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Cal Poly and UC Berkeley Receive $6 Million Grant to Enhance Collaboration in Data Science

July 7, 2015

Fernando Perez and Brian Granger discuss the architecture of Project Jupyter, a collaborative computing
software, as its scope expands to work with data science applications in over 40 programming languages.


SAN LUIS OBISPO — Cal Poly and UC Berkeley received a $6 million grant from a three-foundation partnership to further develop an open-source software that already influences the way work is done in industries ranging from genetics to finance. The software package, called Project Jupyter, makes data science more collaborative and interactive. Think Google Drive with a brain.

The new funding comes from the Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust, the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, and the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation. Fernando Perez of University of California, Berkeley, and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and Brian Granger of Cal Poly will lead the effort. Project Jupyter is the evolution of Perez and Granger’s work developing the IPython Notebook, a popular user interface for interactive computing across multiple programming languages.

“More than a million people are currently using Jupyter for everything from analyzing massive gene sequencing datasets, to processing images from the Hubble Space Telescope and developing models of financial markets,” Granger said.

The central tool the project provides is the Jupyter Notebook, a web-based platform that allows users to integrate code, plots, text, data, even video in one document and then share that document interactively with others.

 “Project Jupyter serves not only the academic and scientific communities, but also a much broader constituency of data scientists in research, education, industry and journalism,” said Perez. “Given the importance of computing across modern society, we see uses of our tools that range from high school education in programming to the nation’s supercomputing facilities and the leaders of the tech industry.”

For example, teachers, can prepare a lecture using the Notebook and then turn it into a web-based slide show presentation in which they can write code and see the results of that code in real time. Students can then use Jupyter for homework and reports.

With funding over the next three years, the capabilities of the Jupyter Notebook will be enhanced to allow technical and non-technical users easier access to collaborative computing. New developments will include the ability to reuse content, especially visualizations such as charts and graphs, in a wide range of settings from websites and blogs to mobile apps and interactive dashboards.

“We are excited by the potential of Project Jupyter to reach even wider audiences and to contribute to increased cross-disciplinary collaboration in the sciences,” said Betsy Fader, director of the Helmsley Charitable Trust’s Biomedical Research Infrastructure Program.

“Jupyter Notebook is a tool that embodies the current shift in science towards more reproducible research, which in turn enables more effective science,” said Chris Mentzel, program director at the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation. “It will enable data exploration, visualization, and analysis in a way that encourages sounds science and speeds progress.”

For more information on Project Jupyter, visit the project's website.

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