COVID-19 continues to spread across the country and around the world. The current strategy for managing the spread of COVID-19 is social distancing, and a new white paper from Georgia Tech applies the use of an interactive Artificial Intelligence (AI) tool to conceptualize the impact of social distancing on the spread of COVID-19.
Funded with a South Big Data Hub SPOKE grant, the Virtual Ecological Research Assistant (VERA) is web application that enables users to construct conceptual models of ecological systems, and run interactive simulations of these models. This allows users to explore ecological systems and perform “what if” experiments to either explain an existing ecological system or attempt to predict the outcome of future changes to one.
Researchers using VERA have now documented utilizing the tool to develop develop a SIR model for the spread of COVID-19 and its relationship with healthcare capacity.
The NSF Spoke Project ‘Using Big Data for Environmental Sustainability: Big Data + AI Technology = Accessible, Usable, Useful Knowledge’ has repurposed VERA to model the effect of social distancing on the spread of COVID-19, including the SIR model of epidemiology. VERA enables a user to build conceptual models and agent-based simulations, and conduct “what if” virtual experiments.
Read the white paper abstract below:
COVID-19 continues to spread across the country and around the world. Current strategies for managing the spread of COVID-19 include social distancing. We present VERA, an interactive AI tool, that first enables users to specify conceptual models of the impact of social distancing on the spread of COVID-19. Then, VERA automatically spawns agent-based simulations from the conceptual models, and, given a data set, automatically fills in the values of the simulation parameters from the data. Next, the user can view the simulation results, and, if needed, revise the simulation parameters and run another experimental trial, or build an alternative conceptual model. We describe the use VERA to develop a SIR model for the spread of COVID-19 and its relationship with healthcare capacity.
View the project and white paper ‘VERA_Epidemiology – White Paper 1: Using VERA to explain the impact of social distancing on the spread of COVID-19 HERE
PEPI-G supports data faculty members, research scientists, postdocs, and graduate and undergraduate students from across the country in working on high level problems for the federal government. Our 2020 program partner is the Department of Homeland Security – Advanced Research Projects Agency (DHS-ARPA).
Qualifying applicants must be: (1) a US CITIZEN, (2) an academic professional (i.e. faculty, post-doctoral researcher, research scientist, graduate student, or rising junior and senior undergraduates), (3) able to pass a DHS background check (suitability) and (4) able to live and work in Washington D.C. for the duration of the fellowship.
Applicants can request 3-6 months for the fellowship.
Selected individuals will receive a stipend of $5000/month to off-set travel costs for relocating to Washington DC.
For questions feel free to contact South Big Data Hub Program Coordinator, Kendra Lewis-Strickland at firstname.lastname@example.org.
(Survey Closed; Thank You for Your Feedback) Start the New Year off by sharing your experiences, needs, and perspectives with us! Spare a few minutes and help inform the future strategic South Hub programs, activities, & opportunities. It’s completely anonymous!
The South Big Data Innovation Hub is excited to host the 2020 DataUp Program. DataUp will offer hands-on training for instructor teams at minority-serving institutions, community colleges, or 4-year liberal arts colleges. Priority will be given to hosts who can demonstrate the participation of faculty from diverse departments, or multiple institutions of the types listed above.
Applications Close March 31! (Applications Closed)
Applicants must be groups of 2-4 faculty or permanent staff from a minority-led, -serving, primarily teaching institutions, community colleges or 4-year liberal arts colleges institution or group of institutions in the same local area to maintain a cohort model in each location. Lead Institutions must be in the 16 states of the South Huband indicate interest in hosting a training workshop at their institutions. To ensure broad and adequate attendance, in the application process, institutions will submit a list of potential attendees or partners from their local communities which should include local minority-serving institutions and community colleges. Institutions with the broadest reach will be selected for participation.
Interested? Learn more about the 2018 cohort’s experiences at the DataUp webpage.
In the week of July 29-Aug 2, 2019, more than 50 faculty and students from more 21 institutions participated in two R bootcamps at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga (UTC). The iCompBio REU is supported by NSF Award 1852042, REU Site: ICompBio – Engaging Undergraduates in Interdisciplinary Computing for Biological Research. The first bootcamp on data wrangling using R was taught by Hong Qin, a computational biologist at UTC. Materials for this R Data Wrangling bootcamp is available at a public GitHub repository https://tinyurl.com/UTC-R-camps2019. The second bootcamp, Electronic Health Records, was taught by Elvena Fong and Zhuqi Miao from the Center for Health Systems Innovation at the Oklahoma State University.
