WPI Data Science researchers are exploring every aspect of this burgeoning field. Together, they innovate Data Science techniques and technologies, and their applications fuel breakthroughs that have direct, real-world impact. These state-of- the-art analytics tools allow users to explore data spurring advances in digital health, genetic analysis, educational software, financial trading, and more. Talented graduate students also have frequent opportunities for paid research positions, fellowships and industrial sponsorships. The students are privileged to participate in big data research projects and gain in-the- field experience, learning to turn raw data into actionable information.

Location: Unity Hall
Office Location: 3rd Floor, Room 366
Phone: 508-831-6220
Fax: 508-831-5776

Research Focus Areas

Faculty across disciplines work on shared research projects in data science areas as diverse as:

  • Big data and high performance analytics
  • Bioinformatics and genomic databases
  • Business intelligence and predictive analytics
  • Cryptography and cyber security
  • Data mining and knowledge discovery
  • Educational data mining
  • Financial decision-making
  • Healthcare data analytics
  • Internet big data analytics
  • Large-scale data management and infrastructures
  • Numerical and statistical data analysis
  • Optimization and prescriptive analytics
  • Signal processing and information theory
  • Social media analytics
  • Statistical and machine learning
  • Visual analytics of large data sets

Visualizing MBTA Data: An Interactive Exploration of Boston's Subway System

As part of Professor Matthew Ward's Data Visualization class, two of WPI’s brightest students, Mike Barry and Brian Card, worked on a fascinating interactive visualization project.

The exciting project, to analyze and display data released by Boston's Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority (MBTA) about its subway and real-time train location data was especially noteworthy after the winter of 2015! If you have ever ridden a subway train, anywhere in the world, you’ll love this project!

Their visual analytics tool helps people in Boston better understand transit and commute times in and out of the city.  The MBTA Visualization Project is a prime example of the power that Visual Data Analytics can offer in helping us make sense of and understand data. The MBTA Data Project is an especially exciting one as it allowed us to interactively explore public data; data that has a fundamental effect on the daily lives of Boston public transit commuters. 

Massachusetts Technology, Talent, and Economic Reporting System (MATTERS)

Nearly two dozen undergraduate, master’s, and Ph.D. students in WPI’s Data Science Program collaborated for 2 years, under the guidance of Professor Rundensteiner, to develop a novel data analytics system that could help shape economic policy in Massachusetts.

The Massachusetts Technology, Talent, and Economic Reporting System (MATTERS) is an online analytics dashboard empowered by a powerful dynamic data integration infrastructure. Extracting data sets across various public government data sites, the system allows users to quickly access, analyze and visualize a number of key factors impacting the economic competitiveness of US states.

This project is a collaboration between the Massachusetts High Technology Council (MHTC) and Worcester Polytechnic Institute. Under the supervision of Professor Elke Rundensteiner, students at WPI have worked with experts from high tech industry, research organizations, and higher education institutions developing this tool.

Research Profiles

Andrew C Trapp
Andrew C Trapp
Associate Professor, The Business School

I am Associate Professor of Operations and Industrial Engineering at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI), with courtesy professorships in Mathematical Sciences and Data Science. I hold a Ph.D. in Industrial Engineering from the University of Pittsburgh. My objective is to use science and technology to assist real human need by improving systems that serve vulnerable peoples, such as refugees and asylum seekers, survivors of human trafficking, and children in the foster care system.

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Elke A. Rundensteiner
Elke A. Rundensteiner
Professor, Computer Science, Program Head, Data Science, Computer Science

As founding Head of the interdisciplinary Data Science program here at WPI, I take great pleasure in doing all in my power to support the Data Science community in all its facets from research collaborations, and new educational initiatives to our innovative industry-sponsored and mentored Graduate Qualifying projects at the graduate level.

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Randy Clinton Paffenroth
Randy Clinton Paffenroth
Associate Professor, Mathematical Sciences

My research focuses on compressed sensing, machine learning, signal processing, and the interaction between mathematics, computer science and software engineering. My interests range from theoretical results to algorithms for tackling practical applied problems, and I enjoy problems most when mathematical results lead to efficient software implementations for big data. I am looking forward to working with students at all levels and backgrounds who share an interest in mathematics, software, or data.

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Xiangnan Kong
Xiangnan Kong
Associate Professor, Computer Science

Professor Kong’s research interests focus on data mining and machine learning, with emphasis on addressing the data science problems in biomedical and social applications. Data today involves an increasing number of data types that need to be handled differently from conventional data records, and an increasing number of data sources that need to be fused together. Dr. Kong is particularly interested in designing algorithms to tame data variety issues in various research fields, such as biomedical research, social computing, neuroscience, and business intelligence.

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PARAS: Parameter Space-Based Association Rule Mining

The PARAS technology, released as freeware, takes the guesswork out of determining optimal parameter settings for data mining by enabling interactive rule exploration over big data sets using successive parameter settings in near real time.

Making Sense of Data Streams on the Fly

Elke Rundensteiner, Ph.D. is working to develop novel techniques for extracting information from large-scale distributed databases on the fly.


Finding Patterns that Can Improve Sleep

Carolina Ruiz, Ph.D. develops algorithms related to sleep and lack of sleep that can optimally help us be more rested and refreshed.


Predictive Analytics for a Smarter Future

Michael Radzicki, professor of social science and policy studies at WPI, mines big data sets to make predictions about future events or behaviors—a process known as predictive analytics.