NASA executive to speak on data science



NCSA’s Blue Waters supercomputer, one of the most powerful supercomputers in the world.

Kevin Murphy, NASA Program executive for Earth Science Data Systems, will be featured in a data science lecture hosted by the National Center for Supercomputing Applications on Tuesday.

Larry Di Girolamo, professor in Atmospheric Sciences, said in an email he invited Murphy to discuss how NASA Earth Sciences is addressing the challenges in managing, processing and distributing its extensive collection of satellite data.

Di Girolamo said NASA Earth Science satellite datasets are used to increase scientific understanding of planet Earth and how the various Earth systems are interconnected.

“It’s a tremendous amount of data and Earth scientists are always battling issues associated with working with so much data,” he said. “NASA has always been a leader in helping scientists to work through these issues and in developing new tools and technologies that push the cutting edge in computer science and engineering.”

He said the significance of Murphy’s talk is to bring the campus community, many of whom make large use of NASA data sets, up to speed on NASA’s latest plans for its current and future satellite data sets.

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Students in computer science, engineering and environmental sciences will learn first-hand how NASA is tackling the real-world problems of working with Big Data, he said.

Big Data refers to the extremely large data sets that must be analyzed using computers to reveal patterns relating to human behavior and interaction.

“It’s at the forefront of Big Data methods and technologies, which is what we want our students to be exposed to,” Di Girolamo said.

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