U-M Leads Big Data Effort to Solve Regional Problems


The University of Michigan in Ann Arbor will play a leading role in the National Science Foundation’s new Midwest Big Data Innovation Hub, an effort to address and solve some of society’s toughest regional problems such as transportation, health care, and energy.

“(We) are looking forward to establishing dynamic partnerships that will coordinate big data expertise and resources to improve the region's quality of life," says Brian Athey, co-director of U-M's Michigan Institute for Data Science and a professor of psychiatry and internal medicine.

Athey says the Midwest Hub will focus its efforts on society, including smart cities, telecommunication and computer networks, and business analytics; the natural and built world, including water, food, energy, transportation, and advanced manufacturing; and health care and biomedical research.

Other universities in the Midwest Hub include Illinois University, Indiana University, University of North Dakota, and Iowa State. Local partners include the City of Detroit, Ford Motor Co., General Motors Co., Domino’s Pizza Inc., and Quicken Loans Inc., among others.

The National Science Foundation is providing nearly $1.3 million to set up the framework for the hub and bring together partners to develop and support the activities.

"The Big Data Hubs program represents a unique approach to improving the impact of data science by establishing partnerships among like-minded stakeholders," says Jim Kurose, head of computer and information science at the National Science Foundation. "In doing so, it enables teams of data science researchers to come together with domain experts, with cities and municipalities, and with anchor institutions to establish and grow collaborations that will accelerate progress in a wide range of science and education domains.”