College of Computing and Software Engineering receives first endowment for scholarships

MARIETTA, Ga. | Mar 6, 2017

Partnership with LexisNexis® serves students, addresses talent gap in technology

Computing Endowment
The College of Computing and Software Engineering has received the first endowment for scholarships.

A flourishing three-year relationship with a global industry leader has spawned another opportunity for Kennesaw State students. A $30,000 gift from LexisNexis® Risk Solutions to the College of Computing and Software Engineering – the first endowment for the College – will soon provide scholarships for students.

“The LexisNexis Risk Solutions HPCC Systems® Scholarship will empower students by providing financial support to help students focus on their studies and complete their education at Kennesaw State University,” said Interim College Dean Jon Preston. “This scholarship recognizes excellence in academic achievement, and as the first endowed scholarship within the College of Computing and Software Engineering (CCSE), it establishes a lasting legacy that will benefit students for years to come.”

This gift exemplifies the financial and professional contributions LexisNexis Risk Solutions has made to support the University. This mutually beneficial partnership has attracted a larger talent pool for LexisNexis, fostered groundbreaking opportunities in big data analytics research, and forged an educational collaboration to advance the field of computer science, data analytics and information technology.

“As part of our corporate responsibility program, we are committed to giving back to our communities and this endowment is a tangible way to make this commitment a reality,” said Flavio Villanustre, LexisNexis Risk Solutions VP Technology and Information Security. “We believe an effective way to address the current talent gap in technology and data analytics is to help develop the talent pool throughout the academic years of these professionals. This endowment is a good way to help alleviate the financial burden on great students who otherwise could be dissuaded or distracted from their main goals of becoming the best in their fields.”

In addition to the scholarship endowment, LexisNexis Risk Solutions has leveraged knowledge and expertise from Kennesaw State’s academic researchers, which is driving basic and applied research toward industry needs and goals, and offers a new perspective from industry to help transform research into innovation, Villanustre said.

HPCC Systems, a homegrown, open-sourced solution of LexisNexis Risk Solutions, is a massive parallel-processing computing platform that solves big data problems and allows its customers to quickly analyze billions of records. Researchers at Kennesaw State are working to produce a series of publications and demonstrations about the performance of this open-source system in big data analytics and highlight its benefits.

Ying Xie, Professor of Information Technology, conducts LexisNexis-sponsored research on deep learning, a branch of machine learning based on algorithms inspired by the structure and function of the brain called artificial neural networks, within the HPCC Systems platform. Xie’s research earned a first-place award at the LexisNexis HPCC Systems Community Day Summit in 2016.

Students also benefit from learning and working with an open-source platform by giving them hands-on experience in solving real business problems.

“When we first went open source, I said we’ll know we have hit the tipping point when we partner with schools that have adopted and embedded HPCC Systems and ECL into their curriculum,” said Trish McCall, a KSU alum and Director, HPCC Systems Programs, LexisNexis. “I’m excited to see us hit this milestone with KSU, and even more so with my alma mater.”

Kennesaw State recently launched the LexisNexis High Performance Computing Certificate program, an online program that involves LexisNexis’ big data and analytics technologies. The certification program serves non-degree seeking industry professionals and practitioners as well as graduate-level students who are interested in developing expertise in High Performance Computing clusters and big data analytics using proprietary technologies.

“Our students also benefit from research opportunities in a hot area of computing, sponsored by and using LexisNexis HPCC Systems (High Performance Computing Cluster) technologies,” said Ken Hoganson, Professor of Computer Science and Information Systems at KSU.

Each semester, undergraduate and graduate students showcase their research in these fields. The College of Computing and Software Engineering presents C-Day, short for Computing Day, to spotlight graduating students who have developed some of the most innovative applied research projects in computer science, information technology, software engineering and computer game development and design. LexisNexis officials have served as industry judges since C-Day inception in 2016.

In addition, R Day, a mini-conference hosted by the Department of Statistics and Analytical Sciences, offers a glimpse of statistics students’ work in R, the popular open-source statistical software used by many organizations around the world. HPCC Systems, a branch of LexisNexis Risk Solutions, has sponsored the annual event, which links businesses and organizations that use analytics and statistics with Kennesaw State and offers students a chance to network with industry leaders.

In 2015, LexisNexis Risk Solutions provided its first gift to the College of Computing and Software Engineering, which established the HPCC Systems Open Lab, a collaborative space for computing students to work in groups.

While the College and the University have enjoyed the generous contributions from LexisNexis Risk Solutions, the company is also eager to identify and attract new talent from Kennesaw State for internships, contract positions and full-time employment. Each semester, LexisNexis sponsors and participates in the University’s career fairs, where they seek high-caliber students to join their company and develop lifelong careers.

“Through our collaboration with KSU, we have seen many success stories with research projects and classroom initiatives and are fortunate to now count many KSU alumni among our employees,” Villanustre said.

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