Data Science Day 2023
January 23, 2023
On January 13, 2023, the Utah Center for Data Science hosted at least 280 participants at Data Science Day, making this perhaps the largest data science event ever at the University of Utah. The event was a gathering of all those interested in data science around campus, including students, researchers, and faculty — as well as data scientists from local industry and prospective data scientists from around the Salt Lake City area. This year, Data Science Day was held in the Union Ballroom on the University of Utah campus.
An exciting aspect of the event was the chance for those interested in data science from around the university to gather and meet each other — especially after a few years of mostly online meetings during the COVID-19 pandemic. This was exemplified by the Research Expo part of the day, which saw dozens of research posters, demos, and information booths. The Research Expo provided a forum for researchers of all levels to show off their recent results and for institutes and centers to showcase the services they provide.
A highlight of the day was the research talks, especially the inspiring keynote by Jeff Leek, the chief data officer at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center in Seattle. His talk told the story of how he launched a massive online course in data science, and wherein the resulting curriculum has served more than 8 million students. He then described how he leveraged this towards designing and running a version of the curriculum, DataTrail, as an educational springboard for the underserved low-income communities of Baltimore and beyond. This work stimulated much discussion, including how it related to the maturing data science curriculum here at the University of Utah. Another engaging part of the day was an industry panel staffed by local data scientists that provided great insight into the trade-offs of in-person versus remote work, especially as it pertains to new data scientists.
The event also provided a great opportunity for many to interact with local industry. This included a career fair which included the day’s sponsors: Sorenson, Recursion, and bioMérieux. The organizers would also like to thank the Office of the Vice President of Research and the National Science Foundation for financial support and the One Utah Data Science Hub and Kahlert School of Computing for organizational support. The day was a great success and there is excitement to do it again.