Future bright: SA data scientist awarded scholarship to study at MIT in Massachusetts

By Lynn Cameron

Since the doors to the MIT bigdata Living Lab opened in Adelaide in 2019, some of the brightest South Australian minds have come together to collaborate on ways to drive the state’s economic and population growth.

And now that collaboration has re-crossed the Pacific Ocean, with the export of one of South Australia’s brightest young minds to MIT’s Cambridge, Massachusetts, campus in September. Twenty-three-year-old data scientist Tobin South has joined the MIT Media Lab (nicknamed the Star Fleet Academy) for a five-year placement as a doctoral student under the tutelage of Professor Alex “Sandy” Pentland, professor of media arts and sciences and hailed as the father of modern social physics.

South’s connection with the MIT bigdata Living Lab arose while working on his Master of Philosophy in Applied Mathematics and Data Science at The University of Adelaide, focusing on using mathematical tools to understand misinformation in social media. A component of his studies required collaborating with local scientists and researchers on diverse projects. “One of those collaborations was with the MIT bigdata Living Lab at Lot Fourteen, a mixing pot where minds can come together and work on interesting problems, and in particular use data to add value back into the state,” he says.

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