CECS department professors share projects, research at “Brown Bag” seminars

Associate professor of computer science George Wang presented information on the trends and technology associated with Big Data. The College of Engineering and Computer Science started the Brown Bag series in the Fall. Colleagues were encouraged to bring their lunch and listen and discuss their current research and projects.  Photo credit: Ana Rodriguez / Daily Sundial
Associate professor of computer science George Wang presented information on the trends and technology associated with Big Data. The College of Engineering and Computer Science started the Brown Bag series in the Fall. Colleagues were encouraged to bring their lunch and listen and discuss their current research and projects. Photo credit: Ana Rodriguez / Daily Sundial

A small conference room on Jacaranda Hall’s ground floor has been dedicated to the College of Engineering and Computer Science (CECS) Brown Bag Research Seminars since 2012.

The “Brown Bag Series,” as the seminar is regularly called, is an informal conference hosted and maintained through the CECS and its faculty. The series is geared toward generating interest about projects envisioned by faculty members. The seminars, which take place at least once a month, are also a forum for analyzing topic material through collaboration among colleagues.

“The idea behind the seminar is to explain to people the significance of the work we do but, more importantly, for students to be able to look at these topics as a way of framing their own careers and their lives,” said the Dean of the College of Engineering and Computer Science S.K. Ramesh.

Tuesday afternoon, Associate Professor of Computer Science George (Taehyung) Wang, readied his presentation, “Big Data– Trends and Technologies”— the final presentation of this semester’s Brown Bag series.

“Big data is a top-tier (information system) complex, such as Facebook, Google, Yahoo! and LinkedIn,” said Wang. “It is comprised of  data sets whose size is beyond the ability of typical database software tools to capture, store, manage and analyze.”

Facebook, for example, currently stores more than 100 petabytes of data– the approximate equivalent storage capability of 100,000 MacBooks.

Wang’s seminar focused on the demand and, more importantly, the impact big data plays in capital-based economics and education.

“Different fields have benefited from the study of big data. Several studies have already highlighted the benefits that big data could bring to the field,” Wang said. “The studies presented in this review exemplify where big data is utilized to improve the quality of existing systems, develop new retail strategies, and develop new systems to improve healthcare service.”

Wang believes that as technology advances over time, so will the parameters that define big data. In other words, the datasets and information systems we use today will likely become obsolete as the the digital landscape of technology evolves.

Although the Brown Bag series has concluded for the year, Ramesh said that they will resume in the weeks following the start of the Spring 2014 term.

Over the past seven years, Ramesh has been gradually expanding the presence of the five departments within the CECS and has started hiring new, subject-specialized faculty members.

In 2011, the Department of Education and Hispanic-Serving Institutions Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (HSI-STEM), awarded Ramesh and the CECS a five-year $5.5 million grant to put toward increasing the rate of minority enrollment into the engineering fields.

“Ultimately, the idea is to provide a forum for our faculty and perhaps even our graduate students to be able to share the work that they do,” said Ramesh.

The seminars are open to all faculty and students and a schedule of future speakers can be viewed at www.csun.edu/ecs.