Zhigen Zhao
Zhigen Zhao

Undeniably, there is a significant amount of time and effort that goes into creating a competitive research proposal that is well received, positively reviewed, and ultimately funded. The drive to be successful is a quality that is innate to Temple University’s Fox School of Business, and Dr. Zhigen Zhao, Assistant Professor of Statistical Science, is a prime example of this ethos. Zhao recently received a prestigious Big Data grant from the National Science Foundation, and expects that the findings from his research will help to revolutionize the way that data is analyzed in modern statistical investigations. From the results of these investigations, Zhao expects that the research will have applications in numerous areas, from elements of microarray gene experiments, to next-generation sequencing, satellite remote sensing, and even to yearly academic progress reports.

Dr. Zhao explained the challenging concept through its relation to a traditional pastry, “Take the Chinese dessert “sesame ball”,” Zhao said. “When putting a certain number of sesames on the surface randomly, packing theories will provide us with a distribution of photo-760717the distance between every sesame seed”. In the study sponsored by NSF, this mathematical method, known as “geometric packing”, will provide the distribution of the distances between points of information.

“The most interesting, but also most challenging problem in big data analysis, is that the number of features grows dramatically concurrent to the evolvement of modern technology,” Zhao said. However complex the research may be, Dr. Zhao and his team are optimistic, and excited, to embark on the quest in hopes of redefining computational sequences in data and information systems.

The ultimate goal of this research is to achieve significant developments that will be utilized not only for Big Data interests, but also made publicly available for use by others. For example, by integrating a solution into software applications designed for mass-market consumer use, this project will truly exemplify the idea of research with a broader impact. Through these efforts, Dr. Zhao believes his research will be an example of how to successfully address Big Data challenges to the benefit of multiple stakeholders.

Sarah Diomande, SMC ‘18

Photo of Cassandra Reffner
Cassandra Reffner

For Cassandra Reffner, winning the Temple Analytics Challenge for a second straight year was about honing her visual storytelling skills one data set at a time.

“Graphic design isn’t just about making these things look nice, but also telling a story,” Reffner said.

A senior graphic design student from the Tyler School of Art, Reffner took home the $2,500 grand prize at the third annual Temple Analytics Challenge, held Nov. 16 in the MBA Commons at the Fox School of Business.

Organized by the Institute for Business and Information Technology (IBIT), the competition awards prizes totaling $10,000, from corporate members of IBIT and the Office of the Senior Vice Provost for Undergraduate Studies at Temmple University. The Temple Analytics Challenge focuses on making sense of big data through visualization — a key component of data analytics cited by experts as a promising path to job opportunities.

This year, the Temple Analytics Challenge awarded 10 prizes totaling $10,000. The competition saw participation increase by 300 percent over the previous year, with 395 entries. Participating teams included 719 students from eight of Temple’s 17 schools and colleges, as well as students from the State University of New York and Cornell University. The finalists came from programs in the Tyler School of Art, the College of Liberal Arts, the College of Engineering, the School of Media and Communications, the College of Public Health, and the Fox School of Business.

“The Temple Analytics Challenge emphasizes the Fox School’s commitment to teaching and research in the various fields connected to big data,” said Dr. M. Moshe Porat, Dean of the Fox School of Business and the School of Tourism and Hospitality Management. “But big data and data visualization are academic components in which students across Temple University regularly engage. This truly was a university-wide competition.”

Corporate partners provided competitors with large sets of data that they must analyze and visualize in a way that is both innovative and accessible. This year’s partners included Merck Pharmaceuticals, QVC, and The Pennsylvania Ballet.

Photo of presentation
Cassandra Reffner’s presentation on The Pennsylvania Ballet earned her the grand prize at the Temple Analytics Challenge for a second consecutive year.

Reffner, who won the Temple Analytics Challenge in 2014, chose to work with the data from The Pennsylvania Ballet, saying she could see the visuals presented within the data set. In the Pennsylvania Ballet challenge, students had to conceptualize the best way for the company to attract new audience members.

“With our limited resources, we just don’t have the time or the staff to do this kind of imagining,” said David Gray, executive director of The Pennsylvania Ballet. “Having so many smart and creative people trying to help us address challenges is a godsend.”

