Dr Renata Borovica-Gajic | University of Melbourne, VIC

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29 November 2023

From data to rapid insights, revolutionising data exploration as a pathway to scientific discovery

A career in science was not always on the cards for Renata, whose passion for sports led her to achieve a black belt in Karate with a dream to become a PE teacher through her senior years of schooling. However, the universe had other plans, with a career changing injury in her final year of school putting a halt to these ambitions.

Renata then looked to her other loves; mathematics and science for the inspiration of her tertiary studies. Through Renata’s research, she serendipitously discovered Computer Science – the perfect marriage of her two
interests, and it was this leap of faith that has led her here, a leader in data research at the forefront of the field.

Today, Renata is a Senior Lecturer in Data Analytics and ARC DECRA Fellow in the School of Computing and Information Systems, as well as Assistant Dean (Diversity and Inclusion) for the Faculty of Engineering and ITat the University of Melbourne. Dr Borovica-Gajic’s research focus is on solving data management problems when storing, accessing, and processing massive data sets, enabling faster, more predictable, and cheaper data analysis as a result. Envisioning database systems as dynamic entities able to adjust query processing strategies to fit the characteristics of data and usage patterns, she facilitates data exploration in scientific domains, where the lack of amenable tools for efficient data analysis hinders scientific discoveries.

“My research aims to develop a next-generation self-driving database for seamless data exploration, where users can interactively search for insights buried in the data without a clear outcome in mind. Using new machine learning techniques, my research advances databases and makes them accessible to non-experts by automating laborious and complex tasks that currently require costly domain expertise. Self-driving databases predict user intention and help them retrieve data of interest promptly,” said Dr Borovica-Gajic.

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