The Arkansas Economic Development Commission’s Division of Science and Technology recently received a sizeable grant amounting to $20 million to develop a data analytics network in collaboration with the University of Arkansas (UArk). The fund was granted by the National Science Foundation’s Establish Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR).
In a report by the UArk, it was revealed that the grant was given to fund a “high-performance computing network for data analytics and bring together scientists and engineers from across the state to focus on data analytics.”
The grant, which will be given over five years, will be matched by the state to the tune of $4 million. With the amount, researchers are expected to form a program that deals with analyzing info, which will be called Data Analytics that are Robust, and Trusted (DART).
To facilitate better collaboration, the DART team seeks to develop a “statewide computing-cloud” which will be named the Arkansas Research Platform. This aims to incorporate existing technology at colleges and universities. The said tech includes high-performance computing resources. DART aims to open up opportunities for researchers and students for learning.
About the project’s objectives, UArk’s Center for Advanced Spatial Technology director Jack Cothren said, “Our goal is to make Arkansas a nationally recognized hub for data science research and innovation.”
Cothren is also a professor in the university’s Department of Geosciences and the co-principal investigator of the grant.
In launching DART, over 40 scientists from UArk and other colleges and universities will be working on the project. DART will be concentrating on three areas of data science namely management of big or complex sets, security and privacy, and machine learning and artificial intelligence.
All three major areas seek to make analytics compatible with traditional hardware and software, while ensuring effective usage of analysis, specifically for decision-making.
Meanwhile, state governor Asa Hutchinson said, “This award continues to validate the strides that Arkansas is making as the state transitions from a primarily agricultural economy to a more diverse, data-driven economy.”
Hutchinson also mentioned that the local administration has been prioritizing such development since the beginning of the term, as per Arkansas Times.
The Arkansas Times report noted that the project is expected to have a huge impact on any EPSCoR initiative in the state, especially as it will cover expansive institutional and geographic diversities including data revolution, human technology, and convergence research.