Students find unique opportunities for big data research at College of Engineering

DETROIT (May 7, 2014) – As the Wayne State University College of Engineering ramps up its big data efforts, its students are finding unique opportunities to conduct research in this growing field. Two of those students are Itauma Itauma, a computer science graduate student and graduate teaching assistant, and Haidar Almohri, an industrial and systems engineering Ph.D. student and graduate research assistant.

  Haidar Almohri
  Itauma Itauma

Almohri works with Ratna Babu Chinnam, industrial and systems engineering professor, graduate chair and co-director of the Big Data & Business Analytics Group, in the Smart Engineering Laboratory. Their goal is to analyze the data provided for Ford Motor Company and Lincoln Motor Company automotive dealers across the country and determine the significant factors that affect dealer performance and how performance can be improved by changing the appropriate factor.

“It is exciting and challenging because of all the difficulties you encounter when working on a big data project, such as exhaustive running time and memory shortage,” says Almohri.

Itauma agrees that big data research can be demanding.

“Wayne State is a great university and the experience of working with big data here has been challenging and purposeful,” says Itauma.

Itauma works with Xuewen Chen, computer science chair and co-director of the Big Data & Business Analytics Group, in the Big Data and Mining Lab. They use MapReduce, a software framework for writing applications that process vast amounts of data to perform sentiment analysis, or opinion mining, on large scale data. Their research will help categorize and understand massive text databases, such as Twitter streams.

Once he receives his Ph.D., Almohri will seek post-doctoral work and hopes to eventually find a faculty position. After graduating, Itauma hopes to explore other promising areas in big data and relate them to different fields of study.

Wayne State University’s Big Data & Analytics Group is an initiative of the College of Engineering that aims to assist enterprises in their big data adoption and value extraction challenges. The group — made up of more than 30 faculty members and more than 50 research students from various university departments — works together and collaborates with industry on big data and analytics projects. Anyone interested in collaborating with the group should contact co-directors Ratna Babu Chinnam at 313-577-4846, Satyendra Rana at 512-773-0357 or Xuewen Chen at 313-577-2478.

# # #

Wayne State University is a premier urban research institution of higher education offering 370 academic programs through 13 schools and colleges to nearly 28,000 students. For more information about engineering at Wayne State University, visit

Back to listing