On Giving Day, Please Support the Data Science Institute. DSI Works to Solve Societal Problems While Using Data Responsibly.


Pictured:  Jeannette M. Wing, Avanessians Director of the Data Science Institute and Professor of Computer Science at Columbia and President of Microsoft, Brad Smith

Columbia Giving Day is an annual 24-hour online fundraising event that encourages alumni, students, parents, faculty and staff to support the university.  Last year, in one day, Columbia raised more than $200 million from 17,000 donors. And this year, for the first time, the Data Science Institute (DSI) is included as an option that donors can support on Giving Day, scheduled for Wednesday, October 23.

DSI could not be a more worthy cause. The institute is a flourishing community of students, researchers and faculty, all of whom are committed to using advanced data science techniques to solve vexing societal problems. DSI has a three-pronged mission – to advance the state-of-the-art in data science, to use it to enhance all fields, and to ensure the responsible use of data – that captures the promise that data science has to improve society. 

“Your support will help the Institute to conduct research that, in collaboration with domain experts throughout Columbia, will help mitigate climate change, discover better cancer therapies, and combat cyber attacks that threaten our businesses, our sense of privacy and the very fabric of our democracy,” says Jeannette M. Wing, Avanessians Director of the Data Science Institute and Professor of Computer Science at Columbia.

On Oct. 23, the Giving Day site will go live. The site will have a drop-down menu highlighting three DSI programs that donors can support. Every dollar you donate will go directly to one of these three DSI research programs: The DSI Post-Doctoral Fellows Program, in which fellows conduct data-intensive research that helps scientists better understand fields like cancer, neuroscience, and public health. The DSI Research Fund, which supports myriad research projects at the institute. especially collaborations that lead to deeper relationships among faculty in different disciplines. And the DSI Scholars Program, a pipeline that connects undergraduate and masters’ students with research professors. The students work closely with the professors, receiving direction that helps them develop into skilled researchers.

“Our goal is to make DSI known internationally for using data science to help alleviate grand societal challenges such as climate change, inequality of wealth, and the opioid epidemic,” says Wing, “while ensuring that data is collected responsibly and used ethically to benefit society. And your generous support will help us to achieve this socially beneficial goal.”

By Robert Florida

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