Yandex and the European University have opened the Applied Center for Machine Learning, Data Analysis and Statistics (MAST)

Прикладной центр МАСТ
Ivan Bibilov

MAST is a platform that connects researchers in the social sciences and humanities with technical specialists to work on joint projects. Historians, art historians, anthropologists and other academics who have not previously worked with big data will be able to pose new research questions and answer them with the help of technicians who operate data analysis tools. The center is headed by Ivan Bibilov, a senior developer at Yandex, and formerly head of the Yandex Data Analysis School in Yekaterinburg.

MAST operates in three areas: development, research and education. In the field of development, the center focuses on the creation of tools and libraries for researchers, primarily in the social sciences and humanities. One of these projects is the creation of a library for Python that allows large calculations to be performed with limited RAM resources. Another example is a parser for the data formats most commonly encountered by social scientists. The Center is also developing a tool that allows documents to be scanned at the speed of turning a page. This method saves researchers' resources and allows for better, more careful interaction with the document originals.

“The center was intended to be a place for long-term support and development of research projects at EUSP. A large portion of the development in such projects is usually carried out using grants and is outsourced. This affects the quality of the created product and complicates its further development. There is also an ideological inconsistency: grants have specific deadlines for the completion of work and they are carried out according to specific Terms of Reference, while IT projects are developed according to the Agile Modeling method and, as a rule, are potentially "endless". No software product stops developing, as long as there are enough resources. A center for applied research, a center that understands the problems of researchers, that proposes and tests new approaches, is necessary for any university,”

says Ivan Bibilov, head of the MAST center.


An example of MAST's research activities is the project to create an accessible and convenient search system based on open data from the State Catalogue of the Museum Fund of Russia. Architectural and system solutions developed by the MAST team together with art critics, exhibition curators and museum staff will be useful for specialists and anyone who is interested in the cultural heritage of Russia.

Examples of other MAST research include an analysis of the Project “Prozhito” diary corpus using natural language processing techniques and a study of the length and mode of the working day in regional organizations working with Central Russia.

The MAST Center is the logical continuation of "Applied Data Analysis" (PANDAN), a joint educational program of Yandex and the European University. This program is available in two formats: a two-year master's degree and a one-year continuing professional education program. Within the framework of PANDAN, students learn tools for working with different types of data for use in their respective areas of research. Faculty members and mentors include Yandex and European University staff.

“Together with Russian universities, Yandex is trying to develop educational programs that will meet the requirements of the industry. With the help of the PANDAN program, we want to show academic professionals how IT tools can help them in their research, including in the humanities. Many studies can be carried out with greater precision or in less time. We teach how to use “technical” tools to improve methodology and simplify the whole process. The MAST Application Center provides students and graduates a field for experimentation and the opportunity to work on projects on an interdisciplinary team,”

says Evgenia Kulikova, head of Yandex Academy.


The European University at St. Petersburg is a non-governmental Russian university with a worldwide reputation in the field of social sciences and humanities. It was founded in 1994 as a postgraduate program.

Today we offer master’s degree and postgraduate programs in Russian and English as well as programs in continuing professional education, advanced training courses and scholarly internships.  Auditing individual courses is also possible.

EUSP sees its mission in the bringing together of Russian and international scholarly traditions. On this basis EUSP seeks to train a new generation of scholars and experts capable of working with complex social phenomena and global challenges.

The expertise of EUSP research centers is recognized by the expert community and is in demand by the state and private sectors. As a research university, EUSP is known for scholarly work on problems of law enforcement, social research in the Arctic, higher education, and the history of the blockade of Leningrad. It is also recognized for research carried out jointly with the State Hermitage on the economics and sociology of culture.

The Yandex Academy helps schoolchildren and students who are interested in technology to master in-demandIT professions using educational programs developed by company specialists. The Academy implements Yandex's comprehensive approach to IT education, from teaching basic skills to the most in-demand specialties today, and combines several educational projects.