Berkeley Institute for Data Science and Accenture Applied Intelligence announce new collaboration to pursue data science research

April 22, 2020

The Berkeley Institute for Data Science (BIDS) and Accenture Applied Intelligence have announced a new strategic relationship to support interdisciplinary research and training that will advance the field of data science. This collaboration aims to explore major social and scientific challenges, such as ethical AI, biomedicine, and environmental sustainability in California.

Arnab Chakraborty, who leads Accenture’s US West Applied Intelligence practice, based in the Bay Area, describes the rationale behind this collaboration: “While we have worked closely with leading academic and research institutions worldwide, this is the first time that we have entered such a holistic initiative. BIDS brings together extraordinary cross-disciplinary expertise from faculty in sciences, professions and humanities – including Nobel Laureates – to some of the most advanced data science thinking in the world today.”

While creating a unique portfolio of data-driven research, BIDS and Accenture Applied Intelligence will offer opportunities for collaborative training exchanges and leadership initiatives. To bring creativity and innovation to how they tackle issues across industries, Accenture and BIDS will also come together to give data scientists and academic researchers the tools, skills and expertise they need.

Saul Perlmutter, BIDS Faculty Director, said, “Chief analytics officers of leading industries face the challenge of finding people who can step back from the details of computer programming and statistics to ask the important, sanity-checking questions: the data is gathered and the programs are running, but are they really answering the questions that we are trying to answer?”

He continued, “We can train people and build a more sophisticated capability that is better able to carry out that kind of critical-thinking. That is something we care about building into a university setting and a university education. And it’s also something that the world of business needs. It’s an aspect of this strategic program that I think will be very powerful.”

The program will initially focus on the following:

  • Research synergies in human health applications and collaborations in medical-image processing, artificially-intelligent microscopes, brain imaging, and cervical-cancer screening;
  • The development of new health-related solutions leveraging machine vision and deep neural network capabilities;
  • Ethical AI to explore improvements in AI assessment and governance that will help to prevent bias, discrimination, privacy violations and other unintended consequences; and
  • Social and environmental issues such as ocean/water quality, social equity and human welfare and environmental sustainability, particularly as they relate to the State of California.

Our strategic collaboration also marks an opportunity for the newly established Division of Computing, Data Science, and Society (CDSS). This brings faculty and students together to work across disciplinary boundaries at an even greater scale. Berkeley’s international standing, along with its broad commitment to excellence in data science, made the BIDS-Accenture Applied Intelligence program an especially strong fit.

"Berkeley's strategic relationship with Accenture supports our vision of working across disciplines to make progress on issues of societal significance," says Jennifer Chayes, Associate Provost of CDSS and Dean of the School of Information. "We are excited about the opportunities this presents for accelerating breakthroughs across scientific and technological frontiers to catalyze positive change."

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Pioneering the future together: Accenture Applied Intelligence and Berkeley Institute for Data Science join in new program
April 22, 2020  |  Arnab Chakraborty

Accenture Applied Intelligence word mark black



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Saul Perlmutter

Faculty Director