Aug. 30, 2023
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Heart smart: Future engineers tackle real-world cardiology concerns at LLNL's Data Science Challenge

Bourns College of Engineering/UC Riverside

It’s a quick and pain-free way to test for heart problems. That’s why the electrocardiogram is so often used by doctors—with just a few electrodes and wires, the heart’s electrical activity can be measured and interpreted to identify irregularities and disease. But while it is a highly useful and commonly used diagnostic tool, there are limits to the types of information an electrocardiogram can reveal. Pushing beyond those limits was the real-world, data-science problem future engineers from the Marlan and Rosemary Bourns College of Engineering were tasked with exploring this summer at one of the foremost research facilities in the world. A group of 35 students from UC Riverside and UC Merced took part in the annual Data Science Challenge held at LLNL. It is an intensive, two-week internship that places students into multidisciplinary teams, each with a data scientist and a Ph.D. student as a team lead. “This experience is targeted towards students who have little to no prior experience in data science and machine learning, and is meant to serve as a ‘crash-course’ in introducing them not only to the basic concepts, but also what it is like to be in the shoes of an LLNL scientist,” said Vagelis Papalexakis, an associate professor in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering and internship facilitator. “I have seen this to be a very effective way of introducing students to data science, and by the end of the program it is impressive to see the student growth, especially in those students who started out with little to no experience.” Read more at UC Riverside's Bourns College of Engineering.