NSF Invests $4 Million in Big Data for Southern United States

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.”

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Update on South Hub Leadership

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!

Dr. Shanley is now a Fellow at the Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies, University of Wisconsin-Madison, and can be reached at lshanley@wisc.edu and https://www.linkedin.com/in/leashanley. We wish her much success in her future endeavors.  

Current South Hub Leadership 

Dr. Renata Rawlings-Goss will continue her leadership of the South Hub as Executive Director.

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.

DataUp Workshop – University Puerto Rico – Rio Piedras: Students Buzz with Excitement for Data Science

The South Hub created the DataUp program to enable researchers and educators to teach data science students and prepare them for future data-intensive and data-enabled environments.  On August 18, 35 learners packed the room, at the University of Puerto Rico- Rio Piedras (UPRRP), to participate in a hands-on workshop focused on data management and analysis for genomics research.  Students learned best practices for the organization of bioinformatics projects and data, use of command line utilities, use of command line tools to analyze sequence quality and perform variant calling, and connecting to and using cloud computing.   This workshop, taught in English and Spanish, created such a buzz that a waitlist was created.  The waitlist included 13 individuals! Continue reading

Call for Papers: Special Journal Issue on Social Cybersecurity

The South Big Data Hub Security, Network Analysis, and Social Media Working Group organized a workshop in March and recommended a special issue on social cybersecurity as a deliverable. From that recommendation, Computational and Mathematical Organization Theory has announced a special journal issue on social cybersecurity with the working group co-chairs as editors.

Kathleen Carley, PhD, of Carnegie Mellon University, Nitin Agarwal, PhD, of the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, and Lea Shanley, PhD, of the South Big Data Hub invite submissions for consideration. A letter of intent should be sent to Dr. Carley at kathleen.carley@cs.cmu.edu by August 1, 2018 for consideration.

If you are interested in joining the South Hub Security Working Group, please email Nitin Agarwal or Karl Gustafson, and be sure to indicate why you are interested in membership in your request to join.

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South Big Data Hub partners on development of new nationwide data storage network under NSF grant

The Open Storage Network will enable researchers to manage data more efficiently than ever before.


The South Big Data Hub is one of four regional big data hub partners awarded a $1.8 million grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) for the initial development of a data storage network over the next two years. A collaborative team will combine their expertise, facilities, and research challenges to develop the Open Storage Network (OSN). The OSN will enable academic researchers across the nation to work with and share their data more efficiently than ever before, according to the NSF announcement.  Continue reading

Strategies for hiring and maintaining a diverse data scientists workforce

RTI’s Kristina Brunelle (left) moderates a panel discussion with Amy Roussel, RTI (center); Gracie Johnson-Lopez, Diversity and HR Solutions (right); and Sackeena Gordon-Jones, Transformation Edge and NC State University (on screen).

Data science is hot. That’s good news for workers with data science skills. It also means organizations competing to hire data scientists need to understand how to recruit talent that will solve their data science challenges and contribute to creating a productive and diverse workforce.  Continue reading

Reflections on the NIST/IEEE/ORCA Federated Cloud Workshop

Both the South Big Data Hub and West Big Data Hub provided sponsorship for the NIST/IEEE/ORCA Federated Cloud Workshop, held on March 21-22, 2018, in Gaithersburg, MD. The workshop was chaired by:

  • Robert Bohn, Program Manager, NIST Cloud Computing Program (NCCP) Federated Cloud Conceptual Architecture, and Chair IEEE P2302;
  • Craig Lee, Chair, NCCP Federated Cloud Conceptual Architecture, and The Aerospace Corporation; and,
  • Khalil Yazdi, Chair of Open Research Cloud Alliance (ORCA).

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#SDSC18: 2018 Southern Data Science Conference Recap

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Speakers and Board Members from the Southern Data Conference which featured over 300 attendees. Images Left to Right: South Hub Co-Executive Directors; Renata Rawlings-Goss and conference chair Khalifeh AlJadda Lead Data Scientist for CareerBuilder; Lea Shanley speaking on panel; Renata Rawlings-Goss and conference Hack-a-thon chair Beverly Wright, CAO  at Aspirent; SDSC Advisory Board

Acting as a member of the advisory committee, the South Big Data Regional Innovation Hub in conjunction with the Southern Data Science Conference welcomed data enthusiasts to Atlanta.  On April 13-14, the second Southern Data Science Conference was held at the beautiful Marriott hotel in downtown Atlanta. To no surprise, the sold-out conference included 350+ data science enthusiasts, and top speakers from top companies like Google, Microsoft, Facebook, Uber,… etc. and top research institutions like Georgia-Tech, UGA, UNC,…etc.  From responsible AI to ‘fake news’ to emoticons to team management, the Southern Data Science Conference did not disappoint!  Continue reading

BREAKING: DataUp – Keeping Data Science Broad Recipients Announced

DataUp Logo

Last week, The South Big Data Innovation Hub announced the recipients of the 2018 DataUp: Keeping Data Science Broad Series. The recipients represent Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSIs), and other minority-serving institutions (MSIs), community colleges, and primarily teaching-focused institutions.   Each of the recipients will receive a 2-day data science workshop on their respective campuses and travel funding for an in-person ‘train-the-trainers’ workshop in Atlanta, GA to prepare teams to teach regional data science workshops.  Continue reading

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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