020619 Update


A bi-monthly newsletter with updates on data and computing news and events for UW-Madison researchers.

In the Feb. 6, 2019 update:

  • Keeping the Lights on: Modeling 100% Renewable Electricity
  • Upcoming Campus Events
  • Upcoming Trainings and Workshops
  • Campus Opportunities and Groups
  • External Opportunities

Are you…

  • unsure which campus data and computing resources you need for your research?
  • interested in making connections and starting new collaborations with data scientists and other researchers on campus?
  • looking for training in data and computing skills?

The Data Science Hub can help! Send an email to the Data Science facilitator (facilitator@datascience.wisc.edu) or come by Hub Central in the Discovery Building during office hours (W 9:30-11:30, Th 3:00-5:00pm). Tomorrow’s office hours will feature representatives from across campus! Stop by to ask the experts your research computing and data science questions. Check calendar for latest details and updates.

Keeping the Lights on: Modeling 100% Renewable Electricity

February 21 at 4 p.m. in Discovery Building

UW expert Michael Ferris shares lessons learned from modeling sustainable energy solutions in New Zealand. Learn how Ferris and his team use models to compare several ‘100% renewable’ investment scenarios, and how they consider performance in terms of investment and fuel costs, emissions, electricity prices and lost load.

Seminar will be followed by an informal networking reception.  For more info and to register go click here.

Upcoming Campus Events (Calendar View)

Special Event: Enabling Public-Private Collaboration with Semi-Synthetic Datasets by Bill Howe

On Thursday, February 7, Dr. Bill Howe will be giving the Weston Roundtable Lecture at 4:15 pm in
1163 Mechanical Engineering
. His talk is entitled, Beyond Open vs. Closed: Enabling Public-Private Collaboration with Semi-Synthetic Datasets. His team is developing an integrated legal-technical data collaborative designed to balance competing interests between the public and proprietary.  These datasets are intended to be shared with academic and private collaborators to experiment with advanced analytics without incurring significant legal risk, and to focus attention on pressing problems in housing, education, and mobility.

There is a special opportunity for graduate students to meet with Dr. Howe at 9:30 am on the same day in the Orchard View Room in the Discovery Building. Interested students should contact Whitney Sweeney (wasweeney@wisc.edu) to let her know that they would like to attend. A light breakfast will be provided.


Center for Demography of Health and Aging (CDHA) Training Seminar2:00pm-3:15pm, 8417 Sewell Social Science Building
Feb 6, The Academic Job Market: What Do Hiring Committees Look For? Jason Fletcher and Christine Schwartz
Feb 13, Job Market Tips for International Students, Chaeyoon Lim and Alberto Palloni
Feb 20, Research Ethics Case Studies, Michal Engelman (sociology)

Computer Science Events:
Feb 6, 12:00pm-1:00pm, 2310 Computer Sciences, Performance Predictability for Flash-Based Storage, Bryan Kim (Seoul National University)
Feb 6, 4:00pm-5:00pm, 1240 Computer Sciences, Distinguished Lecture: Legion: Programming Heterogeneous Distributed Parallel Machines, Alex Aiken, Stanford University
Feb 7, 4:00pm-5:00 pm, 1240 Computer Sciences, Colloquium: Learning from Natural Language Supervision
Feb 8, 11:00am-12:00pm, 4310 Computer Sciences, Theory Seminar: An End-to-End Argument in Mechanism Design, Prior-independent Auctions for Budgeted Agents
Feb 11, 4:00pm-5:00pm, 1240 Computer Sciences, Colloquium: Protecting Privacy by Splitting Trust
Feb 12, 4:00pm-5:00pm, 1240 Computer Sciences, Colloquium: Towards Generalization and Efficiency in Reinforcement Learning
Feb 18, 4:00pm-5:00pm, 1240 Computer Sciences, Colloquium: Towards Literate Artificial Intelligence
Feb 19, 4:00pm-5:00pm, 1240 Computer Sciences, Colloquium: Data Efficient Reinforcement Learning for Autonomous Robots with Simulated Off-Policy Data

Statistics Seminar4:00pm, 133 Service Memorial Institute (SMI)
Feb 6, Statistical Inference for Cataloging the Visible Universe, Jeffrey Carroll Regier University of California, Berkeley
Feb 8,  Asymptotically Optimal Multiple Testing with Streaming Data, IYanglei Song Department of Statistics University of Illinois Champaign-Urbana
Feb 11, Data Denoising for Single-Cell RNA Sequencing, Jingshu Wang Stanford University

Systems, Information, Learning, and Optimization (SILO) Seminar12:30pm, Orchard View Room, Discovery Building
Feb 6,  Entity Matching Meets Data Science: A Progress Report from the Magellan Project, AnHai Doan
Feb 13, Large sample asymptotics of spectra of Laplacians and semilinear elliptic PDEs on random geometric graphs, Nicolas Garcia Trillos
Feb 20, Safety and Robustness Guarantees with Learning in the Loop, Nikolai Matni

AI@UW: 6:30pm, 1240 Computer Sciences Building
Feb 7, Kickoff Meeting, please RSVP.
Feb 20, Dr. Matthew Banks, Talk on how the brain might update’s its representations of the world using predictive coding algorithms. Snacks will be provided!

