DSI Updates – May 2022


Recent Prior Calls

A Substantial Win in Vatat’s Competitive Funding

We are happy to share that BIU was recently granted 10.1 million NIS from Israel’s The Planning & Budgeting Committee (VATAT) for 4 data science projects in the areas of NLP, Vision, Audio and BioInformatics. The amount awarded was determined based on a competitive evaluation of the submitted proposals, and is above the average granted to other universities, positioning us well in the national DS landscape. Following is the list of accepted projects:

  • AUDIENCE: Audio-Visual Analysis and Separation
    Sharon Gannot, Ethan Fetaya, Jacob Goldberger (Engineering)
  • Learning Dynamic Vision and Language
    Gal Chechik (Brain), Reut Tsarfaty, Yoav Goldberg (Computer Science)
  • SeqSpace: Supervised Prediction on Unstructured Data
    Gur Yaari (Eng), Yoram Louzoun (Math), Omry Koren (Medicine),  Sol Efroni (Life), Baruch Barzel (Math)
  • Language-portable NLP Infrastructure with Hebrew Data Science as a Case Study
    Reut Tsarfaty, Ido Dagan, Yoav Goldberg (Computer Science)

Congrats to the winning PIs.

DSI Research Grants (TASHPA)

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

The competitive call received submissions by 46 PIs from 21 Departments.  14 projects by 21 PIs were accepted and granted a total of 900,000₪. 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. 

VATAT and DSI PhD Scholarships

Congrats to TASHPA PhD scholarship winners: 

  • Avi Caciularu (Computer Science), Idan Achituve (Engineering) and Roni Cohen-Fultheim (Life Sciences) – VATAT Scholarship, out of 10 nationally granted scholarships
  • Amit Gilboa (Engineering), Omer Goldman (Computer Science)  and Arie Cattan (Computer Science) – DSI Scholarships

Open Calls

DSI Call for Research Grants 2022 

The DSI Call for Research 2022-2023 is now OPEN for proposals promoting impactful collaborative research in data science.

Submission deadline: June 06, 2022

Detailed information can be found on the DSI website:

DSI Call for Travel Grants 2022

The DSI will provide travel grants on a competitive basis to encourage the active participation of students in major scientific international events. Grants will be provided for presenting a novel scientific paper in major conferences/workshops, primarily in the core DS areas.  The funds will be available for travel that will take place until the end of 2022. Eligible BIU students are welcome to apply. For call details see: https://dsi.biu.ac.il/dsi-call-for-travel-2022/


Call for Data Science Events

The DSI has distributed an ongoing call to support data science related events in TASHPAB (academic year of 2022) that are organized by its members.  For details see: 


Past Events

The First Israeli Seminar on Data-Science based Internet Research 

The DSI and the Israeli Internet Association (ISOC) organized in May 2022 a half-day on-campus seminar dedicated to data science based internet research.
Speakers included DSI members: Ofir Stegmann (Law) and Motti Neiger (Communication).

For Details see: https://dsi.biu.ac.il/event/internet-event-2022/

DSI Dinner – October 2021

After a year break due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we held this last October our annual DSI dinner event. Over 100 faculty members, research students and others attended the events which included a guest speaker, 3 talks by DSI grantees and a poster session. Video recordings of the talks are available on the event webpage.  

IDSI Conference – Jan 2022

The First International Israel Data Science Initiative Conference took place this last January in Ein-Gedi. Many speakers and participants from BIU attended the successful conference. 

Upcoming Events

Reminder: All data-science related events are posted on the DSI website.

For the upcoming DSI Member Retreat See Community Section below. 

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:

  • June 12, 2022: Mahmood Sharif (TAU)
  • June 19, 2022: Ofir Lindenbaum (BIU)

CS Colloquium

  • May 19, 2022. 12:00-13:00. Better Environments for Better AI. Dr. Sarah Keren (Technion)
  • June  2, 2022. 12:00-13:00. (R?)evolution Times. Prof. Moshe Tennenholtz (Technion)

Law Data-Science Collaboration Workshop

The Law-Data Science Lab is organizing a workshop to encourage the collaboration between researchers in areas of law and data science. The workshop will include an opening talk by Dr. Oren Glickman, presentations of existing successful collaborations and discussion.

For details see: https://dsi.biu.ac.il/event/law-and-data-science-collaboration-workshop/


The DSI have recently acquired a new central storage solution to provide 120TB of disk space to the DSI cluster users. It provides an efficient solution for users home directory space, public data sets and temporary working data. 

The DSI has also conducted a GPU job scheduling pilot with a solution by an Israeli startup called Run.AI. We are now looking into extending this pilot over all DGX and other GPU servers in the cluster. Using a GPU orchestration solution such as Run.AI’s will allow us to better utilize our hardware and computing resources. 


DS Course List

We would like to remind you that the DSI maintains a list of data science courses that are given at BIU, which can be easily explored by different category types. The interactive list is available on the dsi website.

Bioinformatics Final Projects

If you are conducting research in the area of Bioinformatics and would like to offer a project to be conducted as a Bioinformatics B.Sc. 3rd year final project, please see following call:

Digital Governance MOOC

Big data, artificial intelligence, machine learning, autonomous cars, chatbots, just a few terms that have become a part of our professional legal and political vocabulary. Emerging technologies and technological advancement have confronted us in our daily practice and will continue to do so in the future. However, they also have disruptive effects on society and pose legal and political challenges. These challenges are central to this MOOC on digital governance. 

Ayelet Sela, Ittai Bar-Siman-Tov and Oren Perez are Instructors in this coursera course which is recognized academically by BIU and open free of charge to all BIU students. 

