Yann LeCun Appointed Director of NYU Center for Data Science

New York University has appointed Yann LeCun, Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences Silver Professor of Computer ScienceNeural Science, and Electrical and Computer Engineering, as the inaugural Director of the Center for Data Science. Established to develop the skills and expertise necessary for students to derive valuable knowledge from massive amounts of data, the Center for Data Science is a key component of the newly-launched Initiative in Data Science and Statistics, which is spearheaded by Gérard Ben Arous, Director of the Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences.

“We are now collecting very large amounts of data on all kinds of phenomena in physical sciences, life sciences and social sciences,” LeCun said. “In this revolution of data-driven knowledge in science, business and government, we need people who really know the methods and techniques for extracting knowledge from data. There is a huge demand in industry for graduates with this kind of profile, people with a combination of expertise in applied mathematics, statistics and computer science – particularly machine learning. That’s what our graduate program will be about. It is the first in the United States to be that encompassing.”

Taught by faculty from across the university, the Center for Data Science two-year master’s graduate degree program will begin accepting applications in February 2013, with classes commencing this fall. NYU’s Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences will house the Center for Data Science in brand-new premises.

LeCun envisions a robust, fruitful affiliation between the Center for Data Science and the newly-established NYU Center for Urban Science and Progress (CUSP). “The goal is to have a tight enough relationship that a boundary really doesn’t exist between the two,” he explained. “There are people within CUSP who will have a prominent role in the Center for Data Science. You can’t develop new methods in the abstract; very often the best methods emerge because there’s a new problem in the world you need to solve and it makes you think about new ideas. Interaction with CUSP will provide that,” LeCun said.

Written by M.L. Ball