Agriculture, manufacturing, and services were the basis for economies in earlier generations. However, we have moved into what is called the “knowledge economy”. Starting in 2007 when I moved here, I saw an opportunity to work with my Computer Science colleagues to develop a world class organization covering a number of fields, such as semantic, social, and sensor webs, knowledge representation, advanced databases and data mining, information retrieval, NLP and machine learning, bioinformatics, cloud computing, and visualization. We have grown to what may be, in fact, the largest academic group in the US in Semantic Web- a key component of Web 3.0.
When the Ohio Board of Regents declared a statewide competition for Ohio Centers of Excellence, we decided to pursue a very multidisciplinary approach with faculty from four colleges – especially involving researchers from biomedical and clinical research, and cognitive sciences. We wanted to focus on solving complex and real world problems rather than just focus on training our students and researchers in a single technical area of say machine learning or databases. We were indeed selected as one of the Ohio Centers of Excellence in BioHealth innovation effective January 2010. We have also become one of the strongest, if not the strongest, academic research centers in Big Data and Data Sciences in the state.
Today, we do very exciting multidisciplinary projects such as using sensors and smartphones for predicting and managing asthma, analyzing social media for prescription drug abuse surveillance and epidemiology, social media based coordination during major crises and emergencies such as Hurricane Sandy or Typhoon Yolanda, analyzing CTA images for diffuse coronary artery detection, analyzing clinical notes to predict health outcomes, and developing semantic solutions to meet the objectives of the President’s Materials Genome Initiative.
What makes Kno.e.sis successful is its very unique, what many visitors have described as our entrepreneurial, eco-system. Our driving education philosophy is to learn how to learn. The most important measure of success is undoubtedly the exceptional outcome of our students and postdocs. They have successfully competed against others from top 20 universities when they received offers for Tenure Track faculty at Case Western or the University of Kentucky, or at IBM Research Watson or Almaden where 4 of my recent PhDs chose to go. In recent years, we have also seen our graduates getting the very best offers their employers have ever given out, such as $120K first year compensation for MS students who joined EMC, CISCO, or Bloomberg. Of course it helps that our faculty members are world class and well funded by NIH, NSF, AFRL, AFOSR, and industry partners. We have truly a world class computing infrastructure with a new resource consisting of 816 CPU cores, a raw disk capacity of 425TB, and 17TB of main memory. Now that we rank among the top 10 in the world in 5-yr publication impact in World Wide Web, top international applicants want to come here. The excitement of working on big real-world problems with real-world data leading to a real-world impact is something you have to experience. Last, but not least, we are proud of our local industry collaborations, regional economic impact, successful technology transfers and commercializations.