Spotlight: TGDA Update


Since 2014, researchers in our department have been working together with Ohio State statisticians and computer scientists in a leading-edge multidisciplinary data-science research collaboration. Our research team was among the first in the nation to receive funding from a new National Science Foundation (NSF) initiative to accelerate data science and discovery through such collaborative efforts.

In 2017 the TGDA@OSU team ( received a three-year, $1.5 million grant supporting the research project, TRIPODS Phase I: Topology, Geometry, and Data Analysis (TGDA@OSU): Discovering Structure, Shape, and Dynamics in Data.

TGDA PresentationLed by Computer Science and Engineering (CSE) and Mathematics Professor Tamal Dey, the team included co-investigators Mathematics Professor Matthew Kahle; Statistics Associate Professor Sebastian Kurtek; Mathematics and CSE Associate Professor Facundo Memoli; Statistics and Mathematics Associate Professor David Sivakoff; and CSE Professor Yusu Wang.

The researchers worked towards discovering, modeling and revealing the structure, shape and underlying dynamics of big and complex data, using algorithms based on geometric and topological approaches. During Phase I several research threads were advanced: for example the mathematical modeling of collective via a combination of algebraic topology and geometric tools, algorithmic aspects of the computation of minimal homology bases, and methods for the analysis of asymmetric networks,  with applications to medicine, materials science, sociology and neuroscience.

The TRIPODS Phase I cohort consisted of 12 different centers ( and only those centers were deemed eligible to apply for Phase II funding which will permit up to three Phase I centers to increase their activity levels and become institutes through five-year grants of roughly 5 million eac

In early 2020, the TGDA@OSU group submitted a proposal for becoming a Phase II TRIPODS institute jointly with researchers from Purdue.

Their findings could have real-world applications in a wide range of fields that include medicine, machine learning, geographic information systems, mechanical engineering designs, political science, materials science, network science, and neuroscience. Project results will be implemented and disseminated via software packages and tutorials to facilitate widespread application both in academia and industry.

The TGDA@OSU TRIPODS team is well-positioned to translate their research to develop curricula for cross-disciplinary, undergraduate and graduate education on the foundations of data analytics. Ohio State’s Translational Data Analytics Institute, Mathematical Biosciences Institute and Data Analytics undergraduate major provide opportunities for immediate applications and partnerships. Additionally, the grant funds STEM outreach, research seminars, training workshops and summer schools.

A promotional video with a description of their research can be found at

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