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Posts tagged ‘data science’

Every year, Purdue University Libraries and School of Information Studies hosts the Purdue GIS (Geographic Information Systems) Day Conference. During it, Purdue students demonstrate how they have applied GIS in their individual areas of study and research. Nicole Kong, PULSIS associate professor and GIS specialist at Purdue, heads up the conference, along with a team of collaborators from across Purdue, all who are involved in GIS work in some way. This year, the Purdue GIS Day Conference is set for Thursday, Nov. 7 in Stewart Center. (More information about research and project submission deadlines is available at lib.purdue.edu/gis/gisday/gisday_2019_college_program.)

Nicole Kong, associate professor and GIS specialist, Purdue University Libraries and School of Information Studies

Nicole Kong, associate professor and GIS specialist, Purdue University Libraries and School of Information Studies

In addition to planning the Purdue GIS Day Conference and her teaching duties, Kong serves as a principal investigator (PI) or co-PI for various GIS and data-science research projects at Purdue. Recently, she was awarded funding in Purdue’s Integrative Data Science Initiative (IDSI) for the project, “Integrating Geospatial Information Across Disciplines.” In addition, she is co-PI for two more GIS-related projects, both which were recently funded through U.S. government agencies. The projects include:

  • 2019 – 2020: “Leveraging Soil Explorer for Soils and Ecological Training.” USDA (U.S. Dept. of Agriculture), NRCS (Natural Resource Conservation Service), Soil Science Collaborative Research Proposals Notice of Funding Opportunity (NFO). PI: D. Schulze (agronomy) and co-PI J. Ackerson (agronomy): $52,295.49.
  • 2018 – 2019: “IndianaView Program Development and Operations for the State of Indiana.” AmericaView program, U.S. Geological Survey. Co-PI, with L. Biehl, (ITaP), J. Shan (civil engineering): $23,000.

Kong’s important work on the two government-funded research projects has implications for soil research, conservation efforts, and the training of soil scientists, as well as remotely sensed data collections that contribute to the AmericaView project. Data from this project can help inform national and international economic, environmental, social, health, and geopolitical decisions.

“The AmericaView Consortium is charged with helping each state overcome these difficulties and helps the university, secondary-education, and public sectors in each state identify, develop, and distribute the kinds of applications each state needs most. In light of our nation’s current focus on achieving a secure and stable digital infrastructure, never has this task been more relevant,” Kong explained.

Below, Kong provides more background about both projects and how the research in both contributes to soil mapping across the globe, as well as the mapping, monitoring, and management of natural and environmental resources.

Q. How did the “Leveraging Soil Explorer for Soils and Ecological Training” project come about and how will you and your team use the grant funds?

Kong: This project was developed based upon the success of our previous award of “Integrating Spatial Education Experience (Isee)” funded by NRCS. In the previous award, we successfully collaborated with several other states to develop soil property maps for education purposes.

In this project, we will further develop the soil maps for the conterminous U.S., Alaska, Hawaii, and U.S. territories, as well as provide training materials about how to use the new maps to improve soil and ecology training. Part of the funds will be used for Purdue Libraries and School of Information Studies to assist in creating and sharing the maps, as well as for GIS server improvement.

Q. Who else is involved with “Leveraging Soil Explorer for Soils and Ecological Training” project?
Kong: This project is led by Dr. Darrell Schulze in the agronomy department. Dr. Jason Ackerson and I are co-PIs on the project.

Q. How will the data you gather be used in the future?
Kong: Detailed soil surveys across U.S. have been conducted and well documented by the Soil Survey Geographic Database (SSURGO). This database contains very rich information about soil properties, but often requires extensive knowledge in related fields to understand. On the other hand, maps are models of our world that allow us to make sense of a space that is too large and too complex for us to comprehend in any other way. Digital maps are inherently scalable and can show both the details and the overview seamlessly. Soil maps can help researchers to understand how soils and soil properties are distributed across landscapes at various scales. They can be critical resources for training scientists in the disciplines of soil science, ecology, agronomy, geology, and other natural sciences. The results of the maps will be delivered via SoilExplorer webpage, as well as the Soil Explorer apps for iOS and Android devices. Learning materials, workshops and webinars will also be delivered to the trainers.

