Swiss public data science ecosystem

Symbolic picture: Swiss public data science ecosystem @ borisbelenky - stock.adobe.com
Symbolic picture: Swiss public data science ecosystem

Published on: 05.07.2022
Author: Alex Lavrynets

In order to promote the responsible application of data science and artificial intelligence (AI) in Swiss public administrations, the Federal Council has created the Data Science Competence Centre (DSCC) and the Competence Network for Artificial Intelligence (CNAI).

The use of intelligent automated systems, capable of improving their performance through learning techniques based on algorithms, is growing worldwide. Whether it is to facilitate policy-making, automate processes or predict a scenario, artificial intelligence's vast field of application is constantly expanding. AI has the potential to provide concrete solutions to a variety of problems using data science techniques.

However, potentially sensitive data require specific protection using this approach. Special attention should be given to their enrichment within each automated system. It is therefore essential to ensure that the algorithms used by automated systems are free of any type of error or bias. The use of a rigorous methodology as well as careful, understandable and transparent programming is required in this context.

In order to ensure that the use of algorithms by public administrations complies with the principles of the Rule of law, the Federal Council decided at its meeting of 13 May 2020 to create the Data Science Competence Centre (DSCC). The DSCC was officially inaugurated at the Federal Statistical Office (FSO) at the beginning of 2021. The affiliation of the DSCC to the FSO is based on an impartial, objective and consistent approach to data analysis, as laid down in the Swiss Statistics Charter and the European Statistics Code of Practice, which the FSO must respect. An internal reorganisation of the FSO has made it possible to extend the production competencies of state statistics to data science services. Currently in service, the DSCC has been supporting Swiss public administrations since the beginning of 2022 and promoting data science for the public good, in partnership with its academic partners.

Innovations in AI represent a major challenge for the Swiss population as a whole. In order to promote the use of AI for the public good, the Federal Council took the decision to set up a Competence Network for Artificial Intelligence (CNAI) at its meeting on 25 August 2021. This new network is attached to the Data Science, AI and Statistical Methods Division of the Federal Statistical Office. Its purpose is to exploit existing synergies and serve as a contact point for all partners active in the AI field. The CNAI's mission is to facilitate the exchange and transmission of knowledge at the national and international level by establishing contacts with AI specialists. The CNAI maintains a database that references various projects using AI within the federal administration. This approach ensures the pooling of resources and optimal transparency, elements that are essential for responsible data governance in the algorithm era.

Figure legend:

The Data Science Competence Center (DSCC) in the public Swiss data science ecosystem.
CNAI: Competence Network for Artificial Intelligence.

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Last update 05.07.2022

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Federal Statistical Office
Data Science Competence Center DSCC

Espace de l'Europe 10
CH-2010 Neuch√Ętel
Switzerland

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