Better predicting future outcomes
For UBC statistician Jeff Andrews, data science isn’t just about numbers, computers and programming. It’s an all-encompassing language that can translate knowledge in almost every field of study and professional practice.
Andrews leads students through methods to quantify all sorts of information, everything from text documents and images, to chemical properties, physical properties or consumer preferences. Students gain computer-programming skills and achieve insight into modern statistical methods.
“I think students will be surprised by the breadth of computational techniques at their disposal. We guide students to use these tools properly in order to draw useful conclusions and make accurate predictions.”
Associate Professor, Statistics
Personalizing medicine treatments
In partnership with the BC Cancer Agency, UBC Okanagan researchers are uncovering why some patients fall ill from radiation therapy while other patients do not.
“The goal is personalized medicine. We are collecting data and studying why some patients get very sick from radiation. We want to know why these patients’ bodies react this way and if there’s a mechanistic basis to this reaction.
“Our philosophy is if there is something about you that we can measure, something that tells us you are going to be sensitive to radiation, then we can tailor your treatment accordingly. Essentially, physicians and physicists would be armed with patient information to predict this outcome and can spare the patient of any sickness.”
Assistant Professor, Medical Physics
Integrating math into solutions
UBC Okanagan’s Centre for Optimization, Convex Analysis & Nonsmooth Analysis (COCANA) is a place where faculty members and students from several different disciplines connect to conduct world-class research.
“We are a very cohesive group. Students can be co-supervised by faculty members across math, computer science and statistics. The real benefit is that all members are not identical in their focus and expertise.
“We specialize in different applied and theoretical approaches, but we all connect and work together to come up with unique solutions to problems.”
COCANA has attracted top students, post-docs and professors from all over the world, including Brazil, China, France, Israel, the U.S. and Vietnam.
CENTRES, INSTITUTES, AND LABS
Our labs and centres form the foundation of our research efforts, where our faculty work with a number of community and industry partners to advance knowledge and practice in the field of quantitative sciences, and provide hands-on research and learning opportunities for students.
UBC’s Okanagan campus is now an official site of the Banff International Research Station for Mathematical Innovation and Discovery (BIRS). Several BIRS events will be hosted on the UBC campus in Kelowna, primarily in the summer months, starting in 2021. Ten research workshops in a variety of areas in mathematics, computer science, statistics and theoretical physics are being scheduled into the period from May through August.
The medical physics laboratory is a multi-user facility with research interests in radiation oncology medical physics. Research programs include: understanding normal and tumour tissue response to radiation; determining predictors of radiation sensitivity and injury; and the development of 3D radiation dosimetry systems.
OCANA CoLab is part of the Centre for Optimization, Convex Analysis and Nonsmooth Analysis (COCANA), which performs fundamental research in convex and nonsmooth analysis and transfers the results to industry by solving practical industrial problems with a focus on commercial applications. COCANA researchers are mathematicians, computer scientists and engineers who apply state-of-the-art optimization techniques to solve real-life problems and provide our industrial partners an edge over their competition. OCANA CoLab allows research collaboration on-site or remotely. We routinely host seminars with researchers participating from the Pacific Northwest and abroad (e.g. Newcastle, Australia).
CA² Lab is part of the Centre for Optimization, Convex Analysis and Nonsmooth Analysis (COCANA), which performs fundamental research in convex and nonsmooth analysis and transfers the results to industry by solving practical industrial problems with a focus on commercial applications. COCANA researchers are mathematicians, computer scientists and engineers who apply state-of-the-art optimization techniques to solve real-life problems and provide our industrial partners an edge over their competition. We leverage industry-sponsored funding with grants from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council and MITACS, thereby more than doubling our partners’ investment in research. We have many man-years of experience in optimization and operations research applied to engineering and health science and are always looking for new partners.
The database research Group led by Ramon Lawrence studies how to store, find, and organize data efficiently. Current projects include databases for environmental monitoring and sensor networks, database tuning and optimization, and databases for embedded systems, cell phones, and flash drives. The database research group focuses on all practical applications of data management.
The Distributed Database Laboratory performs applied research into data management challenges for relational, NoSQL, and BigData systems. Researchers and developers are engaged in projects on small-scale sensor and embedded databases and large-scale BigData projects for the Industrial Internet. Our expertise includes software engineering, system development, and consulting. We have worked with Fortune 500 companies including GE, and our research group specializes in database integration and implementation design and software development.
The Okanagan Institute for Biodiversity, Resilience, and Ecosystem Services (BRAES) is a group of over 30 faculty members and their graduate students working in ecology, biodiversity and conservation, and environmental sustainability on UBC’s Okanagan Campus. BRAES’ special strength is its multidisciplinary focus, with members from departments of biology, mathematics and statistics, literary and cultural studies, earth and environmental sciences, physical geography, economics and creative arts.
