University of Western Australia: UWA launches new Institute of Data

The University of Western Australia’s expertise in applied data science will be at the forefront at a new Institute of Data.

The Institute will provide a gateway for data-intensive industries and government agencies to access UWA’s rich expertise in applied data science to real-world problems and our understanding of ethical and socially acceptable use of data and automation.

Director of Institute of Data Professor Eun-Jung Holden, from UWA’s School of Earth Sciences, brings a wealth of experience in developing transformative and innovative data science applications for industry.

“Data has become a critical currency in modern society,” Professor Holden said. “Cheap accessible sensor technologies support expanding networks, which when combined with digital platforms such as the web, social media and internet-based commercial transactions, rapidly increase the volume of available data, which can then be transformed into ‘knowledge’ to enable a multitude of diverse applications.

“This transformation is driving innovations in all facets of life, thanks to the adoption of data science that encompasses statistical methodologies, machine learning and Artificial Intelligence to improve our ability to identify patterns and make predictions from data.

“Additionally, transparency and interpretability of data science solutions is critical to support decisions, especially those with significant social, financial and environmental implications.”

A UWA team from across 12 research areas will provide leadership covering the applications of data science in the resources, energy, health, biotechnology, bioinformatics, finance and transport sectors, informing the ethical use of data and data science, and the psychological impact of automation on human decisions.

UWA Vice-Chancellor Professor Amit Chakma said the new Institute would promote research engagement and industry-ready graduate training.

“It will offer industry training courses and dissemination of interdisciplinary research, and generate innovative outcomes,” Professor Chakma said.

“We need to develop our understanding of ethical and socially acceptable uses of data and automation, which are of paramount importance for industry and society more broadly.

“I am keen to establish a gateway for data-intensive industries, government agencies and the wider community to access UWA’s rich expertise in applied data science for real-world applications.”