Princeton U’s new DataX pilot program to push limits of data science

Princeton University announced Monday it plans to “push the limits of data science by leveraging artificial intelligence and machine learning” through a pilot project.

The project, The Schmidt DataX Fund, was made possible by a major gift from Schmidt Futures.

“The Schmidt DataX Fund will accelerate Princeton researchers’ use of artificial intelligence and machine learning to explore questions at the frontiers of human knowledge. These techniques are transforming the scholarly landscape, and I expect their importance will grow rapidly in the years ahead,” Princeton University President Christopher L. Eisgruber said. “I am deeply grateful to Eric Schmidt ’76, his wife, Wendy Schmidt, and Schmidt Futures, whose generosity will enable Princeton faculty and students to pursue innovative applications of data science to urgent questions of science, engineering and public policy.”

The project will help advance the impact of data science on its campus, Princeton said, and support a range of campus-wide initiatives led by the Center for Statistics and Machine Learning, including:

  • Develop graduate-level courses in data science and machine learning;
  • Create mini-courses/workshops to train researchers in the latest software tools, cloud platforms and public data sets;
  • Innovation funds for new research projects for postdoctoral fellows, graduate or undergraduate students, and access to data sets and cloud resources.

“This is a time when visionary leaders who apply new computing technologies and work together across departments and fields can make a huge difference,” Schmidt said. “This new gift aims to build upon Princeton’s long record of research excellence by accelerating the application of the most modern computing, machine learning and artificial intelligence techniques to problems of greatest social and intellectual importance. DataX should multiply research outputs as well as produce many educated scientists and engineers.”

The funds will also support six Schmidt Data Scientists who will create and improve data-analysis software.