New Report Looks at Strategies for Building a Data Economy

screen-shot-2017-02-24-at-5-27-39-pmTwo groups with a keen interest in data science –the North Carolina Board of Science, Technology & Innovation and the National Consortium for Data Science—have teamed up to produce a report that examines what the Tar Heel state needs to do to be a leader in the emerging data economy.

The report, NC in the Next Tech Tsumani: Navigating the Data Economy, says North Carolina has the raw assets to build a world-class data economy, including top-tier universities and thriving business sectors in technology, life sciences and finance.  However, those assets must be nurtured through a focus on data science education, data literacy, support for data-focused startups, and a coordinated effort to present the state as a data leader.

It’s a message that is relevant to many states in the South Big Data Hub region and across the U.S. And, like North Carolina, those states are looking for strategies that will focus talented people and the business and educational sectors on building a data economy that can generate new high-paying jobs across diverse industries and business sectors.

How big of a deal is the data economy? The World Economic Forum declared it the “fourth industrial revolution” and the recruiting website Glassdoor ranked “data scientist” at number one among the top 25 jobs in the U.S. in 2016. Data science is not just for technology companies either, according to the report. In North Carolina companies as varied as R. J. Reynolds Tobacco, Norfolk Southern Railroad, and General Electric use data for insights into customers, products, and operations.

Among the steps the report recommends for building a data economy are:

  • Elevate the data economy to the top tier of economic development priorities.
  • Grow and support the data science startup ecosystem across the state, and promote it nationally.
  • Create a pipeline of data science education and data literacy, K-20+.
  • Position the state as the “Open Data” state.
  • Support world-class data science research.

To view or download the report, click here.

Hackathon in Rocket City (Huntsville, AL) focuses on flood management

screen-shot-2017-02-17-at-10-57-54-amWe can’t control Mother Nature, but we can use data to mitigate some of her more destructive occurrences, including floods.

That’s the premise behind a hackathon sponsored by the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency (NGA) and the city of Huntsville, AL. The hackathon, to be held Feb. 25 and 26, will give software developers, policymakers, public safety officials, business leaders, and other creative problem solvers the chance to make a difference in how communities prepare for and respond to dangerous floods.

Participants will work on developing a variety of disaster management solutions related to floods. These could include identifying at-risk populations, and developing applications that perform a variety of important functions, from identifying and locating family members and emergency responders during floods, to pushing out alerts to people in the path of floods, to locating in near real time people in need of evacuation. A grand prize of $3,000 will be awarded as well as a $1,000 second prize.

A variety of businesses and organizations are cosponsoring the hackathon, including GeoHunstville, Vencore, Blue Compass, New Leaf Digital, IBM, DesignLab, Honeycomb Networks, AEgis Technologies, and DAn Solutions.

Register now using the promotional code BC2017-50 and the $10 registration fee will be reduced to only $5. To register, visit http://expeditionhacks.com/huntsville-2017/.

Looking for a job in the field? NGA will have recruiters on hand with direct hiring authority. Impress them and you might leave the hackathon with the chance to embark on a new career.

South Hub Sponsors Data Science for Social Good Summer Program 2017

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By Arjun Sawhney, South Big Data Hub
SawhneyArjun@gmail.com

South Big Data Hub is partnering with Data Science for Social Good- Atlanta to bring nine graduate students from various southern states to participate in a ten-week paid internship experience. The program would place undergraduate and graduate students in multidisciplinary teams to work under the supervision of a Georgia Tech faculty mentor on a problem that comes from a local government or nonprofit partner in the Atlanta metro area. Mentors from the local data science practitioner community will provide additional guidance and support. Continue reading

Join the conversation on building data science capacity

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Participants in the Federal Data in Action Summit express their views on key data questions by moving around the room, with those on each side representing opposite ends of a spectrum and those in the middle representing the middle ground.

December Summit launched conversation—now we want your thoughts

By Tim J. Gabel, @timgabel
Executive Vice President, RTI International

I had the pleasure of attending the December 15, 2016 Federal Data in Action Summit in Washington DC. The meeting was co-hosted by a team that included the National Science Foundation, the four Big Data Regional Innovation Hubs, and the Department of Homeland Security. It was a chance to spend an afternoon with an extraordinary collection of thought leaders, practitioners, and government agency representatives. The focus of the day – to “share lessons learned and best practices for building data science capacity” – is of great relevance to organizations and the U.S. economy. Continue reading

Chinese scientists get a taste of data-driven research at U.S. State Department-sponsored visit

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Chinese and American scientists take a break for a group photo during an afternoon of discussion on data analytics in environmental sciences.

Science, and the process of sharing scientific knowledge and ideas to solve problems, knows no national or political boundaries. That’s why when a group of Chinese scientists visited RENCI as guests of the South Big Data Hub, the discussion was lively, timely, and productive. Continue reading

Panel examines the role of data in public and environmental health

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Panelists and audience members participate in the South Big Data Hub roundtable on data analytics in environmental health both remotely and in person.

The South Big Data Hub Roundtable held on January 11 in Chapel Hill, NC, provided an open discussion forum with a focus on Translational Data Analytics for Environmental Health.

Ashok Krishnamurthy, PhD, moderated the discussion, which included panelists Andy May, PhD, an assistant professor in the department of civil, environmental, and geodetic engineering at The Ohio State University, Ayaz Hyder, PhD, assistant professor in the Division of Environmental Health Sciences at Ohio State’s College of Public Health, David Peden, PhD,  a distinguished professor at the UNC-Chapel Hill School of Medicine, and Paul Kizakevich, PhD, a senior research engineer in the bioinformatics program at RTI International. Continue reading

A state of the union panel discussion on Apache Spark/Big Data innovation

img_0647On January 19, MetiStream hosted our meetup: The Washington DC Apache Spark Interactive and held a State of the Union Panel Discussion on Apache Spark Big Data Innovation. A fitting topic given the transition of power in Washington that happened the next day. We firmly believe that a consistent focus on big data powers innovation and keeps America strong and distinctive.Our technology meetups shepard this innovation by bringing the community together to learn and share knowledge, network, and find opportunities for our members. Yes, we may be a roomful of geeks…but this is what we do. This is fun for us! Continue reading

First Southern Data Science Conference comes to Atlanta April 7

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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. Continue reading

Report says data science education pays off in rewarding careers

data-careersEarning a college degree takes more than time and effort—it requires a significant financial investment. With college costs on the rise, how can a prospective student ensure he or she gets the best bang for their education bucks?

According to a report from Thrivent Mutual Funds highlighted in a recent edition of Forbes magazine, choosing a major that can translate into a data science career is one way to ensure that your career earning power will allow you to pay off those student loans quickly. The Thrivent Mutual Funds 100 Best Careers in America categorizes jobs by the amount of education needed to land a job in a field: an associate’s degree or certification, a four-year degree, or an advanced degree.   Continue reading