Putting big data on the Asian Century agenda

In summary: 
  • UTS has signed a memorandum of understanding with China's Northeastern University to support joint research in the fast developing field of big data and advanced analytics
  • NEU has substantial experience in the field, with its spinoff company Neusoft now the largest IT solutions and services provider in China

A research partnership between UTS and leading Chinese science and technology institution Northeastern University (NEU) is opening a new collaborative front in the fast developing field of big data and advanced analytics.

A memorandum of understanding (MOU) signed on Friday will support joint research projects and investigate establishing a joint research centre for data science and industry.

It will also support collaboration on solving real-world industrial issues, research student and staff exchanges, joint applications for research grants and joint supervision of research students.

NEU has substantial experience in the field, with its spinoff company Neusoft now the largest IT solutions and services provider in China.

Teams are working on connecting Neusoft with world-leading researchers in the UTS Advanced Analytics Institute (AAI), to build a unique research network on analytics innovation, education and industrial engagement. It will take advantage of the AAI's focus on innovation in data science and analytics science, evidence-driven decision making research and services in the broad-based analytics areas and domains.

AAI Director Professor Longbing Cao said data science and industry were moving very quickly. In about 2007 Professor Cao realised the opportunities and created the Data Science and Knowledge Discovery Lab, one of Australia's first data science research groups, now part of the UTS Centre for Quantum Computation and Intelligent Systems. Today IT research and advisory company Gartner is forecasting that by 2015 there will be 4.4 million jobs for big data workers worldwide.

"This problem is exacerbated by the requirements emerging from Asian countries including China, India and Australia, as companies start to understand the innovation and great opportunities big data brings," Professor Cao said.

"The business of storing, decoding and analysing multi-structured data including video, Facebook updates, tweets, internet searches and video from public cameras multiplies at exponential rates, requiring not only analytic talent but new forms of computing."

Professor Cao said the NEU relationship would have as a priority addressing the impending critical shortage in data science.

"A unique aspect of the AAI is its tight linkages to industry and government, ensuring the interaction and balance between research, education and development (the so-called RED model) in data science and analytics science.

"At AAI, researchers are inspired by complex data and big real-world problems for theoretical breakthroughs and practical innovation, research degree students are work ready and research activities are of clear benefit to data industry."

The MOU with NEU will also pave the way for potential collaboration in materials science, another key research area for both universities.

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