The Applied Micro and Nanosystems Facility (AMNF) is a class-100 micro/nanofabrication facility located at UBC’s Okanagan campus. The facility has microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) fabrication capabilities for thin-film deposition, photolithography, chemical processing, electronic prototyping and laser micromilling. The multi-user facility supports numerous areas of applied sciences.
Okanagan Digital Microfluidics Laboratory at University of British Columbia conducts research on control, fabrication and modeling of Digital Microfluidic biochips. Digital microfluidic devices provide a new technology platform for controlled motion of small fluid volumes.
Although wildfire is a natural and important characteristic of forestry ecology, current climate and migration patterns appear to be leading towards an increased risk of fire within the wildland-urban interface. Fire managers across Canada have grappled with strategic resource management issues related to suppression and mitigation of wildfire for decades, and in recent years, they have turned to statistical modellers in order to assess the uncertainties and risk to both human life and property. With improved predictive models of fire behaviour, provincial fire management agencies can hope to achieve more efficient allocation of scarce fire suppression resources. The Data Visualization Laboratory contains the computing infrastructure needed to enable Data Scientists at UBC Okanagan to develop software tools, both static and mobile, for use by fire managers in real time and for long term strategic planning. While fire science is a major priority for the lab, as a Data Science facility, it is also be set up to handle data visualization and modelling problems arising in other areas, most notably, quality assurance applications arising in computational medical physics through collaborations with the BC Cancer Agency.
Accelerator Physics & Dosimetry
Investigating particle and photon beams and their mutual interactions with the goal of developing novel accelerators or radiation devices.
Algorithm Design & Analysis
Designing algorithms to solve different types of problems in the branch of computer science and information technology.
Creating intelligent machines that work and react like humans. Some of the activities computers with artificial intelligence are designed for include: speech recognition and learning.
Examining the theory, experimentation, and engineering that form the basis for the design and use of computers. This research studies algorithms that process, store, and communicate digital information.
Using scientific methods, processes, algorithms and systems to extract knowledge and insights from data in various forms, both structured and unstructured, similar to data mining.
High Precision Radiotherapy
Evaluating high precision methods in radiation oncology to enable an optimal and fast translation of these methods into clinical application.
Researching the design and use of computer technology, focused on the interfaces between people and computers. Researchers in the field of HCI both observe the ways in which humans interact with computers and design technologies that let humans interact with computers in novel ways.
Creating visual representations of the interior of a body for clinical analysis and medical intervention, as well as visual representation of the function of some organs or tissues (physiology).
Number Theory & Algebra
Using the techniques of abstract algebra to study the integers, rational numbers, and their generalizations.
Finding a minimum (or a maximum) of a function subject to constraints. Optimization problems are of fundamental importance in mathematics, computer science, engineering and related areas. In applications, solutions of optimization problems may correspond to optimal scheduling assignments, optimal treatment plans for radiation therapy, and optimal investment strategies.
Social Network Models
Investigating social structures through the use of networks and graph theory. This research characterizes networked structures in terms of nodes (individual actors, people, or things within the network) and the ties, edges, or links (relationships or interactions) that connect them.
Statistics & Probability
Exploring the study of chance and how data is handled using different analysis techniques and collection methods.
Opportunities for Undergraduates
The Department of Computer Science, Mathematics, Physics and Statistics offers many opportunities for undergraduate students to gain valuable research experience. You can participate in research through Directed Studies and/or Honours opportunities. Or consider a Capstone Project, where you can work with a team of students to develop software for an actual client. Explore your options and apply below.
The position: Carry out your own research project under the supervision of a faculty member. Opportunities include, but are not limited to, supervised reading, participation in a seminar, and one or more programming projects. With different topics, this course may be taken twice for credit.
You can earn three or six credits for the project, depending upon if they register for a one-term or two-term option.
Prerequisites: Third-year standing and the permission of the department head.
The opportunity: Capstone projects allow students in computer science to gain real-world experience developing software for an actual client. Students must produce a comprehensive report and deliver a formal presentation.
Prerequisites: Refer to the Academic Calendar for the most up-to-date prerequisites specific to computer science capstone projects.
The position: Students will undertake a research project as agreed upon by the student, supervising faculty member, and department head. A written thesis and a public presentation (poster or seminar) are required.
You can earn three or six credits for the project, depending upon if they register for a one-term or two-term option.
Prerequisites: Fourth-year standing; admission to the BA or BSc Computer Science Honours Program; and permission of the department head.
Awards for Undergraduates
The Undergraduate Research Awards (URA) and the NSERC Undergraduate Student Research Awards (USRA) provide exceptional research experiences for students at UBC’s Okanagan campus.
The purpose of the awards is to encourage undergraduate students to pursue innovative and original research as part of their learning experience.
Our Partners and Donors
Together, we are making a difference, locally and around the world. Our partners and donors allow us to carry out our mission of helping the community, making advancements in research, and providing quality education in the field of computer science, mathematics, physics and statistics.
If you are interested in becoming a partner or donor, we would love to hear from you.