To expand on the project’s proposal, Reffner scrolled through various mentions the company received on social media — from Tweets and hashtags to status updates — to see what about the company got people talking. She said was intrigued by the company’s position as a “19th-century product for a 21st-century audience,” and drafted a plan that took this value and social media’s talk-back feature to improve customer interaction. She suggested a redesign of The Pennsylvania Ballet’s website to respond on all devices, including desktops, smartphones, and tablets, so customers could interact with the ballet by any means necessary.

“The main thing I look for (in the Temple Analytics Challenge) is to see if I can solve the problem, to really step into their shoes to see what they want,” Reffner said.

Reffner and 19 other finalists went before a panel of judges comprised of industry leaders, including representatives from Lockheed Martin, Campbell’s Soup Company, Deloitte Consulting and AmerisourceBergen. The judges were impressed with the overall dedication the students brought to the challenge.

Reffner, who received employment interest from two companies based upon her presentation, reflected positively on how the challenge opened up opportunities to students from all majors and schools.

“This competition is not focused toward any specific major,” Reffner said. “It’s people from all over the place that entered the competition. That’s why I love the Temple Analytics Challenge.”

Photo of presentationBeyond The Pennsylvania Ballet challenge, student participants had the choice of two others. The Merck challenge tasked students with synthesizing data to show how a vaccine will best benefit world health. QVC provided data relating to product placement in various markets and asked students to show how this data could predict where it should next focus its attention.

“Data alone is just information. It’s usage to inspire change or action and turning it into competitive intelligence is where the value lies, and the Temple Analytics Challenge did just that,” said Maurice Whetstone, QVC’s Director of Enterprise Data Management.

“Analytics in business, and especially in healthcare, is an amazing lever toward gaining unique insight to improve business performance,” said Bill Stolte, the Executive Director of Merck’s IT Business Performance Analytics. “It is an honor to be actively engaged in the Temple Analytics Challenge, and it is remarkable to watch Temple University students rapidly self-organize and use data and visualizations in innovative ways to solve complex problems.”

Organizers of Temple University's National Cyber Analyst Challenge include (from left) Laurel Miller, Director of Temple University's Institute for Business and Information Technology; John McGroary, Lockheed Martin's Project Engineer Principal, Engineering & Technical Capabilities, Information Systems & Global Solutions; Michael Bradshaw, Lockheed Martin's Vice President & Chief Information Officer, Mission Systems and Training; Dr. Munir Mandviwalla, Executive Director of Temple University's Institute for Business and Information Technology, Chair and Associate Professor of Management Information Systems department; and James P. Connelly, Lockheed Martin's Vice President of Corporate Information Security & Chief Information Security Officer.
Organizers of Temple University’s National Cyber Analyst Challenge include (from left) Laurel Miller, Director of Temple University’s Institute for Business and Information Technology; John McGroary, Lockheed Martin’s Project Engineer Principal, Engineering & Technical Capabilities, Information Systems & Global Solutions; Michael Bradshaw, Lockheed Martin’s Vice President & Chief Information Officer, Mission Systems and Training; Dr. Munir Mandviwalla, Executive Director of Temple University’s Institute for Business and Information Technology, Chair and Associate Professor of Management Information Systems department; and James P. Connelly, Lockheed Martin’s Vice President of Corporate Information Security & Chief Information Security Officer.
Temple University’s Institute for Business and Information Technology (IBIT) and Lockheed Martin (NYSE: LMT) are joining forces to help solve the cyber talent crisis that faces the country. This fall they will host a National Cyber Analyst Challenge designed to encourage and support the best students currently pursuing cyber related degrees in the top cyber programs in the nation.

Between seven and 10 schools with appropriate programs will select and field a team of top students (undergraduate or master’s studying information systems, computer science or engineering) to participate in the three-phase competition. First, each team will analyze and propose solutions to a cyber case. The second phase is a full day of virtual training. The finals, a real-time practical challenge, will be held in Washington, D.C. in October.

Each school that joins the contest will receive $15,000 to support students, faculty and travel. The winning team will be awarded up to $25,000.

The Cyber Analyst Challenge was created to respond to strong needs in the industry.

According to SimplyHired.com, in April 2015 there were 26,980 open cyber-security related positions. The need in these positions is less for operators and more for analysts. As threats multiply and diversify, intelligence analysis and identification is becoming critical, rather than secondary to the ability to configure or code secure servers. Yet, the job seekers in the talent pipeline find it difficult to integrate operational skills with strategic threat and cyber analysis.

