The term ‘Data Science’ was first coined by Google, and like Google, Data Science has taken off! Corporations are overwhelmed by a firehose of data that they don't have the capability to sort, manage or interpret. They are faced with a critical shortage of Data Scientists who can synthesize huge amounts of information from multiple sources, derive new insights, convert data into actionable information, and articulate their findings.

With its long history of research in data management, statistics, and business analytics, WPI is one of a handful of universities ready to prepare graduates for the challenges of this rapidly expanding field. The program brings together a trifecta faculty mentors from computer science, mathematics, and business. Combined with our community of student scholars from all over the world, we have a team of visionary leaders and researchers prepared to contribute important insights that will change the way we live, how we work, and our interaction with the world around us.

Data Science GQP Team - IBM Submits First Patent for Data Science

The Data Science program is proud to announce that IBM lawyers have submitted the very first patent application to the U.S. Patent Office behalf of a GQP team. IBM gives this disclosure its full support and is confident we will see it registered within the next few years.

The exciting new disclosure relates to event planning and management, a multi-million dollar, international industry that includes events of all sizes, from the Olympics to a small religious ceremony. 

Selecting the best date and time for an event, one that guarantees the highest attendance rate determines the difference between success and failure for the organizers, the guests of honor, and the occasion. Instead of a guessing game, this new invention relies on cognitive learning to direct organizers to the prime time and date for a concert, conference, convention, festival, wedding or any number of organized programs where good attendance is paramount. 

If a planned gathering does not have excellent attendance, the organizers look incompetent.  They will lose profits or contributions, and future business will be lost, along with their reputation. When planning begins, one of the first considerations is to determine the best time and date for the gathering; one that will draw the most significant number of attendees. Organizers must ascertain what other occasions or holidays, religious or otherwise, are previously scheduled so as not to cause a conflict.

In this new application, a computer-implemented method is used to select an optimal date to maximize attendance. It uses a data processing system that takes event data, including at least one location, a range of times, characteristics of the target audience, and attributes of the scheduled function.  The data processing system retrieves web search data, social media data, forecasted weather data and traffic predictions corresponding to the input data.  

The data processing system analyzes the data to determine a set of optimal dates that promise to maximize attendance of the intended audience at the planned event.  The data processing system ranks the defined set of the ideal times for the scheduled event based on weights assigned to each of the attributes of the audience and the characteristics of the scheduled event.  

Prof. Andy Trapp Wins NSF Grant to Help Fight Human Trafficking

Trapp and Konrad
Renata Konrad and Andrew Trapp

   The National Science Foundation Research at WPI

   Aimed at Disrupting Human Trafficking Networks

                   Researchers in the Robert A. Foisie Business School uses data analytics and operations research
to uncover the illicit supply chains that support traffickers.

October 2, 2018

With a one-year, $145,000 award from the National Science Foundation (NSF), researchers in the Foisie Business School at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) will explore how analytical tools commonly used in industry can be employed to attack human trafficking networks worldwide by ferreting out the supply chains that sustain them. The grant is one of nine early concept awards recently announced by the NSF as part of a concerted effort to detect, disable, and disrupt illicit supply networks.

“Human trafficking is a critical problem throughout the world,” said principal investigator Renata Konrad, associate professor in the Foisie Business School. “While trafficking activity is supported by illicit supply chains that are hidden from sight and not well understood, we believe we can use operations research and data analytics tools to detect these supply chains and thus help disrupt the trafficking networks.”

Worldwide, tens of millions of people are believed to be victims of human trafficking. Victims are forced into slavery for commercial sex, as beggars and child soldiers, as domestic workers such as housekeepers and nannies, or as factory workers and laborers in manufacturing, construction, mining, commercial fishing, food service, agricultural, and other industries. Human trafficking generates an estimated $150 billion annually in illegal profits and is one of the largest sources of profit for global organized crime, second only to illicit drugs.

Through the grant, titled “A Data Analytic Approach to Understanding Human Trafficking Networks,” Konrad and colleagues will also lay the foundation to develop techniques to help anti-trafficking agencies better prioritize their limited resources for the greatest impact by targeting areas most affected by traffickers.

Konrad will work with co-principal investigators Andrew Trapp, associate professor in the Foisie Business School; Kayse Lee Maass, assistant professor of mechanical and industrial engineering at Northeastern University; Meredith Dank, a research professor at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice; and Jeffrey Blom, vice president of justice operations at Love Justice International. The team will also include graduate students in WPI’s Data Science program.

The team will study border control and transit center interception data to identify key aspects of labor and sex trafficking networks from the perspective of traffickers and victims. They will analyze similarities and key differences with traditional supply chain networks using data analysis and operational tools, which will be developed and evaluated by a transdisciplinary team of operations research, data science, human trafficking, and law enforcement experts.

The methods developed will combine data science and social science approaches to account for regional, cultural, and population differences.

