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Mizzou Engineers leading UM System effort for computational data hub

Servers and cables.

Associate Professor and Director of the MU Cyber Education and Research Initiative Prasad Calyam will lead the effort, alongside UM-Kansas City’s Praveen Rao, to create a computational hub to both store and process large sets of data for both NextGen and additional collaborative research projects across the UM System. Photo by Taylor Vick.

The upcoming NextGen Precision Health Institute will bring researchers from across MU and the UM System together in one world-class facility to collaborate on the kinds of research that will shape the way the world uncovers precision health outcomes for individual patients.

That much cutting-edge research will create untold amounts of data. And datasets that massive will need high-powered computing capabilities and brilliant researchers who can both make sense of it all and provide scientists with the tools and user services needed to extract meaning from it.

Mizzou Engineering’s computer scientists fit the bill.

Associate Professor and Director of the MU Cyber Education and Research Initiative Prasad Calyam will lead the effort, alongside UM-Kansas City’s Praveen Rao, to create a computational hub to both store and process large sets of data for both NextGen and additional collaborative research projects across the UM System. The project recently received funding as part of the UM System’s $20.5 million investment into research and creative works.

Mizzou Engineering’s Timothy Middelkoop, Kannappan Palaniappan, Saitish Nair and Ye Duan are co-investigators. MU’s Trupti Joshi, Peter Tonellato and Deepthi Rao, UMKC’s Zhu Li and Viviana Grieco and Missouri S&T’s Sanjay Madria are also co-investigators.

“It can really be a community builder for researchers from agriculture, healthcare, material science and public safety backgrounds, among others,” Calyam said. “People from these different communities can collaborate around our infrastructure resources to fulfill their research and education needs.”

The goal is to have computing experts working closely with MU Division of Information Technology teams to help set up configurations for research/education groups to take advantage of this new big data capability and provide them with the proper levels of security, policies, information, infrastructure and more.

“They can get the experts and have a place to bring in their data, bring in their collaborators and set up a sandbox much more easily using best practices for high performance computing, security preferences or the resource access policies they need,” Calyam explained. “We have a model of what success looks like for this data infrastructure.”

The hope is to eventually attract investors and industry partners to develop the NextGen Data Analytics Center, a robust hub that can support both the partners and the UM System member institutions by providing high-powered computing resources and know how of Big Data analytics.

“Technology is changing changing very fast in this space,” Calyam said. “It’s thus a rich environment that will continuously evolve, and we want to be able to monitor it and enhance it periodically to make sure it is working for everybody.”

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