A “big data brain trust” has been established by the National Science Foundation to bring together industry, government and academia to accelerate this emerging field and harness it to solve some of society’s toughest problems.
The University of Michigan will play a leading role in the new Midwest Big Data Innovation Hub—one of four that NSF has set up across the nation. U-M is one of five universities that will lead the Midwest hub. Professor Brian Athey, co-director of U-M’s Michigan Institute for Data Science, will lead the effort at U-M.
“We’re thrilled to be a part of this effort, and are looking forward to establishing dynamic partnerships that will coordinate big data expertise and resources to improve the region’s quality of life,” said Athey, who is the Michael Savageau Collegiate Professor and chair of the Department of Computational Medicine & Bioinformatics in the U-M Medical School and also a professor of psychiatry and internal medicine.
These hubs aim to develop partnerships that will use big data to address region-specific problems. Athey will lead a subgroup of the Midwest Hub that will address health sciences. H.V. Jagadish, U-M professor of electrical engineering and computer sciences, will lead a subgroup on transportation.
The Midwest Hub will focus its efforts in three areas:
- Society, including smart cities and communities; network science; and business analytics
- The natural and built world, including water, food and energy; digital agriculture; transportation; and advanced manufacturing
- Health care and biomedical research
Other universities involved in the Midwest Hub are Illinois, Indiana, North Dakota and Iowa State. Partners include the city of Detroit, Ford Motor Co., General Motors, Domino’s Pizza, TechTown Detroit, Quicken Loans and the Henry Ford Health System.
The NSF award provides $1.25 million to set up the framework for bringing partners together to develop, plan and support regional big data partnerships and activities to address regional challenges.
“The Big Data Hubs program represents a unique approach to improving the impact of data science by establishing partnerships among like-minded stakeholders,” said Jim Kurose, NSF’s head of Computer and Information Science and Engineering. “In doing so, it enables teams of data science researchers to come together with domain experts, with cities and municipalities, and with anchor institutions to establish and grow collaborations that will accelerate progress in a wide range of science and education domains with the potential for great societal benefit.”
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