Data can be collected from various sources, while the amount of available data from various industries is beyond what can be imagined ten years ago. There has been a significant increase in the scale and complexity of available and analysable data, and this concerns every aspect of society – e.g., healthcare, businesses, public security, scientific discovery and public policies – and leads to unprecedented demands for relevant personnel around the world, such as data engineers, data scientists, statisticians, and data analysts who are able to translate data into evidence-based solutions.
Data can assist in our discovery of regularities and our development of innovative solutions. However, our capacity in extracting value from the existing data is limited by the lack of expertise and technology. Data processing requires specialised skills and tools, and inevitably leads to thorny issues such as privacy, security and ethics. Data science is an emerging and increasingly important discipline.
Centre for Data Science (CDS) is committed to training a new generation of data scientists, conducting various interdisciplinary research on data, promoting in-depth exploration of knowledge and establishing predicative mechanisms and models to guide the applications of data science in all levels of human life, with the aim of enhancing the development of new technology industries and contributing to the society. CDS will play a key role in conducting interdisciplinary research and promoting scientific and technological progress. It will actively explore innovative ways for cooperation and develop new technologies for data collection and analysis in order to provide solutions to the pressing problems in the related areas of the society.
In support of the implementation of the Macao SAR Government’s policy concerning technological innovation and the establishment of an innovation network between research and industry, CDS will be dedicated to creating a platform for promoting new types of cooperation, introducing new scientific paradigms, and using data to meet social challenges. It will carry out interdisciplinary research, train top-notch talents, assisting Macao to grow into a world centre for tourism and leisure. Here are a few examples of the research activities:
There has been significant controversy over data ownership and privacy in big data studies. It is a major challenge for the scientific community and society as a whole to gain an understanding of how to make effective and ethical use of large amounts of data. CDS will collaborate with researchers in the fields of law and information technology to jointly study the role of technology in the protection and management of privacy and develop relevant technologies as well as policies for privacy protection.
Developing new targeted therapy drugs for the treatment of diseases, i.e., precision medicine, requires the collection and sharing of large amounts of data. The treatment of rare diseases and common cancers relies not only on conducting new research but also on connecting researchers’ existing data. CDS will serve as a platform that integrates health science, technology and drug research.
The Macao SAR Government attaches great importance to the development of Chinese medicine, while big data is of great significance to the study of Chinese medicine. CDS will not only provide a technical platform for the research on traditional Chinese medicine and the development of the pharmaceutical industry, but also promote the integration of traditional Chinese medicine and modern science and technology.
The Macao SAR’s five-year development plan includes the development of featured financial industries. Financial technology is an economic industry composed of enterprises that use technology to improve the efficiency of their financial services. The industry uses big data to provide new solutions, and this demonstrates the innovative development of applications, processes, products and business models in the financial services industry. CDS will assist in the development of featured financial industries through data analysis and research.
Suggested Postgraduate Programmes
Master Programme in Data Science
A Masters programme on data science is proposed to be offered by the Centre for Data Science. The programme features a multi-disciplinary curriculum that draws on insights across a range of disciplines and prepare students to be able to extract information from real-world data sets using the latest tools and analytical methods as well as to interpret and communicate their findings in ways that change people’s minds and behaviour.
By utilising the resources of FST, FHS, ICMS, FBA and FLL, the Institute may offer, at the initial stage, a programme with the following three specialisations: Machine Learning, Precision Medicine and Internet Finance, while the specific directions and implementation will be determined.
Machine Learning: Machine Learning is a key technology in Big Data, and has been widely used in financial, medical, commercial, and scientific application systems. It enables computational systems to build experience from the data collected and adaptively improve their performance. This programme balances theory and practice, covering both mathematical knowledge and heuristic learning. Students will learn how to use data patterns to make decisions and predictions. They will also learn how to prepare data, deal with missing data and create customer-tailored data analysis solutions for different industries.
Precision Medicine: Developing new, tailor-made treatments for patients requires the collection and sharing of large amounts of data. Treatment of rare diseases or common cancers requires new research, while existing data must also be correlated and integrated. Students will learn how to collect and analyse data, study effective treatments, and make better decisions and predictions. The Centre will also provide a platform for research in the fields of health sciences, technology and medicine.
Internet Finance: The development of the financial sector presents an important part in the Macao SAR’s Five-Year Plan (2016-2020). Financial technology (FinTech) refers to an economic industry comprising of companies that use technology to improve the efficiency of financial services. FinTech uses big data to provide new solutions that innovatively, or even radically, improve application systems, processes, products and business modes of the financial services industry.