Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory Offers Internships at DSSI


The Data Science Summer Institute (DSSI) is a flexible internship program that runs for 12 weeks during the summer. During these 12 weeks, students will be paired with mentors working in the Data Science fields. Students will also be supported by DSSI to enhance their skills by attending short courses and seminars on topics relevant to data science, and gain hands-on experience through collaborative work on other data science problems relating to national importance. DSSI is open to both advanced undergraduate and graduate students who are pursuing a degree in a field related to the Data Sciences (machine learning, statistics, applied mathematics, computer science, etc).

The two Summer 2019 sessions will be held from May 20, 2019 – Aug. 9, 2019 and June 17, 2019 –  Sept. 6, 2019.

Chief Data Science Officer Ilkay Altintas Named as HDSI Fellow

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SDSC Chief Data Science Officer Ilkay Altintas Named an HDSI Fellow

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San Diego Supercomputer Center’s Chief Data Science Officer Ilkay Altintas has been named a Fellow of the Halıcıoğlu Data Science Institute (HDSI) at the University of California San Diego for her role in the stewardship of HDSI cyberinfrastructure (CI) resources and services, effective with the fall 2018 term.

Altintas will be working with UC San Diego faculty, industry partners, and students at all levels in her leadership role at HDSI.

In addition to her CDSO responsibilities at SDSC, an Organized Research Unit of UC San Diego, Altintas is an associate research scientist and director of the Workflows for Data Science (WoRDS) Center of Excellence at SDSC. WoRDS specializes in developing scientific workflows and solution architectures used throughout data and computational science.

“I congratulate Dr. Altintas on this key appointment to the Halıcıoğlu Data Science Institute,” said SDSC Director Michael Norman. “She was our very first ‘Pi Person of the Year,’ named after the π symbol. This award recognizes researchers who as collaborators and innovators in applied research and development have one ‘leg’ in a science domain and the other in cyberinfrastructure technologies. Altintas makes sure scientists across a wide variety of domains can focus their resources on their research rather than computational issues.”

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Halıcıoğlu Data Science Institute Fellows are extraordinary researchers who bring significant research and educational activities in core data science areas to the institute, said Rajesh Gupta, institute co-founder and director. HDSI Fellows have a demonstrated record of taking on critical organizational roles within the institute and are among the most active participants. The program works to recognize and enable select academic leaders to take on far-reaching projects or operational activities critical to building the institute.

“Bringing such an illustrious researcher such as Ilkay Altintas to the Institute will have a strong impact on guiding our foundational programs,” said Gupta in announcing her two-year appointment. “Her research is strongly relevant to the emerging domain of data sciences.”

Gupta noted that since data science topics have started to capture the attention of mainstream computer scientists and statisticians as well, Altintas’ work has found interest among peer communities including those involved in databases, data mining, and Knowledge Discovery in Data (KDD).

“I am honored to be selected as one of the inaugural HDSI Fellows,” said Altintas. “Stewardship of CI resources for HDSI involves working with multiple organizations on campus and elsewhere to enable utilization of computing and data services for education and research at HDSI. I look forward to collaborating with all stakeholders to make it possible. This fellowship also comes at a time of significant investments by SDSC for the Data Science Hub in partnership with HDSI.”

Altintas is also Principal Investigator for WIFIRE, a National Science Foundation-funded project at UC San Diego that provides real-time and data-driven simulations and predictions of wildfires. WIFIRE has been used extensively by both researchers and first-responders to track myriad wildfires in northern and southern California.

On the education side, Altintas is a lecturer in UC San Diego’s Department of Computer Science and Engineering (CSE), and co-director of the MAS program in Data Science and Engineering, where she is teaches several courses. She has also been a popular MOOC (Massive Open Online Courses) instructor in the field of ‘big data’ science, and reached out to hundreds of thousands of learners across any populated continent. As a CSE lecturer, Altintas has taught CSE 15L, a lower division course on software tools and techniques since 2013.

“This is a large course taken by CSE majors as well as many non-majors,” noted Gupta, a UC San Diego Distinguished Professor and Qualcomm Endowed Chair in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering. “Dr. Altintas’ reception as an instructor has been extremely positive, and has been recommended by more than 96 percent of polled students. She is an excellent role model for diverse talent in computer and data sciences.”

Altintas earned her Ph.D. in Computational Sciences from University of Amsterdam in 2011. She joined SDSC in 2001 as a programmer analyst.

Keeping it Simple Wins Hacking Prize for Undergraduate Pair

They were after the prize, and maybe a little bit of glory. But mostly, UC San Diego junior Luyanda Mdanda thought of his native Africa, and classmate Hannah Peterson pictured her grandfather back home in Oregon. Those were the lives they wanted to help, when they entered and then won against some formidable teams in the annual UC Health Hack.

And so Peterson, a Data Science major, and Mdanda, a Cognitive Science major enrolled in many data science classes, took their big idea on how to help people get access to healthcare faster and more economically. They won the annual healthcare hackathon contest with their elegantly simple phone app designed to work with any mobile phone or device. Learn more.


How to build and manage better computer databases was the subject of a gathering of more than 100 industry leaders, students and researchers in the field, sponsored by Halıcıoğlu Data Science Institute and six major technology companies.

The day-long SoCal DB Day 18 symposium was held Oct. 19 at San Diego Supercomputer Center, featuring representatives from sponsoring companies: Amazon, Couchbase, Google, Microsoft, Oracle and Teradata. In addition to UC San Diego, five universities also participated: UC Irvine, UCLA, UC-Riverside, UC Santa Barbara and University of Southern California. Nearly half the crowd was composed of students, and the majority of them presented project posters during the event.

