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Grand Opening of Yale’s Institute for Foundations of Data Science Marks a Historic Milestone

New Haven, CT – September 27, 2023

By Emily Hau

On September 22, 2023, Yale University’s newly renovated Kline Tower played host to the Grand Opening of the Institute for Foundations of Data Science (FDS), drawing together a diverse assembly of leaders from Yale and beyond. This event marked the beginning of a journey dedicated to advancing the field of data science and its practical applications.

The proceedings commenced with an introduction and welcome from Daniel A. Spielman, the James A. Attwood Director of FDS. Spielman’s brief remarks set the stage for a day filled with stimulating discussions and forward-looking insights.

Following the introduction, Scott Aaronson, representing OpenAI and UT Austin, delivered a keynote titled “Reform AI Alignment.” Aaronson’s presentation set a thoughtful tone for the event, raising pertinent questions about the future of artificial intelligence alignment.

Next on the agenda was Denny Zhou from Google, who presented “Teach Language Models to Reason.” Zhou’s talk highlighted recent developments in natural language processing, offering a glimpse into the ways in which language models can be taught to engage in reasoning tasks.

A panel discussion on “Advances in Artificial Intelligence,” moderated by Marynel Vasquez, brought together experts to explore the evolving landscape of AI. The panelists shared their insights, fostering discussions on the challenges and opportunities within the field.

Around midday, some attendees had the opportunity to participate in the FDS Member Luncheon, an exclusive gathering to foster connections among institute members. A general luncheon was also available to ensure that everyone had a chance to recharge before the afternoon sessions.

Jeannette M. Wing from Columbia took the stage in the afternoon, presenting “Ten Challenge Areas in Data Science.” Her keynote provided an overview of critical challenges within the data science domain, sparking contemplative conversations among the audience.

Michael J. Franklin from the University of Chicago followed with a keynote titled “Towards a Discipline of Data Science: A Systems Perspective,” offering a unique perspective on the data science ecosystem.

The event’s final panel discussion, “The Role of Data Science,” led by Christian Borgs from UC Berkeley and moderated by Alan Gerber from Yale, explored the multifaceted impact of data science across various disciplines.

The day concluded with a Ribbon Cutting Ceremony and Dedicatory Remarks, an event that required separate registration. This symbolic moment marked the formal opening of the Yale Institute for Foundations of Data Science, underlining Yale’s dedication to data-driven innovation.

The Grand Opening of Yale’s Institute for Foundations of Data Science was an exploratory event, offering attendees the opportunity to delve into key issues in data science. It was a day of inspiration and thoughtful discussions, reflecting Yale’s commitment to pioneering research and academic excellence.

As attendees left Kline Tower, they carried with them a sense of the promising journey ahead—a journey that aims to reshape the landscape of data science and its impact on the world. The Institute for Foundations of Data Science had officially begun its journey, and its potential influence would extend well beyond the walls of Kline Tower.