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A UCSD graduate himself, Halicioglu was the first full-time hire of Facebook when he joined the firm as a software engineer, and subsequently became wealthy as the firm mushroomed.After leaving Facebook and becoming a lecturer back at his alma mater, he made a million gift to the UCSD computer department in 2015.Nearly a third of the funds available for science research at America’s top 50 universities currently come from private donations.Top lab directors like Eric Lander and Leroy Hood have energetically explained how important philanthropy is as a form of risk capital that lets scientists explore unconventional, unusually hard, or very-early-stage problems.— Section research provided by By 2017, the Laura and John Arnold Foundation had already donated more than million to fix a problem the rest of the world was just becoming aware of: a large fraction of all scientific research today is badly flawed, impossible to reproduce, and inaccurate.When it comes to improving the quality of science, says science watchdog John Ioannidis, “the Arnold Foundation has been the Medici.” One beneficiary has been the Reproducibility Project, launched by a University of Virginia professor to test how many of the studies published in top psychology journals could be repeated with the same experimental result by other scientists. With Arnold funding, this has led to new efforts to improve the quality and integrity of research by helping, and pressing, scientists to post their raw data for public study and otherwise be more open about their procedures and assumptions.When physician Gregory Rodchenkov, runner Yuliya Stepanov, and sports-training official Vitaly Stepanov told reporters about the massive program they had participated in to give Russian athletes an advantage in international competitions by feeding them steroid cocktails and other illegal performance aids, they made themselves unemployable. The Russian government vilified them and accused them of treason, in a time when numerous dissenters and whistleblowers against the Russian government have mysteriously died. The charity Fair Sport aims to raise around million every year in voluntary contributions, plus pro bono legal hours donated by a range of law firms, so it can offer direct support to whistleblowers.
The new field of “data science” trains people in how to sift, clean, organize, and make practical use of the huge new mounds of information now being produced by computer networks.It involves not just analysis but also new techniques like machine learning and advanced visualization that help find the patterns in giant data dumps, and then turn them into understandings that can drive actions that will be useful to society.For instance: a data scientist might analyze the millions of requests for rides made by Uber users to discover the most efficient places to stage drivers, or build future roads, or establish mass transit pickups, or site new residences.As of 2017, eight supporters had pledged to spend at least million each in this coordinated way: living donors Stanley Druckenmiller (who will chair the board), Steve Ballmer, Sergey Brin, Arthur Samberg, George Kaiser, and David Tepper, plus the Duke Endowment and Edna Mc Connell Clark Foundation.An interesting governance structure gives each of these “general partners” a vote on the dispersal of funds.