Q. Any other information important to include about this project?
Kong: Managing, sharing, and leveraging geospatial information generated by Purdue researchers is an essential part of the GIS team’s mission. With the similar research methods, we have also collaborated in soil mapping projects in Kenya and Peru. Using spatial information as a way to teach soil properties has been a success in many classrooms through our studies.

Q. What is the purpose of the “IndianaView Program Development and Operations for the State of Indiana” project and who is involved?
Kong: The purpose of IndianaView is to promote sharing and use of public domain remotely sensed image data for education, research, and outreach across universities, colleges, K-12 educators, and state and local governments in Indiana. It is part of the larger grant, AmericaView, funded by the U.S. Geological Survey. This project is a collaboration among Mr. Larry Biehl (ITaP), Dr. Jie Shan (civil engineering), and me.

Q. What are you hoping to accomplish with the project? How will the data you gather be used in the future?
Kong: Within this project, we will continue to develop the IndianaView Consortium, which currently includes 15 institutions. We will select and support undergraduate and graduate student scholarships, as well as mini-grant opportunities for the consortiums members for research, education, or outreach. In addition, we have also planned activities for K-12 outreach, presenting at local or regional conferences, and teaching in undergraduate and graduate classrooms. (More information is available at www.indianaview.org.)

Q. What is AmericaView and why is it important?
Kong: AmericaView is a nationwide partnership of remote sensing scientists who support the use of Landsat and other public domain remotely sensed data through applied research, K-12, and higher education. The need for AmericaView has been building for more than 30 years. Since the early 1970s, the federal government and private sector have spent billions of dollars on satellite-based earth observing systems and have worked with the research community to identify, develop, and distribute real-world applications for mapping, monitoring, and managing natural and environmental resources. Unfortunately, while the potential uses of the technology have been widely recognized, development and distribution of real-world applications have persistently been tough issues for both the federal government and the academic research community. The AmericaView Consortium is charged with helping each state overcome these difficulties and helps the university, secondary-education, and public sectors in each state identify, develop, and distribute the kinds of applications each state needs most.


More information about GIS resources via the Purdue Libraries and School of Information Studies is available at www.lib.purdue.edu/gis.

Purdue Libraries and School of Information Studies Faculty Members - IDSI Funding, Second RoundPurdue Libraries and School of Information Studies Faculty Members - IDSI Funding, Second RoundSeven Purdue University Libraries and School of Information (PULSIS) faculty members are part of three of five research teams to receive funding in Purdue University’s second round of research for the Integrative Data Science Initiative (IDSI).

According to the IDSI website, the vision for the initiative is “to be at the forefront of advancing data science-enabled research and education by tightly coupling theory, discovery, and applications while providing students with an integrated, data science-fluent campus ecosystem.”

The three research projects with PULSIS faculty members are also are led by PULSIS faculty as the principal investigators.

The PULSIS projects and researchers are as follows:

  • IMPACT Data Science Education: Preparing Undergraduates to Lead into the Future, Libraries and School of Information Studies and College of Science
    PI: Clarence Maybee, PULSIS; team members: Guang Lin, mathematics statistics and School of Mechanical Engineering; Wei Zakharov, PULSIS, Chao Cai, PULSIS; and Jason Fitzsimmons, Center for Instructional Excellence.
  • Building a Data Science Education Ecosystem Resource Collection, Libraries and School of Information Studies and College of Science
    PI: Pete Pascuzzi, PULSIS; team members: Gladys Andino, research computing; Mark D. Ward, statistics; and Michael Witt, PULSIS.
  • Integrating Geospatial Information Across Disciplines, Libraries and School of Information Studies
    PI: Nicole Kong, PULSIS; team members: Bryan Pijanowski, forestry and natural resources; Jie Shan, civil engineering; Dharmendra Saraswat, agricultural and biological engineering; Songlin Fei, forestry and natural resources; Brady Hardiman, forestry and natural resources; Ian Lindsay, anthropology; Michael Fosmire, PULSIS; Ephrem Abebe, pharmacy practice; Vetria Byrd, computer graphics technology; Guang Lin, data science consulting service; Preston Smith, IT research computing; and Erica Lott, Center for Instructional Excellence.

