University of California, Santa Cruz (UCSC) plans to create a Center of Excellence in data science research that it says will create new foundational research in data-driven discovery and decision making, and provide a forum for researchers in industry and academia to exchange ideas and develop practical solutions to data science challenges.

Glassbeam, a machine data analytics company, is providing initial seed funding of $50,000 to support the creation of the center, called Data, Discovery, and Decisions (D3), and intends to become a founding member of the D3 Industrial Advisory Board.

D3's mission will be to develop new computational, mathematical and statistical research to support discovery and decision making from complex, heterogeneous data, according to Lise Getoor, professor of computer science and associate dean of research at UCSC's Baskin School of Engineering.

The center will serve as a “neutral platform for industry and academia collaboration, focusing on common pain points and developing scalable data science templates that can be used for discovery and decision making in a variety of domains,” UCSC said.

"The focus will be on the iterative process of going from data to discovery to decisions, which produces additional data that can be fed back into the process,” Getoor said in a statement. “We plan to focus especially on structured and heterogeneous data, such as the data generated by the Internet of Things, or any setting where you want to integrate disparate data from a variety of different sources."

Amid the data science skills shortage, numerous colleges and universities are launching new education programs and research centers focused on big data, analytics and overall information management. A few examples: Duke University recently raised $9.75 million for big data research; MIT has expanded its big data educational courses; and UC Berkeley working with Stanford University and State Street Global Exchange launched the data analytics and risk research center.

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