“Our programs and our customers have a significant need for students to enter the workforce with not only the technical cyber skills but the analysis mindset that a competition like this will foster,” explained Chris Kearns, Lockheed Martin vice president of Enterprise IT Solutions. “We are thrilled to partner with our nation’s top universities to invest in the future workforce.”

The competition will not only enhance the skills of the future workforce and inspire students to pursue careers in cyber-security. Students will receive fast-paced, real world practical experience, scholarships, recognition and the opportunity to engage with others who share their interests, nationwide.

“This competition is unique because it focuses on student development from the start and will serve as a role model for how to develop talent by engaging with industry in systematic and sustained manner,” said Dr. Munir Mandviwalla, Associate Professor and Chair of the Fox School of Business’ Management Information Systems department, and IBIT Executive Director.

Fox School’s Institute for Business and Information Technology (IBIT), at Temple University, provides cutting-edge knowledge and valuable connections to sustain excellence in information technology. IBIT integrates industry perspectives with academic research expertise to create forums for generating and exchanging best practices.

IBIT is affiliated with the Fox School’s nationally ranked Department of Management Information Systems. IBIT draws participating faculty and students from MIS as well as the expertise of the entire Fox and Temple University community.

For more information please visit http://cyberanalystchallenge.org

About Lockheed Martin
Headquartered in Bethesda, Maryland, Lockheed Martin is a global security and aerospace company that employs approximately 112,000 people worldwide and is principally engaged in the research, design, development, manufacture, integration and sustainment of advanced technology systems, products and services. The Corporation’s net sales for 2014 were $45.6 billion.

Photo of  Attendees listen to Google Chief Economist Hal Varian, one of many premier panelists at the Fox School’s Privacy in an Era of Big Data Workshop.
Attendees listen to Google Chief Economist Hal Varian, one of many premier panelists at the Fox School’s Privacy in an Era of Big Data Workshop.

Google “big data,” and the first search result returns the word, “dangerous.”

The irony of using a big data factory to discover the risks of its own data was not lost on researchers and experts attending the Privacy in an Era of Big Data workshop, funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and hosted by the Fox School of Business and Temple University’s Big Data Institute.

“Big data” is loosely defined as the collection and analysis of large data sets of complex information. As the scope of collected data increases, there is a significant need for advanced analytic techniques and the development of new methods of investigation. Temple’s Big Data Institute was established to harness the full potential of big data and enable further research on the subject with an interdisciplinary approach by bringing together seven related research centers across the university and the Fox Chase Cancer Center.

Co-founder of the Institute Dr. Paul A. Pavlou, Chief Research Officer and Associate Dean of Research, Doctoral Programs, and Strategic Initiatives, along with Dr. Sunil Wattal, Director of the Center on Web and Social Media Analytics and Associate Professor of Management Information Systems, were awarded a grant from the NSF to further their investigation into unexplored links between big data and privacy.

“This is a topic that’s on everyone’s minds, and we’re here to get some useful insight on it,” Wattal said.

The workshop, held April 22-23, was a part of a weeklong event to encourage big data research from industry, government, and academia on the future of big data and privacy. The goal of the workshop, Pavlou said, was “to create a forward-looking research agenda into the future of big data.”

A priority for attendees was establishing the balance of big data with privacy rights, in order to improve national security and further develop consumer marketing. Dr. Thomas Page, Technical Director for Core Infrastructure & Cloud Repositories at the National Security Agency, represented the government perspective on big data, with a keynote presentation.

“There’s a moral responsibility in this space. We’re doing this on behalf of the American people,” Page said.

Page called for a new focus when discussing big data. “Big Smart Data,” he said, avoids unnecessary or intrusive information from reaching analysts, and allows new public policy to be enacted that balances personal privacy and national security concerns.

Page’s keynote address raised concerns of a “zero sum game,” wherein consumers trade privacy for national security. Christina Peters, Chief Privacy Officer at IBM, noted that she believes the two are not equivalent. Citing instances of security breaches at Target and Home Depot, she indicated how a history of misuse or neglect has risked consumer information.

Hal Varian, Chief Economist at Google, discussed the trust contract held between consumers and big data collectors. He argued that big data factories have the most to lose. “Search engines have a lot more to lose than a human. When computers screw up they screw up big,” Varian said.

