The Halıcıoğlu Data Science Institute (HDSI) at the University of California San Diego is at the vanguard of developing data science talent for the tech industry and sharing the classroom with original equipment manufacturers (OEM) and independent software vendor (ISV) leaders.
HDSI students and Intel staff members, along with Associate Professor and Data Science Fellow Bradley Voytek, Ph.D., started collaborating on a rich dataset provided by Intel.
“The main goal was to bring a rich data set into the academic domain - safely and securely - and work with faculty and students to gain new insights, as well as provide a new generation of Data Science talent with the domain expertise that can benefit Intel and the computing industry,” says Bijan Arbab, director of system telemetry at Intel.
What came next has the potential to alter the delivery of higher education, talent acquisition, and the safe sharing of data and ideas benefiting the technology ecosystem.
The Beginning of Something Big
Last January, HDSI signed a data sharing agreement with Intel, starting a partnership supporting three students working under Associate Professor Voytek, with direct mentorship by six Intel staff members. This evolving partnership has now expanded to six HDSI faculty and nine students engaged across seven projects in collaboration with 11 Intel staff members.
“Data Science is always changing,” says Voytek. “New technologies, new methods, algorithms and bigger data—by the time our first-year Data Science undergraduates graduate from UC San Diego, half of the data science tech stack will have changed. A lot of this change is being spurred on by industry leaders, such as Intel. Our partnerships with companies, like Intel, help us stay on top of new developments,” he said.
At the very least, this partnership offers an opportunity for Intel to acquire new methodologies and for HDSI to help students with applied, technical understanding and experience.
What everyone gained is so much more.
By Summer 2020, the students were performing above par, and it became clear that what they were doing could result in not only whitepapers, possibly even be publishable, but also implications that can and will affect the OEM ecosystem. The paper abstracts and the news of the collaboration generated interest with Intel leadership and across the organization. Students soon got a chance to present their progress to a broader Intel audience.
These projects provide UC San Diego’s undergraduate students with exposure to high-level problem-solving and real-world applications often reserved for graduate interns and doctoral students working with senior industry professionals. The following topics were presented:
- Using millions of PC CPU temperature sensors as predictors of ambient temps around the world.
- CPU trend analysis in computer usage and performance experiences.
- Variation on cooling capabilities across OEMs and correlations to system price.
The students leveraged outside datasets, such as NOAA temperature data and computer retail prices. This eventually resulted in a unique collaboration between academia and industry in the rapidly evolving field of data science challenging existing norms.
Because data science is an applied science where existing scientific knowledge is used to develop more practical applications, this type of partnership is necessary at the undergraduate collegiate level to support professional development and related activities for the field’s future leaders.
Voytek explains that his motivation was focused on his students. “It was to give room to our clever undergraduate Data Science students to influence the field. Data science is so multidisciplinary and fast moving sometimes the best thing we can do is help direct the energy and cleverness of our students, pointing them in the right direction and see how far they go,” he explained.
Looking Past the Computer Screen: A Balance Between Hard and Soft Skills
One of the challenges associated with highly technical fields is gaining experience translating highly complicated and technical data into tangible, digestible information for use by company leaders for making important decisions.
It can be a challenge to support the development of soft skills, emotional intelligence and analysis translation within the context of big data sets. But that’s exactly what UC San Diego’s partnership with Intel is fostering for the students participating in these projects. The students have access to data and interactions with senior level leaders who will rely on HDSI student recommendations.
The senior leadership team at Intel is mentoring students through project-based teamwork experiences, holding weekly and sometimes daily interactions with Intel subject matter experts and HDSI faculty.
The ability to collaborate and communicate their work and progress is critical for success. Data Science students are able to practice and refine their communication and analysis-translation skills through quarterly progress reports, presentations and faculty-reviewed research directly with Intel management. This provides students with professional interactions and exposure to technology and business fields they may not otherwise have interacted with, such as human resources, product marketing and operations.
The impact of this agreement between Intel and UC San Diego indeed goes well beyond talent acquisition. Students are getting hands-on experience from Intel and domain expertise in the computer industry. Likewise, Intel is getting to know the HDSI students and faculty, opening the door to sponsored research and more defined deliverables.
The invaluable experience that HDSI students gain from the Intel partnership gives them a head start in the computer industry—putting them further ahead of many of their peers. Intel, on the other hand, stays tapped into the passion of exploring the bleeding edge that is so new and raw, it could very well create the next new thing in the OEM industry.
Building an Ecosystem to Benefit the Entire Computing Industry
Although the HDSI and Intel partnership began small, it has grown into something exciting and innovative. In addition to providing real-world, industry-level experience to HDSI students, the cornerstone of the Intel partnership is access to and application of Intel’s Data Collection and Analysis (DCA) data being shared with the intent of breaking the mold in sharing industry data.
HDSI serves as a neutral and foundational partner, bringing together industry partners to contribute to the telemetry sharing ecosystem. We now have a safe and trusted space where partners from different industries are benefiting from collective contributions. In addition, HDSI is now leveraging nearly 100 TB of data on which Intel is using in real-world, data-driven decisions.
Intel is now supporting a new discipline in HSDI’s Data Science undergraduate curriculum through a Senior Capstone track focused on data collection. Through this program, Intel subject-matter-experts are teaching a Capstone course for 12 students spanning multiple quarters. Undergraduate students now have exposure to the real-world, and Intel gains cutting edge ideas coming from the industry’s future leaders.
For example, ISVs frequently perform a lot of testing, but they do not consistently have access to the full data set or implications beyond their purview. With this new model patterned after the HDSI and Intel partnership, OEMs can see not only their own performance but also valuable insights into how they are performing in relation to the entire industry – with implications and efficiencies for benchmarking, data integrity and ethics of data collection and sharing. HDSI has provided a non-competitive environment where data use agreements between industry and academia lay the foundation for collaboration while protecting privacy and confidentiality.
The HDSI Industry Relations team is looking to expand upon the mutual sharing of data, to replicate this model and develop a collaborative ecosystem where computing OEMs, value added resellers (VARs) and ISVs can share information and data, and experiment with new insights and findings.
The Halıcıoğlu Data Science Institute at UC San Diego serves as the catalyst for this innovative way to share and leverage big data across companies.