Big Data Day in LA

It’s the Festival of Books for the Big Data crowd, with more than 78 speakers and companies converging at USC on Saturday, Aug. 5. Hosted by USC Marshall’s MS in Business Analytics Program.

August 02, 2017
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Call it the Coachella of data.

On Saturday, Aug. 5, USC Marshall’s graduate Business Analytics Program will play host to the fifth annual Big Data Day LA, bringing together thousands of data scientists, data engineers, business analytics pros, and assorted data geeks—and the companies that employ them…or want to—to USC’s University Park Campus.

“I like to call it a data festival, because it brings together enthusiasts of all kinds,” said Abbass Sharif, assistant professor of clinical data sciences and operations and the director of USC Marshall’s top-ranked 15-month master’s degree program in business analytics. “We are excited to host this conference for the first time and bring the data community to campus to learn about what we have here and to meet our talented students.”

The free event will feature more than 78 speakers and representatives from hundreds of companies. Concurrent lecture sessions span topics including artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning, the Internet of Things (IOT) and Big Data—something for everyone. Especially if you’re into data.

“I like to call it a data festival, because it brings together enthusiasts of all kinds." --Abbass Sharif, assistant professor of clinical data sciences and operations and director, MS in Business Analytics program

Initial Data

Big Data Day LA was first held in 2013, spearheaded by USC Viterbi alumnus Subash D’Souza, who is currently a data scientist at Warner Brothers. Just about 250 people attended that first conference.

Saturday’s event, alas, is at capacity already, with 3,500 people registered. But Sharif recommends signing up anyway to join the waiting list.

“It’s just like the Festival of Books, which is also held here on campus,” he said. “There are parallel sessions happening all day long and the waiting list may likely open up.”

Sharif, who is a keynote speaker, says that while he is excited to bring so many in the data community to campus, he’s particularly excited for his students.

“All of these companies that are coming to participate, they will be meeting our students, and then hiring our students,” he said. “This will help raise USC Marshall’s profile within the data community.”

Data for Business

USC Marshall’s 15-month master’s degree in business analytics was introduced in 2014 and has since grown more than 200 percent--from 31 students to 100 in the incoming class. (212 percent, to be precise, according to Sharif).

The incoming class of 2017 is also the most diverse, hailing from more than 13 countries, including the United States, Brazil, Syria, Iran, Turkey, China and India. Many already hold advance degrees.

More than 60 percent of the class, he added, are women.

“Word has gotten out about our outstanding business analytics program,” said Sharif. “Data skills will lead to opportunity in any field on any continent.”