For more information, visit www.purdue.edu/data-science/education/education-proposals.php.

Editor’s Note: Content in this post is courtesy of Stephanie Hernandez McGavin via Shared BigData-Gateway

A team of Purdue University researchers is among the seven fellowship teams selected for the first class of the Collaborative Archive Data Research Environment (CADRE) Fellows.

These seven fellowship teams span across disciplines and offer compelling research that incorporates big data and bibliometrics. Each fellow team will access CADRE’s Web of Science (WoS) and Microsoft Academic Graph (MAG) datasets to achieve their research goals.

Purdue University members of the first class of CADRE Fellows, L to R: Michael Witt, Loran Carleton Parker, and Ann Bessenbacher

The three-member Purdue University team will work on the project, “Utilizing Data Citation for Aggregating, Contextualizing, and Engaging with Research Data in STEM Education Research.” The researchers are:

  • Michael Witt, associate professor of library science, Purdue Libraries and School of Information Studies, Purdue University,
  • Loran Carleton Parker, associate director and senior evaluation and research associate, Evaluation Learning Research Center (ELRC), College of Education, Purdue University, and
  • Ann Bessenbacher, research associate and data scientist (ELRC), STEMEd HUB, Purdue University.

Per the description of their project: “Researchers will characterize citation of data from the literature in the field of STEM education research. A sample of relevant publication venues in the field will be identified from WoS and MAG. Digital Object Identifiers (DOIs) of datasets registered with DataCite will be used to query and associate datasets with publications. The team will assess rates of citation for datasets that are cited using DataCite DOIs for each publication venue and analyze a sample of data citations and publications to determine suitability for providing an initial context to help a researcher who is unfamiliar with the data determine whether to use the dataset.”

The other six teams and their CADRE research projects are listed at https://blogs.libraries.indiana.edu/sbd-gateway/2019/07/18/cadre-first-fellows/.

The Fellows will present their research at the International Society for Scientometrics and Informetrics (ISSI) 2019 Conference in Rome at either the workshop or tutorial that CADRE is hosting on Sept. 2.

Not only will these fellows show how CADRE helped advance their work, but they will also serve as integral use cases for how the CADRE platform is developed to suit the needs of every type of academic researcher.

Made Possible in Part by IMLS

The Shared BigData Gateway for Research Libraries (SBD-G) is a two-year Institute of Museum and Library Services-funded project to develop, seed, and maintain a cloud-based, extendable cyberinfrastructure for sharing large academic library data resources with a growing community of scholars.

SBD-G will achieve this through its platform, the Collaborative Archive & Data Research Environment (CADRE).

For more information, visit https://blogs.libraries.indiana.edu/sbd-gateway/2018/09/27/hello-world/.

Bethany McGowan, Purdue University Libraries and School of Information Studies

Bethany McGowan

Recently, two members of Purdue University Libraries and School of Information Studies faculty were selected to receive a Research Data Award from the National Network of Libraries of Medicine (NNLM). The $20,000 grant award for the project, “Understanding Rates of Attrition in Biomedical Data Challenges: A Study of Failure,” will enable Purdue Libraries and School of Information Studies Assistant Professor Bethany McGowan and Associate Professor Ilana Stonebraker to provide research data management training to students.

The award will facilitate a variety of training workshops including: FAIR Data Principles; Research Data Management Basics: Finding and Organizing Data; Cleaning and Formatting Data with OpenRefine; General Tips for Visualizing Biomedical Data; Biomedical Data Visualization with Tableau; and Useful R Packages for Analyzing and Visualizing Biomedical Data. The grant period began May 1 and will conclude April 30, 2020.

The workshops are part of a larger research project through which McGowan and Stonebraker will conduct a study to understand rates of attrition in biomedical data challenges.

Ilana Stonebraker, Purdue University Libraries and School of Information Studies

Ilana Stonebraker

“Our study will examine student motivation for participation in extracurricular innovation challenges, such as hackathons and case competitions, which involve the use of biomedical data, in an attempt to understand failure and reduce rates of attrition in these events,” said McGowan, who is the project lead.

