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Eleven from Campus Take Part in Finding Data-Driven Solutions to Nation’s Problems

An NSF-funded initiative seeks to solve some of the nation’s most pressing research and development challenges, among them healthcare, energy, finance, urbanization, andeducation.

ALBANY, N.Y. (February 22, 2016) — Massive, complex datasets are not only changing the way governments, organizations, and citizens operate, but the way we live, as well. Now, helping to ensure that data-driven solutions have the maximum positive impact, eleven faculty from six UAlbany schools, colleges and centers are taking part in a large NSF-funded effort.

“New and emerging data management and analytical tools and techniques have the potential to transform patient treatment and teaching methods in schools, reduce energy costs in buildings, and more,” said Theresa Pardo, director of the Center for Technology in Government (CTG), and a member of the steering committee for the Northeast Big Data (BD) Hub, one of four Big Data Regional Innovation Hubs in the U.S. established by the NSF.

Pardo participated in the development of the proposal for the Northeast BD Hub. Based at Columbia University, it brings together experts from a variety of disciplines to facilitate the sharing of knowledge, data and tools to address different aspects of “Big Data” in areas of particular interest to the Northeast Region; these include finance, health, government and higher education.

Pardo also engaged the cohort of UAlbany experts, whose collective and unique strengths will now help deliver on the Northeast BD Hub’s mission. They are:

Theresa Pardo of Northeasts Big Data Hub

Theresa Pardo, CTG director and a member of the Northeast Big Data Hub steering committee and a Hub task force on data sharing.

  • Theresa A. Pardo, CTG, Informatics, College of Engineering and Applied Sciences, and Public Administration & Policy, Rockefeller College of Public Affairs & Policy, — Data Sharing Task Group, and leadership of future Policy Informatics Task Group.
  • Robert Bangert-Drowns, dean of the School Education, Educational Theory & Practice faculty —Education and Big Data in Applications in Education Task Groups.
  • George Berg, Computer Science, College of Engineering and Applied Sciences — Education Task Group.
  • Mei Chen, Computer Engineering, College of Engineering and Applied Sciences — Discovery Science and Engineering Task Group, and leadership of future Task Group on computer vision and related fields.
  • Tim Gage, Anthropology, College of Arts and Sciences — Health Task Group.
  • Sanjay Goel, Information Technology Management, School of Business — Education and Privacy and Security Task Groups, and leadership of future Digital Forensics Task Group.
  • Everette Joseph, director, Atmospheric Sciences Research Center (ASRC) — Energy, Data Sharing, and Discovery Science and Engineering Task Groups, and leadership of Air Quality, Water, Weather Extremes and Climate Task Group.
  • Richard Perez, ASRC scientist — Energy Task Group.
  • Eliot Rich, Information Technology Management, School of Business — Discovery Science and Engineering Task Group. Rich will also organize a workshop linking Big Data and Simulation Science for Policy and Strategy.
  • Peter J. Shea, Educational Theory & Practice, School of Education — Education and Big Data in Applications in Education Task Groups.
  • Tomek Strzalkowski, Computer Science, College of Engineering and Applied Sciences — Discovery Science and Engineering Task Group, and leadership of Social Media: Big Conversations Task Group.

These experts, in collaboration with others across the region, will explore the following issues:

  • How do we encourage data sharing to maximize the potential for discovery?
  • How can open data principles be balanced against privacy and security concerns?
  • How can cities mine and share data to improve public services and adapt to climate change?
  • How can patient and environmental data be used to prevent and treat disease?

The NSF set a goal to establish a network of four Big Data Regional Innovation Hubs throughout the country, following the federal government’s announcement of the National Big Data Research and Development Initiative in March 2012. The initiative aims to solve some of the nation’s most pressing research and development challenges, including health care, energy, finance, urbanization, and education, that result from pulling information from such large, complex collections of digital data, also known as Big Data.

To learn more about the Northeast BD Hub, visit http://northeastbdhub.dsi.columbia.edu/index.html.

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