Data science institute launched

27 May 2016 | Education
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From left: Prof Tan; Ms Jessica Tan, Managing Director of Microsoft Singapore; Mr Wong; Prof Ho and Mr Nadella during the launch of the Institute of Data Science

The University has established a new institute to develop integrated data science solutions and nurture data scientists in support of Singapore’s Smart Nation initiative. The new $12 million Institute of Data Science (IDS) will cultivate deep and strategic capabilities in data science, analytics and optimisation, and cybersecurity.

IDS was officially launched at NUS on 27 May by NUS Chairman Mr Wong Ngit Liong, NUS Deputy President (Research and Technology) and Tan Chin Tuan Centennial Professor Ho Teck Hua and Microsoft Chief Executive Officer Mr Satya Nadella. Microsoft Singapore is the first industry partner of IDS and will work with the University on a series of industry-relevant data science research and education projects. IDS will be collaborating with more local and international academia and policy makers.

“The Big Data revolution is taking place at an extremely rapid pace and the ability to understand and exploit data will certainly shape how we live, work and play in the future,” said NUS President Professor Tan Chorh Chuan, adding that many companies are already using data analytics to improve business performance. He said that IDS will draw on NUS’ existing strengths in data analytics, operations research and cybersecurity to “accelerate the translation of fundamental research into impactful solutions in areas such as healthcare and education that will benefit individuals, businesses and institutions in Singapore and beyond”.

For a start, the institute is exploring two potential research thrusts. The first involves the development of novel enabling technologies to identify, model and predict the flow of talents across geographical regions over time, which may have implications on talent-related policies of businesses and government agencies. A second focus could be on empowering web users to make more informed decisions when they use the internet as a source of information.

IDS will also provide 50 scholarships over five years to train PhD students in the important areas of data science and data analytics. Undergraduate students will have opportunities to be exposed to translational research as part of their academic projects.

More than 20 NUS faculty members from various disciplines — computer science, mathematics, medicine, public health, public policy, statistics and social sciences — will be involved in IDS’ research projects during the start-up phase. In time, it hopes to have about 100 researchers and staff working on a wide range of projects.

IDS will be a key player in the broader NUS Smart Nation Research Cluster, together with the National Cybersecurity Lab being set up in NUS, and a number of new research centres and collaborations. All these entities will be physically co-located in one building by the end of the year.

See press release and news article on NUS-Microsoft tie-up.