In addition to presenting results of their research at conferences throughout the year, McGowan and Stonebraker will develop a digital open-education resource toolkit to help guide librarians in recruiting for and retaining diverse student populations in data-hacking challenges.

According to the NNLM’s Greater Midwest Region (GMR) website, the project supports Goal 3 of the National Library of Medicine’s Strategic Plan, which is to build a workforce for data-driven research and health.

“It supports the aligning objectives to expand and enhance research training for biomedical informatics and data science, to assure data science and open science proficiency, to increase workforce diversity, and to engage the next generation and promote data literacy,” states the NNLM GMR website.

Nastasha Johnson, assistant professor, and Michael Witt, associate professor, both in the Purdue Libraries and School of Information Studies, accepted the Academic Connection Award for the Engineering in the World of Data Learning Community from Associate Director of Residential Academic Initiatives Jonathan Manz.

Nastasha Johnson (left), assistant professor, and Michael Witt (center), associate professor, both in the Purdue University Libraries and School of Information Studies, accepted the Academic Connection Award for the Engineering in the World of Data Learning Community faculty team from Associate Director of Residential Academic Initiatives Jonathan Manz (right).

Faculty in the Purdue School of Engineering Education, Purdue University Libraries and School of Information Studies, and the Purdue Department of English engaged 53 engineering students in the Engineering in the World of Data Learning Community in compelling outside-of-the-classroom activities to enhance student learning.

University Residences at Purdue University recently recognized outstanding faculty, staff, and resident assistants involved in learning communities for their exceptional work during the 2018-19 school year.

Faculty and staff who led the Engineering in the World of Data Learning Community were honored with the Academic Connection Award, which recognizes the learning community that best connects courses to learning experiences outside of the classroom.

Kim Riddle (center, far end of table), director of engineering at Proctor and Gamble, met with 10 students in the learning community for an Executive Boardroom Simulation.

Kim Riddle (center, far end of table), director of engineering at Proctor and Gamble, meeting with the students who took part in the Executive Boardroom Simulation.

Instructors from the Purdue School of Engineering Education, Purdue University Libraries and School of Information Studies, and the Purdue Department of English organized a variety of active learning activities with the 53 engineering students in the learning community, including:

  • The application of data science to sports, which included popcorn and watching the movie “Moneyball,” and subsequently holding class in Mackey Arena with Matt Painter and Andrew McClatchey as guest lecturers.
  • Dawn or Doom: Students attended the conference, as well as a presentation about how to present data effectively (sponsored by the Purdue Libraries and School of Information Studies) by Jenny Lyons from Evergreen Data. Lyons also had lunch and talked with the engineering students about careers in data science.
Engineering students engaging in the Python with Pythons activity, during which they solved a programming challenge using the Python scripting language.

Engineering students engaging in the Python with Pythons activity, during which they solved a programming challenge using the Python scripting language.

  • Executive Boardroom Simulation: 10 students were selected to meet with Kim Riddle, director of engineering at Proctor and Gamble, to role play lead engineers and board members presented with two problems to solve: scaling up production of Tide Pods and increasing and retaining women employees at the company.
  • Python with Pythons: The LC instructors partnered with Columbian Park Zoo to bring in snakes and their data (how much they eat and weigh) along with a programming challenge to solve using the Python scripting language.
  • Field trip to Cummins Technical Center: Students traveled to Cummins to tour the company’s research and development facility, experiment with virtual reality and the firm’s modeling and simulation environment, learn about careers for engineers in data science, and talk with experts on applications of machine and deep learning in industry.

Faculty on the instruction team for the learning community include:

  • Tamara Moore, co-lead, professor, School of Engineering Education
  • Michael Witt, co-lead, associate professor, Purdue Libraries and School of Information Studies
  • Sean Brophy, associate professor, School of Engineering Education
  • Nastasha Johnson, assistant professor, Purdue Libraries and School of Information Studies
  • Bradley Dilger, associate professor, Department of English
  • Amanda Johnston, teaching assistant, School of Engineering Education
  • Ane Caroline Ribeiro Costa, teaching assistant, Department of English
  • Amanda Smith, teaching assistant, Department of English
  • Michelle McMullin, teaching assistant, Department of English

Learn more about the Engineering in the World of Data Learning Community at www.purdue.edu/learningcommunities/profiles/engineering/engineering_data.html, and more about learning communities at Purdue at www.purdue.edu/learningcommunities/.

