The volume of available data that can be used to improve decisions has increased exponentially over the last ten years. Not only have temporal, spatial and spectral resolutions of traditional sensors increased dramatically during that time, but new sensing array paradigms have been created, leading to ubiquitous sensing. The internet, health care records, power meters and even our smart phones have now become sensors that provide massive data sources for making business, health care, national security and energy decisions, just to name a few. Nearly every sector of the US economy is struggling with growing data volumes, resulting in “Big Data” becoming an increasingly important research field in today’s economy. Big Data has become so essential that the Nation’s S&T advisors mandated that every federal agency should have a big data plan, prompting the President to launch a cross-agency federal research program in data science. Additionally, both IBISWorld and MGI predict this market will continue to grow at a significant pace with over a $200B potential market value in health care alone. Predictions also include the need for close to 200K more analytic positions and managers in this industry.
NC State has a rich history in analytics research with durable connections to nationally imminent companies known for providing advanced decision tools. With its recently announced Chancellor’s Faculty Excellence Program, NC State University is further growing its existing strong program in “Big Data”, or Data Driven Science. Through collaborations focused on developing formal methods in both data management and analytics, the Departments of Computer Science, Statistics and Mathematics are enhancing their leadership in this important research field. Three senior faculty members with strong academic records and a history of interdisciplinary collaborations will be added to the existing faculty as part of this effort. While these three candidates will reside in their home departments, they will supplement the necessary vision and leadership to continue NC State’s move towards becoming the national leader in data science.
This cluster is critical to several emerging programs at NC State University and faculty will be encouraged to participate in and become part of these programs. NC State is the first university to offer a Masters program in analytics through the Institute for Advanced Analytics. This program concentrates on business intelligence and has seen explosive growth leading to national prominence. Additionally, NC State was recently awarded a significant contract worth over $60M to build the Laboratory for Analytic Sciences, a government funded research institute that conducts research in the Science of Analysis, Analytics and User Experiences. With a cluster economy in Research Triangle Park including nationally known companies like SAS, IBM, Cisco, NetApps, EMC2 and others, there are ample opportunities for leading faculty to build and conduct high impact research and educational programs.
Two new faculty members, Alyson Wilson and Xipeng Shen, have recently joined NC State as part of the Data-driven Science Cluster.