Varada Kolhatkar, Acting Co-Director and Assistant Professor of Teaching, MDS Vancouver
"With a large amount of data available in different disciplines and powerful technology at our fingertips, it is tempting to throw data and technology at problems without deeper understanding of them. This way we easily end up with misleading interpretations of the data. This program teaches you how to interpret your data responsibly and answer data-related questions in a principled way, without ignoring the limitations of the technology or the data."
Varada Kolhatkar was born and raised in Pune, India, where she completed her undergraduate degree in Computer Science. After working in industry for two years in India, she pursued her Master’s degree from the University of Minnesota Duluth and a Ph.D. degree from the University of Toronto, both in Computer Science, specializing in Computational Linguistics. Before moving to UBC, Varada spent two years at Simon Fraser University as a post-doctoral fellow, where she developed datasets and computational tools that will help keep online communities engaged in constructive discussions. Varada has diverse experience of working in industry as well as in academia with different universities, countries, and cultures. She joined MDS in October 2018 as a teaching and research postdoctoral fellow. For Varada, learning and sharing knowledge are deeply satisfying practices, expressions of who we are and what we can achieve as human beings and her goal as a teacher is to instill this satisfaction in learning and sharing knowledge by encouraging learners to challenge, to discover, to try out new things, and to think about something in a way they had never thought before.