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From the Director's Desk (Winter 2018)

The Center for Data Science is delighted to introduce this quarterly newsletter.  We hope it will help you stay connected to opportunities for recruiting, research collaboration, and faculty access.

 

Vibrant industry engagement has been central to our mission since the Center was established in 2015. Industry and the Center form a natural ecosystem together. We know that, in order to help stay ahead of the competition, industry is eager to recruit our top-notch data-science-trained students, to leverage our forward-looking and award-winning research, and to access our faculty expertise. The Center is enthusiastic about the intellectual inspiration that comes from access to industry-grade, real-world problems, happy to cooperate with industry scientists in mentoring students, and grateful for the research support that is the life-blood of our work.

 

Thriving in these synergies is what we do here at the College of Information and Computer Sciences, and what we have been known for since the days we were a department instead of our own college. In 2016, we launched two data science education programs -- an MS concentration in data science and a complementary data science certificate. Today, over 200 students are enrolled in the two programs, and graduation rates are rising. This year, our overall graduate student population numbers in excess of 600, with many specifically seeking depth in data science. A remarkable number of our graduate students arrive with undergraduate degrees from top-ranked institutions, along with experience working in industry. They are hungry to address industry’s hardest problems by innovating on top of the modern data science foundations they’ve learned from us.

 

To help you attract these students, the Center organizes events and programs throughout the academic year. Our Fall Career Mixer is an exclusive benefit for our industry affiliate partners. This year’s event was a great success, with over one hundred student poster presentations, and more than sixty industry visitors representing companies ranging from startups to tech giants. In the Spring, we run an industry mentorship program to help our industry partners engage our MS students on problems and datasets that matter to them, with an eye on recruitment opportunities. In April, we cap the year off with our annual Data Science Research Symposium, showcasing our faculty research and providing yet another opportunity to meet students and discuss job opportunities. In addition to these core program elements, we offer individualized assistance to help our industry partners meet their staffing targets. You can reach us whenever you need by sending an email to our Industry Relations team at ir@ds.cs.umass.edu.

 

Of course, we are also known for the research contributions of our stellar faculty across core AI sub-disciplines such as machine learning, natural language processing, computer vision, and information retrieval. Check out how we compare with other top universities according to the metrics-based rankings at csrankings.org, where we are neck-and-neck with MIT. As part of our industry-engagement mission, the Center is here to help you develop collaborative partnerships with faculty and students who can apply their research expertise to problems of interest to you. In this issue, we’ll highlight our newest faculty members, some recent industry-relevant research findings, and more. Read on for all the news, and please send us your feedback!

 

Sincerely,

Professor Andrew McCallum