<expanding data footprint>
In the past decade, Georgia Tech has been rapidly establishing itself as a leader in data science on a number of fronts.
In 2005 it established the School of Computational Science and Engineering (CSE) to educate students in advanced computing and data analysis combined with other disciplines. Since 2012 Georgia Tech and its collaborators have won more than $15 million in federal awards from the Obama administration’s National Big Data Research and Development Initiative. And last November, Georgia Tech was named one of four NSF Big Data Regional Innovation Hubs in partnership with the University of North Carolina.
Led by Aluru at Georgia Tech, the South Big Data Hub will build public-private partnerships across 16 states and the District of Columbia. “The goal is to leverage data science and foster community efforts to tackle regional, national, and societal challenges,” Aluru said. “We’ll begin by focusing on five areas: health care, coastal hazards, industrial big data, materials and manufacturing, and habitat planning.”
“The Hub firmly places Georgia Tech in the national spotlight for big data analysis,” said David Bader, chair of CSE. “We have become the go-to place for data science … a place where problems are solved in much broader context than traditional top-tier research universities.”
Case in point: Bader’s research group has been pioneering massive-scale graph analytics — technology that can be employed to help prevent disease in human populations, thwart cyberattacks, and bolster the electric power grid, to name a few applications. Graph analytics uncover relationships and extract insights from huge volumes of data, and the CSE researchers have designed parallel algorithms that run extremely fast (while keeping up with edge-arrival rates of 3 million per second), even when graphs have billions and trillions of vertices.
David Bader’s research group is pioneering massive-scale graph analytics — technology that can be employed to help prevent disease in human populations, thwart cyberattacks, and bolster the electric power grid. Bader is chair of Georgia Tech’s School of Computational Science and Engineering.
With these cutting-edge algorithms, the researchers have developed a collection of open-source software, known as STINGER (Spatio-Temporal Interaction Networks and Graphs, Extensible Representation), which can capture analytics on streaming graphs. “In the past, analysts needed to know the size and range of entities before creating a graph,” Bader explained. “Yet STINGER can track a dynamic graph even when future relationships are not known. Running analytics fast and ingesting a streaming firehose of edges simultaneously is like having new engines installed on your plane — while you’re flying.”
Increasing its investment in data science and interdisciplinary research, Georgia Tech will be the anchor tenant in a new 750,000-square-foot, mixed-use property in Midtown Atlanta. Developed by Portman Holdings, the project has been christened “Coda” and will include a 21-story building with 620,000 square feet of office space and 40,000 square feet for retail and restaurants. In addition, an 80,000-square-foot data center will provide advanced cyber infrastructure and national data repositories.
Georgia Tech will occupy about half of the office space, bringing faculty from the data sciences together with a cross-section of basic and applied researchers. The other half of the building will be devoted to industry.
“Data science brings together multiple areas of expertise to solve big, crucial problems — and the building is meant to reflect that,” said Isbell, explaining that Coda will be organized around areas of interest rather than departments or specific disciplines.
SLIDESHOW: The Coda building will be a 21-story, 750,000-square-foot mixed-use facility that will house Georgia Tech’s data science and engineering program. It will be located in Technology Square. Images courtesy of John Portman & Associates.
Indeed, CSE will be the only academic department to be entirely relocated to Coda. Many faculty members across campus will relocate to Coda permanently; others will reside there temporarily, depending on the length of projects, and then return to their home unit.
“The building will be a living laboratory and provide the largest gathering of data science experts in one place of any university in the country,” said McLaughlin, who served on a committee with Randall and Isbell to determine faculty needs and maximize benefits of the new building.
“Midtown is going to be transformed by this building,” Randall said. “Coda will be an outward-looking face for declaring ourselves a mecca for data science.”
Skolnick looks forward to the unique collaborations Coda will make possible. “Serendipity is very important in science, and random interactions are the most exciting ones,” he observed. “Most of the important science and engineering discoveries are done at the interface of disciplines. Having people with different abilities and expertise in one place will accelerate that process.”