Google’s top search results for “how do I know” are: “if I’m pregnant,” “if I’m gay,” and “if I have AIDS,” all of which, Varian said, demonstrate Google’s desire to not only share a vast amount of information, but to also take seriously its responsibility as an online confidante.

“Search engines are the biggest privacy enhancers in the world. People won’t ask these questions to their lawyer, doctor, parents, or priest. This is the first time you can get this type of answer from a non-human,” said Varian, who also served as the featured keynote speaker at the Frederic Fox Lecture Series April 23, another event during Big Data Week.

Varian explained that the intended use of big data is to educate consumers on the difference between privacy and security. Since privacy is the restricted use of personal information, a responsibility of big data should be to protect the security of the data and manage the risks associated with personal data analytics.

A closing comment from the first day of the workshop was the idea that “big data is the new bacon,” as presented by Lael Bellamy, Chief Privacy Officer at The Weather Channel. Her support of improved data collection and consumer intelligence reinforced the notion that although big data is trending, it’s been around for a long time.

“It’s possible everyone can benefit from the Big Data revolution,” said Carnegie Mellon University professor Dr. Rahul Telang.

Youngjin YooThe National Science Foundation (NSF) has awarded a research team from Temple University a three-year grant totaling nearly $900,000 to fund a social-science project into the tracking of human behaviors through big data.

This marks the fourth NSF-awarded grant in the last five years that an interdisciplinary team of Temple faculty members has received to study the evolution of digital artifacts using large-scale digital trace data. The collaboration joins researchers from Temple University’s Fox School of Business and College of Science and Technology (CST).

“When humans interact with digital systems, we leave a trace. Every call we make, every website we visit, it’s stamped with time and space information,” said Dr. Youngjin Yoo, the Harry A. Cochran Professor of Management Information Systems at the Fox School, and the research grant’s primary investigator. “What we do is constantly changing, and the trace data can act as DNA. What we focus on through this research is the repeat behaviors in humans that can be captured through digital trace data.

“Using those evolutionary patterns, we believe we can predict future behaviors of individuals and organizations. For example, by detecting the changes of commute patterns of individuals, we can predict overall public-transit systems’ performance in the future. Similarly, we want to be able to predict the changes in individual behaviors based on environmental changes.

Yoo said he and the grant’s co-principal investigators will study digitally enabled processes in complex digital systems, which “are like a living ecosystem, in that they constantly evolve,” he said. If patterns in the trace data represent what they call “behavioral genes,” Yoo said, alterations to those behavioral routines are “gene mutations.” Eventually, he said, the research team envisions developing software that will better predict the changes to those behavioral genes.

The benefits in doing so, according to Yoo, “are endless.” In a healthcare application, trace data could develop a pattern by which a patient sees a doctor or produce an average cost of care per patient. In an industry sense, such “gene mutations” could impact performance and cost.

“On the surface,” Yoo said, “all smart phones, for example, look the same. But everybody’s phone is different because of apps. It used to be that the product’s designer would make the product, and that was the end of the story. Now, it’s only the beginning. Millions of apps are downloaded. They’re changing constantly.

“Our argument is that, particularly in digital space, innovation never remains the same. It constantly changes and takes different forms.”

The research team includes: Yoo; Dr. Sunil Wattal, Associate Professor of Management Information Systems at the Fox School; Dr. Zoran Obradovic, Laura H. Carnell Professor of Data Analytics at CST; and Dr. Rob Kulathinal, Assistant Professor of Biology at the College of Science and Technology.

The NSF-awarded research grant runs through Jan. 31, 2018.

Admittedly, Cassandra Reffner said she does not have as great of an understanding of mathematical analytics as business-school students. And she said she only understands the most basic functions of Microsoft Excel.

Fox School Management Information Systems professors James Moustafellos, far left, and David Schuff, far right, recognize Tyler School of Art student Cassandra Reffner as the winner of the 2014 Temple Analytics Challenge. Third from left is Doug Seiwert, Vice President of Information Technology at QVC, who served as the event’s keynote speaker.
Fox School Management Information Systems professors James Moustafellos, far left, and David Schuff, far right, recognize Tyler School of Art student Cassandra Reffner as the winner of the 2014 Temple Analytics Challenge. Third from left is Doug Seiwert, Vice President of Information Technology at QVC, who served as the event’s keynote speaker.

