CSC News

June 07, 2012

Rappa to Co-chair “Big Data” Commission

For Immediate Release
Stephanie Craig | TechAmerica Foundation | 202.682.4443
Dr. Michael Rappa | 919.513.0480
News Releases
The TechAmerica Foundation is pleased to announce two outstanding academics have joined the Foundation’s expert panel examining the issue of Big Data. Serving as the Academic Co-Chairs will be Distinguished University Professor Dr. Michael Rappa (pictured here), founding director of the Institute for Advanced Analytics at NC State University and principal architect of its Master of Science in Analytics degree; and Dr. Leo Irakliotis, Dean and National Director for the College of Information Technology at Western Governors University (WGU).
“Ensuring that the academic perspective is part of this collaborative process is critical, especially as we face a big data workforce shortage. The expertise that Dr. Rappa and Dr. Irakliotis bring to the table will encourage an even fuller examination of the issue and allow this commission to deliver valuable guidance,” said Jennifer Kerber, President of the TechAmerica Foundation. 
The Commission has been tasked with making recommendations on how the government should handle the mountains of data that are being created at a lightening pace - the last two years has created more than 90 percent of the data that has ever existed.  With the amount of data doubling every 18 months, the Administration has recently turned its attention to the topic, announcing a $200 Million Big Data Research and Development Initiative.
Dr. Rappa and Dr. Irakliotis are joining Commission co-chairs Steve Mills, Senior Vice President and Group Executive at IBM and Steve Lucas, Global Executive Vice President and General Manager, Database & Technology at SAP as well as vice chairs Teresa Carlson, Vice President Global Public Sector, Amazon Web Services and Bill Perlowitz, Chief Technology Officer, Science, Technology and Engineering Group, Wyle.
"Enhancing our ability to leverage big data will drive greater efficiency and productivity across the U.S. government," said Michael Rappa. "Big data analytics is an imperative for virtually every federal agency, from health and human services to defense and homeland security. Having the requisite talent is critical. Universities must do their part to step-up and address the acute shortage of data scientists. The Commission's work is important and timely and I am delighted to participate."
Dr. Rappa has 25 years of experience as a professor working across academic disciplines at the intersection of management and computing. An accomplished researcher and instructor, his passion is to bring an entrepreneurial and forward-thinking mindset to innovation in higher learning. His current role, as founding director of the Institute for Advanced Analytics at North Carolina State University and principal architect of its pioneering Master of Science in Analytics degree, is to prepare a new generation of data-savvy professionals for leadership in a digital world. Prior to joining NC State in 1998, he was a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Alfred P. Sloan School of Management for nine years.
"Big data opens vast new territories for exploration and creativity, transparency and forecasting. Big data is a discipline with the potential to transform our society. Government entities, financial institutions, medicine, and the environment are but a few aspects of everyday life that are affected by big data. It is imperative that we develop an actionable understanding of big data to inform policy making," said Dr. Irakliotis.
Dr. Irakliotis has worked on a number of innovations and solutions in higher and professional education, successfully developed fruitful partnerships between universities and businesses, bridging two unique and complementary cultures. As a researcher, he developed high performance database systems capable of big data in the mid-1990s. He was one of the first contributors to operational and predictive analytics for emergency communications data and law enforcement. Dr. Irakliotis holds a PhD in Computer Engineering from Colorado State University and an MS in Physics from Miami University. Before joining WGU, he worked for MCI Telecommunications (during the merger phase with British Telecom), the University of Chicago, and Nova Southeastern University.
The commission membership is made up of leading experts on big data and represent both industry and academia – the full list of members can be found here.
To learn more about the TechAmerica Foundation’s Big Data Commission:


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