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Data Boundaries

Friday, June 15, 2018

Data Science

The Krannert School of Management’s Business Information and Analytics Center (BIAC) recently hosted the inaugural Data Science for Business and Economics Conference. The May event, which was sponsored by Accenture and attracted nearly 100 attendees, featured scholars from numerous academic areas.

“The objective of this conference was to feature speakers not only from business and economics, but also from statistics, computer science, engineering and other areas as they explored the use of data science to solve real-world problems,” says Prabuddha De, Purdue’s Accenture Professor of Information Technology and BIAC board chair. “We encouraged talks that pushed the frontier of our understanding and helped tame the complexity of data analyses for business decision-making through theoretical and empirical studies or foundational discoveries.”

Keynote speakers included David Bell, the Xinmei Zhang and Yongge Dai Professor of Marketing at the University of Pennsylvania; Ramayya Krishnan, the W.W. Cooper and Ruth F. Cooper Professor of Management Science and Information Systems at Carnegie Mellon University; Cristopher Moore, professor at the Santa Fe Institute and fellow of the American Physical Society, American Mathematical Society and American Association for the Advancement of Science; and Rakesh Vohra, the George A. Weiss and Lydia Bravo Weiss University Professor with appointments in economics, electrical and systems engineering and computer and information science at the University of Pennsylvania.

Among the attendees was Kingshuk Sinha, a senior professor at the University of Minnesota’s Carlson School of Management, who described the two-day event as “the most intellectually invigorating, engaging and inclusive conference on data science that I have attended in recent years.”

Several key figures representing Purdue’s recently launched Integrated Data Science Initiative (IDSI) also spoke at the conference, including Sunil Prabhakar, director of IDSI and head of the University’s computer science department. The initiative is focused on applying data science research to pressing fundamental and socially-relevant issues while establishing an educational ecosystem of data fluency to prepare students for the rapidly expanding future of a data-driven, knowledge economy.

“Purdue has all the right people and experience to impact this emerging field,” Prabhakar said. “Faculty and staff are excited and passionate about preparing our students and equipping our researchers with the tools they need to be successful in this pervasive and inclusive field. It’s exciting to spearhead a project that has the potential through research and education to touch the lives of so many students while having a direct economic impact.”

By 2020, an estimated 2.72 million new U.S. job postings will seek workers with skills in data science and analytics according to a report by the Business-Higher Education Forum, a nonprofit membership group of Fortune 500 CEOs and college leaders, and PwC, a large consulting and auditing company.

“Data science is applicable to every major and each student attending Purdue,” Prabhakar said. “We intend on fulfilling the expectation that all of our graduates are ably prepared with the analytical skills they will need in the data job market, and the Krannert School is firmly aligned with that mission.”

For more information on Krannert’s Business Information and Analytics Center (BIAC), visit To learn more about Purdue’s Integrated Data Science Initiative (IDSI), visit