Universiteit Leiden

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Leiden Centre of Data Science


Research at the Leiden Centre of Data Science covers a wide range of topics and is connected to many different academic disciplines.

The common denominator of all these projects is their use of innovative ways to collect, analyse and validate large amounts of data. Our research projects fall into two broad categories: fundamental and applied research.

Fundamental research

Statistics and Computer Science form the base that Data Science stands on. In our fundamental research, we aim to strengthen this foundation. Our areas of focus are the following:

Modern techniques and computing power offer immense new possibilities for data collection. At the same time, the analysis of such large datasets calls for new statistical methods, such as Bayesian statistics. At Leiden University, important work has been done in this field.

In the HEPGAME project we combine the world’s fastest computer algebra system for High Energy Physics equations (FORM) with insights from artificial intelligence. The goal of HEPGAME is to solve significantly larger High Energy Physics data sets than is currently possible by using a new class of algorithms that emerged recently in combinatorial search.

HPC for Data Science & Astrophysics
High Performance Computing can help us understand the universe. By using supercomputers, astrophysicists from the Leiden Observatory are able to simulate black holes and the emergence of the galaxy.

Applied research

Methods from Data Science are used in many research projects that have practical applications. Our applied research is currently focused on the following areas:

Athletes always strive for the top. We assist them by analysing their performances, in order to improve their training regimes. Furthermore, we perform historical analyses of transfer data, to determine fair market prices. These research activities are carried out in close collaboration with majour sports teams.

In the NWO/Brill publishers-funded project Making Sense of Illustrated Handwritten Archives we work on the interpretation of 19thcentury handwritten archives. Our main objective is to make this cultural heritage available, both to historians and to the general public. In this project we are improving the state of the art of recognition of cursive writing, while combining information with existing taxonomic data.

Together with the Naturalis Biodiversity Center we are working on programmes in the field of biodiversity. We investigate methods to combine data from different sources, and to gather data in truly innovative ways. In this research, we specifically focus on wildlife protection in Africa.

The police often deal with data that is scattered in different databases. We work together with the National Police, investigating how big data techniques can be used to combine all this data. The goal of this research is to improve law enforcement.

Recent activity of data scientists has helped a great deal in addressing outbreaks of contagious diseases such as ebola and tuberculosis. It has become clear that such an integrated approach can save many lives. We work with international organizations and epidemiologists in hospitals to see how data science techniques can be used to improve decision making in this field.

Data Science Research Programme

The University of Leiden’s Data Science Research Programme brings together data science with all other academic domains. It makes the unique university data collections available.
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