2011 DSSI Finishes Strong

The 2011 installment of the Data Sciences Summer Institute (DSSI) culminated on July 2 with successful presentations highlighting the innovative applications developed by Institute participants under the supervision of some of the world’s foremost researchers in Data Science.

This year’s program, sponsored by the Department of Homeland Security and Yahoo!, brought 22 top juniors, seniors and graduate students in computer science from around the country to the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) for a six week workshop on Data Science topics. Students participated in an intensive course on Foundations of Data Sciences: The Mathematics, Algorithms and Tools for Data Analytics taught by Dr. Cinda Heeren in the mornings and four week-long tutorials taught by UIUC researchers on individual Data Science topics in the afternoons:

Prof. Dan Roth, Machine Learning Approaches for Natural Language Understanding and Information Extraction
Prof. Jiawei Han, Knowledge Discovery in Social and Information Networks
Prof. David Forsyth, Computer Vision
Prof. ChengXiang Zhai, Information Retrieval and Web Information Access

Each week, students also had the chance to attend talks and interact with expert speakers from academia and industry.

Throughout the program, students worked on two group projects that put what they were learning into immediate use. The Expert Search group created a demo which takes text as input (a paper abstract, for example) and automatically generates a list of experts on the topic of that text.  The Crime/Event Detection from Twitter team created a demo which searches and analyzes Tweets to detect crimes and other important events before traditional news outlets. A paper describing this demo and co-authored by DSSI participants has been accepted for publication at the 2012 International Conference on Data Engineering. A committee evaluating the projects to determine the winner of the 2011 DSSI Yahoo! Best Project Award was so impressed with the final presentations that they decided to double the prize money and present the award to both groups. DSSI faculty and project leaders plan to continue work on these projects started by DSSI students.

For more information about the 2011 Data Sciences Summer Institute, including detailed descriptions of the courses and expert speaker talks, please visit: http://mias.illinois.edu/DSSI2011.

Information about the upcoming 2012 DSSI is available at: http://mias.illinois.edu/DSSI2012.

About DSSI
The annual Data Sciences Summer Institute (DSSI) at the University of Illinois at Urban-Champaign is a 6-week long study in Data Science areas. Our educational initiatives have been developed to encourage computer science students to pursue graduate studies at stronger institutions where they can make a bigger impact on the field, and to expose them to national lab professionals. The mission of the Data Sciences Summer Institute (DSSI) is to develop diverse human resources to enhance the scientific research, education, and government workforce in Data Science disciplines. This program is funded by the Department of Homeland Security’s Center of Excellence—Command, Control, and Interoperability Center for Advanced Data Analysis (CCICADA) at the UIUC’s Multimodal Information Access & Synthesis (MIAS) Center.