WSU Engineering Students Ramp Up Big Data Research


DETROIT — Wayne State University College of Engineering students are finding more opportunities to conduct research in the growing field of big data. Two of those students are Haidar Almohri, left, an industrial and systems engineering Ph.D. student and research assistant; and Itauma Itauma, a computer science graduate student and teaching assistant.

Almohri works with Ratna Babu Chinnam, industrial and systems engineering professor and co-director of the Big Data & Business Analytics Group, in the school’s Smart Engineering Laboratory. Their goal is to analyze the data provided for Ford Motor Co. and Lincoln Motor Co. automotive dealers across the country and determine the significant factors that affect dealer performance and how performance can be improved by changing the appropriate factor.

“It is exciting and challenging because of all the difficulties you encounter when working on a big data project, such as exhaustive running time and memory shortage,” Almohri says.

Itauma works with Xuewen Chen, computer science chair and co-director of the Big Data & Business Analytics Group. They use a software framework for writing applications that process vast amounts of data to perform sentiment analysis, or opinion mining, on large scale data. They believe the research will help categorize and understand massive text data bases.

Once he receives his Ph.D., Almohri will seek post-doctoral work and hopes to eventually find a faculty position. After graduating, Itauma hopes to explore other promising areas in big data and relate them to different fields of study.

The university’s Big Data & Analytics Group is an initiative of the College of Engineering is made up of more than 30 faculty members and more than 50 research students from various university departments — working together to collaborate with industry on analytics projects.