Educators offer tips on making sense of the data revolution

“We are creating every 10 minutes what we were creating every 2,000 years, and that’s the problem.”

This statement, by panelist Arcot Rajasekar, succinctly sums up one of the many challenges stemming from the modern big data environment discussed at “A Citizen’s Guide to Big Data.”

Held Thursday, Sept. 28 at the Friday Center for Continuing Education in Chapel Hill, the panel featured four speakers, each an expert in different data science specialties. Each panelist offered a brief presentation on their area of expertise and the way in which their knowledge gets applied in the rapidly expanding field of data science.

Making up the panel were Michele Hayslett, a data librarian who works with the UNC-Chapel Hill Davis Library Research Hub and as adjunct faculty in the School of Information and Library Science (SILS); Paul Jones, clinical professor in  SILS: Arcot Rajasekar, professor in SILS, chief data scientist at RENCI, and co-director of the Data Intensive Cyber Environments (DICE) Center at UNC-Chapel Hill; and Ryan Shaw, associate professor SILS. Moderating the panel was Neal Thomas, assistant professor, in the UNC-Chapel Hill department of communication.

The discussion hit both the highs and lows of big data, from the numerous possibilities created by applying  big data to problem solving to the threat of privacy breaches. Opening the panel, Rajasekar offered multiple definitions and explanations of the term “big data” and what it truly entails. Then, he described the current paradigm shift of data from compute intensive to data intensive. “The way we do science, research, and business is changing,” he said.

Following Rajasekar was Shaw, who while not a data scientist, brought an interesting perspective to the discussion as a former employee at Yahoo. He advised closer cooperation between the people who make strategic decisions and the scientists trying to understand increasingly large amounts of data.

Third to speak was Jones, who ran through three examples of data aggregators and the way they use large amounts of data, most of it personal. He warned of the consequences of this data falling into the wrong hands, and cited how citizens can protect themselves by supporting third-party oversight.

Closing the panel was Hayslett, who described incidents of data research conducted through unethical means. Questionable ethics on the part of the researcher led to bad research, and ultimately bad data. Hayslett noted that ethics remain key, especially in the proliferation of data on a larger scale.

After the panel, audience members were able to engage the speakers in a question and answer session.

Carolina Chao, RENCI Communications Intern

Tagged , |

RENCI scientist set to join the ranks of Climate Reality Leaders

As the Climate Reality Project website says: Ordinary people face challenges. Climate Reality Leaders embrace them.

RENCI’s Chris Lenhardt, an environmental data science and systems expert, will join the ranks of these leaders when he attends three days of training Oct. 17 – 19 to become part of the Climate Reality Leadership Corps. The Leadership Corps is a global network of individuals committed to tackling the climate crisis and solving what is far and away the greatest challenge of our time. The Leadership Corps is part of the Climate Reality Project launched by former Vice President Al Gore to increase awareness about climate change and to support efforts at all levels aimed at reducing carbon emissions. Read more…

Tagged , , , |

Data Fellows project aims to make storm surge predictions faster and more accurate

By Nelson Tull

Note: Nelson Tull is a graduate student in the Department of Civil, Construction, and Environmental Engineering at North Carolina State University. His faculty advisor, Casey Dietrich, is an NCDS Data Fellow conducting research to improve hurricane and storm surge guidance to emergency managers in North Carolina’s coastal counties. Dietrich’s Data Fellows research builds on previous work supported by the North Carolina Sea Grant program. Other collaborators are Rick Luettich, head of the Institute of Marine Sciences at UNC-Chapel Hill, Brian Blanton, a senior research scientist and oceanographer at RENCI, and Jason Fleming of Seahorse Coastal Consulting. To learn more about this research, tune into the September 2017 NCDS DataBytes webinar.

When lives are on the line, minutes count but so does accuracy
Storm surge model forecasts are a critical tool used by coastal emergency managers to plan and make decisions. These models must be both accurate and fast to give reliable information in a timely manner as a storm moves toward the coast. The forecast guidance must also be visualized in a way that is meaningful to those who need this vital information. Read more…

NSF-funded undergraduate researchers get a taste of life at RENCI

A panel of RENCI employees talks to NSF REU students during a recent visit.

