Massive Grant = Massive Data Lab on FAU Campus

FAU professor receives $600,000 grant to build big data lab on campus


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FAU professor Taghi Khoshgoftaar received a $600,000 dollar grant from the National Science Foundation and $257,000 from the university to create a big data lab at FAU.

Khoshgoftaar, an MIT graduate, has been teaching computer science at FAU since 1985. His work ranges from data mining and machine learning to computer and network security, on which he’s made dozens of publications. Somehow, within the midst of his research, teaching and mentoring, the professor found the time to seek and eventually receive the grant for the data lab that will be coming to FAU within the coming months.

Khoshgoftaar’s work revolves around computers — very, very powerful computers — and this data lab will make a big wave in the research within all disciplines of sciences at FAU. The professor has high hopes and spirits, not only for his research, but for research in general.

“This makes a big impact. I’m thinking about new faculty… I think this is good not only for me, but other faculty within the engineering program as well,” said Khoshgoftaar.

The lab is predicted to be able to process and store over 1,000 terabytes of data. Considering that each terabyte is 1,000 gigabytes, the new lab would be an enormous jump above our current data mining lab, bringing FAU research “big data and big results.”

“We are talking about millions and millions of combinations,” states Khoshgoftaar.

Graduate students will receive the greatest benefits from the funding. The data lab is necessary in analyzing information and running simulations for which the university would be “handicapped” without.

The creation of this data lab will also ease research and data collection within the fields of medicine and biology through the use and analysis of Electronic Health Records, or EHR. The lab will also be used for underwater acoustics, bioinformatics analysis and several other ongoing research projects.

“It’s good for doctorate students, they can put their hands on the information,” adds Khoshgoftaar.

The location of the big data lab has not yet been decided — it could be on the first floor of the Boca campus’ new engineering building or on the Jupiter campus, but Boca Raton is the preference.

Khoshgoftaar, whose research and achievements list is expansive, was quick to express his satisfaction with the way things are running.

“I like [President] John Kelly very much, he is thinking outside the box.”

The forward motion of FAU programs is becoming evident more and more every day, and new programs are bound to arise very soon from the creation of the new big data lab.

“We are looking at potential data analytics doctorate programs,” adds Khoshgoftaar.
The lab is sure to expand the frontiers for FAU’s engineering and computer science programs and will provide students with the opportunity to engage in more research opportunities. The building of the data lab is set to start in the beginning of 2015.