DSI Updates – March 2023


Welcome Onn Shehory

We are thrilled to announce that Professor Onn Shehory has taken over the role of Director of the Data Science Institute. Professor Shehory has an impressive track record of research in artificial intelligence, multi-agent systems, and machine learning, and we are excited to see him bring his expertise to the Institute.

As Director, Professor Shehory will lead the Institute in its mission to advance the understanding and application of data science. His vision for the Institute is to continue building a strong research community that produces cutting-edge research in data science, fosters collaboration with industry partners, and trains the next generation of data scientists.

We would also like to take a moment to express our deep gratitude to Professor Ido Dagan for his significant contributions as Director. During his tenure, Professor Dagan has led the Institute to new heights and spearheaded initiatives that have had a lasting impact on the field of data science. We are immensely grateful for his leadership, dedication, and passion for data science.

With Professor Shehory at the helm, we are excited for the future of the Data Science Institute and the continued advancements in the field of data science. Please join us in welcoming Professor Shehory to his new role and in thanking Professor Dagan for his exceptional service to the Institute.

Welcome Yoel Shitrit

We would also like to welcome Yoel Shitrit who has recently joined the DSI and is responsible for managing the computing services offered by the Institute. Yoel has a rich IT background of over 25 years serving as technical leader and manager in multiple global and multinational companies. Yoel completed the CIO senior management course at the Technion and is studying for a Bachelor’s degree in Law (LL.B ) at College of Management.

Yoel will be working closely with BIU’s ICT Dept., the DSI members and the numerous users of the DSI cluster to improve the Institute’s offerings and services. 


Reminder: All past and upcoming events are posted on the DSI website.

Upcoming Events

DSI Dinner – March 13, 2023

We are glad to invite you to our annual dinner event that will take place on March 13, 2023 17:00-20:00 at BIU’s Brain Research Center hall. The event is open to all BIU researchers interested in data science including faculty, postdoctoral fellows, graduate students, BIU alumni and friends of the DSI. This will be an opportunity for us all to meet, learn about recent research activities and enjoy a dinner event. 

Agenda will include: short talks by 3 of the 2020 DSI grant recipients and a keynote talk by Prof. Dafna Shahaf from HUJI followed by a festive poster session and dinner. For full event details see: https://dsi.biu.ac.il/event/dsi-dinner-march-13-2023/

Call for Posters: We invite poster presentations on recent work in all areas of data science. We accept both published and unpublished work, provided that it represents recent and original work of interest to our audience. 


  1. Register in the following form  https://dsi.biu.ac.il/2023-dinner-registration
    (as we need to know the expected number of attendees in advance to properly plan the catering and other logistics)
  2. Register to the poster session: https://forms.gle/XXeusiWjWqesndah9 

Looking forward to seeing you all. 

Learning Club – Machine Learning Talk Series

The BIU Learning club is an ongoing seminar on machine learning that takes place on Sundays, featuring selected speakers from Israel and abroad.  

Upcoming talks:

Academic research on the cloud – Microsoft Event

You are invited to a special event hosted by Mictrosoft on tools for academic research on the cloud. The event will take place on 13.3.23 and is open for academic researchers. For further details and registration see here

Past Events


The 16th Bar-Ilan Symposium on Foundations of Artificial Intelligence, BISFAI 2023, took place during the first two days of February at Bar-Ilan University and was partially supported by the DSI. The program included a keynote talk by Prof. Gal Chechik on “Talk about images: Learn to reason about the perceived world” as well as many other talks by other DSI members.

IDSI Conference – January 2023

The Second International Israel Data Science Initiative Conference took place this last January in Ein-Gedi. Many speakers and participants from BIU attended the successful conference. The DSI provided financial support to attend the conference to 24 faculty members and students who presented their work at the event. Prof. Ido Dagan gave a keynote talk titled: “Beyond End-to-End:Regaining transparency and control through Task and Representation Decomposition”.

