About the UBC DSI

New discoveries and insights in the natural and life sciences are increasingly being driven by the analysis of large volumes of data. Coincidentally, advances in genomics, health care, mineral exploration, marketing and other areas are increasingly being powered by the same, data intensive approaches. Framing research questions around ubiquitous large data sets pose unique challenges and tremendous opportunities.

To leverage this potential, the DSI is designed to promote the development of approaches to manage, analyze and extract knowledge from complex data sets. Across almost every domain, new insights, rational decisions and informed actions must be based on applying appropriate data-driven tools and analyses at scale. This will benefit organizations, big and small, commercial and research, which are amassing phenomenal amounts of data.

Mission of The DSI

The DSI is a Faculty-wide initiative designed to incubate and accelerate research, innovation and training in data-intensive science. The DSI works to enable the formation of interdisciplinary research teams to advance data science research and to apply new techniques to complex problems faced across domains, including health, science and arts. The DSI provides a collaboration hub to enable inter-faculty interactions on research problems involving large and complex data sets. It also enables organizations outside the university to access the diverse inter-faculty expertise at UBC related to complex data analysis and modelling.

To advance this agenda, the DSI:

  • Facilitates the formation of interdisciplinary research teams to advance data research and development.
  • Provides comprehensive training opportunities to data scientists at the post-doctoral level.
  • Serves as an entry-point for partners seeking access to UBC’s world-class expertise in managing, analyzing and leveraging data at scale.
  • Enables a network of researchers, units and organizations to develop collaborative tools and solutions for their data-rich applications.


DSI’s International Scientific Advisory Board is selected by the Steering Committee and meets annually.

The Steering Committee includes two department heads within the Faculty of Science and faculty who are participating in the Institute. The two heads will serve for terms of three years and will be selected by DSI’s Scientific Director, Dean of Science, and Vice-President Research.

The Executive Committee consists of the Scientific Director and several faculty members who are participating in the Institute. The Executive committee will propose research directions and will set funding priorities. The Executive Committee meets regularly.

Current Committee
(2019 -- Present)

2017-2019 Committee

Kendall Ho, Medicine
Gabriela Cohen-Freue, Statistics
Gabriela Cohen-Freue, Statistics
Michael Friedlander, Mathematics
Leon Sigal, Computer Science
Mark Schmidt, Computer Science
Ozgur Yilmaz, Mathematics

The Scientific Director chairs the Executive Committee and reports to the Dean of Science.


  • Jie Ie Baik, Research Administrator
  • Greg Arbour, Senior Data Scientist
  • Robert Bergen, Health Data Scientist
  • Yuqian Zhuang, NLP Data Scientist
  • Leon Ruocco, Data Scientist
  • Trevor Kwan, Data Scientist

A catalyst for data science innovation at UBC

Housed within the Faculty of Science, the DSI is uniquely positioned to catalyze data science innovation at UBC. It brings together expertise across the computational sciences—including machine learning, data mining, statistical inference, data visualization, data management—and domain specific researchers.