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October 6, 2022
In this issue:
Read, Listen, + Watch
Featured Event

Upcoming Events
Postdoctoral Fellowship Opportunity
Data Science Job Opportunities
Engage + Connect
Fall day study session on the Harvard Campus. Photo by John Chase, Harvard Staff Photographer
Dear Friends, 

Tickets are sold out for Day 1 of the HDSI Annual Conference 2022, but there are still tickets available for the Day 2 plenary sessions! Visit the conference website to view our confirmed panel speakers and register to join us either in-person or virtually on November 16! This event is free and open to the public.

Monday is U.S. Indigenous Peoples’ Day! See where state workers have this Monday in October off and which states have renamed Columbus Day to honor Indigenous peoples via Pew Research Center.

Enjoy your long weekends and we hope to see you at the upcoming data science events happening at Harvard listed below!

All the best,

The Harvard Data Science Initiative
Read, Listen, + Watch
📖 Read:
Harvard Study Identifies Key Role of Soil Moisture on Crop Yields
The Harvard Crimson

A new research study sheds light on the significant influence of water supply on global crop yields and its connection to climate change. The research team was led by HDSI Faculty Affiliate Peter Huybers and included joint HDSI/Harvard Center for the Environment Postdoctoral Fellow Jonathan Proctor.

‘A Different Type of Urgency’: Improving Diversity in Genetic Testing
The Harvard Crimson

A writeup of this year's Harvard Medical School annual Precision Medicine Symposium, which focused on the ethical development and deployment of genetic screening to predict people’s risk of developing various diseases.
Association of Tropical Cyclones With County-Level Mortality in the US

A research study published earlier this year co-authored by HDSI Faculty Co-Director Francesca Dominici and HDSI Faculty Affiliate Rachel C. Nethery reveals tropical cyclones, such as Hurricane Ian, associated with increases in county-level cause-specific death rates in subsequent months.

Delfina: Dr. Isabel Fulcher, VP Data Science

An interview with 2019 HDSI Postdoctoral Fellow, Isabel Fulcher about what she looks forward to at her new position at Delfina, a startup which uses a patient-centered and data-driven approach to improve maternal and child health outcomes.
🎧 Listen:
Cities in the Cloud: Data, GIS, and Digital Twins
Data-Smart City Pod, Harvard Kennedy School

In this episode, Professor Steve Goldsmith interviews Christine Ma, the Urban Planning Practice Lead at Esri Professional Services about how cities can use digital, cloud-based copies of the built environment as a foundation for urban planning and community engagement, while addressing sustainability, resiliency, and equity.
Personalized Treatments: Is That Possible and What Can Data Science Tell Us?
Harvard Data Science Review Podcast

In the most recent Harvard Data Science Review Podcast episode, two editors of Harvard Data Science Review's special issue on N-of-1 trials and data science examine all aspects of these personalized trials, clinical trials which are designed for a population of one person.
🎥 Watch:
Following your curiosity. Interview with Xiao-Li Meng, Professor of Statistics, Harvard University
The Journeys of Scholars

An interview with Harvard Data Science Review Editor-in-Chief Xiao-Li Meng about his perspective on academic excellence, leadership, and following one’s curiosity.

Level Up Your Plots with Cara Thompson
R User Group (RUG) at Harvard Data Science Initiative

This recording of a recent RUG at HDSI event explores how to make good use of design tips to help readers understand the key messages that data visualizations seek to convey.
Reimagining the Role of Business in the Public Square
Harvard Law School Center on the Legal Profession (HLS CLP)

The playlist of plenary conference recordings from the "Reimagining the Role of Business in the Public Square" event that took place on September 15, 2022.

The Coming AI Hackers
Harvard Carr Center for Human Rights Policy

The Towards Life 3.0: Ethics and Technology in the 21st Century talk series draws upon scholars, technology leaders, and public interest technologists to address the ethical aspects of long-term impact of AI on society and human life.
Featured Event
Harvard Data Science Initiative Annual Conference 2022
Tuesday, November 15
9:00 AM – 5:00 PM EST

Science + Engineering Complex, Harvard SEAS
Wednesday, November 16, 2022
8:00 AM – 6:30 PM EST

Klarman Hall,
Harvard Business School
Two days of in-person workshops, tutorials, + plenary sessions
The Harvard Data Science Initiative Conference is a two-day event in Boston, MA that showcases data science in research and education through panels, keynotes, workshops, and tutorials featuring speakers from across Harvard, academia, and industry.
The Conference connects expert methodologists, data science professionals and educators across disciplines to ignite new discoveries with impacts on health, education, economics, social policy, business and the humanities.

This event is free and open to the public. Ticket required for admission. Please RSVP to reserve your spot.
Upcoming Events
Data at the End of the World: A Book Talk with Brian Michael Murphy
Tuesday, October 11, 2022
12:30 PM – 1:30 PM EST
Berkman Klein Center's Multi-Purpose Room 515
Hosted by The Berkman Klein Center for Internet + Society at Harvard University
  • Brian Michael Murphy, Dean of Bennington College; Director of the MFA in Public Action
  • Jessica Fjeld, Assistant Director of Cyberlaw Clinic
Is datafication a means to immortality or a harbinger of the apocalypse? Brian Michael Murphy's searching, creative new book We the Dead: Preserving Data at the End of the World tracks the evolution and growing power of what he terms the "data complex"; the vast quantities of information about us and the infrastructure that supports it. 

