Treena Basu


Meet Treena Basu of mathematics, who is researching applications of data science in the field of educational data mining and medical data.

Tell us about the research you’re working on right now.

There are two areas of mathematics that I work in: numerical analysis and data science. In numerical analysis, I approximate the solution to fractional partial differential equations that do not have analytic closed-form solutions.

On the data science front I am pursuing the application of machine learning algorithms on educational data, a sub-field of data science known as educational data mining. My most recent research in this field has been to develop a predictive mathematical model that can predict whether or not a student admitted to Occidental will accept the admission offer.

How do you incorporate your own research into your classes?

The very first day of class, I explain to my students all the different roles that I play at the College: teacher, researcher and I also provide service to Occidental. I share my research endeavors and goals with my students in class and this usually opens the door for further questions. Sometimes, I will even include a little part of my research problem as a project for the course!

What are the proudest moments you have with your students? 

Any time I have a research-related discussion with my students or have a student come to office hours to ask about my research further, those instances are moments of pride for me.

How does Oxy’s L.A. location influence or inform your teaching and research?

I was awarded a grant from the National Science Foundation to offer and run an industrial math course in Spring 2017. The title of the class is PIC Math (Preparation for Industrial Careers in Mathematics). As a part of this course, I collect mathematical problems of interest from companies in business, government, industry and academia. Students enrolled in the class work in teams to develop solutions to the problems. Our location in Los Angeles has allowed me to reach out and work with a variety of companies such as Ingram Micro, Pacific Life Insurance and Adobe.

What are you doing when you’re not teaching or researching?

I like to cook and travel around the world. I often go to cooking classes that specialize in a particular cuisine or has a theme such as Thai cuisine or a Thanksgiving meal.