A primary goal of this IGERT is to establish a new interdisciplinary program at Columbia and CUNY to educate PhD students in advanced information extraction, analysis, and presentation approaches that can be applied to multiple types of data (text, audio, image, video) and to engage them in the application of these approaches to problems in real world domains, specifically, medicine, journalism, and business. Currently, research students in information technologies focus on only one type of data and a small set of analysis techniques, depending upon their discipline. Yet, the ability to handle multiple types of data and familiarity with a wider variety of types of analysis are critical for extracting useful information in a world in which YouTube, Wikipedia, Facebook and Twitter are rapidly supplanting newspapers, encyclopedias, television, and consumer surveys as vital sources of information. By fostering an environment that integrates research across different data and analysis techniques and allows the exploration of information needs across diverse domains, we will create new paradigms for the evolution of “data to information to solutions.”
The new generation of PhD students will receive training that integrates data collection and analysis techniques with applications to business, medical informatics, and journalism. Students will receive training in (1) Statistics, machine learning, and data mining techniques; (2) Applications of these techniques to text, audio, and video data; (3) Uses of social media as information sources; and (4) Information needs of medicine, journalism, and business.
Another goal for the IGERT is to expose our students to information needs outside their own culture and to help them forge links between their own research and solution needs related to societal challenges. To this end we have formed a partnership with the University of Buenos Aires, the Universidad Nacional de Córdoba, and the Universidade Estadual de Campinas, top institutions in Argentina and Brazil, to support faculty and Trainee participation in summer schools. This will provide one avenue to help Trainees gain an appreciation of the global nature and context of their work and its future significance outside the U.S.