Nathanael Jo Awarded USC Discovery Prize for 2020-2021

| May 27, 2021

The Master of Science in Applied Data Science graduate was supported in his research by the Epstein Institute and supervised by Phebe Vayanos and Andres Gomez.

Nathan Jo

Nathanael Jo has been announced as a recipient of the USC Discovery Scholar Prize. Image/Nathanael Jo

Graduating Master in Applied Data Science student Nathanael Jo has been announced as a recipient of the USC Discovery Scholar Prize for the 2020 – 2021 academic year.

The $10,000 prize recognizes and celebrates graduating seniors who have excelled academically while making a meaningful contribution to their field of study.

Jo is a Master of Science in Applied Data Science graduate of the progressive degree program, whose research has been supported by the Epstein Institute. He has been advised by assistant professors in the Daniel J. Epstein Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering, Phebe Vayanos and Andres Gomez.

Jo’s research focus has been in the area of prescriptive trees from observational data for decision making.

“Prescriptive trees are basically decision trees that assign treatments to all the datapoints that fall in each leaf,” Jo said.

“Our main motivation for furthering the work on prescriptive trees is because they can be used to make interpretable decisions for high-impact social applications. For instance, we can apply this method for substance use treatment to determine which government intervention is most effective given a user’s characteristics,” he said.

A prescriptive tree for decision making

Jo said that an example of the group’s work, above, illustrates how decisions can be made with regard to treatment for substance use. Image/Nathanael Jo

Jo and his collaborators will soon submit their research for publication.

“It’s such an honor to be awarded the Discovery Scholar Prize,” Jo said.

In the near future, Jo plans to apply to PhD programs and hopes to continue doing research in this field.

The Daniel J. Epstein department congratulates Jo on this latest achievement.

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