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Swiss Data Science Center at ETH and EPFL: Data science gains traction in academia!

We’re excited to see ETH Zurich and EPFL Lausanne join forces to advance the research frontier of data science. The creation of the Swiss Data Science Center (SDSC) reflects an international trend: Data science is definitely gaining traction in academia. This is both intrinsically valuable and an excellent addition to the job market, directly as well as indirectly. In what follows, we reproduce the SDSC’s launching press release, published on Feburary 6, 2017 :


“ETH Zurich and EPFL are creating a National Center for Data Science to foster innovation in data science, multidisciplinary research and open science. Today, the inauguration of the Swiss Data Science Center (SDSC) is taking place in Bern.

ETH Zurich and EPFL are launching a National Center for Data Science in order to innovate in the realm of data and computer science, and to provide an infrastructure for fostering multidisciplinary research and open science, with applications ranging from personalised health to environmental issues. It is a joint venture between EPFL and ETH Zürich with offices in both Lausanne and Zurich. The initiative will ensure that Switzerland possesses expertise and excellence in data science while striving to be globally competitive.

A complex journey made simple

Data science sits at the intersection of several academic disciplines including data management and engineering, statistics, machine learning, algorithms, optimisation and visualisation. It offers a new tool to social sciences, economics, medicine, environmental sciences, and others, by helping to understand and influence complex, real-world systems, and by providing insight into some of the most challenging problems of our time.

For this reason, data science has become extremely important at the global level, with the majority of top-tier international research and teaching institutions investing significantly in dedicated centers and programs.

Bringing experts together

The SDSC inauguration is taking place in Bern with opening remarks by ETH Zürich and EPFL presidents Lino Guzzella and Martin Vetterli, and keynote speaker Professor Jure Leskovec from Stanford University and Pinterest Chief Scientist.

One of the main challenges in this field is to help data providers, computer scientists and domain experts speak the same language. “We depend on data scientists’ unique expertise to help us pull relevant insights from masses of data. The new data science center brings these experts together, offering an interdisciplinary platform that will also promote education and knowledge transfer,” says ETH Zurich President Lino Guzzella.

Scientists at the SDSC will aim to provide sensible answers to everyday problems, with a particular focus on fields such as personalised health, environmental issues or today’s manufacturing challenges. The objective is to work on real-life applications, thus federating the various actors taking part in a data science project, and therefore bringing tangible results.

The center will host a multi-disciplinary team of 30 to 40 data and computer scientists, and experts in select domains, with offices in Lausanne and Zurich.

Developing a cutting-edge Insights Factory

It will be a true one-stop-shop for hosting, exploring and analyzing curated, calibrated and anonymised data. Its user-friendly tooling and services will also help with the adoption of Open Science, fostering research productivity and excellence.

“This new platform is a fundamental step in the development of Open Science. Scientific knowledge sharing on a broad scale requires solid, trustworthy and regulated infrastructures. With this Center, Switzerland is providing itself with the resources that matches its ambitions,” comments Martin Vetterli, EPFL President.

The online services of the SDSC will be backed by existing infrastructures of the ETH Domain (e.g. by leveraging resources at the Swiss National Supercomputing Centre CSCS in Lugano), SWITCH (the technology and service platform for Swiss Universities), as well as those of cloud providers. The SDSC will operate itself as a cloud-computing provider.”

Check out their webpage at




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