Shaping the computational foundations of next generation leaders

As the open data lab project manager and data scientist providing IT support for the Data Science Institute, Peter Alonzi says he’s the “go-to for all computing needs bigger than a laptop.”

In addition to providing individual support for DSI faculty, staff, and students, Alonzi is the architect of the introductory boot camp for all DSI students that gets people into shape for the Master of Science in Data Science degree program.

Over the course of the two-day boot camp, students learn, among other helpful and essential things, about various operating systems; how much memory and storage a computer needs to accomplish certain tasks; how to translate research questions into data questions and data answers into research answers; when to use various programming languages (and why); which machine learning tools are right for which jobs; and how to work through not knowing what to do (“…that means you are about to learn,” the boot camp website says, encouragingly. “Feel the burn.”)

Alonzi honed his IT and data science skills as a researcher in physics before taking a job as a data expert with the UVA Library. He joined the DSI on a detail assignment in fall 2017, and was formally transferred to the institute in November 2018.

Outside of his work with the DSI, Alonzi’s into gaming—primarily Dungeons and Dragons, with a little Gloomhaven on the side—and podcasting. He’s also learning to play the bass.