Columbia Data Science Director Appointed to NYC Data Task Force


(NEW YORK)–Jeannette M. Wing, Director of Columbia University’s Data Science Institute and Professor of Computer Science at Columbia University, has been appointed to a New York City task force that will develop a process for reviewing how the city uses automatic decision systems, or algorithms.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has directed the task force to review the city’s use of algorithms “through the lens of equity, fairness, and accountability,” and in December 2019, deliver recommendations on procedures for reviewing and assessing City government’s algorithmic tools.

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Mission: Data for Good

Tom Bustamante, the founder of AI VentureTech, Inc. commented, “One of the many challenges facing A.I. development is the issue of built in biases that may occur when analyzing specific data sets, and inputs. These racial or gender bias, just to name a few, are going to be a real challenge for the data science community going forward, and I think this collaboration between Columbia University and the City of New York is really good start at addressing this issue on the policy level, and fits in perfectly with Columbia’s overall mission statement of producing data solutions that work towards the betterment of mankind.”

“It has been my mission at Columbia’s Data Science Institute to promote the notion of ‘data for good,’” said Jeannette Wing. “I am honored to be chosen for this important work.” Wing, who took on the Data Science Institute’s directorship in July 2017, is a staunch advocate for the responsible application of methods for extracting value from data.
Wing joins individuals from the academic and legal communities, experts in data and technology, and leaders of nonprofits and think tanks. They include Jennifer Rodgers, executive director of Columbia Law School’s Center for the Advancement of Public Integrity at Columbia Law School, which works with government offices to combat corruption and advocate for best practices.

The task force also includes representatives from the New York City Department of Social Services, the New York City Police Department, the Department of Transportation, the Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice, the Administration for Children’s Services, and the Department of Education.

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About Columbia Data Science Institute

The Data Science Institute at Columbia University is training the next generation of data scientists and developing innovative technology to serve society. With over 250-affiliated faculty working in a wide range of disciplines, the Institute seeks to foster collaboration in advancing techniques to gather and interpret data, and to address the urgent problems facing society. The Institute works closely with industry to bring promising ideas to market.

About Columbia Technology Ventures

Columbia Technology Ventures is the technology transfer office for Columbia University and a central location for many of the technology development initiatives, entrepreneurial activities, external industry collaborations, and commercially-oriented multidisciplinary technology innovations across the university. CTV’s core mission is to facilitate the transfer of inventions from academic research labs to the market for the benefit of society on a local, national, and global basis.