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Jerry Chen

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When growing up in the central part of China, Jerry wanted to become a scientist to understand the world. Being a fast learner with strong curiosity, he skipped three grades and was enrolled to the special class for the gifted young (SCGY) at the University of Science and Technology of China (USTC). During college, Jerry was attracted by the interdisciplinary major Chemical Physics which studied chemical processes from the point of view of physics. The interdisciplinary nature possessed the great potential of revealing interesting phenomena inaccessible to the individual fields and facilitated the attack on complex problems by borrowing ideas from multiple fields.

Later, Jerry went to the “big apple” New York to pursue a Ph.D. degree in Chemical Physics from Columbia University. His studies focused on the understanding of novel nanomaterials and their application in renewable energy. With the aid of time-series spectroscopy data, modeling, and first-principle calculations, Jerry was able to separate pattern from noise and identify spectroscopy features to probe the underlying dynamics and mechanism. Upon graduation, Jerry relocated to the “peach state” Georgia, to continue scientific training as a postdoc.

Data serves as basic building blocks to understand ourselves and the world surrounding us. Nowadays, data science and AI are experiencing tremendous attention. They are no longer exclusive tools in the hands of the high-tech world, but are revolutionizing other industries as well, just like the “new electricity”, beautifully said by AI visionary Andrew Ng. To embrace tons of opportunity and make an impact in this transforming era, Jerry is transitioning to the field by taking advantage of the problem-solving skills developed during his rigorous scientific training. He is keen to apply fundamental concepts of data science to approach real-world data and foster practical skills involving data-analytic thinking. The delicately designed courses and real industry projects in the MSiA program will position Jerry well to engage in the exciting age of big data.