On April 9 and 10, 2019, three University of Delaware faculty members traveled to the South Big Data (BD) Hub All Hands meeting at Georgia Tech in Atlanta. Cathy Wu, Karen Hoober, and Richard Braun met with representatives from all over the South Big Data Hub region, ranging from Delaware to Texas to Florida.

Cathy Wu is the Edward G. Jefferson Chair Professor and Director of the Center for Bioinformatics & Computational Biology and Director of the Data Science Institute.  Karen Hoober is Assistant Director of Graduate Education and Outreach for the Center for Bioinformatics & Computational Biology, as well as an instructor in Biochemistry.  Richard Braun is Professor and Director of Graduate Studies in Mathematics and Director of the MS in Data Science. All three felt that the meeting was very worthwhile.

The National Science Foundation awarded funds for the National Network of Big Data Regional Innovation Hubs (BD Hubs) program in 2015 under the Directorate for Computer and Information Science and Engineering (CISE). There are four BD Hubs in the US and Georgia Tech is home for the South BD Hub. The Hub facilitates collaboration on research, education, and infrastructure projects from a wide range of fields. The projects discussed at the meeting ranged from traffic management; social cybersecurity; integrated coastal simulation for biosystems; infrastructure and highly detailed topography.  Many of these projects’ methods and results could benefit researchers at the University of Delaware and the mid-Atlantic region.

The University of Delaware trio found inspiration for research projects and collaborations in areas of health informatics; urban science and planning; coastal habitat and disaster planning; and wearable technology for human health, just to name a few.

Educational ideas were exchanged as well.  There were a few programs in the early stages such as University of Delaware’s Master of Science in data science as well other more established programs.  The theme of on-campus vs. online programs visited several times.  An excellent panel discussion (beginning at the 22-minute mark) on collaboration between industry and the university also took place. Topics covered included the importance of finding the compatible collaborators, the different incentives for academics and industry partners, and many other important aspects of collaborating across sectors.

University of Delaware’s data-science related programs look forward to taking part in the coming South BD activities and projects.