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Data, decision sciences key ingredients for Virginia Tech to solve global problems

May 2, 2016

Destination area meeting

Faculty discuss
Faculty members discussed how Virginia Tech can make a mark in Data and Decision Sciences during a destination area meeting at the Graduate Life Center.

Virginia Tech is the sensor to the health and well-being of the world, and data is the key.

That was one of the messages shared during Monday’s Data and Decision Sciences destination area meeting at the Graduate Life Center.

“We want to figure out how we actually go from atoms and molecules to policy, how do we liberate all sorts of data across all of these scales moving from basic science all the way to evidence-based policy domain,” said Sallie Keller, director of the Biocomplexity Institute's Social and Decision Analytics Laboratory, who was speaking from the National Capital Region with about 100 faculty members at the Graduate Life Center in Blacksburg on Monday.  

“In context of the world today, every person who joins this Earth needs food, shelter, clean water, and health care, and they need to feel secure and they need education," Keller said. "This particular Destination Area is driving toward how we improve the human condition to make life better.”

Data is the key ingredient.

Virginia Tech has strong relationships with people, communities, and agencies willing to provide access to data. It also has strong computational platforms and models to make sense of vast amounts of information being collected at all levels. Footprints in the National Capital Region and Blacksburg to integrate urban and rural communities further position Virginia Tech in the data landscape.

“We think the university in this destination area can become the sensor to health and well-being in the world,” Keller said.

Along with participants in the National Capital Region, faculty members were asked to think about additional facets of data and decision sciences to add substance to the destination area. After that, the discussion went to faculty round tables for new ideas and different perspectives.

The next destination area meeting, Integrated Security, is set for 1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. Tuesday, May 10 (Connect via WebEX when the meeting starts).

Faculty members in the National Capital Region have options to participate in the round tables via WebEX. Remote locations are set up in Room 103 in the Northern Virginia Center in Falls Church, the Foggy Bottom Room in the Virginia Tech Research Center-Arlington; and Potomac Room 310 at 1021 Prince St., Alexandria. Faculty in Blacksburg who want to take part in the table discussions have the opportunity to do so at the meeting in the Graduate Life Center.

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