*Note: These events are being recorded by audio, video, and photographic means. By attending, you grant the University of Virginia the right to use your voice/likeness in any depiction of these events. 

Data Science for the Public Good Forum

Save the Date


The Biocomplexity Institute is launching the Data Science for the Public Good Forum!

The DSPG Forum is comprised of a Distinguished Speaker Series and Annual Symposium. These events bring together key public and private stakeholders to discuss how “doing data science” can support evidence-based policymaking and innovation to enhance the quality of life where we all live, learn, work, and play.

Learn more about each program and register for the events on our DSPG Forum page.


Past Events

Young scholar with microphoneData Science for the Public Good Annual Symposium 2020
August 7, 2020

This year's Symposium featured keynote speaker Kenneth Prewitt, Carnegie Professor of Public Affairs at Columbia University and Special Advisor to the President, and students from DSPG Young Scholars programs across three states (Oregon, Iowa, and Virginia) and Istanbul, Turkey, who presented their research findings during a thought-provoking poster session.

Keynote Speaker Video | Poster Sessions



Mark HansenDistinguished Speaker Series: Mark Hansen
June 4, 2020
Fascinating Revelations

Mark Hansen is a David and Helen Gurley Brown Professor of Journalism and Innovation and the Director at the David and Helen Gurley Brown Institute of Media Innovation at Columbia University. For the last eight years, Hansen has been training journalists to report “on” as well as “with” data, code and algorithms. He shared his experiences and what “computational journalism” meant for the practice of data science. Click here to view a recording of this event.



Capitol buildingSeminar Speaker: Behnaz Moradi 
February 7, 2020
Detecting Communities and Performing Statistical Inferences on Networks through Renewal Non-backtracking Random Walks

In this dissertation, Behnaz Moradi, postdoctoral associate researcher at the School of Data Science, develops the renewal non-backtracking random walk (RNBRW), a variant of random walk in which the walk is prohibited from returning back to a node in exactly two steps and terminates and restarts once it completes a loop, as a way of quantifying this cyclic structure. Specifically, she proposes using the retracing probability of an edge, the likelihood that the edge completes a cycle in RNBRW, as a way of quantifying cyclic structure. 


danah boyd headshotDistinguished Speaker Series: danah boyd
January 21, 2020
Data: Its Vulnerabilities and Legitimacy

danah boyd is a partner researcher at Microsoft Research, the founder and president of Data & Society, and a visiting professor at New York University. Weaving together her work on media manipulation, search engine "data voids," and efforts to protect the 2020 U.S. Census, danah helped the audience think about the social and technical challenges that our data-centric world introduces.


Julia logoIntroduction to the Julia Language
January 16, 2020

We showcased some of the great features Julia offers, key projects in the ecosystem, its community, and how to apply it to various applications. This session gave brief presentations on how to use Julia for reproducible research, regular expressions, REST/GraphQL API, I/O, tabular data, databases, and regression analysis.



A headshot of Sallie KellerDatapalooza 2019 with Keynote Speaker Sallie Keller 
November 1, 2019
Doing Data Science in Service of the Public Good

Dr. Keller is Director of the Social and Decision Analytics Division within the Biocomplexity Institute and Initiative at University of Virginia and a Professor of Public Health Sciences. She spoke at the fifth anniversary of Datapalooza, an event hosted by UVA's Data Science Institute. To watch her keynote speech at Datapalooza, click here and fast forward to 5:05.

Download Slides


A photo of Dr. Saikou DialloColloquium: Saikou Diallo
September 23, 2019
We're Are All in It Together: Training the Next Generation of Model Thinkers

In this talk, Dr. Saikou Diallo discusses transdisciplinarity, inclusion, and social awareness as three pillars that we can build on to stay relevant in a world where technological change is outpacing our ability to manage and predict its impact on key aspects of life and society. He presented tools, models and practical examples to illustrate the importance of each pillar and provide a basis for what we hope is a strong debate within the scientific community.


A photo of Katharine AbrahamDistinguished Speaker Series: Katharine Abraham
September 17, 2019
Informing Decisions while Protecting Privacy: The Future of the Federal Statistical System

Katharine Abraham is the Director of the Maryland Center for Economics and Policy, and a professor of Survey Methodology and Economics at the University of Maryland. In her talk, Dr. Abraham spoke of different ways to address the challenges currently facing the Federal statistical system, including: the use of naturally-occurring "big data", new models, and strengthened partnerships with academia and businesses. 

Download Slides


A photo of Ian DavidsonColloquium: Ian Davidson
September 13, 2019
Towards Explainable Clustering (X-Clustering)

Ian Davidson is a Professor of Computer Science at the University of California Davis. This talk was based on joint research with colleagues and students from the Biocomplexity Institute and Initiative of the University of Virginia, University of California Davis, Google Research, University de Lyon (France), and University de Orleans (France).


A photo of Ron JarminAnnual Symposium Keynote Speaker: Ron Jarmin
August 9, 2019

This year's Symposium featured keynote speaker Ron Jarmin, deputy director and chief operating officer of the U.S. Census Bureau. He spoke about the 2020 Census and it's continual evolvement to better suit the needs of our country. The Data Science for the Public Good Annual Symposium is a showcase for researchers across the country, including the Institute's DSPG Young Scholars.



Phil BourneAnnual Symposium Keynote Speaker: Phil Bourne
August 9, 2019
What Does Responsible Data Science Mean?

This year's Symposium also featured keynote speaker Phil Bourne, director of the University of Virginia’s Data Science Institute and acting dean of the School of Data Science. This talk invited the audience to think about what we can learn about responsibility from genomics as we perform data science for the public good, and how openness, reproducibility, etc. can lead to responsible data science across all domains.


A C4GC GraphicComputing for Global Challenges Symposium
July 29, 2019

The symposium showcased the Network Systems Science and Advanced Computing division's summer students and their research projects. Student projects covered a range of topics, including bacterial quorum sensing, RNA sequence analysis, flu forecasting, transportation modeling, and disaster resilience, among others. 

News Article | Project Videos


Martin OMalley HeadshotDistinguished Speaker Series: Martin O'Malley
June 14, 2019
Smarter Government: The Data, the Map, and the Method.

The former Governor of Maryland, Martin O'Malley, kicked off the Data Science for the Public Good Distinguished Speaker Series with his talk, Smart Government: The Data, the Map, and the Method, emphasizing the need for more evidence-based policy making.

News ArticleDownload Slides