 

Purdue Head Men’s Basketball Coach Matt Painter poses with the instructors and students in the “Engineering of the World of Data” learning community in Mackey Arena. Photo courtesy of Teresa Walker, Purdue School of Engineering Education.

Purdue Head Men’s Basketball Coach Matt Painter poses with the instructors and students in the “Engineering of the World of Data” learning community in Mackey Arena (Fall 2018). Photo courtesy of Teresa Walker, Purdue School of Engineering Education.

Pete Pascuzzi - Purdue University Libraries and School of Information Studies

Dr. Pete Pascuzzi in the Wilmeth Active Learning Center at Purdue University (Photo by Purdue Marketing & Media). This article is one in a “Faculty Footprints” series to highlight the work of faculty in Purdue University Libraries and School of Information Studies during the Purdue Sesquicentennial Campaign, “Take Giant Leaps.” Read more about the 150th anniversary celebration at takegiantleaps.com.

Purdue Libraries Assistant Professor Pete Pascuzzi helps researchers dig deeper into their research data. A biochemistry and bioinformatics expert, Pascuzzi is making an impact in Purdue University’s contributions to biological and biochemical research by teaching faculty and students how to use web-based and open-source tools—tools they can use to better analyze and understand their data.

“Pete’s unique perspective and skill set bridge the traditional roles of the library, i.e., information management and analysis, with an important area of modern biology, bioinformatics, and big data analysis,” explained James Fleet, Distinguished Professor, Purdue University Department of Nutrition Science.

Fleet came to know Pascuzzi through a National Institutes of Health-funded research project, “Big Data Training for Translational Omic Research,” a collaboration with Min Zhang (Department of Statistics) and Wanqing Liu (Wayne State University).

“I had heard about Pete’s skills as a bioinformatician and an educator, and I knew he was the piece we needed to round out our team,” Fleet said. “His contribution to our course was necessary for its success. In addition, he has been instrumental in establishing core bioinformatics and data management/analysis courses for the biochemistry department.”

Image Courtesy of Peter Pascuzzi. “A gene expression pattern for 21 transporter genes was retrieved from CellMiner and visualized with CellMiner Companion.” Image is a figure from the article, “CellMiner Companion: an interactive web application to explore CellMiner NCI-60 data"

“A gene expression pattern for 21 transporter genes was retrieved from CellMiner and visualized with CellMiner Companion.” Heatmap image is a figure from the article “CellMiner Companion: an interactive web application to explore CellMiner NCI-60 data.” Image courtesy of Pete Pascuzzi.

In the recent past, Pascuzzi developed the CellMiner Companion application, one of the open-source tools he teaches researchers to use. “CellMiner Companion is a web application that facilitates the exploration and visualization of output from CellMiner, further increasing the accessibility of NCI-60 data,” states the abstract of the article on pubmed.gov.

CellMiner is a database and web application developed by the National Cancer Institute. Researchers can query the database for gene expression and drug sensitivity data for cancer cells; however, a single query can generate more than 100 files. Many researchers lack the skills to integrate this data, Pascuzzi noted.

“Generating a plot, from publicly available data on cancer cells, isn’t revolutionary. What is revolutionary is that I was able to do it myself—and I am able to teach just about anybody how to do something like that,” he explained. “The technology and data access have moved so quickly that projects like that have become trivial. A decade ago, that would have been a major project. Now it is just all out there.”

Pascuzzi also teaches 400-600 level courses in both biochemistry (BCHM) and information and library studies (ILS), including the ILS 595 course, “Data Management at the Bench” (which he co-teaches with Purdue Libraries and School of Information Studies faculty Megan Sapp Nelson and Chao Cai).

