Data Scientist

Data scientists teach computers to make insights about the world—some that humans can make easily, like telling your best friend’s face apart from your mother’s, and some, like whether you’re likely to get sick or make a new friend, that humans might otherwise miss. Alex Paul (Sandy) Pentland and his colleagues have taught computers to recognize faces and to predict the outcomes of face-to-face interactions, from speed-dating to business negotiations, with remarkable accuracy.

Applied Mathematician Chad Topaz uses data to analyze the movements of animals that move in large groups and to promote social justice. Among the data that he and his colleagues at the Institute for the Quantitative Study of Inclusion, Diversity and Equity (a nonprofit the mathematician co-founded with his husband, Jude Higdon) gather are numbers measuring the diversity of artists whose work is displayed in major museum collections and the success of a pandemic-era release of inmates at New York City’s River’s Island.