Applying Data Science and AI Effectively


1:30 pm – 2:30 pm


eScience Institute WRF Data Science Studio
3910 15th Ave NE, Seattle, WA, 98195

Please join us for a special guest seminar on Monday, March 25th from 1:30 to 2:30 p.m. in the WRF Data Science Studio. The seminar will feature Dr. Alfred Spector, a Visiting Scholar at MIT and a Senior Advisor at Blackstone. The seminar will be offered in-person in the WRF Data Science Studio Seminar Room, 6th floor of the UW Physics/Astronomy Tower – campus map

“Applying Data Science and AI Effectively”

Abstract: Applying data science and artificial intelligence effectively requires a considerably broader focus than just data and machine learning. Based on the speaker and his co-authors’ recent book (Data Science in Context, Cambridge Univ. Press, 2022), this presentation distills these additional challenges into a rubric and illustrates its application with a multitude of examples from diverse domains. Beyond the rubric, the presentation also presents useful frameworks to help in making the complex trade-offs that are often inherent in AI and DS solutions. While the talk should have practical value to those applying AI and DS techniques, it also illustrates contemporary research challenges.

Bio: Dr. Alfred Spector is a Visiting Scholar at MIT and a Senior Advisor at Blackstone. His career has led him from innovation in large-scale, networked computing systems to broad engineering and research leadership. Recently, he co-authored a textbook, “Data Science in Context: Foundations, Challenges, Opportunities.”

Previously, Spector was CTO and Head of Engineering at Two Sigma Investments. Before that, he spent eight years as VP of Research and Special Initiatives at Google, and he held various senior-level positions at IBM, including as global VP of Services and Software Research and global CTO of IBM’s Software Business. Earlier in his career, he founded Transarc Corporation, a pioneer in distributed transaction processing and wide-area file systems, and he was a tenured professor at Carnegie Mellon University.

Spector is a Hertz Fellow and also a Fellow of both the ACM and the IEEE. He is a member of the National Academy of Engineering and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Dr. Spector won the 2001 IEEE Kanai Award for Distributed Computing and the 2016 ACM Software Systems Award. In 2018-19, Dr. Spector lectured widely as a Phi Beta Kappa Scholar (for example, on the growing importance of computer science across all disciplines based on the evocative phrase, “CS+X”). He has been a member of the ACM Turing Award Committee and has done national service through chairing the NSF’s CISE Advisory Board and membership on the Army and now the Defense Science Boards. He has had extensive international experience due to broad responsibilities at IBM, Google, and Two Sigma. Dr. Spector obtained a Ph.D. in computer science from Stanford and a B.A. in applied math from Harvard.