“With the work I do here at Purdue, I really want to make an impact on the science, but more importantly, having been a graduate student, I have a lot of empathy with people who get stuck in a place because they don’t have the data skills they need,” Pascuzzi said. “So I have always made a lot of effort to understand what the graduate students need, and that is what motivates a lot of the teaching I do.”


Pascuzzi studied biology and chemistry as an undergraduate, and he earned his Ph.D. in biochemistry at Cornell. As a Libraries and School of Information Studies faculty member in life sciences, Pascuzzi’s subject areas at Purdue include biochemistry, bioinformatics, medicinal chemistry, molecular biosciences, and molecular pharmacology.


Article by Teresa Koltzenburg, Director of Strategic Communication, Purdue University Libraries and School of Information Studies

“Critical Data Studies is an emerging interdisciplinary field that addresses the ethical, legal, sociocultural, epistemological, and political aspects of data science, big data, and digital infrastructure.”

Virginia Eubanks, associate professor of political science at the University of Albany, SUNY, at Purdue Feb. 13. Eubanks' talk was part of the Critical Data Studies (CDS) lecture series and the University's Ideas Festival for Purdue University Sesquicentennial Celebration. Eubanks is the author of “Automating Inequality: How High-Tech Tools Profile, Police and Punish the Poor” and “Digital Dead End: Fighting for Social Justice in the Information Age.” She also co-edited with Alethia Jones “Ain’t Nobody Turn Me Around: Forty Years of Movement Building with Barbara Smith.” Her writing about technology and social justice has appeared in Scientific American, The Nation, Harper’s and Wired.

Virginia Eubanks, associate professor of political science at the University of Albany, SUNY, speaking at Purdue Feb. 13. Eubanks’ talk was part of the Critical Data Studies (CDS) Distinguished Lecture Series, as well as the University’s Ideas Festival, the centerpiece of the Giant Leaps Sesquicentennial Campaign. Eubanks is the author of “Automating Inequality: How High-Tech Tools Profile, Police and Punish the Poor” and “Digital Dead End: Fighting for Social Justice in the Information Age.” Her writing about technology and social justice has appeared in Scientific American, The Nation, Harper’s and Wired. In October 2018, the CDS Distinguished Lectures Series and Ideas Festival featured Dr. Safiya Noble, critically acclaimed author of “Algorithms of Oppression.”

There is a great deal of talk about data-driven research and “Big Data” at Purdue and, in general, in the business and education sectors across the U.S. For example, through the University’s Integrated Data Science Initiative (IDSI) launched this year, Purdue researchers aim to be at the “forefront of advancing data science-enabled research and education by tightly coupling theory, discovery, and applications while providing students with an integrated, data science-fluent campus ecosystem.”

There is growing acknowledgement across sectors that reliance on automated and data-driven decision-making, ubiquitous data collection, and the networked nature of daily life has profoundly impacted human relationships, trust in public institutions, and power imbalances across societies.

Critical Data Studies at Purdue

Purdue Libraries and School of Information Studies faculty members Kendall Roark (left), Bethany McGowan (center), Danielle Walker (right).

Purdue Libraries and School of Information Studies faculty members who are part of the Critical Data Studies Collaborative at Purdue: Kendall Roark (left), Bethany McGowan (center), Danielle Walker (right).

The Critical Data Studies Collaborative at Purdue is a multidisciplinary community that seeks to create opportunities for dialogue about the ethical, legal, sociocultural, epistemological, and political aspects of data science, big data, and digital infrastructure by providing a space to share work and expertise; promote student, trainee, and faculty learning; and collaborate on new research and learning initiatives.

During the 2018-2019 academic year, the CDS Collective launched the inaugural Critical Data Studies Distinguished Lecture Series, Fall (Safiya Noble, Oct. 3) & Spring (Virginia Eubanks, Feb. 13); and the monthly Open Seminar Series. Beginning 2019-2020, the collaborative will launch a Critical Data Studies Cohort of the Data Mine Learning Community in collaboration with faculty and postdocs affiliated with the Purdue Honors College, Purdue University Libraries and School of Information Studies, African American Studies, and the Department of Anthropology.

