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Short course series brings together professionals seeking to manage the data deluge

CHAPEL HILL, NC – It takes an important topic for researchers at top universities, government and the nonprofit sector, industry technical specialists, and managers from companies such as SAS and Cisco to gather together for an entire week.

But that’s exactly what happened the week of June 23 – 27 at the first Data Matters, a summer short course series that covered a range of topics within the increasingly important realm of Big Data.

Sponsored by the National Consortium for Data Science (NCDS), RENCI Renaissance Computing Institute), and UNC-Chapel Hill’s Odum Institute, Data Matters was conceived as a way to help people in business, research and government, make the most of the age of big data, which presents both great opportunity as well as major challenges.

The courses targeted people interested in learning how to leverage the so-called “data deluge” to their benefit, those looking to understand how data can used in their work and those interested in specific software and data challenges.

The week involved two-day courses on Monday/Tuesday and Thursday/Friday and one-day courses on Wednesday. Classes were conducted at the William and Ida Friday Center for Continuing Education in Chapel Hill, and most also included hands-on lab sessions on the UNC-Chapel Hill campus.

Topics covered during the packed week included data science, its goals, techniques and concepts, strategies for managing big data, social network analysis, data management tools such as Hadoop and SAS, using large-scale data networks, data mining and machine learning, and data visualization.

The week also included a kick-off reception Monday night at Top of the Hill restaurant, where attendees, instructors and invited guests had the opportunity to network more informally with their classmates and experts in the field.

At the reception, UNC-Chapel Hill Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost James Dean welcomed participants and spoke about the value of data. In his words, data is the currency of the 21st century, and those who learn how to analyze, manage, share and glean knowledge from it will be the leaders of the 21st century. Dean ended by thanking the Data Matters sponsors and participants.

A second Data Matters short course series is being planned for June 2015.

2014 Data Matters: Data Science Summer Workshop Series Schedule

June 23 and 24th June 25th June 26 and 27th
2 day courses 1 day courses 2 day courses
Introduction to Data Science
Tom Carsey – UNC Chapel Hill
Hadoop for Huge Data Sets
Erik Scott – RENCI
Introduction to Machine Learning
Sayan Mukherjee – Duke University
Managing Big Data 
Arcot Rajesekar – UNC  Chapel Hill
Data Studies Using SAS
Chris Wiesen – UNC Chapel Hill
Data Visualization
Rachel Brady – Cisco
Social Network Analysis: Description and Inference
Bruce Desmarais – UMass Amherst
Large Scale Data Networks Manny Aparicio – Saffron Technology Predictive Analysis
Phil Scrhodt – Penn State

You can view photos from this event on our Flickr page.