People

Leadership Team

Meredith Lee

Executive Director
West Big Data Innovation Hub

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Meredith is the Executive Director of the West Big Data Innovation Hub, a consortium launched by the National Science Foundation to address societal challenges with Big Data innovation. Dr. Lee previously served as a AAAS Science & Technology Policy Fellow at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Homeland Security Advanced Research Projects Agency (HSARPA), guiding strategic research in graph analytics, risk assessment, machine learning, data visualization, and distributed computing. She co-led the White House Innovation for Disaster Response and Recovery Initiative as well as the Ideation Community of Practice, a network of Federal innovators from more than 25 agencies. Meredith completed her Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering at Stanford University and was a postdoctoral researcher at the Canary Center for Cancer Early Detection. She was previously at MIT Lincoln Laboratory, Intel, IBM T.J. Watson Research Center, and Agilent Laboratories. Dr. Lee is a co-founder of NationOfMakers.org, past president of the Stanford Optical Society of America/SPIE, and served on the first Steering Committee for the National Photonics Initiative. Her work has been featured by whitehouse.gov, Make:, ArsTechnica, The Washington Post, Forbes, and Fast Company.
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Christine Kirkpatrick

Deputy Director
West Big Data Innovation Hub

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Christine Kirkpatrick is Division Director for IT Systems & Services at SDSC. Christine is also Deputy Director and co-PI for the NSF-funded West Big Data Innovation Hub and Chair of the Technical Advisory Committee for the National Data Service. She specializes in enterprise architectures, integrations and implementation of large-scale storage, cloud and computational resources. A pioneer in web-based instruction, she has extensive online teaching experience coupled with expertise in developing the associated technologies needed for effective online teaching. She holds a master’s degree in Architecture-based Enterprise Systems Engineering Leadership from UC San Diego’s Jacobs School of Engineering. She joined UC San Diego in 1996 and has been with SDSC since 2012.
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Sarah Stone

Deputy Director
West Big Data Innovation Hub

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Sarah Stone is a Deputy Director of the West Big Data Innovation Hub and a Program Manager with the eScience Institute. Sarah handles eScience operations and planning, serving as the primary administrative contact for university and industry partners, funding agencies and the public. Sarah helps to manage joint activities with partner institutions, UC Berkeley and NYU, and coordinates eScience outreach activities including the Data Science for Social Good summer program. Prior to joining eScience, Sarah was an Assistant Professor in the Department of Oceanography at Humboldt State University in northern California. She has been involved in many large, interdisciplinary research projects in oceanography and has a specialty in zooplankton ecology. Hide Bio


Michael Franklin

WBDIH Principal Investigator | Professor, University of California – Berkeley

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Michael J. Franklin is the Thomas M. Siebel Professor of Computer Science at the University of California, Berkeley. He has over 30 years of experience in the database, data analytics, and data management fields as an academic and industrial researcher, teacher, lab director, faculty member, entrepreneur, and software developer. Prof. Franklin is also the Director of the Algorithms, Machines, and People Laboratory (AMPLab) at UC Berkeley, a leading academic Big Data analytics research center. The AMPLab has 27 industrial partners including founding sponsors Amazon Web Services, Google, IBM, and SAP, and received a National Science Foundation CISE "Expeditions in Computing" award, which was announced as part of the White House Big Data Research initiative in March 2012. AMPLab has produced industry-changing open source software including Apache Spark and BDAS, the Berkeley Data Analytics Stack. Prof. Franklin is a co-PI and Executive Committee member for the Berkeley Institute of Data Science, a campus-wide initiative to advance Data Science Environments. He was founder and CTO of Truviso, a data analytics company that was subsequently purchased by Cisco Systems. He currently serves on the Technical Advisory Boards of a number of data-driven technology companies, including Databricks, an AMPLab spinout. He is a Fellow of the ACM and a two-time winner of the ACM SIGMOD "Test of Time" award, and received the outstanding Advisor Award from the Computer Science Graduate Student Association at Berkeley. He received the Ph.D. in Computer Science from the University of Wisconsin in 1993, a Master of Software Engineering from the Wang Institute of Graduate Studies in 1986, and the B.S. in Computer and Information Science from the University of Massachusetts in 1983.
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Ed Lazowska

WBDIH Principal Investigator |Bill & Melinda Gates Chair in Computer Science & Engineering and eScience Institute Director, University of Washington

