Midwest Big Data Summer School kicks off July 10

Hridesh Rajan, professor in the Department of Computer Science and the Kingland Professor of Data Analytics, at the 2016 Midwest Big Data Summer School.
Hridesh Rajan, professor in the Department of Computer Science and the Kingland Professor of Data Analytics, at the 2016 Midwest Big Data Summer School.

The Midwest Big Data Summer School will be held July 10-14 at Iowa State University’s Memorial Union.

The summer school includes full day lectures on topics ranging from data acquisition, data preprocessing, exploratory data analysis, descriptive data analysis, data analysis tools and techniques, visualization and communication, ethical issues in data science, reproducibility and repeatability, and understanding of domain/context.

The program was founded in 2016 by Hridesh Rajan, professor in the Department of Computer Science and the Kingland Professor of Data Analytics. Pavan Aduri, professor in the Department of Computer Science joined shortly afterward. Rajan, Aduri, and other organizers at Iowa State University recognized a need for a program that would allow early-career researchers to quickly get up to speed in big data research techniques. Initial plans were to accommodate 75 attendees, but registration swelled to nearly 145 attendees. Similar numbers are expected this year.

"The goal of the project was to put together a training venue for folks who are just getting ready to jump into big data research," Rajan said.

Participants in the 2016 Midwest Big Data Summer School.
Participants in the 2016 Midwest Big Data Summer School.

‘Big data’ is a term used for research where the amount of data exceeds the limits of any person or individual computer to observe each data piece. In these instances, different techniques that allow researchers to look at the essence of the data instead of the individual pieces must be utilized.

"It leads to challenges in both how to keep that information, because it is huge, and how to compute over that information," Rajan said. "A new series of techniques is needed to be able to create a reasonable essence, if we may, that then allows a human analyst to derive some knowledge out of that essence."

This year, the event will begin with a focus on foundational big data techniques. The last two days will break out into tracks that participants can choose between, with each track focusing on a subarea of big data analysis. Tracks this year include: Foundations of Data Science, Software Analytics and Digital Agriculture. Each track consists of tutorials and invited lectures that highlight current research methodologies and challenges.

The program is also organized by Adisak Sukul, lecturer of computer science; Eric Weber, associate professor of mathematics; Chinmay Hegde, assistant professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering; and Erin Mullenix, Director of Data Driven Science in the Office of the Vice President for Research.

Registration is required. Limited travel support is available. The school is sponsored by Kingland systems, the US National Science Foundation, the Office of the Vice President of Research, the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, the Department of Computer Science, and the Department of Statistics at Iowa State University.

Midwest Big Data Summer School
July 10-14, 2017
Sun Room, Memorial Union
To register, visit the conference website