Amazon Web Services hosted an after-event party. Lead organizer Arun Kumar, Assistant Professor in Computer Science and Engineering, created the event to foster connections and feedback within the community of database users and developers, and to discuss leading-edge advances in both the software industry and in academic research. Kumar said after this successful inaugural event, they plan hold the symposium annually rotating hosting duties between the six participating universities.

HDSI Distinguished Lecture by Scott Chacon, GitHub cofounder

The keys to success, advises entrepreneur Scott Chacon, are passion and failure. Chacon spoke to hundreds of data science students and the campus community on Oct. 11 as part of the Institute’s Distinguished Lecturer Series. More than 800 students and university community members attended and tuned in to the livestream to hear Chacon talk about the importance of his roots starting as a theater major at UC San Diego was following his passion and getting out of his comfort zone, he said, “You learn to put yourself out there and fail miserably, and you learn to keep going.” Chacon cofounded the tech company GitHub and with 3 other founders and grew it to 450 employees in less than 10 years, eventually being acquired by Microsoft for $7.5 billion. His newest passion project is Chatterbug, an online language learning school he cofounded that connects students to native-speaking tutors. See the full HDSI Distinguished Lecture:

Chacon, Class of ‘02, cofounded the web-based development platform GitHub that boasts 28 million users and is now the largest host of source code in the world. He is also the author of Pro Git, published by Apress and found online at


HDSI founding faculty member Dr. Lucila Ohno-Machado has been elected to the National Academy of Medicine, considered one of the highest honors in the fields of health and medicine.

Dr. Ohno-Machado is chair of the Department of Biomedical Informatics at UC San Diego Health, and professor of medicine and associate dean for informatics and technology at the School of Medicine. Learn more.


From Health to Fish to Clean Water – Public Events Spotlighting Data Science

A new series of public events has been organized by the Halıcıoğlu Data Science Institute bringing leading-edge research into classrooms, research labs, industry and the community. Topics will range from improving human health to fish, and how applying more effective data techniques aids ocean ecology. The cross-discipline topics demonstrate the wide diversity of subjects benefitting from data science technology advances.

Conferences and symposiums include:

Human Health at Stake: Sensitive Data Access Workshop

Oct. 16-17, 2018: The Institute-sponsored workshop aims to build an effective means of providing health researchers access to vital research data, while also protecting sensitive and legally restricted medical information.

The invitation-only conference will gather experts from four leading research institutions on the UC San Diego campus. The objective is to create a workable pilot project for protected human research data access across the institutions of UCSD, UC San Francisco, University of Virginia and Yale University.

Clean Water Matters: CA Water Data Challenge Summit

Oct. 18, 2018: Data science played the central role in Gov. Brown’s efforts to improve access to enough clean water for Californians. This daylong event will be a culmination of the work of scores of people, business and organizations for a vital common cause.

Annually, up to 1 million Californians lack access to clean, safe drinking water. The Challenge teams and individuals worked on developing resources and tools to improve that access. The Summit and Awards Ceremony will be held both online through live streaming, as well as in person in Los Angeles.

Deep into data management: SoCalDB Daylong Workshop

Oct. 19, 2018: SoCalDB Day is a one-day workshop-style event for data management researchers and practitioners from academia and industry in Southern California to share research results and experiences on the UC San Diego campus.

This is first-ever edition of SoCalDB Day is modeled after successful events in other regions. It will bring together attendees from five UC campuses and University of Southern California, and leading industry experts including from Amazon, Oracle and Teradata. Among the topics: Autonomous “self driving” databases; sensor networks; bridging the gap from academic research to successful startups; and utilizing machine learning to improve database performance.

Ocean ecosystems: Symposium on Next Generation Emperical Dynamic Tools for Understanding and Predicting Fisheries and Ecosystems

Nov. 13-16, 2018: This three-day workshop will focus on managing data to build more accurate models to predict impacts on fisheries and ocean ecology. It is aimed to provide next generation tools to marine fisheries science, and is open to anyone interested in seeing how this data-management system can be used for better understanding mechanisms, for prediction, and for decision support.

The San Diego-based workshop is sponsored by Halıcıoğlu Data Science Institute and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)-Southwest Fisheries. The workshop will be led by George Sugihara of Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego, and Stephan Munch of NOAA Southwest Fisheries.

Data across disciplines: 7th International Symposium on Data Assimilation (ISDA 2019)

Jan. 21–24, 2019: This event in Kobe, Japan, will focus on the cross-cutting issues shared in broad applications of data assimilation in disciplines from geoscience to physical and biological sciences.

The symposium aims to enhance discussions among researchers from cross-disciplinary backgrounds. Examples under discussion include: non-Gaussian and nonlinear data assimilation problems; Big Data Assimilation (BDA); high-performance computation (HPC); Uncertainty Quantification (UQ); advanced intelligence (AI) and machine learning; multi-scale and multi-component treatments; observational issues; and mathematical problems.

Data science in theory and action: Information Theory and Applications Workshop

Feb. 10-15, 2019: A workshop gathering researchers applying theory to diverse areas in science and engineering, with a data science component.

It is set for the Catamaran Resort near the UC San Diego campus. Deadlines are in January 2019 to submit academic papers, abstracts and posters.


Save the date August 2020: San Diego has been selected as the venue for the Association of Computing Machinery’s 2020 Knowledge Discovery and Data Mining Conference (KDD), one of the premier global meetings on artificial intelligence, machine learning and data science.

Rajesh Gupta, director of the Halıcıoğlu Data Science Institute at UC San Diego, will serve as general co-chair for the international meeting along with Yan Liu, director of the University of Southern California Machine Learning Center. The annual KDD conference gathers thousands of leading researchers and practitioners from both academia and industry.

Learn more at the Halıcıoğlu Data Science Institute Events website.

Learn more.