Harvard Data Science Review Podcast
I Want a Perfect Face (and Bra): Can Data Science Help?

I Want a Perfect Face (and Bra): Can Data Science Help?

November 29, 2022

In this month’s episode, we dive into the glamorous side of data science by exploring the ways the field is being integrated in the beauty and fashion industries. We talk to two experts, a plastic surgeon and a fashion designer, about the tools and techniques they use.

Our guests are:

  • Dr. Heather Levites, a fellowship-trained plastic surgeon with a special interest in advanced cosmetic surgery. She earned her undergraduate degree at MIT, her MD from the State University of New York at Stony Brook, and completed her plastic surgery training at Duke University. She currently practices in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. 
  • Nini Hu, a designer and art director with over 20 years of experience working with global fashion lifestyle brands and author of AI and Creativity for HDSR. Nini is also the founder of &HER, building customizable bras using AI, eco-friendly fibers, and automated production technology. &HER uses machine learning models to bring body shape and measurements directly to production. 
It’s Election Time Again—Do We Predict Better This Time?

It’s Election Time Again—Do We Predict Better This Time?

October 26, 2022

With the 2022 U.S. midterms right around the corner, this month’s podcast is all about elections. Who is going to win and why? In today's episode, we talk to four experts about their predictions for the upcoming midterm elections in November and how these elections might impact the presidential race in 2024. 

Our guests are:

 

Personalized Treatments: Is That Possible and What Can Data Science Tell Us?

Personalized Treatments: Is That Possible and What Can Data Science Tell Us?

September 29, 2022

Today we discuss the most important element of our lives: our health. We do so by diving into personalized medicine, or more specifically, personalized (N-of-1) trials  – clinical trials in which a single patient is the entire trial. For this episode, we invited two editors of Harvard Data Science Review’s special issue on N-of-1 trials and data science to help us examine all aspects of these clinical trials designed for a population of one person.

Our guests:

  • Dr. Karina Davidson, Senior Vice President of Research and Dean of Academic Affairs at Northwell Health
  • Ken Cheung, Professor of Biostatistics at Mailman School of Public Health at Columbia University
To Drink or Not to Drink: Can Data Help Us Decide?

To Drink or Not to Drink: Can Data Help Us Decide?

August 18, 2022

The effects of drinking is a constant news headline. Every month or so, there seems to be a new study released that weighs the benefits and risks of drinking alcohol. Is some level of alcohol good for your health or should everyone completely avoid drinking? On today’s episode we invited two experts with differing views on alcohol consumption to help us examine the data and decide.

Our guests:

Emmanuela Gakidou, Professor of Health Metrics Sciences and Senior Director of Organizational Development and Training at the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) at the University of Washington.  

Eric Rimm, Professor of Epidemiology and Nutrition and Director of the Program in Cardiovascular Epidemiology at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and Professor of Medicine at the Harvard Medical School. 

 

Differential Privacy for the 2020 U.S. Census: Can We Make Data Both Private and Useful? (Part 2)

Differential Privacy for the 2020 U.S. Census: Can We Make Data Both Private and Useful? (Part 2)

August 10, 2022

For today’s episode we embark on part two of our discussion on the U.S. Census. 

Protecting the data privacy of survey respondents has always been a central consideration for the U.S Census Bureau, and throughout its history, many methods have been developed and implemented. For the 2020 Census, the Bureau adopted a new form of privacy protection—differential privacy which was received with mixed reaction. To further understand why the Census Bureau adopted this new form of privacy protection and to help explore the concerns raised about differential privacy, we invited two experts who represent both sides of the debate and who each contributed to the Harvard Data Science Review special issue on the 2020 U.S. Census.

 Our guests are:

 

 

Differential Privacy for the 2020 U.S. Census: Can We Make Data Both Private and Useful? (Part 1)

Differential Privacy for the 2020 U.S. Census: Can We Make Data Both Private and Useful? (Part 1)

July 29, 2022

While most Americans have heard of the U.S. Census and understand that it is designed to count every resident in the United States every 10 years, many may not realize that the Census’s role goes far beyond the allocation of seats in Congress. 