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Ed Lazowska holds the Bill & Melinda Gates Chair in Computer Science & Engineering at the University of Washington, where he also serves as the Director of the University of Washington eScience Institute. Lazowska's research and teaching concern the design, implementation, and analysis of high performance computing and communication systems, and, more recently, the techniques and technologies of data-intensive discovery. He also has been active in public policy issues, ranging from STEM education to Federal strategies for research and innovation. He is a Member of the National Academy of Engineering and a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences, ACM, IEEE, and AAAS.
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Michael Norman

WBDIH Principal Investigator | Director, San Diego Supercomputer Center | Distinguished Professor of Physics, University of California – San Diego

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Michael L. Norman is the Director of the San Diego Supercomputer Center and Distinguished Professor of Physics at UC San Diego where he also directs the Laboratory for Computational Astrophysics. He received his B.S. from Caltech in 1975, and his Ph. D. from UC Davis in 1980. After holding appointments at the Lawrence Livermore and Los Alamos National Laboratories, the Max Planck Institute for Astrophysics, and the National Center for Supercomputing Applications, he joined the faculty at UC San Diego in 2000. His research focus is the computer simulation of astronomical phenomena using supercomputers, and the development of the numerical methods to carry them out. He is the author of over 200 papers on diverse topics including star formation, cosmic jets, and cosmological evolution. His computer visualizations have appeared in numerous educational TV shows and films, including PBS Nova and The Discovery Channel. He is the recipient of the Alexander von Humboldt Research Prize and the IEEE Sidney Fernbach Award. He was elected Fellow of the American Physical Society in 2001, and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2005.
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Bill Howe

WBDIH Co-Principal Investigator | Associate Director and Senior Data Science Fellow, eScience Institute |Affiliate Associate Professor, University of Washington

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Bill Howe is the Associate Director of the UW eScience Institute and an Affiliate Associate Professor in Computer Science & Engineering. His research interests are in data management, curation, analytics, and visualization in the sciences. Howe is a Co-PI and played a leadership role in the Data Science Environment program at UW through a $32.8 million grant awarded jointly to UW, NYU, and UC Berkeley. With support from the MacArthur Foundation and Microsoft, Howe leads UW's participation in the national MetroLab Network focused on smart cities and data-intensive urban science. He also led the creation of the UW Data Science Masters Degree and serves as its inaugural Program Director and Faculty Chair. He has received two Jim Gray Seed Grant awards from Microsoft Research for work on managing environmental data, has had two papers selected for VLDB Journal's "Best of Conference" issues (2004 and 2010), and co-authored what are currently the most-cited papers from both VLDB 2010 and SIGMOD 2012. Howe serves on the program and organizing committees for a number of conferences in the area of databases and scientific data management, developed a first MOOC on data science that attracted over 200,000 students across two offerings, and founded UW's Data Science for Social Good program. He has a Ph.D. in Computer Science from Portland State University and a Bachelor's degree in Industrial & Systems Engineering from Georgia Tech.
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Erin Robinson

WBDIH Co-Principal Investigator | Executive Director, Foundation for Earth Science

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Erin is a natural connector who’s passionate about fostering innovation through collaboration. During the last 10 years she has created communities and programs with lasting impact around science data and technology. Erin has honed her expertise across community management, grant writing information architecture and Earth science. As the Executive Director for the Foundation for Earth Science, Erin facilitates virtual and in-person collaboration across economic sectors to expedite progress toward data interoperability, envisioning and realizing new programs, and articulating their value to funders to ensure continued success of the programs.
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Ariel Rokem

Co-Principal Investigator, WBDIH, Data Scientist, eScience Institute, University of Washington

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Ariel Rokem is a data scientist at the University of Washington eScience Institute, where he collaborates with researchers from a variety of fields to advance data-intensive discovery. Trained in cognitive neuroscience (PhD; UC Berkeley, 2010) and computational neuroimaging (Postdoc; Stanford 2011-2014), he continues to be a major contributor to open source software that makes human neuroscience more transparent, more reproducible, and more powerful. As a PI of the WBDIH, he is interested in making the computational methods of precision medicine accessible to a larger community of researchers across academic, industry, government and non-profit organizations. 
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Steering Committee

