We’re awash in data, and (whether you know it or not) this impacts your daily life. The volume of this information is growing exponentially, with more data created in the past two years than all of history combined.
These vast seas of data hold clues to some of our most vexing problems. However, without the tools, expertise, and human capital to put this data to work, its potential for good cannot be realized. Data also has tremendous potential for harm. Technology is outpacing society’s ability to track and regulate information, and this poses threats to our privacy and security.
Future generations must be prepared to participate—successfully and ethically—in this data revolution. Employers must find workers who understand how data science can benefit their industries, businesses, and organizations. And society must address the growing challenges of the information age.
The UO has created a dynamic hub for data science, leveraging our strengths as a liberal arts university that enthusiastically supports research, education, and interdisciplinary work. As a member of the Association of American Universities, the UO is one of the top 32 public research universities in the nation—an ideal place to put data to work. We’re also home to one of the fastest academic supercomputers in the Northwest.
Our data science effort serves students, faculty, and researchers, accelerating and enhancing diverse work across our campus—and beyond. By partnering with businesses and organizations, we’re creating experiential learning opportunities, leading research efforts, and fostering entrepreneurship. Together, we’re putting data to good use.
The UO launched a data science initiative in 2018, part of a university-wide effort to focus on research areas that demonstrate proven excellence and potential to improve human lives. This strategy has led to faculty hires across campus, research grants, and new partnerships. It was so successful that we began offering a data science major in 2020 and announced the UO’s new School of Computer and Data Sciences in 2022.
The university’s data science ecosystem provides a nimble network for nurturing innovation. To encourage specialization while providing centralized training and services, we’ve adopted a hub-and-spoke model. At the hub, we provide training, technology, and a center of learning. The spokes connect this center to specific areas of scholarship, where core data science principles are applied to diverse disciplines.
These efforts are creating teaching, research, and experiential learning opportunities that advance the field of data science and apply it in myriad ways. We’re transforming how we’ll deal with data in the future. And we’re putting data to work today—to generate new discoveries and improve lives. Ultimately, all these efforts will help society make decisions earlier, faster, and better.
Our Impact / Our Approach
Accelerating UO Research and Scholarship
UO researchers in fields as diverse as finance, genetics, music, earth sciences, and linguistics benefit from data science. Our research consultations and training programs enhance and accelerate the efforts of faculty and students across the university. Through seed funding grants, we encourage them to pursue innovative projects and interdisciplinary partnerships.
Training Graduates for Success
Proficient data scientists are analytical thinkers who can help inform major decisions. They’re essential players in many different industries and organizations, extracting useful knowledge and insight from information. Through education, research, and internship opportunities, we’re preparing students for success. Data science majors and nonmajors alike are learning to collaborate across disciplines, think holistically, and handle data ethically.
UO researchers are using data to answer big questions and address global challenges. For example, the university is part of an effort funded by the National Science Foundation to improve earthquake and tsunami preparedness, secure the electrical grid from cyberattacks, cybersecurity, and improve environmental health across the Northwest.
Creating Innovative Partnerships
As part of its data science efforts, the university is working with other institutions, industry partners, government agencies, and communities. For instance, a collaborative biomedical science center led by the UO and Oregon Health & Science University is working to fight cancer and other diseases. Data science is playing a key role for this center. The university is also leading internship programs, making discoveries that lead to patents, and launching new companies.
“The partnership between the UO’s Knight Campus for Accelerating Scientific Impact and the OHSU Knight Cancer Institute has put Oregon on the national map. Conquering complex diseases like cancer requires effective integration of laboratory science with big data analytics.”
Vice President and Robert and Leona DeArmond Executive Director, Phil and Penny Knight Campus for Accelerating Scientific Impact
"An ethos of diversity, equity and inclusion will guide everything done in the School of Computer and Data Sciences, from programs created to research undertaken to industry partnerships. Other schools of computer and data science also train people to have superpowers, but our school will train people to use those superpowers for good."
Lorry Lokey Chair and founding director of the UO’s data science initiative
“We are meeting the growing demand—by students, industries, and society—or data and computer sciences expertise, understanding and career preparation. This work continues the long history of breaking traditional barriers, working collaboratively, and carving new paths to accelerate impact and contributions.”
Acting Provost and Executive Vice President