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Applying Data Science for Good

Photographs of Newsha Ajami, Denice Ross, Andrea Gaaliano, Nadia Fawaz, Sherrie Wang, and Maria Gargiulo. With WiDS branded illustrations

​The pandemic has changed the way that people think about their lives, and their work. A recent survey conducted by Gartner suggests that instead of using the term ‘great resignation’, organizations need to think about the ‘great reflection’, as employees are seeking more purpose in their work.

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A Beginner’s Tutorial for the WiDS Datathon 2022 challenge

two methodologies that you might consider when deciding how to develop a model.

Climate change is one of the critical challenges facing humanity today. Over the past few years, there have been widespread climate-driven disruptive events such as floods and wildfires. The devastation caused by these events has resulted in an awareness of the urgency of the issue. Indeed, people and governments have started working together in the direction of climate-focused coordinated action. At WiDS, we believe that it will be important for future data scientists to gain familiarity with mathematical and statistical models used to model climate data. For this reason, the focus of the WiDS Datathon this year is a climate-focused challenge: prediction of building energy consumption.

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Women Using Data Science to Build a More Sustainable World

Photographs of Ma Xin, Sherrie Wang, Lesly Goh, Nida Rizwan Farid, Rosalind Archer, and Newsha Ajami. With WiDS branded illustrations in the background.

Data science is a crucial tool to quantify, predict and communicate about the impact of climate change. For example, a recent study used machine learning to analyze over 100,000 weather events that could be linked to global warming and discovered that 80 percent of the earth’s land has been adversely impacted and at least 85 percent of the world’s population has been affected by extreme weather events caused by climate change.

The Women in Data Science (WiDS) Conference and podcast series has been showcasing leading women data science experts who are using data science to help us understand the impact and potential solutions to combat climate change. Our WiDS Datathon 2022 dataset will also be focused on the impacts of climate change.

Here are some recent podcasts, panels, and talks from our WiDS conferences that address sustainability.

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Responsible Data Science

Photographs of Amanda Obidike, Andrea Martin, Danielle Jiang, Kristian Lum, Mary Gray, Zhamak Dehghan, and Emily Miller. With WiDS branded illustrations in the background

Data science is being applied in a growing number of domains that affect everyone’s lives, in healthcare, financial services, agriculture, resource management, and beyond. While data science has huge potential for good, there are also unintended consequences. Data scientists need to take steps to mitigate as many unintended consequences as they can using Responsible Data Science — a set of policies, procedures, and best practices to ensure algorithmic fairness, transparency, and explainability.

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Collaborators Who Met During 2021 Datathon Win Excellence in Research Award

Photographs side by side of Maya Tadmor-Saghiv and Pavel Vodolazov

Maya Tadmor-Saghiv and Pavel Vodolazov teamed up to win third place in the 2021 WiDS Datathon and first place for the WiDS Datathon Excellence in Research Award for their paper on practices for handling missing data in ICU predictive modeling. They met during the datathon when they decided to join forces and then went on to collaborate on the prize-winning paper: Bridge Over Troubled Data – Practices for Handling Missing Data in Intensive Care Unit Predictive Modeling.

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Recent Stanford Grad Bianca Yu Discusses How Role Models Help Young Women Imagine Their Own Futures

Photograph of Bianca Yu

Bianca Yu, a recent Stanford graduate, talks about the importance of strong women role models in STEM and data science to help young women believe in what they can achieve. Before returning to Stanford to pursue her Master’s degree in Bioengineering, Bianca is helping educate younger women about data science through the WiDS Education Outreach Program.

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Data Science Evangelist Parul Pandey Describes How the WiDS Datathon Encourages Collaboration Between and Across Teams

Parul Pandey, a data science evangelist at and 6th place winner in the WiDS Datathon 2020, says the design of the WiDS datathon encourages learning and collaboration between the women competitors. She says this type of collaboration is crucial to help more women get into and succeed in the field of data science.

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Using Data Science to Study Effects of Air Pollution on Severity of COVID-19 Cases

Photograph of Rachel Nethery

With the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, Francesca Dominici and Rachel Nethery of Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health saw a way to connect the research they were doing on air pollution and health with the pandemic. On a recent episode of the WiDS Podcast, they discuss how they are studying the effects of air pollution exposure on different causes of hospitalization to see if pollution could increase a person’s vulnerability to COVID-19. While the research is at a preliminary stage, there is a lot of information that points towards the possibility that long-term exposure to air pollution could increase the mortality risk for COVID-19.

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The Importance of Data Integrity in COVID-19 Clinical Trials with Manisha Desai

Photograph of Manisha Desai

Manisha Desai is a professor of medicine (research) and of biomedical data science, and director of the Quantitative Sciences Unit at Stanford University. She is an expert in the design and analysis of clinical trials and epidemiologic studies across multiple diseases, including COVID-19. In a recent episode of the WiDS Podcast, she provides some insights into the challenges and progress of COVID-19 clinical trials.

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Improving Urban Water Systems Through Data Science, Public Policy and Engineering with Newsha Ajami

Illustration of Newsha Ajami on a background with WiDS branded icons

Newsha Ajami is a hydrologist specializing in sustainable water resource management, water policy, the water-energy-food nexus, and urban water strategy. When she was studying hydrology in grad school, she took a water policy class that changed the trajectory of her career. “I would say that was one of the most important events in my professional career. I realized that laws and policies are what change the way we manage resources,” she says. All the data optimization and modeling means nothing unless you can understand the policy layer imposed on how our natural systems operate. ​

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