David Knowles, Director of Economic Development and Engagement at the University of North Carolina at Chapell Hill, announced on May 10th that Aziz Eram, a student in the University of Arkansas at Little Rock (UALR) Master of Science in Information Quality program, has been awarded an internship though the Southern Startup Internship Program in Data Science known as “DataStart.” The DataStart program was created as way to provide graduate students from the 16 states that comprise the South Big Data Regional Innovation Hub (South BD Hub) the opportunity to work with data-related startup companies on data-intensive business challenges important to the company. Eram’s startup sponsor is Black Oak Analytics, Inc, in Little Rock, Arkansas. Black Oak was incubated out of the UALR Information Quality Graduate Program and specializes in high-performance, Big Data integration solutions. Students in the DataStart program are paid for their work through a grant to the startup company. The complete list of DataStart interns and their sponsoring companies can be found here.
During her summer internship, Eram will develop and test a more general approach to the problem resolving entity references in free-text format. In particular, she will design and test a set similarity functions for comparing multi-token, unstructured identity attribute values. The goal is to design the similarity functions in way that allows them to be configured for different application domains such as customer relationship management, healthcare, and education. The experimental platform for this project is a system called HiPER (High-Performance Entity Resolution). The HiPER system was developed at Black Oak and runs on the Hadoop map/reduce distributed processing platform for processing very-large datasets. While HiPER supports many use cases within the identity management and data integration arena, it is also uniquely suited to be an analytical tool for addressing the free-text reference problem. Her Black Oak advisor is Steve Sample, Director of Analytics, and her UALR faculty advisor is Dr. John R. Talburt, Coordinator of the Information Quality Graduate Program. Dr. Carolina Cruz-Neira, Director of the UALR Emerging Analytics Center, serves on the Steering Committee for the South Big Data Regional Innovation Hub.