Nick Baguley

President
Big Data Utah - Evolve STEAM
Utah

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Nick Baguley is a well-known Community Leader in the technology space in the West. His connections in Data Science and Big Data spread around the world. As one of the earliest co-founders of a HUG (Hadoop User’s Group) in the United States and as an entrepreneur, Nick has been able to influence and help create the rising wave of Big Data and Analytics in Utah. He has been heavily involved in the Big Data Hubs and the National Data Science Organizers (NDSO) group from the White House. Through Big Data Utah and Utah Geek Events, he has created and co-organized many large conferences and competitions. He is now creating an International STEAM Innovation District that will help lead smart cities and data initiatives. Nick has acted as an advisor to Universities, Non-Profits, Corporations, Startups, and Individuals for years. This has allowed Nick to impact curriculum, strategic directions for companies, hiring decisions, career advancements and to build communities. Hide Bio


Titus Brown

Associate Professor, UC Davis
California

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I’m an Associate Professor at the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine, where I work on genetics and genomics and lead the Lab for Data Intensive Biology. My primary research focus is on new data structures and algorithms for moving from raw data to decision making, with a strong emphasis on sequencing data (at the moment). I am heavily invested in open science, training, open source software development, and reproducibility. In 2014, I was awarded a Moore Foundation Investigator grant in Data Driven Discovery. I am on Twitter at @ctitusbrown (twitter.com/ctitusbrown) and I blog regularly at ivory.idyll.org/blog/; all my source code can be found at github.com/ctb/. My full CV is here.
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Steve Cutchin

Associate Professor
Boise State University
Idaho

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Dr. Steve Cutchin joined the faculty at Boise State University in August 2013 From 2008 to 2013 he was manager of the KAUST Visualization Laboratory Core Facility and the Supercomputer Facility at King Abdullah’s University of Science and Technology (KAUST) in Thuwal, Saudi Arabia. At KAUST he recruited a technical team of engineers and visualization scientists while managing the building of the state of the art scientific data visualization laboratory on the KAUST campus, forged relationships with international university and corporate partners, continued to improve the laboratory and recruit new staff. Prior to his work in Saudi Arabia, Dr. Cutchin worked at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) first as manager of Visualization Services at the San Diego Supercomputer Center and later at California Institute for Telecommunications and Information Technology (Calit2). He has worked as a Sr. Software Engineer at Walt Disney Feature Animation developing software tools to improve animation production on feature films. He has published articles on Computer Graphics and Visualization, created animations for Discovery Channel and images for SIGGRAPH and Supercomputing conferences and journals. He received his doctorate from Purdue University in Computer Science. Hide Bio


Alexander "Sam" Fernald

Director, Water Resources Research Institute
New Mexico State University
New Mexico

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Sam Fernald is the Director of the Federally and State supported New Mexico Water Resources Research Institute (NM WRRI). Dr. Fernald leads the institute in its mission to develop and disseminate knowledge that will assist the state, region, and nation in solving water resources problems.
The NM WRRI, one of 54 water institutes in the nation, encourages university faculty statewide to pursue critical areas of water resources research while providing training opportunities for students, and provides an outlet for transferring research findings to the academic community, water managers and the general public. Professor Fernald also is a faculty member in the Department of Animal and Range Sciences at New Mexico State University.
Dr. Fernald's earned degrees include a 1987 B.A. in international relations from Stanford University, an M.E.M. in 1993 in water and air resources from Duke University, and a Ph.D. in watershed science from Colorado State University in 1997. Dr. Fernald received a Fulbright Scholarship to Patagonian National University, Trelew, Argentina in 2008, and another Fulbright Scholarship to the University of Concepcion, Concepcion, Chile in 2000.
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Thomas Hauser

Director of Research Computing
University of Colorado Boulder
Colorado

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Thomas Hauser is the director of research computing at the University of Colorado Boulder. His group supports about 1,500 researchers from different disciplines in their computational and data related work. In collaboration with the Libraries at CU-Boulder he created the Research Data services (http://data.colorado.edu), to provide support to campus researcher for the data management mandates of federal agencies. He is also chairing the Advanced Rocky Mountain Computing Consortium (www.rmacc.org), which is a regional collaboration to improve the cyberinfrastructure capabilities in the inner mountain region. Additionally, he started leading the Earth Lab cyberinfrastructure and big data efforts. Earth Lab is a new initiative launched. It will capitalize on the data deluge from space and other platforms to accelerate science and train a new generation of data scientists who can address outstanding Earth Science questions.
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Alicia Johnson

Resilience & Recovery Manager
San Francisco Emergency Management
California

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A natural-born problem solver with a super power for getting it done, Alicia Johnson has a penchant for civic innovation. An Emergency Manager by trade, Alicia can count Hurricane Sandy, Super Bowl 50 and an earthquake or two in her portfolio of responses.
She has changed the culture of emergency preparedness with the creation of SF72.org and it's open source sister, City72. A community that plays together, stays together and Alicia is diligently integrating private and non-profit organizations into daily and disaster operations at the City of San Francisco.
Alicia knows how to make change happen from within. Curiosity is her jam and her favorite question is... How might we? .Hide Bio