The nine EArly-concept Grant for Exploratory Research (EAGER) awards recently announced by NSF will “advance scientific understanding of how such illicit supply networks function—and how to dismantle them,” according to the NSF. The awards leverage fundamental research, “taking an engineering systems-based approach made far more powerful by the integration of other scientific disciplines.” The NSF’s Engineering, Social, Behavioral, and Economic Sciences, and Computer and Information Science and Engineering directorates jointly supported the awards.

Media Contact

Alison Duffy
Director of Public Relations
Worcester Polytechnic Institute
Worcester, Massachusetts; 508-831-6656

$2.8 Million to Help Soldiers Suffering from Traumatic Brain Injury

WPI Secures $2.8 Million to Develop a Smartphone App to Help Assess the Health of Soldiers

The project, funded by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), aims to use “smartphone biomarkers” and machine learning to create an early warning system for soldiers and veterans who may be suffering from traumatic brain injuries and infectious diseases.

WPI Computer Science professors Emmanuel Agu, faculty director for WPI’s Healthcare Delivery Institute, and Elke Rundensteiner, director of the university’s Data Science Program, are developing the new technology. The $2.8 million award from DARPA comes through its Warfighter Analytics Using Smartphones for Health (WASH) program.

The goal of WASH is to create a mobile application that passively and continuously assesses a soldier’s health. The goal is to detect potentially severe illnesses at the earliest stage and direct soldiers toward care. The system will not replace typical medical assessments, but will augment them by detecting problems outside of scheduled clinical appointments. The app will help flag small problems before they impair the health of soldiers and before infectious diseases spread through a squadron.

 “Our team will research and develop machine learning algorithms that tap into smartphone sensors to passively collect data about behaviors that we know are related to certain health issues. This will enable continuous, real-time assessment of TBI and infectious diseases afflicting soldiers, who can then be contacted by a clinician to assess their status.”

The Department of Defense (DOD), estimates 22% of all combat casualties from Iraq and Afghanistan suffer brain injuries. “Detecting changes in behavior patterns is critical for early identification of health concerns and unique health care needs, even before the illness fully manifests itself,” Agu said. “We can look for symptoms like slurred speech or reduced communication and social interaction. These may indicate a TBI. Coughing and fatigued movement, typical of some infectious diseases, can trigger help earlier.” 

 “By processing data captured by the smartphones of 100,000 patients, we will determine the precise health status of individual smartphone users in near real-time,” said Rundensteiner. “The technology we are creating through WASH will uncover predictive patterns in massive data sets and is bound to be transformative. The resulting smartphone sensor data set to be created through the DARPA WASH project will be one of the largest of its kind, representing a significant value and critical resource in its own right.”


Data Science's Rosemarie Day wins Intel-AI-interplanetary challenge!

Talking about the Data Science minor in campus center

ds minor on campus


Degrees & Certificates

Area of Study Bachelor Minor Certificate Master PhD

2018 Data Science Graduates




Kyumin Lee
Kyumin Lee

Kyumin Lee, Ph.D., a recent hire to the Data Science faculty, has won an NSF Career Award as well as an award from GOOGLE!

His research Topics are:
Career: Tracking, Revealing and Detecting Crowdsourced Manipulation

We are very happy to have Kyumin join the Data Science faculty.


In the News

The Worcester Business Journal reported on work by computer science professors Emmanuel Agu and Elke Rundensteiner to develop a smartphone app to help assess the health of soldiers. 

Worcester Business Journal

Data science student Rosemarie Day won Intel’s AI Interplanetary Challenge as reported by Venture Beat. She proposed a computer vision system that tapped satellite imagery to give a detailed look at how Earth is changing over time.

Venture Beat

Data Science in Research Magazine

Digital Health 


Professor Elke Rundensteiner

Professor Carolina Ruiz

Professor Diane Strong

& Other WPI Faculty

Professor Rundensteiner quoted in TechTarget

Skills and Temperament Drive Success in Cloud-based Data Science

Fearlessness, curiosity, and mastery of statistics are keys to data science success, says Elke Rundensteiner, director of WPI’s Data Science program.

STEM Degree Program

WPI’s Data Science program is a 
Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM)-designated degree program. Its Classification of Instructional Programs (CIP) Code is 30.0801, indicating it has a Mathematics and Computer Science focus.

A Successful Series of Data Science GQP Projects with Our Sponsor Pfizer Corporation

In Great Company: WPI + Pfizer, Inc.

Facts & Figures


Best Career Placement

Princeton Review (2019)

Mid-Career Salary earning potential of Master's students (2016)
Top 100

Best Colleges 

U.S. News & World Report (2016)

The U.S. government has recognized the importance of STEM education by offering certain privileges to STEM degree recipients who are foreign nationals, including a 24-month extension of Optional Practical Training (OPT).  Nearly all of WPI’s graduate programs are eligible for this extension, including data science, information technology, and operations analytics and management. Learn more about the STEM OPT Hub.

Technological advances in devices, software, networking, and other technologies have given rise to digital data rich in variety, volume, velocity, and complexity.
Elke Rundensteiner
Professor, Computer Science
Director of the Data Science Graduate Programs