Data Science for Social Good and External Collaboration

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Future Leaders Summit

MIDAS organizes the annual Future Leaders Summit (previously known as the Data Science Consortium) to promote collaboration among data science institutes and to foster the careers of the future research leaders. Participants are PhD students and postdocs from universities with mature data science programs as well as those beginning to build such programs, from major research universities to minority serving institutions. More than half of all participants are women and underrepresented minorities. The theme of the 2022 Summit is “Responsible Data Science and AI.”

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Data Science Coast-to-Coast

MIDAS partnered with 6 peer academic data science institutes in 2021 to host the Data Science Coast to Coast (DS C2C) seminar series meant to foster a broad-reaching data science community. In the first half of 2021 five seminars were held, each featuring one faculty member and one postdoctoral research fellow from the partnering universities. DS C2C is the launching point for continued research discussion and fruitful future collaborations.

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Rocket Companies Michigan Data Science Fellow

MIDAS collaborates with a large number of companies each year for joint research and talent recruitment. This year, we launched the inaugural Rocket Companies Data Science Fellows position. The Fellow will work in an intellectually vibrant environment, and build collaboration with other Fellows, MIDAS faculty members, and the Rocket Companies data science team. The research focus area, jointly decided by MIDAS and the Rocket Companies, is ethical data science and AI, broadly defined, including considerations of fairness, diversity, explanations, and reproducibility.

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Enabling Digital Inclusion

MIDAS is the first academic partner in Microsoft’s digital inclusion initiative in metropolitan areas, including Detroit. The ultimate goal is to improve the quality of life and upward mobility through universal broadband internet access – particularly for underserved communities. Jing Liu, MIDAS managing director, leads a research team to support Detroit’s digital inclusion initiative, providing data analytics to pinpoint residents’ needs, track the initiative’s progress, and examine the long-term benefits of digital inclusion.

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Supporting Student Learning for Native American Tribal Nations

A team of U-M undergraduate data science student volunteers are developing a database and a website, at the request of three Native American Tribal Nations in Michigan. The Tribes’ goal is to modernize their methods of data storage, query and reporting. Their student data was scattered on Excel spreadsheets, older databases and on paper, with no easy way to sort the data, let alone analyze them to track students’ performance and career outcomes, and to assess the need for support. The students, supervised by Tayo Fabusuyi (MIDAS affiliated faculty member), work with the Tribal educational directors to build the database and to tailor its functionality to the specific needs of each tribe.

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Assessing Detroit Police Athletic League’s Youth Programs

The Detroit Police Athletic League (PAL) has been offering athletic programs since 1969 to school-age children from low-income, under-served families. MIDAS affiliated faculty member, Brady West, leads a team to analyze PAL survey data to assess the impact of its programs on participants and their families, and how these programs improve the relationship between the police force and the community. The project is funded through a generous donation from Mark and Elieen Petroff.

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