Women to show their data science chops at 2018 WiDS conference

The Women in Data Science (WiDS) Conference returns for a third year to Stanford University on March 5. This one-day, technical conference features world-class speakers discussing a wide array of data science, machine learning, and artificial intelligence research and applications, from computational finance, to astrophysics, to wids-logo-stacked-stanford-preferredcybersecurity, and much more. All genders are invited to participate in the conference, which features exclusively female speakers.

WiDS is a truly global and inclusive conference with a unique participation model. Participants have the choice of joining the conference in person at Stanford; in person at one of the 100+ regional events worldwide; online via livestream; or online via Facebook Live.  This provides unfettered access to valuable, technical, and innovative content to anyone in the world that would like to participate.

In the South Big Data Hub region, many data scientists will participate in the conference at live events in their area. While most will take place on March 5, some events are scheduled for other days. WiDS events in the southeast will take place in Atlanta, GA (March 8), Austin, TX (March 24), Research Triangle Park, NC, Charlotte, NC, Charlottesville, VA, Columbia, SC, Dallas, TX, Memphis, TN, Miami, FL, San Marcos, TX, and Washington DC. More information on regional events is available on the WiDS website registration page.

Although the conference is in March, many women in data science have already been participating in a new feature of WiDS called the WiDS Datathon, a joint effort between the Stanford Institute for Computational & Mathematical Engineering (ICME); Kaggle (a Google company); Intuit; West Big Data Innovation Hub; and InterMedia, a grant recipient of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, in their Financial Services for the Poor program.

The Datathon seeks to encourage female data scientists to engage in social impact solutions by participating in a predictive analytics challenge. The competition began February 1 and runs through the end of the month. The WiDS Datathon was made possible by the WiDS 2018 sponsors.

For more information, go to widsconference.org.

NSF-sponsored workshop to focus on data lifecycle training for grad students and postdocs

Travel and accommodations provided; applications due March 15

For today’s graduate and post-doctoral students, conducting research often starts by trying to make sense of the many tools, technologies, and work environments used in data-intensive research and computing.

Fortunately, there is help in navigating this new research landscape.

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New membership structure launches NCDS into new year

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Scene from an NCDS data science career event designed to bring students together with potential employers.

The National Consortium for Data Science (NCDS), a public-private consortium formed in North Carolina to address the challenges and opportunities of big data, has updated its membership structure, making it easier for businesses, government agencies, educational institutions, and nonprofits to join the NCDS community. Continue reading

Workshop looks at forming EU-US big data partnerships

Participants in the international big data workshop in Versailles, France, take a break for a group photo.

In November 2017, the National Science Foundation’s Big Data Innovation Hubs sponsored a workshop in Versailles, France to discuss the formation of public-private partnerships in big data research among institutions in the United States and the European Union. Organized in conjunction with the Big Data Value Association, the PICASSO Project, and Inria, the workshop was the first of its kind to bring together international big data experts representing government, industry, and academia. Continue reading

South Hub, Microsoft team up to provide Azure credits for researchers

Earlier this year, the South Big Data Hub partnered with Microsoft Research to offer researchers in the South Hub region the opportunity to apply for cloud credits on Azure, the comprehensive cloud services platform offered through Microsoft. The opportunity was designed to provide cloud computing resources to support data-intensive research projects.

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Earth observation and citizen science workshop video materials now available

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Citizen Science Workshop photo courtesy of Secure World Foundation.

The proliferation of mobile devices and low-cost sensors has enabled citizens to collect timely geospatial information and contribute to scientific research and field work that addresses locally relevant, global environmental issues, including disaster management, food security and climate change. This collaborative exchange, in which citizens as well as scientists and policymakers, actively participate in the creation of new scientific knowledge, is called citizen science to contribute, together with scientists and policy makers, to address locally relevant, global environmental issues, including disaster management, food security and climate change. This collaborative exchange, in which citizens are active participants in the co-creation of new scientific knowledge, is known as Citizen Science.

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The South Big Data Hub brings missing voices to the conversation on data science education

Negotiating the Digital and Data Divide Workshop builds momentum for the series “Keeping Data Science Broad.”

Participants of the Negotiating the Digital and Data Divide Workshop, in front of the wall of challenges and visions used to collect ideas on the future of data science education.

This month, participants from universities across the nation, community colleges, tribal colleges, minority-serving institutions, nonprofits, and industry joined forces with the South Big Data Hub and Georgia Tech to confront the challenges of building data science capacity through traditional and alternative educational practices. Organized by Dr. Renata Rawlings-Goss, a co-executive director of the South Big Data Hub, the two-day workshop, sponsored by multiple directorates within the National Science Foundation, brought together a diverse mix of participants to navigate the complex issues of reforming data science education to prepare for the data-driven workforce of the future.

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Confronting the data challenges of ‘smart health’

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NSF’s Wendy Nilsen speaking at a South Big Data Hub Roundtable.

Each day countless devices—from monitors in hospitals to diagnostic tests to Fitbits—capture huge amounts of health data. That data could change how patients and doctors interact, how diseases are diagnosed and treated, and the amount of control individuals have over their health outcomes.

But there’s a catch, says Wendy Nilsen, PhD, program director of the Smart and Connected Health Initiative at the National Science Foundation.

The data is plentiful, Nilsen acknowledged. The challenge, she said, is how to make that data easier to use, how to standardize it so it can be analyzed, how to scale it, keep it safe, and how to account for external factors such as the environment or a person’s genome.

Nilsen discussed these challenges and how to address them in a roundtable discussion hosted by the South Big Data Hub on October 14. Nilsen’s talk, titled “Smart Health and Our Future” provides an overview of the challenges that must be addressed as well as the ultimate goal: A system where patients use data to take more control of their health and where healthcare practitioners can use data from multiple sources to improve diagnoses and health outcomes.

To view the presentation slides, click here.

Hackathon part of effort to make Orlando the ‘Smartest City’

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Participants in the Orlando Smart Cities Hackathon take time out for a group photo.

By Dan Ellen

On August 26 and 27, programmers and software engineers convened in Orlando to push the boundaries of creativity, innovation, reality, and technology to build solutions and concepts that have the potential to make a difference in the Orlando community.

Called the Orlando Smart Cities Hackathon, the event aimed to support the city of Orlando in its efforts to become a smart city and also to demonstrate the city’s capabilities as it works to earn the title of “The Smartest City.” Orlando received two smart cities grant awards and is pursuing a variety of additional funding opportunities for smart cities initiatives that would help to enhance transportation citywide and beyond. In these pursuits, the city continues to move forward with building a data-driven infrastructure that will support safer, cleaner, and more efficient travel and an improved quality of life.  Continue reading