiency, there are still negative connotations that must be cleared up, experts said Saturday in Clinical Imaging.

Milky Way’s shredded companion provides clues about dark matter

Science, Adam Mann


The Milky Way hasn’t been kind to the Sagittarius dwarf galaxy. Located some 70,000 light-years away, the bundle of stars has been shredded and stretched into a filamentous stream by the gravity of the Milky Way. Now, scientists have mapped Sagittarius in exquisite detail, and they’ve used that map to provide a long-sought picture of the mysterious dark matter halo in which our Galaxy resides.

First spotted in 1994, Sagittarius is one of the Milky Way’s closest companions. Across the ages, gravitational forces have ripped it apart, scattering stars into a stream that now completely encircles the Milky Way. That makes Sagittarius a sensitive scale for measuring the distribution of mass in our Galaxy, which includes not just the visible disk of stars, but also an unseen halo of dark matter, thought to comprise up to 90% of the total mass.

University of Nebraska–Lincoln seeks $50m in American Rescue Plan funds for new supercomputing data center

Data Center Dynamics, Dan Swinhoe


The University of Nebraska-Lincoln is seeking $50 million from the state’s American Rescue Plan Covid-19 relief funds to build a new data center.

The American Rescue Plan (ARP) promises to distribute more than $360 billion in emergency funding for state, local, territorial, and tribal governments to help them recover from Covid-19.

During an Appropriations Committee meeting to discuss how funds from the federal American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 should be spent in the state, Ted Carter, president of the University of Nebraska system requested money to ‘dramatically increase capacity for the Holland Computing Center’ at the University.

Training the Next Generation of Physical Data Scientists

Eos, Amy McGovern and John Allen


AI/ML methods are domain agnostic and lack inherent physics-based understanding of natural processes. This characteristic of AI/ML methods can be advantageous in some situations, but applying AI/ML to geoscience phenomena and problems requires deep knowledge of the physics involved. And although superficial training may enable a researcher to select existing AI/ML methods that could be useful in their work, creating new methods that can transform scientific understanding requires users to know the underlying characteristics of their data and their methods.

Physical data scientists thus need holistic preparation, including foundational training in their respective disciplines (atmospheric science, oceanography, geoscience, etc.) as well as in AI/ML, that will allow them to work and innovate with increasingly large and complex data sets.

New data science certificate aims to open doors to biotech jobs

San Francisco State University, SF State News


A new certificate program developed in collaboration with one of Silicon Valley’s biggest biotech companies will do more than teach San Francisco State University undergraduates about the interdisciplinary field known as data science. It’ll help them develop the skills they need to land jobs as data scientists.

Launched this fall, the Data Science and Machine Learning for Biotechnology (gSTAR) certificate program grew out of an already flourishing collaboration between San Francisco State and Genentech. Any SF State undergraduate student, regardless of major, is eligible for the certificate as long as they meet the program’s minimal prerequisites and complete six designated courses. The classes ground students in data science — an interdisciplinary field that gleans actionable insight from large volumes of data — while emphasizing professional development through rigorous mock interviews, elevator pitches and more.

NSA awards $500,000 cybersecurity grant to University of Missouri research

Security Magazine


Researchers at the University of Missouri College of Engineering recently received a two-year, approximately $500,000 cybersecurity research grant from the National Security Agency (NSA) to develop a security feature that allows different smart devices to intelligently learn from past cyberattacks while having a minimal need for direct human intervention. Their security tool will also incorporate a collaborative network among the developers of these devices for sharing solutions in order to better respond against potential attacks in the future.

Daniel S. Katz elected to IEEE Computer Society Board of Governors

University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, Grainger School of Engineering


NCSA Chief Scientist and Illinois CS Research Associate Professor Daniel S. Katz was elected to the IEEE Computer Society Board of Governors for a three-year term beginning January 1, 2022. The BOG drives the Computer Society’s vision forward, provides policy guidance to program boards and committees, and reviews the performance of the organization to ensure compliance with its policy directions.

Certificate in Digital Humanities and Data Studies

Seton Hall University, College of Arts and Sciences


The Office of the Provost, with the support and recommendation of the Faculty Senate, has approved a new Certificate in Digital Humanities and Data Studies. This new Certificate aligns with Goal 1 of the University Strategic Plan, particularly the aspiration to “Integrate the learning of 21st-century skills that will help all students become adaptable, imaginative, resilient, ethical, and successful individuals through strategies that support faculty by building on the University’s technological investment in innovative ways” (1.6.1).

$1 Million gift furthers landmark study focused on reducing breast cancer disparities, barriers to high quality care

UNC School of Medicine, Newsroom


Rich Preyer and Marilyn Jacobs Preyer of Hillsborough, North Carolina, have donated $1 million to support the latest phase of UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center’s Carolina Breast Cancer Study, which is investigating how the causes, treatments and long-term outcomes of breast cancer differ between Black women and white women.

Northwestern receives $18.1M to study the most common type of heart failure

Northwestern University, Northwestern Now


Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine has been awarded two grants totaling $18.1 million to study the most common type of heart failure: heart failure with preserved ejection fraction (HFpEF), also referred to as diastolic heart failure.

HFpEF affects at least 2.5 million people in the U.S.; however the cardiovascular community has a very limited understanding of how to prevent or effectively treat it.

2i2c launches next phase in partnership with CS&S

2i2c, Chris Holdgraf and Danielle Robinson


Code for Science & Society is thrilled to welcome the International Interactive Computing Collaboration (2i2c, for short) as a fiscally sponsored project! After spending a year incubating in the International Computer Science Institute, where 2i2c received critical startup support, 2i2c now joins our fiscally sponsored project program to launch their next phase. 2i2c develops and operates cloud infrastructure for interactive computing, with a focus on the Jupyter ecosystem and cloud-native workflows in research and education. They will build a cloud services model that respects a community’s Right to Replicate their infrastructure by providing transparent and customizable JupyterHub deployments on cloud infrastructure that utilize community-driven open source tools. They aim to use the resources generated from this service in order to support the communities that underlie this infrastructure.

UMass Amherst Announces Creation of Seed Fund To Support Quantum Information Systems Research

University of Massachusetts Amherst, College of Information & Computer Sciences


The University of Massachusetts Amherst is pleased to announce the creation of a seed fund by anonymous donors to support research of quantum information systems, including an anonymous lead gift in the amount of $5 million. The fund aims to bolster an existing creative and collaborative partnership between the College of Information and Computer Sciences (CICS) and the College of Engineering (COE) with the mission of solidifying UMass Amherst’s position in the cutting-edge field of quantum information systems.

Faculty at UMass Amherst are already deeply involved in quantum information systems—a field that promises to develop systems capable of processing larger amounts of information at faster speeds than classical supercomputers. Don Towsley, a distinguished professor in CICS, is a co-lead on a research thrust funded by the National Science Foundation’s Engineering Research Center for Quantum Networking.


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Tenured and tenure track faculty positions

Assistant or Associate Teaching Professor

University of Washington, Department of Statistics; Seattle, WA

Assistant Professor in Computational Linguistics

Florida State University, Department of Modern Languages & Linguistics; Tallahassee, FL

Tenured/Tenure-track faculty

Stanford University, Wu Tsai Neurosciences Institute, and Stanford Data Science; Palo Alto, CA

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