What Reffner does know, however, is how to analyze data and display it in a creative, understandable manner. A junior graphic design student from the Tyler School of Art, Reffner won the $2,500 grand prize at the second annual Temple Analytics Challenge.

The month-long competition, organized by the Institute for Business and Information Technology (IBIT) at the Fox School of Business, culminated Nov. 17 in finalist presentations at Alter Hall. The challenge tasks students from all of Temple University’s schools and colleges with making sense of data through visualizations and infographics.

The Temple Analytics Challenge awarded 10 prizes totaling $10,000, from corporate members of IBIT and the Office of the Senior Vice Provost for Undergraduate Studies at Temple University.

In its second year, the Temple Analytics Challenge received 130 submissions from more than 300 participants. The finalists came from both undergraduate and graduate programs across the University, including the College of Engineering, the Tyler School of Art, and the Fox School of Business.

Reffner used a test tube illustration to demonstrate the residual impact felt by employees following the proposed relocation of Merck’s corporate headquarters. Judges reflected favorably upon Reffner’s infographic, which displayed the raw number of employees whose commutes would be negatively affected by 30 or more minutes. (Other Merck Challenge finalists opted to use percentages.) To circumvent the issue, Reffner offered what she called “prescriptions,” using a medicine-bottle design to provide Merck with alternatives like incentivizing carpools or public transit usage, or implementing break time for employees who make longer commutes.

“I think the judges liked how I gave solutions, or as I called them ‘prescriptions,’ to help benefit those employees and to look at this in a less-negative term,” Reffner said. “

Corporate partners of the Temple Analytics Challenge provided data sets and specific problems from which the students had to create an original visualization that also provided clear and meaningful insight. The NBCUniversal Challenge pertained to the allocation of advertising dollars for midterm elections; the Lockheed Martin Challenge focused on employee behaviors predicting security threats; and the aforementioned Merck Challenge centered around the overall impact of a corporate site’s relocation. The 20 finalists presented their work before a panel of professional judges, including representatives from QVC, Campbell Soup Company, and RJMetrics.

“The breadth of majors and students that excelled in the competition was really impressive. Analytics and the ability to interpret and visualize complex data is such an important skill, it’s exciting to so many students get involved and the final presentations were outstanding,” said Nicholas Piergallini, Program Manager at Lockheed Martin and a judge for the competition.

“We’re proud to once again see such a great set of entries from students across the University,” said Dr. David Schuff, Associate Professor of Management Information Systems and organizer of the challenge, “A key goal of the challenge is to encourage students from different disciplines to build their data analysis and communication skills, and to see how these skills apply to their careers.”

Reffner and five fellow Tyler students were among the competition’s 20 finalists, and she was one of three from Tyler to win one of the Temple Analytics Challenge’s 10 cash prizes. Encouraged to enter the competition by Tyler professor Abby Guido, Reffner said she hopes her grand-prize win helps push other students at Temple University to compete next year.

“Being a graphic design student, it was difficult to figure out what the data was and what we had to look at, what we had to analyze, and how to design it in a way people would understand,” Reffner said. “Most of my class doesn’t know Excel.

“But the Temple Analytics Challenge was an innovative way to bring students from around campus together and show we can translate what we do know to a broader spectrum. It was that multidisciplinary aspect of the competition that, I think, was the most fun.”

Doug Seiwert echoed Reffner’s point. Seiwert, the Vice President of Information Technology and Enterprise Applications Development at QVC, said the popular home-shopping network produces one terabyte of data every month.

“For those of you who don’t know, that’s a lot of data,” said Seiwert, the event’s keynote speaker, “and it can be daunting when you’re processing this much data. Our challenge, and (the students’) challenge in this competition, was finding ways to make the data widely consumable, and I think you all did an outstanding job.”

The bar graph is dead.

It’s a bygone relic of an era intimidated by 1.28 billion Facebook members and 3 billion computer users globally. These numbers are not as daunting as they once were; rather, they are now the tools used to determine anything from favorite food to political preference.

This is big data, the new face of statistical and computational analysis.

Big data is the collection of data sets so large that it is difficult to process them with traditional methods. As the volume, velocity and variety of these sets increases, so does the need for informed analytics.

