Middle Tennessee State University Launches Data Science Institute

Middle Tennessee State University launched an institute focused on interdisciplinary research and public-private collaborations using big data. The Data Science Institute, currently led by Charlie Apigian, a professor of information systems and analytics in MTSU’s Jones College of Business, will aim to connect faculty and students doing interdisciplinary research with grants and funding while also establishing partnerships and projects with companies and other entities beyond MTSU.

“Every new faculty member that comes to MTSU wants to work on big data. Students are coming here saying they want to be in analytics and into big data,” Apigian said. “We now have that exposure to be able to say, not only can you come here and get an education in this, but we have real-world projects. You’re starting to see things like artificial intelligence, machine learning, becoming more of a mainstay, and it’s not one [academic] department where that lives. It’s not computer science, it’s not math, it’s all disciplines here at MTSU, which is why we felt that creating an institute that goes across all departments, all colleges, is a good idea.”

The new institute’s initial projects include an autonomous vehicles project that will study self-driving cars as well as drone technology and a “Big Data Initiative” which will aim to bring together data sources from different entities to have as a resource. Apigian aims to use machine learning, artificial intelligence, and other big data initiatives primarily to questions facing the healthcare, finance and music sectors.

“The Data Science Institute is the next step in the robust research capacity at Middle Tennessee State University,” said David Butler, vice provost for research and dean of the College of Graduate Studies. “Under Dr. Apigian’s leadership, the institute will produce knowledge and information benefiting stakeholders while yielding positive effects to the economy of Middle Tennessee, the state of Tennessee and the Southeast.”