UA-TRIPODS aims to build a transformative and highly interactive data science hub in the Southwestern United States for the integration of research, education, and outreach in the theoretical foundations of data science. Through research, education, and outreach targeted to high school students through postdoctoral fellows, UA-TRIPODS will help establish and encourage a diverse population to pursue careers in quantitative and computational data science. The intellectual merits of the project include identifying fundamental areas where progress in the theoretical foundations is imperative, developing mathematical and algorithmic principles of data science, and basic research on topics ranging from the theory of large scale networks and optimization to statistical modeling for natural language processing and Bayesian methods. This is accomplished by extending long-standing collaborations with experts in the foundational disciplines - theoretical computer science, mathematics, and statistics - and motivated by problems in the domain sciences and industry. New mathematical, statistical, and algorithmic principles will strengthen the foundations of theoretical data science, while driving discovery and innovation for emerging applications. UA-TRIPODS will also cultivate new partnerships with local industries engaged in data-centric enterprises in astronomy, environmental science, genomics, lunar and planetary sciences, medicine, transportation, and optical sciences.
Research Working Groups will pursue fundamental questions in a number of different areas in the theoretical foundations of data science. By ensuring each group includes researchers from each area of the foundational disciplines, while also pairing these groups with science and industry partners, UA-TRIPODS will ensure that these projects will benefit from a truly transdisciplinary collaboration. Progress in collaboration will be measured by specialized program evaluation metrics. Yearly workshops, seminars, and brainstorming/visioning activities will enable UA-TRIPODS to lay the foundation for the future of training and research in data science. In addition, this project will support the development of a new undergraduate degree in Statistics and Data Science at the University of Arizona, expanded online offerings, and facilitation of cooperation in graduate education (both among the foundational disciplines and with the domain sciences). Students will be provided with opportunities to experience first-hand data analysis and interdisciplinary research and education. UA-TRIPODS will also engage partnering colleges and universities across the Southwest in the institute activities and then utilize these connections to support novel and effective inter-university and intra-university research and educational programs. Partnerships with Hispanic Serving Institutions and Tribal Colleges in southern California, Arizona, New Mexico, and western Texas will be strengthened.