Dane Skow

Director of Research Services, UWIT
University of Wyoming
Wyoming

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Dane Skow was born in Sioux Falls, SD to a USDA statistician and a home economics teacher, the great-grandson of one of the Mormon Handcart pioneers . Many moves and years later, he finds himself back in the West as Director of Research Services at the University of Wyoming. Trained as a High Energy Physicist, Dr. Skow has spent much of his career working at Dept. of Energy National Laboratories working in international collaborations. A specialist in distributed, parallel processing, he has led simulation, data analytics, software development, computer security and strategy development teams in the US and Europe, in government, academia, and private enterprise. He has been on the leadership team of several data centric projects, including the Open Science Grid, the Global Grid Forum, the Research Data Alliance and the Digital Preservation Network. Dr. Skow is one of the Theme Coordinators for the Natural Resources Theme in the WBDIH.
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Vidya Spandana

Principal
New Knowledge Data Science
Oregon

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Vidya Spandana is a co-founder of New Knowledge, a platform for speed in data analytics and reporting with data science automation. An entrepreneur, her first company was DMV.org, one of the earliest successful govtech companies. Recently, she served her term of duty as a Presidential Innovation Fellow working to bring President Obama’s Executive Order on Open Data to life. During her tenure, she created and led projects with US federal agencies that proved how government open data could drive economic growth in the poorest countries of the world. Vidya has been a mentor and advisor at various early-stage venture firms and startup accelerators such as TechStars, KickLabs and Astia. Today, she serves on two boards: the Oregon Innovation Council and the Presidential Innovation Fellows Foundation and is also the co-host of Partially Derivative, a geeky podcast about data science in practice.Hide Bio


Ian Swanson

Founder & CEO
DataScience
California

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An expert in Big Data and analytics, an accomplished entrepreneur, and a successful executive for such Fortune 500 companies as American Express and Sprint, Ian Swanson is at home in both startups and enterprise-level data organizations. Swanson founded Sometrics, which launched the industry's first global virtual currency platform in 2008 and was acquired by American Express in 2011. That platform -- for which he earned a patent -- managed more than 3.3 trillion units of virtual currency and served an online audience of 250 million in more than 180 countries. Prior to Sometrics, Swanson worked for the secure chat and messaging startup, Userplane, which was subsequently acquired by AOL.
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Kristin Tufte

Research Assistant Professor, Portland State University and Technology Policy Analyst, Volpe Center, U.S. Department of Transportation
Oregon

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Dr. Kristin Tufte brings a wide variety of experience and expertise in the area of data management and application areas of transportation and smart cities to the West Big Data Innovation Hub (WBDIH). Dr. Tufte manages PORTAL — the longest-running public transportation data archive in the nation, containing sensed data from bikes, busses, freeways, traffic signals, light rail and more. PORTAL is funded on an ongoing basis by Portland-area transportation agencies. Dr. Tufte is a key member of the highly-regarded city-university partnership between Portland State University and City of Portland and was the data lead on the City of Portland’s Smart Cities proposal, one of seven finalists in the US Department of Transportation’s Smart Cities Challenge (video: https://youtu.be/JyiuPiLrM48). At Portland State, Dr. Tufte works closely with the Transportation Research and Education Consortium (TREC) which houses one of five National Transportation Centers. In addition, Dr. Tufte is a member of the Transportation Research Board’s Urban Data Committee (ABJ30) and co-chairs the Urban Big Data subcommittee of ABJ30. In her data management role, Dr. Tufte is part of the Intel Science and Technology Center - Big Data (ISTC-BD), centered at MIT. Dr. Tufte has collaborated with colleagues at Intel and Brown to develop a state-of-the art data stream processing system, S-Store. In prior work, Dr. Tufte has helped architect two research data management systems, including one sold to NCR Corporation. Dr. Tufte has collaborated closely with transportation agencies in the Portland-Vancouver area for the past ten years as well as with the private sector including local consulting agencies and Intel. Dr. Tufte has a PhD in Data Management from the University of Wisconsin - Madison. Dr. Tufte’s passion is using data and technology to change people’s lives.
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Jackie Wirz

Director of Professional Development and Graduate Student Affairs and Assistant Professor
Oregon Health & Science University
Oregon

