UC Berkeley is establishing a new institute to enable university researchers to harness the full potential of the data-rich world that today characterizes all fields of science and discovery. The Berkeley Institute for Data Science (BIDS) is part of a multi-million dollar effort supported by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation and the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.
The new 5-year, $37.8 million initiative was announced on November 12, 2013 at a meeting sponsored by the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) focused on developing innovative partnerships to advance technologies that support advanced data management and data analytic techniques.
The Moore/Sloan partnership, which also includes New York University and the University of Washington, will spur collaborations within and across the three campuses and other partners pursuing similar data-intensive science goals. The three principal investigators who lead the respective campus efforts – Saul Perlmutter at UC Berkeley, Ed Lazowska at the University of Washington, and Yann Le Cunn at NYU – will promote common approaches to form the basis for ongoing collaboration between the three campuses.
Cross-university teams will organize their efforts around six primary areas: strengthening an ecosystem of tools and software environments, establishing academic careers for data scientists, championing education and training in data science at all levels, promoting and facilitating efforts that are accessible and reproducible, creating physical and intellectual hubs for data science activities, and identifying the scientists’ data- science bottlenecks and needs by engaging ethnographers to study the challenges they most commonly encounter.
To provide a home for the new Berkeley Institute for Data Science the university has set aside renovated space in a historical library building on the central campus in 190 Doe Library. The Institute is expected to move into its new quarters in spring 2014. In order to help address challenges related to creating and sustaining attractive career paths the new Institute will offer new Data Science Fellow positions for faculty, post-doctoral fellows, and staff to be shared with departmental partners across the campus. The new Institute will also offer support for graduate students, and organize short courses, boot camps, hack-a-thons and many other activities.
The new Institute will be launched at a campus event on December 12, 2013.