The University of Massachusetts Amherst
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Research Symposium Connects Private and Public Sectors with Faculty and Students

The day-long Data Science Research Symposium hosted by the Center for Data Science on April 22 became a venue for faculty members, senior researchers, and graduate students to engage with industry and public sector leaders to discuss current data science research and its applications, and opportunities for future exploration. More than 130 participants gathered at the UMass Amherst Computer Science building to obtain updates on the progress of current collaborations, explore new opportunities, consider partnerships, and learn more about innovative data science research.

“This first symposium did exactly what we set out to do - emphasize interdisciplinary collaborations in a variety of fields and examine technical trends and future opportunities for data science”, commented Andrew McCallum, Center director and professor of computer science. “The degree and depth of involvement shown by participants confirms our Center is providing value to students, faculty, government, and industry.”


Participating in the symposium were faculty and students from UMass Amherst and the other Five Colleges as well as industry leaders and public officials. Industry participants included:

Amazon Labs
​Baystate Health System
Burning Glass*
Fidelity Investments
FTL Labs
General Electric
Microsoft Research*
MIT Lincoln Laboratory
Oracle Labs*
Pratt & Whitney*
Raytheon BBN Technologies
Waters Corporation
Weave Visual Analytics
Wolters Kluwer Health

Public officials participating in the events represented the Massachusetts Department of Transportation, Massachusetts Technology Collaborative and the City of Worcester.


The symposium began with two sessions featuring industry-university research collaborations covering a diverse range of data science applications:

  • municipal management
  • infrastructure investment decision-making
  • life insurance and risk management
  • digital healthcare
  • aviation fleet operations
  • web optimization
  • career path modeling
  • natural language processing and social media
  • information integration, entity resolution, and search
  • facial recognition

Informative breakout sessions considered a variety of themes relating to a Center Data Science for the Commonwealth initiative to examine ways in which data science can positively impact quality of life considerations in the state of Massachusetts. Topics discussed were:

  • career path analysis and education
  • municipal infrastructure
  • conservation, energy, security, and privacy
  • human language technology and social media
  • health IT
  • computer vision and robotics

Over 50 data science graduate students participated in a poster session that filled the halls of the Computer Science building. Students presented their research and career interests to more than 40 potential employers. Posters addressed a broad range of topics, everything from machine learning to artificial intelligence networks to privacy and data management – topics of particular interest to employers seeking to expand their data science workforce.


A sampling of comments from symposium participants include the following:


“I was very impressed by the research talks and especially the poster session.”
- Eric Hughes, Chief Architect, Analytic Solutions, MITRE


“Thank you for having me at this wonderful event! The … industry & academia [presentations] were very insightful! Great opportunity to learn from and to contribute, too! There were a few posters that caught my attention, too! I'm looking forward to coming again to the Symposium or to other similar events.”
- Florin Brasoveanu, Senior Software Engineer, Burning-Glass Technology


“It was such a great mix of diverse voices and backgrounds. I imagine most people learned a lot and gained additional perspective about their own work.”
- Kenneth Brian Kulig, Software Engineer, MITRE


“Congratulations on the success of the Data Science Research Symposium. I thought it was a great exchange between industry and academia and it really highlighted the strong connection you and your researchers have established with industry and on real-world problems.”
- Jim Pinkelman, Senior Director, Microsoft


"It was very engaging and informative – the ample opportunity to network with folks from different institutions was very refreshing, too. We will look forward to similar such events at UMass.”
- Saikat Ray Majumder, Scientist, Applied Mathematician, Software Sciences & Analytics, GE Global Research


* Center Industry Affiliates Program members.