The Fox School of Business created the Big Data Institute for just this purpose.

In existence for more than a year, and with the assistance of seed money provided by Temple University Provost Hai-Lung Dai, the Big Data Institute strives to blend several programs and encourage natural synergies among big data researchers, students and firms, while seeking to become a global leader in research, education, industry practice, and technology transfer of big data.

For Dr. Paul A. Pavlou, Senior Associate Dean of Research, Doctoral Programs, and Strategic Initiatives at the Fox School of Business, the Institute represents a year of work supporting students and professors engaged with large data.

“The amount of data created in just an hour or minute is tremendous. We need new techniques and approaches to make sense of this data,” Pavlou said.

The Institute has five centers with individual specializations that include big data usage in mobile analytics, social media, health sciences, oncology research, statistics and biomedical informatics. These centers have used big data to connect brain imaging to successful advertisements, to use technology to create vast amounts of DNA for clinical study, and, in the School Tourism Hospitality and Management, to decrease dissatisfaction in the leisure industry, among other research projects.

“One of the unique advantages we have is that the Statistics department is housed in Fox. We try to leverage that to have different conversations,” Pavlou said.

The Institute and its centers are funded by data enthusiasts from Temple University, the federal government, affiliated firms and commercial groups, as well as start-ups the Institute helped get off the ground. With the aid of these associates, and partners in the private sphere, the Institute seeks to continue its research into cutting-edge data analysis.

In its pursuit of this goal, the Institute’s Center for Web and Social Media Analytics has capitalized on the data generated each minute from the 74 percent of adults using social media.

For Dr. Sunil Wattal, Associate Professor of Management Information Systems (MIS), this data is critical. “There is not a whole lot of awareness of what firms can do with social media,” Wattal said. “The Center provides firms with a way to quantify the value of social media and use the data to derive some interesting insights about their business.”

The Center logs onto social media to help firms such as Aerospace to understand consumer tendencies at the microscopic level. Combing through Twitter or flicking through Instagram, the Center decrypts consumer preferences for the latest fitness craze to political party affiliation. This data is then synthesized into something that anyone, from pollsters to yogis, can use to further their goals.

A key area of research, said Wattal, is how a crowdfunding organization can convince more people to donate to campaigns. Chief among the Center’s findings is that, contrary to the belief that Internet popularity grows exponentially, the more popular a campaign, the less likely it is to receive more funding. Working with a particular company, the Center has proposed design changes to combat this issue.

“There’s a community that gets created on these sites, and you can measure how people influence each other,” said Wattal.

In 2015, the Center will use funds received from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to host a big data and privacy conference, bringing together federal agencies, online giants such as Google, and interested parties to discuss personal privacy in the Big Data age.

To keep students abreast of the latest in data analysis, the Fox School’s MIS department has introduced its newest university-wide course, Data Science. It is available to all students and has allowed business students to improve their data usage in the business world.

“We’re constantly surrounded by data. If you can get the average employee to take this data and get some insight on their own you can give them an advantage over the rest,” said Dr. David Schuff, Associate Professor of MIS and instructor for the Data Science and Data Analytics courses.

Schuff said he begins with the basics – teaching business majors and minors in his Data Analytics course how to use data-mining software, like SAS Enterprise Miner, to examine data and identify its pertinent characteristics.

“We want them to be able to look at cause-effect relationships in business data and use some basic tools to analyze that data and use the results to make better decisions,” Schuff said.

Using the basic skills Schuff teaches, students can use data to examine consumer preferences, such as using sales receipts to predict which goods are bought in tandem and how strategic sales can maximize profits. Broadening the scope, if politicians want to know a Facebook friend’s electoral value, they need someone who can use big data to decipher the sentiment behind a Facebook post. For Schuff, this person is someone who is, “comfortable with data,” and can fuse tools gleaned in business classes to decode the human psyche.

Data professionals “know what you can do with data and so they know how to support the marketing function. These people aren’t going to be just data scientists, …but business people who are working with data,” Schuff said.

Schuff aims for his students to move beyond the bar graph- and pie chart-models to create and analyze more sophisticated visualizations to better integrate data in their professional lives. These students get hands-on experience using SAS products, as well as Tableau software, both of which are currently used in the analytics industry.