On July 21, RENCI hosted 11 students and two professors from the National Science Foundation’s Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) program. The program allows undergraduates to actively participate in research in any of the areas of research funded by the NSF. REU projects involve students in meaningful ways in ongoing research programs or in research projects specifically designed for the REU program. As a part of their REU experience at North Carolina A & T State University, a group of undergraduate students from diverse backgrounds and several universities came to RENCI for an educational tour.  Read more…

SAA award winning book has RENCI, UNC connections

The Waldo Gifford Leland Award is presented annually by the Society of American Archivists (SAA) to an author or authors in recognition of “writing of superior excellence and usefulness in the field of archival history, theory, or practice.”

It’s an achievement worth bragging about, and this year, bragging rights belong to Philip C. Bantin, director of the archives and records management specialization at Indiana University, as well as to multiple chapter authors, including a team from RENCI, UNC-Chapel Hill and Harvard University. Read more…

Tagged , , , |

25th GENI Conference looks towards the future of advanced networking

The 25th GENI Engineering Conference hosted by Florida International University in March provided an excellent forum for over 100 participants from industry, academia and government to come together and discuss a variety of issues relevant to testbeds for at-scale experimentation in networking and distributed systems. Topics discussed included:

  1. Interoperability between GENI and other U.S. and international infrastructures;
  2. Enhancements and new directions for the GENI infrastructure in order to support future needs of the networking, distributed systems, and cloud computing communities and to attract research from other communities;
  3. Research and education activities currently underway on GENI; and
  4. GENI transition activities that are underway.

Read more…

Fourth annual Data Matters™ Short Court Series offers a wide range of topics for 2017

Calling all researchers who manage, share, analyze and archive large or complicated data sets, business professionals struggling to stay afloat in the data deluge, data analysts looking to sharpen their skills, and students interested in the hot field of data science. The five-day Data Matters Short Course series is here to help and give you the knowledge you need to thrive in our data rich world.

Read more…

Tagged , , , |

Nature article looks at consortia as a key to kickstarting open science

Note: RENCI has a successful track record in launching and sustaining consortia, including the iRODS Consortium and the National Consortium for Data Science. Now, a team of multidisciplinary, multi-institutional scientists has collected evidence showing consortia work as mechanisms that facilitate open science and data sharing. To read the full Nature article about the about their findings, click here.

Sharing research data, models and software to improve scientific reproducibility is becoming easier, however, changing the entrenched practices of the scientific community is a harder nut to crack.

In an article published March 30 in Nature, members of the Stakeholder Alignment Collaborative, including RENCI Senior Data Scientist Chris Lenhardt, point out that science, like most established institutions, finds change difficult to implement even when that change is positive. Open sharing of data and other resources, for example, can speed up the process of scientific discovery and enable discoveries to be more quickly translated into better products, treatments for diseases, and solutions to intractable problems.

Read more…

Tagged , , , |

Separating the wheat from the chaff in an age of bots and trolls

In the age of ubiquitous connectivity and social media, information is at our fingertips. Unfortunately, so is misinformation and often it is hard to tell one from the other.

A recent roundtable discussion sponsored by the South Big Data Hub examined the rapidly changing landscape for building online communities, sharing information, and creating what often appears to be a groundswell of support for particular points of view. Read more…

Tagged |

First Southern Data Science Conference comes to Atlanta April 7


Register now at www.southerndatascience.com

The data science community and members of the South Big Data Hub should mark their calendars for the very first Southern Data Science Conference, to be held on April 7 at the Hyatt Regency Atlanta Perimeter at Villa Christina. The conference is expected to attract data science thought leaders from around the southeast and the nation and will feature speakers from innovative companies and research laboratories, such as Google, Microsoft, AT&T, NASA, Glassdoor and Groupon. Read more…

Page 1 of 712345...Last »