To learn more, visit http://tinyurl.com/critdatastudies.


Purdue Libraries and School of Information Studies Assistant Professor Bethany McGowan, part of the Critical Data Studies Collective, helped introduce Virginia Eubanks when she spoke at Purdue Feb. 13.

Purdue Libraries and School of Information Studies Assistant Professor Bethany McGowan, part of the Critical Data Studies Collective, helped introduce Virginia Eubanks when she spoke at Purdue Feb. 13.

Critical Data Studies Spring 2019 Events Calendar

  • Spring Kickoff Meet and Greet
    12:30-2 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 27: CDS Seminar Series and Digital Humanities Studio
    Humanities, Social Science, and Education (HSSE) Library, first floor (Periodical Reading Room)
  • CDS Seminar Series—Power: Technology, Ethics, and Social Justice in the Classroom Roundtable
    2-3 p.m. Friday, March 29, Swaim Conference Room, fourth floor, HSSE Library
  • CDS Seminar Series—Power: Critical Political Ecologies Roundtable
    2-3 p.m. Friday, April 26, Swaim Conference Room, fourth floor, HSSE Library

The second annual Women in Data Science (WiDS) at Purdue University is set for Monday, March 4 in the Burton D. Morgan Center for Entrepreneurship in Discovery Park.

Started at Stanford in 2015, the WiDS initiative aims to inspire and educate data scientists worldwide, regardless of gender, and support women in the field. The annual global conference is now held in conjunction with many other entities around the world. At Purdue, the goal is to help build a community focused on data science and to inspire and raise awareness among students and community members about the opportunities for women in the data science field.

The daylong conference is set from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. in Morgan (MRGN) 121 and is open free to Purdue University students, faculty, staff, and individuals in industry who work in data science. Registration is required, and the deadline is noon, Monday, Feb. 25. Register online at http://go.lib.purdue.edu/wids/. Breakfast, lunch, and a networking reception will be available (please list any dietary restrictions via the online registration form).

“This year, we have an exciting lineup, including a keynote presentation, presentations by distinguished faculty, a workshop session, a panel discussion on data ethics, and poster presentations by students,” noted WiDS Purdue University 2019 Co-Ambassador Anna Subramaniam, administrator of library applications, Purdue University Libraries and School of Information Studies. “In conjunction with dozens of other WiDS events worldwide, we will livestream some of the Stanford events, which, hopefully, will make for a unique and collaborative conference experience.”

Dimple Dhawan, a senior Purdue student majoring in computer science is serving as the 2019 WiDS co-ambassador with Subramaniam. The event is sponsored by the Department of Biochemistry, Purdue University Center for Cancer Research, Department of Computer Science, College of Engineering, Purdue University Libraries and School of Information Studies, the Integrative Data Science Initiative (IDSI), and the College of Science.

The full conference schedule is also available at http://sites.lib.purdue.edu/wids/.

For more information about the WiDS Conference at Purdue, contact Subramaniam at subrama@purdue.edu.

You know it’s going to be a good week when your university’s head basketball coach crashes your Monday morning class as a guest lecturer. That’s what happened recently to students Alex Ishac (Chandler, AZ) and Rebecca Hanna (Chicago, IL), who are two of the 53 individuals enrolled in the “Engineering in the World of Data” Learning Community at Purdue University.

Purdue Head Men's Basketball Coach Matt Painter and the instructors and students in the "Engineering of the World of Data" learning community.

Purdue Head Men’s Basketball Coach Matt Painter poses with the instructors and students in the “Engineering of the World of Data” learning community in Mackey Arena. Photo courtesy of Teresa Walker, Purdue School of Engineering Education.

Purdue Men’s Basketball Head Coach Matt Painter crashed a class of the first-year engineering course, ENGR 103, which was held in Mackey Arena to demonstrate the application of data science in sports. The course, “Developing Your Data Mind,” was designed by Libraries faculty Michael Witt and Nastasha Johnson as a part of the learning community, in collaboration with colleagues from the Purdue College of Engineering, Department of English, and University Residences.

Matt Painter talks to students in Purdue's "Engineering in the World of Data" learning community about how data drives the decisions he makes as a coach.

