2022-23 “End of Year” Message from eScience Director Andy Connolly

We are ending another academic year at the eScience Institute, and we are celebrating themes that have been central to our mission for many years. In September 2022, we held the first “Learning and Doing Data for Good” conference, where researchers and participants from around the country came together to discuss how data can help guide the decision-making for nonprofits and government organizations. 

We launched our Scientific Software Engineering Center (SSEC), which brings software engineering expertise from the tech industry back into academia to utilize professional software engineering methodologies to make software more robust and accelerate our research. SSEC is led by Head of Engineering Vani Mandava, and has grown remarkably over the last few months; this year we welcomed Don Setiawan, Carlos Garcia Jurado Suarez, Cordero Core, Aniket Fadia, Anshul Tambay, and Nick Rich to the SSEC team, along with Senior Social Scientist Anissa Tanweer as the sociotechnical expert. Adding professional software engineering to eScience has caused us to consider how much research and society depend on reliable and trustworthy software. Most researchers aren’t taught how to develop readable, resilient, and robust software, and so we need to change our models for teaching software development at the university level to people without computer science backgrounds. This is the subject of an article co-authored by eScience members in the Harvard Data Science Review.

We hosted another “Discovering AI@UW” event that brought together researchers interested in applying AI to their work and developing AI methodologies. Over 60 researchers explained their science and engineering problems, as well as new approaches to AI. A number of new collaborations emerged from this event we will highlight over the coming year.

I want to give particular thanks to eScience Communications Specialist Louisa Gaylord, who led the development and launch of our new website this year. This is the result of many months of work, and the new website is simpler to navigate and better highlights the people and programs that make eScience such a unique place. I look forward to welcoming you back in Fall 2023 to share new events, incubators, AI initiatives, and other programs that keep eScience on the cutting edge of data science at UW.