Tufts University proposes to launch the T-TRIPODS institute, which will focus an interdisciplinary effort across multiple departments and campuses to advance the understanding of foundations of data science. The project will support the first three years of the operation of the institute, and will support a culture of interdisciplinary research and learning in data sciences across multiple departments, fostering collaboration among mathematicians, computer scientists, and electrical engineers, as well as with scientists and scholars in a wide range of application domains. The model is built around overlapping three-year focused research topics, with an offset timeline, so that each year, the oldest research topic sunsets while a new research topic is added. For each focused research topic, the project will convene interdisciplinary teams of mathematicians, computer scientists, statisticians and electrical engineers to address timely questions and solve important problems on the frontiers of data science. Complementing and completing the research effort are teaching and curriculum development efforts for data science at the undergraduate, graduate and professional levels. Furthermore, the structure of T-TRIPODS will foster specific and deep connections with applications domain experts in several areas, leading to translational research. T-TRIPODS is strongly committed to Data Science for All, and will partner closely with the Tufts Center for STEM Diversity to broaden participation in undergraduate research opportunities in data science at Tufts.
T-TRIPODS will launch research Focus I (Graphs and Tensor Representations of Data) in the first year, which will be joined by Focus II (Collecting, Modeling, and Learning from Data with a Spatial or Temporal Dimension) in the second year, and Focus III (Data Guarantees: Analysis of Data with Assurances of Quality, Transparency, Fairness, Privacy and Trust) in year three, which brings the institute up to full capacity, with three research foci running simultaneously. All research foci will include cross-disciplinary training of graduate students; workshops that bring together experts and early career scientists from math, computer science and electrical engineering; training modules in application-specific concerns around ethical safeguards for data usage and analysis; and an Ideas Lab type activity to connect researchers from the core research topics to domain experts in four identified broad application areas: 1) Biological and biomedical data; 2) Education and cognitive science; 3) Smart Cities, Development, and Design; and 4) Computational Arts and Humanities (including Language and Music). T-TRIPODS will be integrated within Tufts' new Data Intensive Science Center (DISC), and will synergize with and enhance existing Tufts University degree programs in Data Science.