For this episode, we invited the three co-editors of Harvard Data Science Review’s special issue on the U.S. Census to help us explore what the Census is, what it’s used for, and how the data it collects should remain both private and useful.  

Our guests are:

  • Erica Groshen, former Commissioner of Labor Statistics and Head of the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
  • Ruobin Gong, Assistant Professor of Statistics at Rutgers University
  • Salil Vadhan, Professor of Computer Science and Applied Mathematics at Harvard University

 

Public Opinions on Immigrants and Refugees: Does the Data Inform or Misinform Us?

Public Opinions on Immigrants and Refugees: Does the Data Inform or Misinform Us?

June 29, 2022

In this episode we dive into the data on refugees and immigration. American public opinion seems very divided on these issues, but is it really? Is the U.S. more or less welcoming to refugees and immigrants than other parts of the world? How has disinformation influenced politics? Will the U.S. Southern Border, Ukraine, and other potential refugee crises affect the upcoming political elections in the U.S.? We bring in two experts to help discuss:

  • Scott Tranter, Senior Vice President, Data Science and Engineering at Dynata and Co-Founder of Øptimus Analytics, which was acquired by Dynata in 2021. He is also an investor in Decision Desk HQ, which provides election results data to news outlets, political campaigns, and businesses.

 

Is It a Good Idea to Legalize Marijuana? What Can Data Tell Us?

Is It a Good Idea to Legalize Marijuana? What Can Data Tell Us?

May 25, 2022

In this episode we discuss the hotly debated topic of marijuana legalization. While 18 states have legalized recreational marijuana and the United States House of Representatives just passed a landmark marijuana legalization bill, cannabis is still an illegal substance under federal law in the United States.  With the help of two experts, we dive into the data behind the arguments for and against the legalization of marijauna.

Our guests:

  • Dr. Silvia Martins, MD, PhD, Director of the Substance Use Epidemiology Unit, Department of Epidemiology at Columbia University.
  • Lt. Diane Goldstein, Executive Director of Law Enforcement Action Partnership (LEAP) and law enforcement veteran having worked in investigations, crisis negotiation, and gang enforcement for 21 years.
Can or Should the Question, “Are We Alone?” be Answered by Data Alone?

Can or Should the Question, “Are We Alone?” be Answered by Data Alone?

April 22, 2022

Does life exist elsewhere in the universe? It's a question as old as time. On this month’s episode of the HDSR podcast we find out everything there is to know about life beyond earth by talking to the foremost experts who seek data and evidence to investigate the question, “Are we alone?”

Our guests are:

  • Abraham (Avi) Loeb, the Frank B. Baird, Jr., Professor of Science at Harvard University, Director of the Galileo Project and the Black Hole Initiative at Harvard University, and the bestselling author of Extraterrestrial: The First Sign of Intelligent Life Beyond Earth and Life in the Cosmos.
  • Nick Pope, former civilian employee of the UK Ministry of Defense where his duties included investigating UFO sightings to assess the defense implications. Currently he works as a freelance journalist and broadcaster, specializing in UFOs, the unexplained, and conspiracy theories. 

 

Recommender Systems: “People who listened to this episode also listened to … “

Recommender Systems: “People who listened to this episode also listened to … “

March 25, 2022

Recommender systems have become omnipresent in our everyday lives exemplified by Netflix telling us what movies to watch, to Amazon suggesting which books we should read, to Instacart promoting specific brands we must buy. We are constantly being influenced and seduced by these algorithms and the humans who designed them. On this month’s HDSR podcast we examine the pros and cons of recommender systems as well as the art, passion, and creativity that can be lost when we rely too heavily on them. 

Our expert guests are Dr. Pearl Pu, the leading data scientist on recommender systems and a senior scientist at the Faculty of Information and Communication Sciences at EPFL in Lausanne, Switzerland, and film-maker Brandt Andersen whose most recent film, Refugee about a Syrian doctor’s escape from her war torn country, was short-listed for an Academy Award for Best Live Action Short in 2020.

 

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