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Jackie Wirz is the Assistant Dean for Graduate Studies and Director of the Career and Professional Development Center, in addition to her appointment as the Research Data Ninja and Assistant Professor at the Oregon Health & Science University Library. She aspires to deeply integrate data science skills in graduate education, in addition to promoting a culture of open science within the biomedical research community. Jackie earned her Ph.D. from Oregon Health & Science University in Biochemistry & Molecular Biology and has a B.S. from Oregon State University in Biochemistry & Biophysics. Her research career has spanned 15 years and has covered diverse topics such as transcriptional regulation, macromolecular structure determination, collagen biophysics and DNA repair. Her professional interests include information, data, and knowledge management, as well as the flow of scientific information. She lectures on a variety of topics including professional skills development, data management, scholarly publication ethics, research impact / semantic technologies, and research communication. Jackie is a strong proponent of science outreach and has developed programs and grants designed to promote scientific, data and information literacy.
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Julie Meier Wright

Strategic Advisor,
Collaborative Economics

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Julie Meier Wright is strategic advisor to Collaborative Economics, a nationally recognized company that mobilizes "civic entrepreneurs" - individuals who combine the passion and persistence of a business entrepreneur with the vision and commitment of a transformational civic leader. In that role, she served as a co-producer of the history 2012 California Economic Summit and the follow-on event in 2013. For the past five years she has served as strategic advisor to the California Council on Science & Technology.She also served on the Think Long Committee for California's Task Force on Jobs, Infrastructure and the Workforce, and was an advisor on the Lt. Governor's report, An Economic Growth & Competitiveness Agenda for California. She also currently serves as an advisor to the Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology.
In 2011 she retired as president and chief executive officer of the San Diego Regional Economic Development Corporation,the premier business-development organization for the greater San Diego region, involved in marketing, public policy, and direct assistance to companies.
Prior to EDC, Ms. Wright served as California's first Secretary of Trade and Commerce and a member of Governor Pete Wilson's Cabinet from 1991 to 1997. She led the Administration's wide-ranging business climate reforms and built a new Agency that expanded the state's international role and presence, opening five new overseas offices. Prior to her time in Sacramento and San Diego, she spent 25 years in executive marketing and public affairs positions in the private sector, including 14 years with TRW Inc., now a part of Northrop-Grumman.
In 2004, EDC received the Global Innovator award from CoreNet Global, the world's premier association for corporate real estate and related professionals. In 2003, the U.S. Department of Commerce awarded EDC its Excellence in Economic Development Award for "Enhancing Regional Competitiveness."
From 2004 to 2006 Ms. Wright served on the Secretary of Energy Advisory Board Task Force on Math-Science Education. In 2003, Ms. Wright served on gubernatorial candidate Arnold Schwarzenegger's Economic Recovery Council.
Ms. Wright was named Director of the Year for Not-for-Profit Boards and Director of the Year for Companies in Transition by the Corporate Directors Forum. In 2004, Ms. Wright was named one of the "Women Who Move the City" by San Diego Magazine. In 2002, she received the "Women of Distinction" award from Soroptimist International. In 2001, she received Junior Achievement's San Diego Hall of Fame Lifetime Laureate Award and the San Diego Business Journal's Women Who Mean Business Award. In 1998, she was one of San Diego Magazine's "50 People to Watch." Wright was named California Leader of the Year by Leadership California in 1996 and the nation's Outstanding Secretary of Commerce by the Biotechnology Industry Organization in 1995.
Ms. Wright holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Criminology from the University of Maryland. She has completed the Stanford University Advanced Management College, the Stanford Financial Seminar, and a special program on competitiveness at Harvard University.
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SectorsThematic Areas
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Government: Local, State, Federal, Territorial or Tribal
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Metro Data Science
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Academia
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Natural Resource Management & Hazards
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Industry: Small Business
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Precision Medicine
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Industry: Large Company
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Data-Enabled Scientific Discovery & Learning
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Nonprofit
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Big Data Technologies
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Funding: Venture Capital or Philanthropy/Foundations
Sectors
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Government: Local, State, Federal, Territorial or Tribal
A
Academia
SB
Industry: Small Business
LC
Industry: Large Company
N
Nonprofit
F
Funding: Venture Capital or Philanthropy/Foundations
Thematic Areas
M
Metro Data Science
NR
Natural Resource Management & Hazards
PM
Precision Medicine
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Data-Enabled Scientific Discovery & Learning
T
Big Data Technologies