UT College of Engineering, Haslam College of Business Open Big Data Analytics Lab

November 21, 2016

The University of Tennessee, Knoxville, and IBM have announced a new computational lab and education initiative devoted to analytics that will enable the university to store large amounts of unstructured data in a security-rich environment while providing students and researchers the processing systems necessary to analyze it.

Established with technology donated by IBM, the “Advanced Analytics Lab, IBM Enabled” has been developed as a joint resource for UT’s College of Engineering and the Haslam College of Business.

It will provide enterprise applications and systems processing to analyze big data from corporate partners. Students and researchers in both colleges will benefit from the new computing and analytics lab, which will be located in the university’s Min H. Kao Electrical Engineering and Computer Science Building.

“With this donation, we will be able to develop research applicable to both colleges that will ultimately help businesses such as IBM that rely on the successful development of students in those fields,” said UT Chancellor Jimmy G. Cheek.

Approximately 3,800 undergraduate and graduate students in the business, electrical engineering and computer science programs will work in the lab, which officially opened Aug. 25 in an event featuring IBM executives.

“This lab will facilitate research at the crossroads of engineering and business and begin an evolution of research and education that positions UT faculty and students to be more influential and relevant in academia and industry,” said Steve Mangum, dean of the Haslam College of Business and Stokely Foundation Leadership Chair.

Both colleges will be using the lab for classes including big data and streaming data analytics, database management and design, supply chain analytics, marketing analytics, information technology (IT) audit and audit systems security, and supply chain IT.

“Any opportunity to combine learning with aspects of real-world experience is a plus for students,” said College of Engineering Dean Wayne Davis. “IBM is allowing students from both of our colleges to have the opportunity of a lifetime, to take part in something that can elevate them from their peers at other institutions.”

Students in the Advanced Analytics Lab will conduct research in the analytics of large data sets from the financial and health care sectors, including social media data, business-to-business transactions, Medicare claims data and real-time streaming data from the Internet of Things.

Based on an IBM PureApplication® system, the technology solution incorporates servers, storage, software, network devices and virtual machine managers that can be operated through a single console. The solution can recognize patterns even across video and audio files, and simplifies creation and reuse of applications using Bluemix, IBM’s cloud platform.

“The workforce of the future needs the skill sets to draw insights from big data that can transform businesses,” said Mike Ray, IBM’s vice president of business architect and transformation. “By working with the University of Tennessee to develop the Advanced Analytics Laboratory, we are working to bridge the skill gap when it comes to analytics and helping prepare the next generation of workers for the business challenges of the future.”