Providing you with timely and relevant information to help you stay up-to-date with the fields of applied math and data science.
In this issue:
Each newsletter a faculty member shares a relevant article, dashboard, visualization or video. This newsletter's faculty pick is Hongliang Xu, Professor of Mathematics and instructor for the PACM ACM 63X series.For decades, X-ray crystallography has been the main method for determining protein's 3D structures. It uses a technique in which X-ray beams are fired at crystallized proteins, the diffracted light is collected, and a computer program - based on mathematical model developed in the 1950s by Mathematician and Nobel Laureate Dr. Herbert Hauptman - 'translates' X-ray data into a protein’s atomic coordinates. Before joining Buffalo State, Dr. Xu worked with Dr. Hauptman from 1997 - 2010 to develop new mathematical models and computational procedures for protein structure determination. X-ray crystallography has produced the lion’s share of protein structures. However, over the past decade, cryo-electron microscope (cryo-EM) has become the favored tool of many structural-biology labs.
Recently, an artificial intelligence (AI) network developed by Google's DeepMind has made a gigantic leap in solving one of biology’s grandest challenges — determining a protein’s 3D shape from its amino-acid sequence. DeepMind’s program, called AlphaFold, outperformed around 100 other teams in a biennial protein-structure prediction challenge called CASP, short for Critical Assessment of Structure Prediction.
“This is the biggest contribution an AI system has made so far to advancing scientific knowledge.” says Demis Hassabis, co-founder and chief executive of DeepMind. The ability to accurately predict protein structures from their amino-acid sequence would be a huge boon to life sciences and medicine. It would vastly accelerate efforts to understand the building blocks of cells and enable quicker and more advanced drug discovery.
Check out this interactive timeline of the history of data science including advancement in machine learning, mathematics, and computer science. Also included are accomplishments of people integral to the growth of this field.
with Thomas Bidney '20
Tom Bidney is a Strategic Data Analytics Analyst for M&T Bank where he uses Microsoft SSMS to query various tables for exploration, and then build reports and visualizations in Excel and Tableau. A significant portion of his time also involves submitting monthly reports as well as presenting found data and analysis to higher-ups.
How did your experience in DSA help you find your first job?: I took a course in my final semester with Matt Nagowski and Eric Hanson (ACM 611,2,3). After graduation, I kept in contact with Matt and he had a direct hand in getting me multiple interviews at M&T. I owe everything to the skills I learned in the program and the individuals I met along the way.
How did the DSA program contribute to your success: There are a few areas. For skills, I grew in my technical aptitude in the programs and languages I use today at my job. When working at my internship, I further grew my network and resume to help me land a job. As for networking, I quite literally wouldn't have the job I do today without it.
If you had to do it again what would you do differently knowing what you know now?: I would have taken more opportunities for learning SQL. I chose electives that seemed to align with my passions. While I don't regret that decision, I do wish I had a stronger skillset in SQL before starting my position. It's probably 80% of what I do daily.
What advice do you have for current students?: Take more technical courses. Molding your analytical thought process will be a work in progress until you retire. I had a few interviews where I was required to whiteboard code on the fly while people watched. Get strong technically. Also, I would make sure you become friendly with the professors. You never know who could directly impact your life (through an emotional bond or direct employment).
Enthusiastic data scientists keep up their skills by learning something new in DS&A each day. Our Coding Challenge is an effort to make such concept part of your education at Buffalo State.
This month we ask our enthusiastic and committed audience ( you ) to provide an activity or challenge that you have found on the internet that you may want to share with others. Joaquin Carbonara found this video interesting as a starting point to motivate you.
Please submit your challenge in a Colab notebook to this google drive folder.
The most recent challenge was released on Thursday February 17th. Don't forget to submit your responses by Thursday March 3rd to be in the running for the DSA Coding Challenge Champion Award!
Data science in the everyday
The New York Times shared this data visualization, which has been controversial to the data vis community. Some think the design is confusing and makes comparisons hard while others like the unique eye catching design.
What do you think of this visualization?
The Washington Post shared a series of data visualizations representing the weather disasters that happened in the United State in 2021. Including extreme heat, hurricanes, smoke from fires and extreme cold.
Episode 16 of Buffalo State Data Talk is now available!
Data Visualization with Tableau an interview with Ray Givler, Senior Decision Consultant for Highmark. In this episode Ray Givler, Senior Decision Consultant for Highmark, talks about creating data visualizations for a healthcare organization using Tableau. Ray talks about how he finds fulfillment in his career through Autonomy, Mastery, and Purpose. Listen to the episode to learn Rays advice for new data scientists and how to start your career in data visualization
March 1st: New Episode of Buffalo State Data Talk
March 3rd: DSA Seminar Series - Paul Gulde
March 14th: 3:14 PM Pi day celebration hosted by the Math Department
March 24th: DSA Seminar Series - Jon Ebel
March 28th - April 1: Spring Recess- no classes
April 1st: New Episode of Buffalo State Data Talk
April 7th: DSA Seminar Series - Onyi Daniels
April 28th: DSA Seminar Series - Mark Newsom
Do you have a journal article, dashboard, news article you want to share? Email your suggestions to Heather Campbell at email@example.com.
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