Springtime Black Oak Update

As summer approaches, we have a lot of things brewing here at Black Oak. We have been chosen by the South Big Data Regional Innovation Hub (sponsored by the National Science Foundation) as a host company for their Southern Startup Internship Program in Data Science. “The program is designed to facilitate connections between graduate students in data science related fields and entrepreneurial firms in the South, helping to strengthen academic-industrial connections and enhancing the entrepreneurial culture in the South.” Programs like these help bridge the gap between academic study and practical industry application.

Aziz Eram

One of our new research assistants Aziz Eram has been chosen to be the recipient of the internship. Eram, sponsored by Black Oak’s CDO Dr. John R. Talburt and supervised by Director of Analytics Steve Sample, will be doing research and development on one of Black Oak’s HiPER Entity Resolution offerings this summer.

Many companies have data that exists in free text fields such as merchant or transaction descriptions on credit card statements, retail inventory details, medical and pharmacy records for patients and third-party compiled data from public records.  The lack of data conformity and structure within these fields renders it difficult to leverage, if not completely useless. Eram will be working on a research project using Black Oak’s HiPER system to improve data quality in large sets of unstructured merchant data. Her research will be an excellent example of how we use HiPER to create matches in Big Data sets without the use of PII, which is typically required of customer data management software. Eram will be working, along with the Black Oak’s HiPER R&D Team, to link unstructured data using a variety of primary and secondary entity attributes. Projects like this one are important for exploring the best practices of entity resolution and for the continued next generation development of HiPER as a data quality tool for Big Data.

At the end of the summer, Eram, Dr. Talburt and Sample will be attending a workshop to present their findings with the other host companies, recipients, as well as members of the BD South Hub, the National Science Foundation, and the Computing Community Consortium.

New Team Members

In addition to our new relationship with the BD South Hub and the exciting future work of Eram, we would also like to welcome another new research assistant Annu Kumari, our new Principal Architect Warren Smith and our new Database Administrator Jeff Gunnell. Annu has joined the team as a developer for HiPER. Warren is working to design and implement new process flows, interfaces, and other solutions to bolster our entity resolution offerings. Jeff has quickly become an integral part of our technical team, leading the development and support of our client database solutions.

Ramya Babbepali

Ramya Babbepali, one of our software developers who joined the team full time in December, was sponsored last year by Dr. Talburt and Director of Product Development Robert Nosari to receive the Jesse Mason & Gail Reede Jones M.D. Endowed Scholarship for the 2015-2016 school year. She  graduated with her Master of Science degree in Information Quality in December and was honored this month with awards for the “Outstanding Master’s Student in the Information Quality Program”, “Outstanding Academic Achievement in the Information Quality Graduate Program”, and “Outstanding Volunteer Service to the Information Quality Graduate Program”.

While she was a research assistant, Black Oak set Ramya to perform exciting research and development with customer journeys and unstructured data in social media. Her work highlighted the ability to provide interactive customer experiences to consumers. Currently, Ramya is working on HiPER development team and has been doing exciting work with optimization and the Graphical User Interface development with Warren.

Shahnawaz Kapadia

While we are excited about the new additions to our staff, occasionally we must bid farewell to our research assistants as they graduate and move on to bigger and better things. Shahnawaz Kapadia, who has been a working at Black Oak for over a year, graduated with his Master of Science degree in Information Quality.

For his graduate work, Black Oak tasked Shahnawaz to develop new functionality for the HiPER Testing Framework to test assertion capabilities with different types of Big Data sets. The unique persistent identifiers created by HiPER that enable customized data quality also create some challenges in regression testing of the HiPER software. Shahnawaz’s research and design has been instrumental in stress testing the assertion functionality of HiPER. We wish Shahnawaz the best as he pursues a career in data quality in the Big Data industry.

Our team continues to do amazing work in the fields of Information Quality, Entity Resolution and beyond. We are proud of our recent graduates and honored to welcome Warren and Jeff to the Black Oak family.

As the summer gets underway, we will be continuing to work on research and development with HiPER while Dr. Talburt represents Black Oak first in Spain (ICIQ), then in San Diego (DGIQ), finally in Boston (MITCDOIQ). We’re still waiting to hear about the first annual lunar Data Quality conference, we know Dr. Talburt will be there.

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