From May 27 to August 5, 2019, a group of 12 students participated in a 10-week Interdisciplinary Computing for Biological Research REU program at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. These undergraduate researchers are from Fisk University, Tuskegee University, Morehouse College, Norfolk State University, University of Virgin Islands, Tennessee Technological University, Rhodes College, Shippensburg University of Pennsylvania, the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. The majors of these students include 3 Mathematics, 2 Chemical Engineering, 3 Biology, 1 Biochemistry, 2 Computer Science, and 1 Computer Engineering. The iCompBio19 includes a total of 8 faculty mentors 2019 that come from Computer Science, Mathematics, Biology, Geology, and Chemical Engineering.
All students presented their REU research results at a poster symposium on July 31.
The Program to Empower Partnerships with Industry and Government (PEPI-G) supports faculty members, research scientists, postdocs, and graduate and undergraduate students (rising juniors and seniors as of 2019) from the 16 states that comprise the South Big Data Regional Innovation Hub (South BD Hub).
James Stevenson is an undergraduate student at Northern Kentucky University and is currently pursuing his degree in Information Technology with his focus being Cybersecurity. He’s a technologist at heart and enjoys everything related to cyberinfrastructure, social cybersecurity, the internet of things, and data manipulation. His goals for his senior year of college are to gain professional experience in his career field and to develop his technical skills. This fellowship provided by the Big South Data Hub will allow him to reach these goals.
Rachel St Clair is a doctoral student at Florida Atlantic University studying Complex Systems and Brain Sciences. Rachel’s main focus centers in multi-modal, translational machine learning in complex systems and brain sciences. Her background in both medicine and biology helps structure the integration of machine learning models for both academia and industry applications. Previous work involves a variety of research fields including mental disorder diagnosis, epileptic mice investigations, and synthetic drug detection. Drawing from interdisciplinary experiences drives her current integrative research in deep learning proteomics, computer vision, and therapeutic XR platforms. Her future accomplishments aim to include advancements in advanced machine perception and general AI. Rachel notes, ‘working with others who care deeply for the evolution of computerized cognitive task and their role in making the world a safer place would be a defining historical moment in my career path’.
The Department of Homeland Security – Advanced Research Projects Agency (DHS-ARPA) DA-E lab infrastructure consists of industry-standard servers and network gear, custom appliances built on the premise, and commercial and private cloud capabilities.
DHS’ identified Priority Areas:
Human Trafficking – Examining social media to aid in the fight against human trafficking focusing on Non-Text Data, Automating Search and Scalability
Real-time Analytics for Multi-party, Metro-scale Networks (RAMMMNets) – Data associated with the Internet-of-Things presents challenges to the analytic environments that inform human decision making.
Other Topics – Faculty fellows may propose other research topics for consideration.
NSF Invests $4 Million in Big Data for Southern United States
Precision medicine and understanding health disparities, innovation to power competitive manufacturing, technology for smarter communities, and addressing coastal hazards such as hurricanes are among the challenges facing the Southern United States. A $4 million award from the National Science Foundation (NSF) will help apply data science and engineering to address those challenges.
The funding will continue support for the South Big Data Innovation Hub, an organization that helps 16 Southern States and the District of Columbia identify and utilize data science and engineering to address critical societal needs. One of four NSF-supported regional data hubs in the U.S., the South Big Data Hub is managed by the Georgia Institute of Technology and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
“The Big Data Hubs provide a connective tissue for the data science ecosystem across sectors and domains,” said Renata Rawlings-Goss, the Hub’s executive director. “I am deeply pleased by NSF’s recommitment to the growth of the South Hub and our community. Over the last three years, we have made great strides within our priority areas and are looking to broaden that reach in the next four years.”
With the end of the first grant, Dr. Lea Shanley has stepped down from her role as co-Executive Director of the South Hub. We appreciate her leadership and commitment to the Hub, fostering the All Hub Cyberinfrastructure and Social Cybersecurity Working groups, catalyzing and supporting our Spoke research teams, building numerous collaborative partnerships to benefit this community, and co-authoring the proposal for the next phase of the South BD Hub.
She sends her thanks to the National Science Foundation CISE, the South Hub’s many collaborators and working group co-chairs, the hardworking Executive and Deputy Directors across all four Hubs, and especially to the South Hub team!
Shannon McKeen will join the South Hub leadership team as Deputy Director. Shannon brings 20+ years of experience in strategic planning and university and corporate relations to the Hub team. He holds a BS in computer science from Williams College and an MBA from The Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth.
Thank You to the South Hub Community for an Incredible Meeting.
Contribute to the conversation with colleagues from industry, academia, nonprofits, and government during this two-day meeting to learn more about the accomplishments and future plans for the South Big Data Hub community. Your participation will strengthen our community and identify ways the SBDH can continue to support entities like you.
We invite you and/or your students to come and share your collaborative data science projects, discuss your progress, and highlight your impact