Photo of Chiang-Ching (Spencer) Huang, who is using big data to search for a better way to detect and treat cancer. (UWM Photo/Troye Fox)

Associate professor of biostatistics in the Joseph J. Zilber School Of Public Health, Chiang-Ching (Spencer) Huang is using big data to search for a better way to detect and treat cancer. (UWM Photo/Troye Fox)

Big data. On the one hand, it’s information overload. On the other, it’s gold in the quest for faster, smarter tools that can be applied to automation – and just about everything else.

That deluge of data is ripe for enabling artificial intelligence, machine learning and prediction analytics, collectively known as data science, which can find patterns that would have otherwise been missed by human beings.

Data science uses computational techniques that blend historical knowledge with uncertain elements to provide sophisticated inferences.

Data scientists build complex models that can make predictions in dynamic conditions, recognize speech and faces, transform images, improve drug development, and support investment and business decision-making. UWM data scientists work in disciplines across many of the university’s schools and colleges.

And now, UWM is poised to make a bigger commitment to big data with the establishment of the Northwestern Mutual Data Science Institute. Northwestern Mutual and its foundation will contribute $12.5 million, while UWM and Marquette University will each contribute in kind and fundraising of $11.25 million over the next five years. The investment will support endowed professors, data science faculty positions, research projects and expanded student programming, which will begin this fall.

Take a look at some of the UWM scientists already using data science in their work.