Nov. 12 Data Science talks to focus on tourism, climate modeling research

November 09, 2020

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Two Penn State researchers from different disciplines will give brief talks about their work at the next Penn State Data Science Community meeting scheduled at 11 a.m. on Thursday, Nov. 12. The virtual event is open to members of the Penn State community and advance registration is required.

Bing Pan, associate professor of recreation, park and tourism management, will discuss his work related to big data analytics in tourism and national parks. Pan investigates how the use of data from a variety of sources — including search engines, website logs, mobile phone data, reservation systems, and social media — can provide researchers with a deeper understanding of demographics and overall experiences of visitors. For example, in one recent study, he examined whether Twitter content could provide the same amount of data as self-reported surveys that are currently used in national parks.

Melissa Gervais, assistant professor of meteorology and atmospheric science, and faculty co-hire of the Institute for Computational and Data Sciences, will discuss her work related to ocean surface temperatures and the Earth’s climate. She is looking at the connection between variations in the North Atlantic Ocean’s surface temperature and climate patterns on a decadal time scale. Using a type of machine learning called self-organizing maps, she is characterizing how surface temperature patterns change over time. Analyzing this data can provide additional insight into the physical processes in the atmosphere and ocean that are linked to climate patterns.

The Data Science Community is a grassroots initiative supported by Penn State's Teaching and Learning with TechnologyInstitute for Computational and Data Sciences and University Libraries. To learn more about Data Science Community events or to join the community mailing list, visit

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Last Updated November 12, 2020