The University of Washington (UW) will lead a team of institutions in establishing an interdisciplinary research institute that brings together mathematicians, statisticians, computer scientists and engineers to develop the theoretical foundations of a fast-growing field: data science.

The Institute for Foundations of Data Science (IFDS) is a collaboration between the UW and the Universities of Wisconsin-Madison, California Santa Cruz, and Chicago, with a mission to develop a principled approach to the analysis of ever-larger, more complex and potentially biased data sets that play an increasingly important role in industry, government and academia.

Support for the IFDS comes from a $12.5 million grant from the National Science Foundation and its Transdisciplinary Research in Principles of Data Science, or TRIPODS, program. Today, the NSF named IFDS as one of two institutes nationwide receiving the first TRIPODS Phase II awards. TRIPODS is tied to the NSF’s Harnessing the Data Revolution (HDR) program, which aims to accelerate discovery and innovation in data science algorithms, data cyberinfrastructure and education and workforce development.

The five-year funding plan for the IFDS Phase II includes support for new research projects, workshops, a partnership across the four research sites and students and postdoctoral scholars co-advised by faculty from different fields. Plans for education and outreach will draw on previous experience of IFDS members and leverage institutional resources at all four sites.