Open Positions

M.A., Ph.D. and Postdoc positions

  • Prof. Yuval Feldman (Law) is seeking researchers (MA, PHD and Postdocs) with strong quantitative methodological backgrounds coming from disciplines such as statistics, economics, public policy, psychology and political sciences to work in an Advanced ERC funded project.  For details see: 

For https://dsi.biu.ac.il/erc-advanced-project-researchers-needed/

Research Assistants and Student Positions

  • Dr. Rose Stamp is seeking a part-time Research Assistant for an exciting project involving the analysis of sign languages through motion capture. See here for details.


Nvidia Deep Learning Institute (DLI) Ambassadors 

Nvidia Deep Learning Institute (DLI) is looking for PhD students/academic faculty members who wish to be Ambassadors – certified on Nvidia courses, and who may run Nvidia courses free of charge at the universities (note – these courses are usually paid courses). Courses vary from Fundamentals of DL to areas like NLP, Video Analytics, and more and usually run as 1-day seminars.

For more information on Nvidia DLI and the Ambassador program see these two links below:


New DSI Member Spotlights:

Dr. Hanna Keren

Dr. Hanna Keren has joined the Azrieli Faculty of Medicine and in her research she brings novel computation methods to study human psychopathology and mood.  Dr. Keren received her phd from the Technion in which she studied dynamics and control of neural network synchrony. After completing her phd, Dr. Keren conducted postdoctoral research at the NIH. Her recent Neuroscience paper was widely mentioned in the media as it was the first to show that early events exert a stronger influence on reported mood compared to recent events using advanced computational modeling. In her BIU lab, https://kerenlab.com/, she plans to study ways to control emotion and behavior via closed-loop adaptive artificial environments and neural and physiological human-machine-interfaces.

Dr. Avi Weinberg

Dr. Avi Weinberg has recently joined the Department of Management after a long industrial career in the fields of Machine Learning, Business Intelligence and Cyber Security. His Areas of interest include Explainable AI, Adversarial Learning and the application of Deep Learning in Cyber Security. 

Dr. Ofir Lindenbaum

Dr. Ofir Lindenbaum has recently joined the engineering faculty after a postdoc at Yale University. Ofir is interested in developing machine learning models that will aid in the process of scientific discovery. Anecdote: his first publication was a result of collaboration with an Israeli musician named Kutiman.


Dr. Yaara Erez

Dr. Yaara Erez has recently joined the Engineering faculty from The University of Cambridge. Dr. Erez is a neuroscientist, striving to integrate science and technology in healthcare. Her areas of research range from systems neuroscience to cognition and developing computational tools for brain imaging techniques to assist medical decision making. Click here for a film by the BBC about her work on cognitive mapping during awake brain surgeries for patients with brain tumors. In her multidisciplinary lab, https://erezlab.org, Dr. Erez focuses on neuroimaging of the human brain to identify and understand functional brain networks. 

Dr. Amit Somech

Dr. Amit Somech has recently joined the Computer Science Dept. from Tel-Aviv University. Amit’s research goal is to build systems that automate data analysis and science, in order to minimize the time it takes users to gain insights from their datasets. Apart from his academic activities, Amit has a particular passion for cheesecake, and owns a blog dedicated to cheesecake reviews  – eatcheesecakes.com

Dr. Reuth Mirsky 

Dr. Reuth Mirsky is a new faculty member in the department of Computer Science and the head of the Goal Optimization using Learning and Decision Making (GOLD) lab. Before joining BIU, Reuth was a postdoc in Peter Stone’s lab at the University of Texas at Austin, where she led research projects in Multi-agent systems, RL, and HRI. Reuth’s long term vision is to construct a robot that can replace a seeing-eye dog, a vision that was conceived after she volunteered as a puppy raiser in the Israeli Association for Seeing-Eye Dogs.


  • 7 DSI members among winners of this year’s Rector’s Prize for Scientific Innovation:
    • Dr. Amiyaal Ilany (Life Sciences)
    • Dr. Ittai Bar-Siman-Tov (Law)
    • Dr. Amir Bashan (Physics) 
    • Prof. Ilanit Gordon (Psychology)
    • Dr. Adam Zaidel (Brain)
    • Prof. Omry Koren (Medicine) 
    • Dr. Alon Raviv (Business Administration)
  • Prof. Sharon Gannot for winning the EURASIP Group Technical Achievement Award 2022  for contributions to theory and practice of microphone array signal processing and statistical learning in speech enhancement through extensive activities of his research group
  • Prof. Sharon Gannot appointed chair of the Data Science Initiative,  IEEE, Signal Processing Society.
  • Prof. Amir Leshem Elevated to IEEE Fellow for contributions to multi-channel and multi-agent signal processing.
  • Prof. Ido Dagan for giving a keynote talk at EMNLP 2021, a top-tier conference in Natural Language Processing. 
  • Prof. Maayan Zhitomirsky-Geffet (Information Science) for receiving a research grant in the field of Digital Humanities from the Ministry of Science, together with Dr. Jonathan Schler and Dr. Binyamin Katzoff (Talmud). Title: Global and local citation networks as a new paradigm for multiple viewpoint investigation in historical literature: a case study of the Rabbinical literature corpus
  • Prof. Yuval Feldman for receiving an Advanced ERC grant. 

DSI Retreat

On 13-14 of June, 50 faculty members from across BIU will gather in the Jerusalem hills Yearim Hotel to meet and discuss data-science.  The DSI-member retreat will be an opportunity after the long COVID-19 break to get together and meet other possibly relevant researchers and get a glimpse of the overall picture of the data-science scene at BIU. We’ll also have discussions on the nature of the DSI in the coming years. We are all looking forward to the event and to the collaborations and other outcomes that will result from it. 

The Data Science Institute at Bar-Ilan University
For further information or to unsubscribe from future updates – dsi@biu.ac.il

Leave a Comment