CSUSB Dean Holds Talk at Pfau Library on April 16 on Big Data

By Staff Reports

(Victor Valley)– Sastry G. Pantula, dean of the College of Natural Sciences at Cal State San Bernardino, will host a talk focusing on Big Data – massive volumes of both structured and unstructured data that is so large it is difficult to process using traditional database and software techniques.

“Big Data and Big Promises” is scheduled for April 16, from noon-1 p.m. in the John M. Pfau Library multimedia center, PL 5005. The program is free and open to the public. Parking on campus is $6.

Pantula, nationally and internationally recognized as a leader in statistical sciences, will survey some of the applications and important issues in making use of “Big Data.”

“Big Data are omnipresent and are finding applications in science, education, business, security, and healthcare, among others,” Pantula said.  “Converting data to useful knowledge and information requires a team effort from mathematicians, statisticians, computer scientists and domain experts. Equally significant, it also provides career opportunities for our students.”

Big data is changing the way in which key industries operate, leading to new levels of efficiency and progress. In the health care field, for example, big data is enhancing patient care by helping to diagnose diseases in their earliest stages, when treatment is usually most effective – and often less costly.

“In addition to improving health care, big data is also helping to advance institutions of higher education,” said Cesar Caballero, dean of the John M. Pfau Library, which is a sponsor of the talk.  “Focused assessments of programmatic impact, made possible by data analytics, benefit all aspects of planning, budgeting and resource allocation, helping universities manage more effectively. Given today’s budgetary realities, data-driven decision making is critical.”

While big data has broad-ranging potential for improving humanity’s condition, concerns exist about privacy and the security of large amounts of data, such as personal medical records – one the most sensitive types of information collected. To protect privacy and secure information, experts caution, robust safeguards must be built into data-storing systems.

“Dean Pantula’s scheduled talk on big data is important and also quite timely,” said Caballero.  “We are delighted to sponsor the program and encourage students, staff and faculty to participate in the discussion.”

Most recently, Pantula served as director of data analytics programs at Oregon State University (OSU). He also served as dean of the College of Science at OSU from August 2013 to August 2017, after a three-year term as director for the Division of Mathematical Sciences at the National Science Foundation. Pantula spent more than 30 years as a statistics professor at North Carolina State University (NCSU), where he began his academic career in 1982. At NCSU, he also served as director of graduate programs (1994-2002) and head of the department of statistics (2002-2010).

He is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the American Statistical Association (ASA). He served as ASA president in 2010 and received the ASA Founders Award in 2014. Pantula is a member of the honor societies Phi Kappa Phi, Sigma Xi, and Mu Sigma Rho. He is also a member of the NCSU Academy of Outstanding Teachers.

Pantula received both bachelor’s and master’s degrees in statistics from the Indian Statistical Institute in Kolkata, India, and a Ph.D. in statistics from Iowa State University.

For more information, contact Robie Madrigal of the Pfau Library, at rmadriga@csusb.edu or (909) 537-5104.

For more information on Cal State San Bernardino, contact the university’s Office of Strategic Communication at (909) 537-5007 and visit inside.csusb.edu.

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