Computational Foundry receives £2.8m EPSRC grant for project that takes new approach to Data Science

A research team from Swansea University’s Department of Mathematics have successfully bid for a project that will create a new centre for topographical data analysis, awarded jointly with the University of Oxford and the University of Liverpool.

The successful proposal is part of the EPSRCs £14 million fund for five new research projects that take novel approaches to challenges in data science, which were announced this week.

The project is titled ‘Application driven Topological Data Analysis’; this form of data analysis is a new way of thinking about data – pulling from it new information and exciting applications, and the research team will be working with industrial and private sector partners to do so.

Dr Jeff Giansiracusa, Associate Professor in Mathematics at Swansea University, attributes the talent of staff within the department for success of the proposal. “This was a very specific call, for new opportunities within data science. It was a very competitive process, and the key to our success I think was that we assembled a strong research team. Dr Pawel Dlotko, Lecturer in Mathematics, only joined our department three days before the grant submission and his presence in the team is key to our success.

“He works in a very interdisciplinary way. Swansea University saw the value in that interdisciplinary way of working, predominantly in Computer Science and Mathematics, and the fact that he focuses heavily in applications with links to biosciences and engineering.”

Dr Giansiracusa continues, “Co-creation is an important aspect of this project. We are closing the gap between academia and real world applications by working closely with industrial partners such as GCHQ, GSK and Unilever.”

A wide variety of applications have already benefited from topographical data analysis, from text processing to medicine. Understanding the shape of such data can provide important new insights that could not be identified using other methods (for example, it led to the identification of a new strand of breast cancer).

“Our vision is to form a UK centre that accentuates the integration and development of techniques from data science with state-of-the-art mathematics to provide ground-breaking ways to investigate the shape of data,” Dr Giansiracusa adds.

Professor Philip Nelson, Chief Executive of the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) said: “Data pervades almost every aspect of modern life. Collectively we are producing ever more data but we need the mathematical and systemic tools to deal with it, quickly and accurately to make productive use of it. These projects will help scientists and businesses make discoveries and better informed commercial decisions.”

Swansea University’s Department of Mathematics is part of new £31 million Computational Foundry facility, which drives forward research into computational and mathematical sciences and make Wales a global destination for computational scientists and industrial partners. The Computational Foundry is backed by £17.1 million from the European Regional Development Fund through Welsh Government.