Our mission is to enable excellence in data science research and applications across the Laboratory's core missions.
Data science has become an essential discipline paving the path of LLNL's key program areas, and the Laboratory is home to some of the largest, most unique, and most interesting data and supercomputers in the world. The Data Science Institute acts as the central hub for all data science activity at LLNL working to help lead, build, and strengthen the data science workforce, research, and outreach to advance the state-of-the-art of our nation's data science capabilities.
Brenden Petersen isn’t content merely applying advanced data science methods to real-world problems. He’d rather tackle challenges where, he says, “the state-of-the-art doesn’t cut it.” Since joining LLNL’s Computational Engineering Division in 2016, he pursues deep reinforcement learning (RL) solutions for many fields including cybersecurity, energy, and healthcare (see DSI workshop slides [PDF]). Whereas deep learning traditionally addresses prediction problems, RL solves control problems. He explains, “RL provides a framework for learning how to behave in a task-completion scenario. Working in the field feels very goal-oriented, even competitive. Each application is a new personal challenge.” Petersen recently launched an RL reading group to help other LLNL staff get started in the field. “At the first meeting, I recognized only about 20% of the attendees, which was awesome! A major goal of the group, and DSI as a whole, is to connect researchers across the Lab,” he states. Petersen earned his biomedical engineering PhD through a joint program at UC Berkeley and UC San Francisco.