Location: IT 152
Informatics and Communications Technology Complex
535 W. Michigan Street, Indianapolis, IN 46202 (map)
The research data landscape is seeing multi-dimensional changes and challenges, and building connections across existing "data ecosystem services" can be difficult. Solutions are necessary to protect research data for current and future active use, and to preserve representative datasets or products as archival records of discovery or significant cultural decisions. Changes across various ecosystems are bringing new strategic partnerships, advanced cyberinfrastructure services, and also uncertainty about outputs of scientific computation, scholarly behavior in the midst of "open science," and evolving data policies. Non-governmental organizations and others are leveraging various partnership arrangements to meet community demands at scale; and infrastructure supported by federal investments are connecting the from campus level to national systems. Academic institutions of all types are grappling with the emergent field of "data Science."
This talk will present examples of current efforts to meet new challenges and demand around research data, and also introduce the Midwest Big Data Hub (MBDH). One of four regional Big Data (BD) Innovation Hubs, the MBDH was launched in 2015 with support from the U.S. National Science Foundation. Based at the University of Illinois in Urbana- Champaign, the MBDH is a growing network of academic, industry, and non-governmental partners. The BD Innovation Hubs are intended to strengthen the data ecosystem, and develop effective networks of experts, organizations, projects and resources to address scientific and social issues of regional, national, and international interest. Examples of projects and activities will be included from across our priority areas of interest: Smart & Resilient Communities; Digital Agriculture; Water Quality; Big Data & Health; and, Advanced Materials & Manufacturing; and Data Science education and training.
Melissa Cragin is Executive Director of the Midwest Big Data Hub, and based at the National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA) at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC). Prior to joining NCSA, Melissa was Staff Associate in the Office of the Assistant Director, Directorate of Biological Sciences at the National Science Foundation (NSF), after serving there as an AAAS Science & Technology Policy Fellow. At NSF, she guided development of data policy and accelerated community engagement on research data management and public access. Melissa also has an affiliate appointment as Assistant Professor in the School of Information Sciences at UIUC, where she previously led the Data Curation Education Program.
Recorded video: click here
Photographs, taken by field scientists, tourists, automated cameras, and incidental photographers, are the most abundant source of data on wildlife today. I will show how computational methods can be used to turn massive collections of images into high resolution information database, enabling scientific inquiry, conservation, and citizen science. I will demonstrate how computational data science methods are used to collect images from online social media, detect various species of animals and even identify individuals. I will present data science methods to infer and counter biases in the ad-hoc data to provide accurate estimates of population sizes from those image data.
I will show how it all can come together to a deployed system, Wildbook, a project of tech for conservation non-profit Wild Me. We have built Wildbooks for over 20 species of animals, including whales (flukebook.org), sharks (whaleshark.org), giraffes (giraffespotter.org), and working on elephants. In January 2016, Wildbook enabled the first ever full species (the endangered Grevy's zebra) census using photographs taken by ordinary citizens in Kenya. The resulting numbers are now the official species census used by IUCN Red List and we repeated the effort in 2018, becoming the first certified census from an outside organization accepted by the Kenyan government. Wildbook is becoming the data foundation for wildlife science, conservation, and policy. Read more at the National Geographic.
Dr. Tanya Berger-Wolf is a Professor of Computer Science at the University of Illinois at Chicago, where she heads the Computational Population Biology Lab. As a computational ecologist, her research is at the unique intersection of computer science, wildlife biology, and social sciences. She creates computational solutions to address questions such as how environmental factors affect the behaviors of social animals (humans included). Berger-Wolf is also a director and co-founder of the conservation software non-profit Wild Me, home of the Wildbook project.
Berger-Wolf holds a Ph.D. in Computer Science from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She has received numerous awards for her research and mentoring, including the National Science Foundation CAREER Award, Association for Women in Science Chicago Innovator Award, UIC Distinguished Researcher of the Year Award, and a UIC Mentor of the Year Award.