Rethinking Data Science (ReDS): advances in causal inference and statistical learning across domains
DiSIA has become a relevant national and international center for the disciplines involved in the process of knowledge production through the intensive use of data to support decision-making processes. However, recent developments in Data Science highlight the limits of some analytical tools and algorithmic approaches that learn from a large amount of data with mainly predictive purposes. The limited attention to data quality, difficulties related to replicability and generalizability, as well as the lack of causal interpretation, cut down the usefulness of these tools in decision support.
With ReDS, the 2023-2027 project of excellence, the DiSIA aims to overcome these critical issues by giving a further boost to its research and teaching activity; this project will lead the department to become an international hub for the statistical and causal analysis of complex data as well as for the training of a new generation of Data Scientists.
The main research goal is the development of statistical methods for complex data and for causal inference that can be used as decision-support tools in specific domains, combining good forecasting value with interpretability, while clearly quantifying the uncertainty. These methods will provide comprehensive support to scientific knowledge in the DiSIA domains of interest as demography, social sciences, economic phenomena, medicine and epidemiology.
The main educational goal is the strengthening of the department’s undergraduate and graduate programs and the training of excellent data science researchers. ReDS aims at the transfer of knowledge and professional training by promoting and stimulating interactions between DiSIA researchers and people interested in the project themes, both within and outside academia.
Seven departments of the University of Florence have been awarded the title of department of excellence by the National Agency for the Evaluation of University and Research (ANVUR) and the Ministry of Education, University and Research; this award comes with substantial funds to support a 5-year departmental development and research plan (see the Anvur website).
The selected departments are: Chemistry “Ugo Schiff”, Neurosciences, Psycology, Drug Research and Child Health (NEUROFARBA), History, archaeology, geography, art and entertainment (Sagas), Experimental and clinical biomedical sciences “Mario Serio”, Earth Science, Legal sciences, Statistics, Computer Science, Applications “G. Parenti” (DiSIA).