“We really want people to touch the tools they would be using in industry so they can speak from experience,” Schuff said.

For one researcher at the Fox School of Business, time is literally of the essence.

Dr. Robert T. Krafty, who will supervise research into biomedical time-series data collecting, has received a grant exceeding $843,000, awarded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and National Institutes of Health (NIH).

“The grant and all of my work looks at how we analyze data that’s collected over time,” said Krafty, Assistant Professor of Statistics. “The specific patterns of the data could tell us important information.”

The grant applications which Krafty will study pay particular attention to body signals, such as heartbeat electrocardiograms (EKGs) and brain-wave electroencephalogram (EEGs), and how these patterns are associated with different things such as measures of the quality of life or how well someone will respond to treatment.

“What I am doing is creating ways in which we can find out how these patterns are associated with certain outcomes,” Krafty said. “The main products are methods and tools that anyone can use to analyze big-time series data. The secondary goal is to apply those methods to our data on electrophysiology to see if we can help find a better way to understand how to treat sleep disorders.”

Krafty, the primary investigator for the grant, has two collaborators with whom he will work – Martica Hall, PhD, and Daniel Buysse, MD who are located at University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. Hall and Buysse are sleep-study researchers responsible for studying older adults who have trouble sleeping. Some of the patients they treat have sleeping issues due to the loss of a spouse, and others are primary caregivers for a spouse who has Parkinson’s disease. The data applied to their current research was collected from a previous study at the University of Pittsburgh, Krafty said, adding that the results produced by this grant will be used to create new statistical methods and programs to analyze collected statistical data more efficiently.

“What we want to know is what sort of patterns of physiology during sleep help indicate a better quality of life or if a patient will respond favorably to a treatment,” said Krafty.

So far in their preliminary research, Krafty and his team have found a connection between patterns of sleep and quality of life that suggests limiting the amount of sleep per night could be helpful in older adults. Krafty explained some global experts advocate that older adults should restrict their sleep. However, there was no actual evidence to back up that assumption until now, he said.

The awarded grant will also fully support one graduate student’s PhD education, Krafty said. Fox doctoral students, Scott Bruce and Zeda Li, are majoring in Statistics and have been selected by Krafty to work on the project.

The extensive time-series research Krafty is conducting will be completed by June 30, 2017.

Krafty has also been invited to speak at the NBER/NSF Time Series Conference , the leading international conference for time series data, which attracts top statisticians from around the world. At the conference, held Sept. 26-27 at the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, in Missouri, Krafty will discuss the discoveries compiled in his research paper entitled, “Penalized Multivariate Whittle Likelihood for Power Spectrum Estimation.”

Data visualizations and infographics are creative illustrations. They can help tell a story, convey a point – and even land Temple University students up to $2,500 in prize money.

The 2nd Annual Temple Analytics Challenge: Making Sense of Big Data opens Oct. 1. The student competition is geared toward understanding data through visualization, a component that experts have cited as the path to attaining a hot job in big data analytics.

The Temple Analytics Challenge is open to Temple University students across all schools and disciplines. Working in teams or individually, students are tasked with creating an original visualization that provides clear and meaningful insight into current issues facing industry.

Corporate leaders developed specific problems and data sets that student teams will use to create their visualizations. They are:
The NBCUniversal Challenge: Where will politicians spend their midterm advertising dollars?
The Lockheed Martin Challenge: Which employee behaviors predict security threats?
The Merck Challenge: What is the impact of a new corporate site?

“Last year the competition was an amazing success, with 183 entries from 400 students across seven schools and colleges,” said challenge organizer David Schuff, Associate Professor of Management Information Systems at the Fox School of Business. “The competition gives students the opportunity to work on real-world problems and data, while developing critical visual communication skills.”

The winning team will earn a $2,500 grand prize. Two second-place prizes ($1,500 each), two third-place prizes ($1,000 each) and five honorable mention prizes ($500) will also be awarded. The prizes are sponsored by the corporate members of the Institute for Business and Information Technology at the Fox School of Business and the Office of the Senior Vice Provost for Undergraduate Studies.

Contest entries are due Oct. 30. Twenty finalists will present their work Nov. 17 before a live judging panel of industry leaders from Merck, Lockheed Martin, Citigroup, RJMetrics, NBCUniversal and the Campbell Soup Company.

