UALR: Analytics Center to Help Business Sift 'Big Data'

by Arkansas Business Staff  on Monday, Jun. 3, 2013 10:34 am  

Mary Good, who will lead the new UALR George W. Donaghey Emerging Analytics Center, speaks at a news conference on Monday. (Photo by Mauren Kennedy)

The University of Arkansas at Little Rock on Monday announced plans to establish the UALR George W. Donaghey Emerging Analytics Center.

The center, located on the fourth floor of UALR’s Engineering and Information Technology building, features data visualization systems that the university said "are among the first of their kind in the world."

The new center was made possible by a grant of more than $5 million from the George W. Donaghey Foundation. The center will be led by Mary Good, a nationally recognized scientist who serves as special advisor on economic development to UALR and the Arkansas Economic Development Commission. 

Good is the founding dean of the College of Engineering and Information Technology. She retired as dean in June 2011.

Gov. Mike Beebe, UALR Chancellor Joel Anderson and representatives of AEDC announced the center at an event Monday morning at the EIT college.

A news release calls the announcement a "game changer" for the state. Good said "big data" provides the next frontier in discovery, business and society, as more data is produced, stored and analyzed.

"The EAC and its potential to positively impact on large and small businesses in Arkansas are critical to our state’s economic growth," Good said. "It will give all of us a competitive edge and position us for a bright future in the era of big data."

The center's systems were custom designed and built for UALR by Mechdyne Corp. of Marshalltown, Iowa, which makes visual information technologies. The center's aim is to provide visual data services for entites in the region. UALR said the center will serve a diverse group, including partners in business, sciences, health care, education and engineering.

On Monday, representatives from AEDC, Acxiom Corp. of Little Rock, the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, Southwest Power Pool Inc. of Little Rock, and Nabholz Construction Services were set to demonstrate how data visualization can be used in their respective fields.

Beebe cited one example of the center's potential use: A neurosurgeon resident could practice drilling a hole in a three-dimensional model's head before actually performing the procedure on a real person.

The center also has development and promotional partnerships with Mechdyne, Hewlett-Packard and Today's Office. H-P has an operation in Conway.

Linked through fiber optics to UALR's Computational Research Center, the center boasts 35 screens and monitors with more than 50 million pixels offering high definition resolution for both 2D and 3D applications.

 

 

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