Coach Matt Painter talks to students in Purdue’s “Engineering in the World of Data” learning community about how data drives the decisions he makes as a coach. Photo by Teresa Walker.

Painter spoke to the class about how data drives the decisions he makes as a coach—everything from recruiting to scouting opponents to shot selection and how individual players position their bodies on the court. Andrew McClatchey, statistical analyst for the men’s basketball team, also talked to students about the state-of-the-art technology and techniques in sports data collection and analysis and his experience in pursuing a career in data science.

In the course, students were learning how to make effective decisions using data. The night before the lecture, they joined the faculty of the learning community for popcorn and to watch the movie “Moneyball,” which is about the 2002 season of the Oakland Athletics baseball team that set a record for winning 20 games in a row by employing data analytics.

“The learning community brings together a cohort of first-year engineering students who have a shared interest in data science,” said Witt. “It gives us the opportunity to incorporate experiences outside of the classroom to bring the material to life.”

Purdue Libraries Associate Professor Michael Witt introduces Andrew McClatchey, statistical analyst for Purdue's men’s basketball team, to students in the "Engineering of the World of Data" learning community in Mackey Arena.

Purdue Libraries Associate Professor Michael Witt introduces Andrew McClatchey, statistical analyst for Purdue’s men’s basketball team, to students in the “Engineering of the World of Data” learning community in Mackey Arena. Photo by Teresa Walker.

In addition to ENGR 103, students in the learning community take special, data-themed versions of required first-year engineering courses, including ENGR 131 and 132, “Transforming Ideas to Innovation I & II”; the English course ENGL 106, “Academic Research and Writing”; and ENGR 195, “Computational Methods of Data Science for Engineers,” which is a specialty course just for the learning community.

“Being in the community means that you take these classes together with the same group of students, resulting in opportunities to form close relationships with each other,” Ishac noted. “We’re learning while forming these friendships, and then we have activities like going to Mackey Arena and getting to talk to Purdue’s men’s head basketball coach and the team’s data analyst. I think the idea—to make these types of connections to interesting people who we can learn from—is really impactful,” he said.

Andrew McClatchey, statistical analyst for Purdue's men’s basketball team, talks to students about state-of-the-art technology and techniques in sports data collection and analysis and his experience in pursuing a career in data science.

Andrew McClatchey, statistical analyst for Purdue’s men’s basketball team, talks to students about state-of-the-art technology and techniques in sports data collection and analysis and his experience in pursuing a career in data science. Photo by Teresa Walker.

“Our focus was to provide students with an early exposure to data science ideas and applications with an emphasis on how engineers use data to make evidence-based decisions,” said Engineering Education Professor Tamara Moore, who leads the learning community with Witt. “The instructors worked together to align the curriculum so that students would learn many facets of engineering in the world of data from the appropriate experts, integrated across these five courses.”

Another example of a learning community activity was the students’ recent participation in Purdue’s annual Dawn or Doom conference. Students attended presentations and ate lunch with one of the conference speakers, as well as discussed whether they were optimistic or pessimistic about advances in technology and its impact on their lives.

“I really enjoyed the ‘Presenting Data Effectively’ talk at Dawn or Doom,” Hanna said. “All the events that the learning community hosts are fun, and I learn something new. Although the learning community requires some extra work, I think it is definitely worth it,” she added.

Ishac concurs there is significant return on his investment in the “Engineering of the World of Data” learning community.

“The chance to be part of the ‘Engineering in the World of Data’ learning community the past several weeks has made my Purdue experience so far incredible for me,” he added.

Upcoming activities for the learning community include a field trip to the Cummins Technical Center to learn about product testing and simulation data, as well as “Learn Python with a Python” programming boot camp, in which students will be introduced to the Python scripting language by working with animal-management data and visit with an actual python from Columbian Park Zoo.

The “Engineering in the World of Data Learning Community” will begin accepting applications for the 2019-20 school year in January. It is open to incoming students admitted to the First-Year Engineering Program or to Pre-ABE in the College of Agriculture. For more information, visit www.purdue.edu/learningcommunities/profiles/engineering/engineering_data.html.