Universities Expanding Big Data Analytics Courses with IBM Aid

by   |   August 28, 2013 5:39 pm   |   0 Comments

IBM continues to add academic partnerships to its ambitious initiative to train students as big data analytics professionals, announcing collaborations with nine universities in Europe, Asia and the United States, and grants to 14 professors at universities in North America and Europe to expand their curricula related to the field.

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Technology vendors such as IBM and SAS have been aggressive in training students and working IT pros to help meet the expected demand for analytics professionals over the rest of the decade. Both companies have partnerships with universities around the globe that teach big data and analytics, and both offer online tutorials and certifications for the growing analytics workforce. SAP has also invested in university anaytics programs. Industry experts from companies like Google and Splunk have led courses to teach emerging computer science techniques. And graduate school programs continue to pop up around the U.S.

IBM’s Academic Initiative includes collaborations with more than 1,000 academic partners to design curriculum for teaching undergraduate and graduate students big data and analytics skills.

Like Big Blue, SAS also provides educational institutions with analytics software, curriculum material and guest lecturers. SAS even has a program to teach SAS programming in high schools.

Richard Rodts, manager of IBM’s Global Academic Programs, says these vendor-university collaborations are paying off. “IBM’s academic partners are keeping a close watch over the skills and job functions organizations need to make sense of Big Data,” Rodts tells Data Informed. “And in turn, these schools are continuously fine-tuning their curriculum to prepare students to tackle up-to-date business needs. For example, schools that may have begun with a technology-centric approach to big data coursework are adding business focused classes and case study projects.”

The nine new IBM academic collaborations include:

Dublin City University (DCU), which is creating a new master’s degree in computer science with big data, business analytics and smarter cities.

The George Washington University School of Business, which this fall is launching a master’s  of science degree in business analytics.

The University of Missouri College of Engineering’s Department of Computer Science, which this fall will offer a new undergraduate course titled “Big Data Analytics.”

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, which this fall will offer a new master’s of science in business analytics through its Lally School of Management and Technology.

Mother Teresa Women’s University in India, which launched a three-month course to train its management students in predictive analysis and reporting solutions.

The National University of Singapore (NUS), which along with IBM and the Singapore Economic Development Board, will establish the NUS Center for Business Analytics to develop a master’s program in big data and analytics.

IBM also said it would collaborate with the Northwestern University School of Continuing Studies, the Philippines Commission on Higher Education, the Georgetown University McDonough School of Business.

Awards to University Professors

The 14 university professors who each will receive $10,000 as part of the 2013 Big Data and Analytics Faculty Awards cover a range of data management and analysis concentrations in business and science and provide some insight into the approaches these academics are taking to train analytics professionals. They include:

  • Nitesh Chawla, associate professor, University of Notre Dame, to develop a data science program “that requires immersion of an individual in a domain” to inform innovations in database design, machine learning and other aspects of analysis.
  • David Dischiave, assistant professor, Syracuse University, School of Information Studies, to develop course materials for data analytics, database management systems and other activities by accessing computing best practices for industry professionals.
  • David Douglas, professor, University of Arkansas, to develop course modules designed for teaching customer insights and discovery with a focus on data mining and visualization of big data.
  • Michael Garrett, professor, Universiteit Leiden (Netherlands),  to develop a “digital radio astronomy instrument to study time-variable radio phenomena, with a particular focus on SETI (search for extraterrestrial intelligence).
  • Jose Incera, professor, Instituto Tecnologico Autonomo de Mexico, to develop big data laboratory projects and courseware to train business analysts, data architects and information strategists.
  • John Keane, professor, University of Manchester (UK), to develop technical case studies investigating the design and implementation of big data problems for a data engineering course.
  • Svetlana Maltseva, dean of business informatics, Higher School of Economics (Moscow), to develop a new big data master’s degree program.
  • Jeff Pittges, associate professor, Radford University, to extend an online learning environment to include IBM InfoSphere BigInsights for text analysis of customer feedback.
  • Jeffrey Popyack, associate professor, Drexel University, to build computer science curriculum to introduce Amazon S3, InfoSphere BigInsights, Hadoop and MapReduce.
  • W. “R.P.” Raghupathi, professor, Fordham University, to develop a new big data analytics “applied practicum” elective course for students to understand issues such as governance, ethics, privacy and security, and data quality.
  • Alexander Rasin, assistant professor, DePaul University, to develop a graduate data mining course based on Hadoop and Mahout that uses BigInsights and IBM SmartCloud.
  • Praveen Rao, assistant professor, University of Missouri-Kansas City, to develop a new big data course using IBM software.
  • Jan Sedivy, Czech Technical University, Prague, to extend an existing mobile development course to include MapReduce programming lessons and IBM expert lectures to cultivate big data developers.
  • Janet Smart, GOTO Academic Project Manager, Saïd Business School Oxford University (UK), to create “an innovative learning environment that will equip students with the skills and insight to understand the issues around the growth and use of big data.”


Contributing Editor Christopher Nerney (cnerney@nerney.net) is a freelance writer in upstate New York. Follow him on Twitter: @ChrisNerney.

Home page photo of the Riady Building at the National University of Singapore Business School by Wikipedia user Rammstein737. Used under Creative Commons License.

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