The National Science Foundation has awarded a $4 million grant to UNC Charlotte researchers to develop a multidisciplinary research program called Virtual Information Fabric Infrastructure (VIFI) that will create new ways to manage, use and share Big Data and analytic results
Ashit Talukder, director of the Charlotte Data Visualization Center and the Bank of America Endowed Chair in Information Technology in the College of Computing and Informatics, is the principal investigator for the grant. The award was made under the NSF-CISE/ACI-Data Infrastructure Building Blocks (DIBBS) solicitation.
“Under this large-scale research program, a novel Virtual Information Fabric Infrastructure (VIFI) will be created, allowing scientists to search, access, manipulate and evaluate fragmented, distributed data in the information 'fabric' (the infrastructure to facilitate data sharing) without directly accessing or moving large amounts of data,” said Talukder.
“The research addresses the challenges of coordinating loosely federated infrastructure and proposes novel solutions for distributed large-scale data analytics; distributed machine learning and artificial intelligence; search and retrieval; distributed data management; and security and privacy,” he said.
Talukder, who has vast experience in a number of areas spanning computer science and electrical engineering, both foundational and applied in several domains, has a track record of leading new research programs and large research teams.
This $4 million NSF grant will involve a large-scale consortium that will include other UNC Charlotte researchers, the Charlotte Data Visualization Center and other leading academic institutions and research labs. The additional College of Computing and Informatics faculty who are part of the grant include Ehab Al-Shaer, Mirsad Hadzikadic, Wenwen Dou, William Tolone, Wlodek Zadrozny and Yongge Wang.
The research will be conducted during the next four years. UNC Charlotte is the lead institution on the grant; it will involve collaborators from the California Institute of Technology, Louisiana State University & Agricultural and Mechanical College, the University of North Texas, the Jet Propulsion Laboratory/NASA, DOE Berkeley National Labs, Carnegie Mellon University and Florida State University.
Robert Wilhelm, vice chancellor for research and economic development at UNC Charlotte, said, “This project builds on foundational work that UNC Charlotte and the state of North Carolina have supported through the Data Science Initiative. In addition, the work will leverage UNC Charlotte’s long-standing expertise in visual analytics, data visualization and human-computer interface design capabilities.”