The School of Data Science was formed in 2019 as the 12th school at the University of Virginia. A foundational aspect of the school is our focus on collaboration in research, teaching, and in all other areas. The formation of collaboratories with other units at UVA is one manifestation of this emphasis.

According to Wikipedia, a collaboratory, as defined by William Wulf in 1989, is a “center without walls, in which the nation’s researchers can perform their research without regard to physical location, interacting with colleagues, accessing instrumentation, sharing data and computational resources, [and] accessing information in digital libraries.” A further refinement of the definition is “a system which combines the interests of the scientific community at large with those of the computer science and engineering community to create integrated, tool-oriented computing and communication systems to support scientific collaboration.”

A simplified form of these definitions would describe the collaboratory as being an environment where participants make use of computing and communication technologies to access shared instruments and data, as well as to communicate with others. However, a wide-ranging definition states that “a collaboratory is more than an elaborate collection of information and communications technologies; it is a new networked organizational form that also includes social processes; collaboration techniques; formal and informal communication; and agreement on norms, principles, values, and rules.”