The DSI Member Retreat 2022

On 13-14 of June 2022, 50 faculty members from across BIU gathered in the Jerusalem hills at the Yearim Hotel for two packed-full days to meet and discuss data-science.  The DSI-member retreat offered an opportunity to get together and get a glimpse of the overall picture of the data-science scene at BIU.

We are looking forward to seeing you all again for this academic year’s retreat planned for June 2023 and that will be open to DSI faculty members and their graduate students. 

DSI Support 

Support for data science events

If you are a DSI member and are planning or organizing a data science event in TASHPAG and are seeking support – we may be able to. Please send any such request to dsi@biu.ac.il.

DSI Call for Travel Grants 2023

The DSI provides travel grants on a competitive basis to encourage the active participation of students in major scientific international events. Grants are provided for presenting a novel scientific paper in major conferences/workshops, primarily in the core DS areas.  Application is open for travel that will take place until the end of TASHPAG. Eligible BIU students are welcome to apply. For call details see: https://dsi.biu.ac.il/dsi-call-for-travel-grants-2023/.


DSI Storage

The DSI central storage solution provides disk space to the DSI cluster users. It provides an efficient solution for users home directories, lab directories, public data sets and temporary working data. If you or your lab require additional storage space please enquire at DSI Tech Support dsitech.support@biu.ac.il.

Oracle Research Grants

Oracle Israel is working with Bar-Ilan University in order to create a research community that brings about positive change in the world by advancing research through cloud computing through a program of direct support and community engagement. Direct Support is achieved through the provision of Oracle for Research grants. 

For more details see here


DSI Research Grants (TASHPAB)

In TASHPB, the Data Science Institute circulated a call to its members for data science projects.  

The competitive call received 20 submissions by 26 PIs from 13 Departments – demonstrating the broad and diverse reach of the DSI. 11 projects by 19 PIs were accepted and granted a total of 1,100,000₪ while generating many new collaborations. The full list of accepted grants is available on the DSI website

Congrats to the winners and we are looking forward to learning about their progress in upcoming DSI dinner events. 

Mentions in popular media

  • Ynet article on Asaf Peer’s research.
  • Walla article on Dr. Ayal Hendel’s European consortium project on applying genetic editing to cure sickle cell disease. 


  • PhD VATAT Scholarship winners, TASHPAB (3 out of 10 nationally granted scholarships):
    • Avi Caciularu (Computer Science)
    • Idan Achituve (Engineering)
    • Roni Cohen-Fultheim (Life Sciences)
  • DSI PhD Scholarship winners (TASHPAB):
    • Amit Gilboa (Engineering)
    • Omer Goldman (Computer Science)
    • Arie Cattan (Computer Science) 
  • This year’s Rector’s Prize for Scientific Innovation – 3 DSI members among winners:
    • Prof. Asaf Peer (Physics) 
    • Prof. Yuval Feldman  (Law)
    • Dr. Avi Shmidman (The Department for Literature of the Jewish People)
  • Sanhedrai Hillel (PhD student under supervision of Shlomo Havlin and Baruch Barzel) for winning this year’s VATAT’s data science post doctoral scholarship. 
  • Dr. Avi Shmidman for winning a ten million euro ERC Synergy grant to develop computational analysis that will enable full-text search of the entire corpus of medieval Hebrew manuscripts and revolutionize Jewish studies. 
  • Dr. Ayal Hendel for winning a 6 million euro European Consortium grant  on genetic editing.
  • Prof.  Onn Shehory on being named a Senior Member of IEEE
  • Prof. Simi Haber and Dr. Or Sheffet on winning the 2022 Artificial Intelligence Journal (AIJ) Prominent Paper Award for their joint 2015 paper – “Optimal social choice functions: A utilitarian view”. 
  • Ori Ernst, Ori Shapira, Michael Lepioshkin, Jacob Goldberger, and Ido Dagan for CoNLL 2021 Best Paper Award runner-up. Proposition-level Alignment: Task, Datasets and Supervised Baseline
  • Prof. Sharon Gannot for ICASSP best paper award

The Data Science Institute at Bar-Ilan University
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