The advancement of information and communication technologies has made it possible to handle a wide variety of data, which has led to the growing importance of data science in both society and every field of academia, spanning both science & engineering and the humanities. The integration of the “theory” and “data based evidence” that has been built up in each specialized field until today is expected to lead to new, pioneering academic inquiry and research.
The Center for Data Science will integrate and create new knowledge, develop human resources who can contribute to the resolution of complex, global social issues, and enhance the overall research capabilities of Waseda University by utilizing the full strength of our comprehensive private university to provide a platform that integrates the latest developments in data science with the knowledge built up across both science & engineering and the humanities. Additionally, the Center will form a large-scale network with both domestic and overseas universities and enterprises, and strive to disseminate practical education and state-of-the-art research as a global center for advanced research and education models.
The Center for Data Science will engage in the below activities:
- Survey, promote and develop data science and applied research
- Develop of human resources who can solve problems through data
- Coordinate the data science and applied research, and related education across the entire university
- Disseminate and promote innovative data science research and related applied research to the whole university
- Plan and promote interdisciplinary, collaborative research centered on data science
- Collaborate and cooperate with relevant organizations in Japan and overseas
- Undertake contracts for research on data science and its applications, education and research
Figure 1: Details on Center activities
Figure 2: Details on Center initiatives (within Waseda)
Figure 3: Details on Center initiatives (external collaborations)
In recent years, the rapid development of information and communication technology has led to terms such as AI, IoT, and big data being widely used in society. This demonstrates that the usefulness of data science has been recognized in various applications, starting with business. We cannot deny the possibility, however, that this enthusiasm towards data science is simply a transitory boom.
Firstly, data science (≈“proof by data”) is not a new way of thinking. In the manufacturing industry, for example, statistics have long been used to control the quality of products. It is also widely known that the accomplishments of Florence Nightingale, who is known as the mother of modern nursing education, were brought about by statistical analysis in the medical practice. These stories confirm to us that the process of obtaining “useful knowledge” through the application of “proper analysis & interpretation” to “properly obtained data” is a well-known fact from long ago.
The development of computer science has enabled the “simple collection and accumulation of a diverse range of data.” Accordingly, the cost of the “data collection” process has drastically declined, and expectations for data science are rapidly rising. “We’ve got a mountain of data, so please figure something out with data science!” The truth of the matter, however, is unfortunately not that simple.
To extract useful knowledge from a massive amount of obtained data, both deep expertise on the goals of the analysis, answering questions such as “what is the problem?”, “what is the goal of this analysis?” and “how should the analysis be interpreted?”, is needed along with sophisticated data analysis skills that apply the latest analytical methods to complex, structured data.
Our center promotes state-of-the-art data-driven research by partnering researchers with “sophisticated analytical skills” with researchers possessing “deep expertise” in the target field of research, and the development of human resources with practical skills that combine specialized knowledge with sophisticated data analysis skills.
Toshiyasu Matsushima, Director