Applied and Computational Mathematics Seminar (ACMS): 2:25pm, 901 Van Vleck Hall
Feb 8, Fluid Models with Sharp Interfaces – Clouds and Plumes, Chung-Nan Tzou
Feb 15, A model of online latent state learning, Amy Cochran

Biostatistics & Medical Informatics (BMI) Seminar: 12:00pm, Biotechnology Center Auditorium
Feb 8, Estimation of Complex Effect-Size Distributions Using Summary-level Statistics from GWAS,  Yan (Dora) Zhang,  Johns Hopkins University

Computation and Informatics in Biology and Medicine (CIBM) Seminar4:00pm, 1360 Biotechnology Center
Feb. 12, Title TBA, Jane Tang (Auditorium)
Feb. 19,  Three-way Clustering of Muti-Tissue Multi-Individual Gene Expression Data Using Tensor Decomposition, Miaoyan Wang (Auditorium)

The Wisconsin Association for Computing Machinery – Women in Computing, Feb 20, 12:15pm-1:15pm, Computer Sciences 2310

Upcoming Trainings and Workshops

Library Research Data Management Micro-courses

UW-Madison Libraries have put together micro-courses to help researchers getting started managing their data.  Find them all here on the library mini-course webpage. Courses are available for anyone to take and include:

  • Introduction to Research Data Management – This micro-course covers the reasons to invest time and effort into good data management and then introduces best practices that you can start building into your research process immediately.
  • Responsible Data Planning, Use, and Sharing – This micro-course provides an introduction to the current landscape of policies and regulations regarding data that informs working responsibly with research data, and then discusses developing plans for data management and data sharing.
  • Research Data Management Life Cycle – an interactive tool to explore the stages of the research data management life cycle. Users can explore the 10 stages of the data life cycle and learn about the process of each stage. (Note: this tool is also a part of the Introduction to Research Data Management micro-course mentioned above).

R workshops for Researchers

UW-Madison libraries are offering R programming Workshops on R programming for researchers. The intended audience is anyone at the university who is working with tabular research data (including graduate students, faculty, research staff, and undergraduate researchers) and would like to learn how to automate data processing using the R programming language. Find out more and register for sessions on the workshop website.

Campus Opportunities and Groups

Statistical Phylogenetics

The Institute for Foundations in Data Science (IFDS) has a new reading group in Statistical Phylogenetics that meets on Fridays from 10:00am-11:00am in 158 Birge. The first meeting will be Friday, Feb 8 and the group will discuss:
Zamani et al. (2013 BMC Genomics) Unsupervised genome-wide recognition of local relationship patterns https://doi.org/10.1186/1471-2164-14-347

researchERS (Emerging Research Scholars) Program

Free program for UW-Madison undergraduate students featuring a series of evening meetings (food provided) and field trips related to current practices for managing the data used in research projects or lab research in any discipline.  Find more information and the schedule on the program webpage.

Digital Scholarship & Publishing Office Hours

Do you have a publication or copyright question? Do you have questions about a digital humanities tool you’ve seen or about a new project and want to start with good data management? If so, consider dropping by the weekly Digital Scholarship & Publishing Office Hours, Thursdays, 11:30 am – 1:30 pm!  Location alternates between Memorial Library and Steenbock, check the website for the latest information and location. Experts can provide assistance with (but not limited to!) the following:

  • Publishing methods, platforms
  • Copyright, author’s rights, fair use
  • Digital humanities projects
  • Selecting or applying tools, platforms
  • Developing and planning digital projects
  • Data management and sharing

Computational Biology, Ecology, and Evolution (ComBEE)

ComBEE is a group of researchers at UW-Madison interested in computational biology in ecology and evolution. ComBEE offers R, Python, and Julia study groups throughout the semester.  Checkout their website and sign up for their email lists for more information.

Molecular Dynamics Group
Molecular dynamics (MD) simulations can provide a computational microscope for looking at molecular events. However, the art of setting up, running, and interpreting a simulation is challenging. To help, campus MD users and potential users are getting together to share experiences, tools, and codes. Importantly, the group will also discuss best practices, appropriate/inappropriate uses, and how best to use local computer resources. Contact Spencer Ericksen (ssericksen@wisc.edu) if you are interested in joining the group.

Research Systems Administrators Group (RSAG)
This ACI-sponsored group meets on the third Wednesdays of every month and allows systems administrators of research systems to share expertise. Join the email list by sending an email message to join-rsag@lists.wisc.edu for updates and future meetings.

External Opportunities


The National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center (SESYNC) invites applications to a short course on data and coding skills for socio-environmental synthesis. The 6th annual Summer Institute will be held July 23 (optionally 22) through 26 at SESYNC in Annapolis, Maryland. The short course will combine lectures, hands-on computer labs, and project consultation designed to accelerate the adoption of cyber resources for all phases of data-driven research and dissemination.  Apply on the program website by April 19, 2019

City of Madison Data Analyst Position

A full time Data Analyst position at the City of Madison in the Finance Department. The Data Analyst will be a part of the newly formed Analytics team in the Budget and Program Evaluation section of the Finance Department. Closes February 8th, 2019.

Summer Internships at RStudio

The goal of this program is to enable RStudio employees to collaborate with students to do work that will help both RStudio users and the broader R community, and help ensure that the community of R developers is as diverse as its community of users. Over the course of the internship, you will work with experienced data scientists, software developers, and educators to create and share new tools and ideas. The internship pays approximately $12,000 USD (paid hourly), lasts up to 10-12 weeks, and will start around June 1 (depending on your availability, applications are open now, and close at the end of February. To qualify, you must currently be a student and have some experience writing code in R and using Git and GitHub.

Summer Institute in Computational Social Science

The 2019 Summer Institute in Computational Social Science will be June 16 – 29 at Princeton University. The purpose of the Summer Institute is to bring together graduate students, postdoctoral researchers, and beginning faculty interested in computational social science. The Summer Institute is for both social scientists (broadly conceived) and data scientists (broadly conceived). The co-organizers and principal faculty of the Summer Institute are Christopher Bail and Matthew Salganik. Dr. Salganik is the author of Bit by Bit: Social Research in the Digital Age. You can learn more on their website or their twitter feedApplications are due February 20, 2019.