Astronomers Turned Data Scientists (ATDS) 2021 Meeting

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This is the third annual Astronomers Turned Data Scientists (ATDS) Splinter Meeting. This Splinter Meeting came from a desire to create a more cohesive community among former astronomers who are currently working with big data in industry and between ATDS and current astronomers (especially those who use data science tools and techniques in their research, as well as those who might be interested in transitioning from academia into a data-related career).

The meeting will take place during the Virtual AAS 2021 Winter meeting on Tuesday, January 12, in the ATDS Breakout Zoom Room within the Career Center Zoom Room (courtesy of the AAS Committee on Employment & Career Services).

The Splinter Meeting will consist of a series of talks and discussion sessions that cover a wide range of topics aimed at ATDS who are currently working as data scientists (or in data-adjacent roles) in industry. The schedule (which can be found below) will include mostly technical talks by data scientists, but we also plan to include some career-related presentations from ATDS as well (aspects of which might be more applicable to current data scientists and aspects of which might be more applicable to prospective data scientists).

In addition, networking and recruiting among the current data scientists and prospective data scientists will be strongly encouraged. To this end we will have ample time for networking during our Splinter Meeting and many of our attendees and presenters will participate in various AAS Career Services events throughout the AAS Meeting. More info about recruiting and other data-related and career-related events at the AAS Meeting can be found below.

We also plan to have an official (virtual) evening event for ATDS attendees after the main ATDS meeting on the evening of January 12.

If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to contact us at Astro2Data{at}gmail{dot}com and we look forward to seeing you in January!

Jeffrey Silverman (Samba TV)
Josh Miller (Discord)

Meeting Info

In order to strengthen the connection between the AAS and former members, the AAS created the Alumni Affiliate membership class. The 2021 membership dues are $106 and one qualifies for this membership if they "have left the astronomical sciences or related fields but would like to retain a connection to the AAS community". Furthermore, "prior AAS membership at the Full, Associate, or Junior (dues-paying student) level is desired, but not required". Note that it takes a few days for an Alumni Affiliate application to be processed, and you will receive an email confirmation and member ID once your membership is approved. If you have any questions regarding AAS membership, please contact Diane Frendak.

Once someone is an Alumni Affiliate member of the AAS (and has their valid member ID), they can register for the AAS Winter Meeting at the reduced rate of $149 (this is in addition to the membership fee mentioned above). You must register for the AAS Meeting in order to attend the ATDS Splinter Meeting, but the registration does include all aspects of the AAS Meeting, not just the ATDS Splinter Meeting. Note that meeting registration is $473 for non-members.

Talks & Schedule


The talks will take place on Tuesday, January 12, in the ATDS Breakout Zoom Room within the Career Center Zoom Room. All talks will be 25 minutes total (including Q&A). Click here for more information about the speakers and their talks, including the full abstracts.

A recording of the entire event (talks, discussion sessions, and the evening event) can be found here.

Speaker Title
Ben Nelson Meta, a research discovery tool for the biomedical sciences
Dan Caselden Brown Dwarfs or Bad Guys? Leveraging Machine Learning to Find Oddities
Genevieve Graves Start Up, Consultant, or Big Company?
Jessica Kirkpatrick Treasure Hunting with Machine Learning
Julia Silge Data visualization for real world machine learning
Taka Tanaka Building and Managing a Data Team in the Year 2020


The scientific program for the entire AAS Meeting can be found here or here. The ATDS schedule avoids Plenary and Prize Talks and includes ample time for virtual networking and open discussions.

Event Time (ET)
AAS Plenary Lecture 10:50am - 11:50am
ATDS Welcome Remarks 01:00pm - 01:05pm
Talk Session 1 (J. Kirkpatrick, D. Caselden) 01:05pm - 01:55pm
Break 01:55pm - 02:05pm
Talk Session 2 (B. Nelson, J. Silge) 02:05pm - 02:55pm
Open Discussion 1: The Most (& Least) Useful Things to do While in Academia for Success in the Job Market 02:55pm - 03:10pm
Break for AAS Plenary Lecture 03:10pm - 04:10pm
Open Discussion 1 (continued) 04:15pm - 04:30pm
Talk Session 3 (G. Graves, T. Tanaka) 04:30pm - 05:20pm
Open Discussion 2: The Data/Tech Job Market in 2021 05:20pm - 05:50pm
AAS Plenary Lecture 05:50pm - 06:40pm
Official Evening Event (see below) 06:45pm - 07:30pm

Official Evening Event

Tuesday, January 12, 6:45pm - 7:30pm ET

We're super excited to have Paul Hsu, friend of ATDS and the co-owner and head bartender of Reeves bar in San Francisco hosting a Cocktail Making Class for us this evening.
We'll be learning how to make 2 drinks tonight (both have alcoholic and non-alcoholic versions): The Continental and Be My Maybe. Click the links to each drink to see what ingredients and tools you'll need to make them along with Paul!

Related AAS Meeting Events

Throughout the AAS meeting there are a variety of events and activities that are related to Big Data, Data Science, and Careers/Recruiting (for both academic and non-academic positions). Some of these events include:

Please contact the ATDS organizers if you'd like further information on any of the above events.

Related Workshops Include: