This Week in LIS - 22 November 2013

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Headline of the Week: Enablers, Catalysts and Conditions

A number of interactions have occurred in the last weeks whose topics were of a mutually reinforcing and exciting nature.

They culminated in a “what if…” conversation with a cross disciplinary team of faculty sharing perspectives and ideas on teaching and learning about big data and analytics. There were contributors from Computer Science, Mathematics, Communications, Economics, Physics, Biology and English. What role, if any, were big data and analytics playing in the various disciplines?  What opportunity did that represent for students and faculty? What assets, skills and interests existed to seize the opportunity?

The ubiquity of networks and the commoditization of computing have enabled things to be self-identifying, instrumented and generators of information about them and their operation.  This is the idea of the Internet of Things.   IBM has wrapped up this idea in a marketing campaign and set of services offerings called “Smarter Planet.”  More recently, with the commercialization of IBM’s Watson technology is has been using the term “Cognitive Computing”, to talk about some new approaches to analytics of data and, in particular, non-coded textual data. The promise is that machine and system generated information can be organized and analyzed leading to insights that improve design, quality, cost, performance and generate new opportunities.

One of my last and very satisfying assignments at IBM was contributing to a team that put together “Smarter Planet Education.”  The idea was that recognizing change within the IT industry, IBM as a firm and IBM Rochester site demographics training was in order for traditional lab people to augment their skills so they were ready to contribute to Smarter Planet solutions, as that program led to more and more service and solution engagements with customers.

Just this morning I came across what GE refers to as the Industrial Internet. It is their application of the concept. This whitepaper lays out their thinking. They talk of an Internet Revolution, which followed the Industrial Revolution, which has led us to the Industrial Internet. They have a special focus on the instrumentation of very expensive and important machines that spin such as the gantries associated with medical scanning, wind turbines, steam turbines, compressors, and jet engines.

The paper goes on to talk about the skills and talent that will be required to contribute to such solutions. One can imagine there will be issues that transcend the domain and the analytics tools as well including consideration for security, safety and privacy.  

It is extremely exciting to think about how our students might be prepared to engage in this growing work opportunity.  The march of technology has enabled these “Smarter Planet”/“Industrial Internet”/BigData solutions. How might we play the catalytic role so that conditions are right for our students and faculty to bring their creativity and imaginations and thoughtfulness to this new work?

Suggested Reading/Viewing/Listening:

Internet of Things

Smarter Planet

Networking Possibilities…

The Industrial [email protected]


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LIS Blog Highlights from the Week

The following articles are sampled from those available on the LIS Blog:

Notes from LIS Council

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Upcoming LIS Events   

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November 2013

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This Week in LIS is published most Fridays by Paul Mattson, Executive Director of LIS at Luther College in Decorah, Iowa.

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