Chicago Aerial view

The skyline of fabulous Chicago, the site of the iSchool’s Data by the Lake 2015 Spring Break immersion program.

Several years ago the company I worked for introduced a new product. This product is equipped with dozens of sensors that keep track of how the product is used and whether or not the product needs service. The sensors send information back to the company’s servers just about every minute.

The company anticipated this product would be sold to hospitals around the world. Imagine: data from dozens of sensors installed on hundreds of machines coming at us every minute of the day. My department’s job was to figure out how to manage all of this data so that colleagues in service, manufacturing and product development could find trends and use the data to the benefit of customers and the company.

Every day there seems to be another story about companies (and governments) collecting massive amounts of data and then, somehow, “mining” that data for patterns, trends and other nuggets of wisdom. The media calls this Big Data, our iSchool calls it Data Science. In fact, the data science program offered by the iSchool is among the best in the nation. Spending time with iSchool students studying data science would have helped my department manage the flood of data coming to us from all of those machines. If only…

During spring break in 2015, Chicago companies will have the opportunity I only dreamed of: the iSchool will send 16 students to Chicago to meet with companies and the City of Chicago. This initiative, a collaboration between the iSchool and the Chicago Regional Council, is called Data by the Lake. The students will have an opportunity to practice what they’re learning, show Chicago companies how capable iSchool students are and, perhaps, entice some of those students to become the newest residents of Chicagoland.

The iSchool is adept at creating immersion programs that introduce students to companies in different areas around the country. The Chicago Regional Council works to raise the profile of Syracuse in the Chicago area. Together we’re providing a really unique and exciting opportunity for the great students at alma mater. You can help by going over to the ‘CuseFunder crowd funding site and choosing to help fund a student’s participation in the program. And, if you work for a Chicago-area company that may benefit from spending time with these very capable students, speak up! Maybe we can visit with your company in the years ahead.

Data by the Lake. An iSchool immersion program coming to Chicago this spring!