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Posted on Dec 10, 2014

Solving Data Challenges

Solving Data Challenges

We’re working now to expand undergraduate and graduate programs to close existing gaps in the data science talent pool that will only grow in the near future.

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Read how excellence in all of the contributing disciplines — such as computer science, statistics and design — are helping to position NC State as a national leader in providing talent and solving “Big Data Challenges.” With NC State’s wealth of expertise, we are expecting great things from the new Data Science Initiative that we have created to corral and focus our efforts in this crucial emerging area. I am very pleased that our own Mladen Vouk — one of the fathers of “the cloud” — has agreed to be the founding director of the Data Science Initiative.

Graphic based on artwork by Yairon Martinez

Results cover artwork by College of Design student Yairon Martinez.

The growing volume of data collected in the digital world presents scientists and business leaders with major challenges, along with opportunities for increased understanding. The insights gained by applying data science have the potential to improve decision making across all sectors of the economy including health care, manufacturing, energy and government.

NC State has played a foundational role in establishing the discipline of data science, including when alum Jim Goodnight founded SAS Institute more than three decades ago and NC State launched the nation’s first Master of Science in Analytics. The Data Science Initiative will expand our research, teaching and outreach efforts to create a hub of excellence by integrating our existing capabilities, bringing new resources to bear, and building partnerships with leading organizations.

We’re working now to expand undergraduate and graduate programs to close existing gaps in the data science talent pool that only will grow in the near future. We’re also working to train more data-savvy managers and analysts who are capable of asking good questions — the ones that create an advantage and proactively manage risk.

As home to the National Institute of Statistical Sciences, SAS, LexisNexis, ABB, NetApp, Cisco, RTI and many other data-intensive organizations, the Research Triangle region is a data science powerhouse. It’s a rich environment for collaboration, and the Data Science Initiative will allow NC State to foster more effective partnerships in the region and beyond. In March 2015, we look forward to a high-impact conference, Data4Decisions, in Raleigh to focus on data needs of executives and decision makers.

I have thoroughly enjoyed leading NC State’s research enter­prise in creating impactful results and achieving record levels of extramural funding over the last six years. My time as vice chancellor for research, innovation and economic develop­ment has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my professional life. While I will miss daily interactions with our outstanding faculty, staff and students, I will continue to foster partnerships with North Carolina’s universities in my new role as executive vice president of discovery, science and technol­ogy at RTI International. I offer heartfelt thanks to the NC State research community and wish you all continued success.

Vice Chancellor
Research, Innovation and Economic Development