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New leadership at the Centre for Translational Data Science

20 December 2017
Maths and engineering academics appointed as new co-directors.
Professor Sally Cripps and Associate Professor Fabio Ramos have been officially appointed as co-directors for the Centre for Translational Data Science.

They succeed founding director Professor Hugh Durrant-Whyte, who has accepted a three-year appointment overseas.

The Centre for Translational Data Science, launched in October last year, is a multidisciplinary initiative bringing together expertise from across the University to use big data and machine learning to solve real-world problems, such as crime prevention, youth unemployment, and advancing medical treatments.

Professor Sally Cripps and Associate Professor Fabio Ramos will work with the Centre’s Chief Operating Officer, Alexandra Gibson, to bring to life the nascent strategic plan for the Centre, which includes establishing a governance framework, developing a strategic plan and undertaking key research projects that facilitate discoveries in science, health and beyond.

Professor Cripps, from the School of Mathematics and Statistics, whose research expertise lies in Bayesian methodology, said that by the end of 2020, the Centre aims to have built a research group of around 150 staff and PhD students.

"The vision of CTDS is to drive an ambitious new data-driven approach to discovery and modelling of complex phenomena in physical, life and social sciences by forging truly multidisciplinary partnerships between leading domain experts and data scientists," Professor Cripps said.

Associate Professor Ramos, from the School of Information Technologies, said the Centre is also working closely with faculties and industries to deliver the next generation of machine learning methods to address the most challenging research questions in health, earth sciences, criminology and autonomous systems.   

"We are working to unleash the power of data and creating algorithms to make informative decisions under uncertainty," the machine learning and data mining expert said. 

Professor Laurent Rivory, Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Strategic Collaborations and Partnerships), who oversees the University’s multidisciplinary initiatives, said it’s an exciting time for data science research and teaching at the University.

"The Centre for Translational Data Science is one of a few research hubs worldwide that will develop new data-driven methodologies to deliver paradigm shifts for scientific discovery," Professor Rivory said.

"Data science and machine learning methods are bringing all areas of science to an exciting tipping point where fundamentally new approaches to discovery will become possible and where a new understanding of complex and integrative natural systems can be achieved. In turn, this will have a profound economic and societal impact in areas as diverse as minerals discovery, personal health and social policy."

"Our researchers are working with NSW Police to understand and predict domestic violence-related crime in Sydney. They’re using machine learning algorithms to develop a cognitive aid for people with dementia, and working with geoscientists to understand the evolution of our planet for the past two billion years."

"It’s an exciting time to be part of this burgeoning area that will be crucial to research and the way we live in the future."