In conversation with Cyberlaw Clinic Assistant Director Jessica Fjeld, Brian will share stories from his research process and challenge our notions of what personal data is and means.
From content moderation to school assignment: What do theories of justice teach us about design?
Monday, October 17, 2022
11:00 AM – 12:00 PM EST
Science and Engineering Complex, Harvard SEAS
HCRCS Social Impact Seminar Series: Niloufar Salehi, University of California, Berkeley
  • Niloufar Salehi, Assistant Professor, School of Information, University of California, Berkeley
The Harvard Center for Research on Computation and Society (HCRCS) Social Impact Seminar Series explores how artificial intelligence can equitably solve social problems.


Computational systems have a complex relationship with justice: they may be designed with the intent to promote justice, tasked to resolve injustices, or actively contribute to injustice itself. In this talk I will take two theories of justice, restorative and distributive justice, as frameworks to analyze and imagine alternatives to two real-world systems. Read more.
Achieving Reliable Causal Inference with Data-Mined Variables: A Random Forest Approach to the Measurement Error Problem
Thursday, October 20, 2022
3:30 PM – 5:30 PM EST
Hawes Hall, Classroom 203, Harvard Business School
HDSI Causal Seminar: Edward McFowland III, Harvard University
  • Edward McFowland III, Assistant Professor, Technology and Operations Management Unit, Harvard Business School

Combining machine learning with econometric analysis is becoming increasingly prevalent in both research and practice. A common empirical strategy uses predictive modeling techniques to "mine" variables of interest from available data, then includes those variables into an econometric framework to estimate causal effects. However, because the predictions from machine learning models are inevitably imperfect, econometric analyses based on the predicted variables likely suffer from bias due to measurement error. Read more.
Optimal nonparametric estimation of heterogeneous
causal effects 
Thursday, November 3, 2022
3:30 PM – 5:30 PM EST
Hawes Hall, Classroom 203, Harvard Business School
HDSI Causal Seminar: Edward Kennedy, Carnegie Mellon
  • Edward Kennedy, Associate Professor of Statistics and Data Science, Carnegie Mellon University

Estimation of heterogeneous causal effects -- i.e., how effects of policies and treatments vary across units -- is fundamental to medical, social, and other sciences, and plays a crucial role in optimal treatment allocation, generalizability, subgroup effects, and more. Many methods for estimating conditional average treatment effects (CATEs) have been proposed in recent years, but there have remained important theoretical gaps in understanding if and when such methods make optimally efficient use of the data at hand. This is especially true when the CATE has nontrivial structure (e.g., smoothness or sparsity). Read more.
Data and Economic Principles in Video Games
Thursday, November 10, 2022
1:30 PM – 2:30 PM EST
Virtual (Zoom)
HDSI Industry Seminar: Tammy Levy,
  • Tammy Levy, Chief Games Officer,

Underneath the fun of games we can find complex economies. In the last 15 years, with the rise of accessible broadband internet, video game developers have been able to regularly release game updates or "patches" through a process called live servicing. In addition to new content, game designers often add, remove, and rebalance the resources in the game– effectively manipulating the game's economy on a regular basis. In this talk, I will cover the basic principles of game economies and the core business KPIs used to monitor a game's performance. Then I'll walk through real examples behind the data-driven decisions for game optimization.
Postdoctoral Fellowship Opportunity
Harvard Data Science Initiative Postdoctoral Fellowship Program 
Deadline: Monday, November 14th, 11:59 PM EST
The Harvard University Data Science Initiative is seeking applications for its Harvard Data Science Initiative Postdoctoral Fellows Program for the 2023-2024 academic year. The normal duration of the Fellowship is two years. Fellows will receive a generous salary as well as an annual allocation for research and travel expenses. 

We are looking for researchers whose interests are in data science, broadly construed, and including researchers with a primarily methodological focus as well as researchers who advance both methodology and application. Fellows will be provided with the opportunity to pursue their research agenda in an intellectually vibrant environment with ample mentorship. We are looking for independent researchers who will seek out collaborations with other fellows and with faculty across all schools of Harvard University.

We recognize that strength comes through diversity and actively seek and welcome people with diverse backgrounds, experiences, and identities.
Data Science Job Opportunities
Recently Posted Jobs at Harvard
Assistant Director, Sustainability Data Analytics
Harvard University Office for Sustainability

Bioinformatician II
Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health

Statistical Analyst/Programmer
Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health

Bioinformatics Scientist
Harvard Faculty of Arts and Sciences

GIS Analyst and Data Manager
Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health

SAS Programmer I
Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health

Senior Data Scientist
Digital, Data, and Design (D^3) Institute, Harvard Business School
Bioinformaticist I
Harvard Faculty of Arts and Sciences

Senior Full Stack Software Engineer
Harvard University Faculty of Arts and Sciences

Data Science Specialist
Institute for Quantitative Social Science (IQSS)

Research Associate, Bioinformatics Analyst and/or Trainer
Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health

Senior Programmer
Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health

Applied Research Statistician
Harvard Law School

Program Manager
Harvard Data Science Initiative

External Opportunities
Undergraduate Research Internship – Computing

Research Scientist, Machine Learning, Scalable Alignment

Senior Research Engineer, Applied Language
Assistant Professor, Biostatistics
Florida State University

Assistant Professor, Statistics
Florida State University

Postdoctoral Researcher - Reinforcement Learning
Engage + Connect
Interested in reading more about data science projects and news at Harvard? Check out our blog for features, top stories, and what we are learning now in the world of data.
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