School of Mathematics Will Crunch the Numbers for Advancing Data Science

Tech wins NSF funding for new interdisciplinary research institute that will tackle “big data”

Georgia Tech’s School of Mathematics is set to play an important role in the rapidly expanding field of data science, thanks to a National Science Foundation initiative that will fund foundational research and educational training on campus.

The new institute, the Transdisciplinary Research Institute for Advancing Data Science (TRIAD), is one of 12 national data science projects to receive $17.7 million in NSF funds, the agency recently announced. The School of Mathematics is one of six Tech schools taking part in TRIAD, which will receive $1.5 million of the NSF funding.

“The successful funding of the TRIAD partnership between the Colleges of Science, Computing, and Engineering recognizes Georgia Tech as a leader in the foundations of data science,” says School of Mathematics Professor and Chair Rachel Kuske. “We welcome the opportunities and challenges that come with this recognition. TRIAD will be an important base as our leadership in the mathematical and quantitative sciences continues to expand, addressing both fundamental and applied questions.”

Other schools participating in TRIAD are the H. Milton Stewart School of Industrial & Systems Engineering, the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering, the George W. Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering, the School of Biological Sciences, the School of Computational Science and Engineering, and the School of Computer Science.

The rise of technology in everyday life has come with an increase in raw data generated by an ever-expanding number of connected devices. Media outlets are calling this information explosion “big data.” Companies, organizations, and governments are now on the hunt to find better ways of analyzing and modeling big data, with potential benefits for business, science, education, and law enforcement.

The NSF initiative Transdisciplinary Research in Principles of Data Science (TRIPODS) hopes to leverage academic expertise in mathematics, statistics, and theoretical computer science. In Phase I of TRIPODS, the NSF put out a call to support the development of small collaborative institutes. Georgia Tech responded with TRIAD, which will be operate alongside the recently launched Institute for Data Engineering and Science (IDEaS).  Xiaoming Huo, professor in the School of Industrial & Systems Engineering, will be TRIAD’S executive director; Prasad Tetali, professor in the School of Mathematics with a joint appointment in the School of Computer Science, will serve as co-principal investigator.

“The emphasis on theoretical foundations of data science offers a great opportunity for mathematicians to actively engage with other scientists and help make breakthroughs in this fast-growing interdisciplinary field,” says Tetali. “Our team also recognizes the importance of being the only team, out of the dozen winners of Phase I, to have been selected from the Southeast,” he added.

Faculty from the College of Sciences with expertise in algebraic and convex geometry, applied dynamics, computational and numerical methods, discrete mathematics, quantitative and computational biology, high-dimensional probability, and statistical inference will provide research for TRIAD. Faculty members include School of Biological Sciences Professor Joshua Weitz and School of Mathematics professors Leonid Bunimovich, Sung Ha Kang, Vladimir Koltchinskii, Rachel Kuske, Anton Leykin, Galyna Livshyts, Ionel Popescu and Mayya Zhilova.


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  • Rachel Kuske, School of Mathematics professor and chair

  • Prasad Tetali, School of Mathematics professor and co-principal investigator of TRIAD

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Renay San Miguel
Communications Officer/Science Writer
College of Sciences


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