We foresee that data and data science will be “the great unifier” in the coming decades: seemingly disparate disciplines will share common problems and common solutions. Before this can occur, however, we need to find ways to facilitate meaningful and sustained interaction between domain and methodological experts and enhance collaborations that cross disciplinary boundaries. In addition, we need to find meaningful ways to reach the broader constituency of students and researchers who need the skills to work with modern data science tools. Physical and virtual spaces are essential to enabling these collaborations and building our data science community.
The goal of this working group is to re-create the “water cooler” where researchers from different fields can interact and discover common problems and common solutions. Also, due to the unique collaborations and events that will occur at BIDS, our goal is to create a customized―and customizable―space unlike conventional university offices and labs.
This working group focuses on creating an attractive, inviting, and highly functional space on the UC Berkeley campus. Working with our partners at the University of Washington and New York University, we will conduct a distributed experiment to explore design alternatives for a physical data science environment and will work with the Evaluation and Ethnography Working Group to understand the effects that the space has on our overarching progress. Ultimately, we will provide a portfolio of replicable best practices for designing physical data science environments at other institutions anchored in tangible examples from the three partners' experience.