Students can use any tools or software of their choosing to create their entries. Workshops and mentoring are available throughout October to further assist students.

For details, visit analyticschallenge.temple.edu. If you are a Temple professor looking to get your students involved, contact David Schuff (david.schuff@temple.edu) to request more information.

The National Science Foundation (NSF) has awarded Temple University’s Fox School of Business with a $50,000 grant, with which the School will fund a workshop workshop is to bring together experts in the domain of big data and privacy to develop a research agenda for better understanding and promoting privacy in an era of big data. The “Privacy in an Era of Big Data Workshop”(please link to fox.temple.edy/nsfworkshop) will take place at the university on April 22 and 23 of this year. Government officials, industry leaders, and notable academics will meet to discuss privacy issues surrounding big data, and to develop a forward-looking agenda for research on the legal, technological, social, behavioral, economic, and broader implications of Big Data and Privacy in academia, industry, and government.

Dr. Paul A. Pavlou, the Milton F. Stauffer Professor, as Principal Investigator, and Associate Professor of Management Information Systems Dr. Sunil Wattal, as Co-Principal Investigator, received the NSF grant. The objective of the NSF workshop is to demonstrate the merits in the pursuit of the potential for big data while respecting privacy rights.

In the proposal, Pavlou and Wattal argued that there are “unexplored links” between big data and privacy, and that the potential exists for breaches of privacy, particularly by corporations, malicious individuals or governments. The workshop, Pavlou and Wattal said, would unite individuals from multiple disciplines in an attempt to promote a “forward-looking agenda.”

“People often have very little control over the collection process, in terms of knowledge about what information is being collected and stored about them,” said Pavlou, a Co-Director of Temple’s Big Data Institute and the School’s Chief Research Officer. “They also are unaware of who has access to the information, and for what purpose the information will be used.

“Finding solutions to these big day and privacy problems must become a priority for this generation of interdisciplinary research.”

The NSF workshop will cover: the tradeoff between the benefits of big data and privacy protection; the legal, public policy and regulatory issues on privacy; privacy protection technologies; and social, behavioral and economical approaches to encouraging individual privacy practice.

Slated to take place in late Spring 2015, the workshop will be open to all centers that operate in conjunction with Temple’s Big Data Institute. Additionally, select global big-data experts from academia, industry, and government will be invited to attend. A date for the workshop has not yet been finalized.

Mobile technologies enable marketers to target consumers by time and location.  Temporal targeting and geographical targeting through a short message service (SMS) individually increase sales purchases; however the impact on sales when both strategies are employed simultaneously is not yet clear. Additionally, the study looks for differences on customer purchases when sending same-day promotions compared to two-day prior to the promoted event. The findings of these research suggest that understanding the when, where, and how of mobile targeting strategies is crucial and would benefit marketers reduce expenditures as they design their mobile targeting campaigns.

The intensity of R&D increases the complexity of executives’ jobs; therefore, the marginal return on ability should be higher in R&D intensive firms. In particular, being knowledgeable in the field of technology is helpful in determining long-term strategy, competing with competitors, managing the R&D labor force, and protecting intangible assets. If CEO ability should increases with R&D intensity, how can we best design incentive contracts?

To explore longitudinal phenomena and test social science theories over time, this paper presents Latent Growth Modeling (LGM) as a complementary method for analyzing longitudinal data, understanding the process of change over time, testing time-centric hypotheses, and building longitudinal theories. The paper describes the basic tenets of LGM and offer practical guidelines for applying LGM to test time-centric hypotheses. It also extends LGM by proposing a fundamental criterion to evaluate LGM and conducting simulations to examine factors that affect the performance of LGM. The paper derives implications for IS research that could arise by using LGM to develop and test longitudinal theories.

The ABCs of Project Management

March 13, 2013 //

Any graduate who hopes to be put into a position of importance at any point in their career will be asked to manage a project. This video will cover the basics of project management.  We will give an over view of projects and go through the phases of a typical project and how it is planned and executed for success.

Many countries and international organizations have attempted to develop a national performance measure that incorporates multi-dimensionality of national performance. For this research, we create a national performance scorecard as a performance measure system for nations, which combines and organizes the multi-dimensional performance of nations. The research introduces four perspectives in the national performance scorecard: Citizen Well-being, National Structure, National Policy, and National Economic Outcomes Perspective.