School of Data Science Affiliate Faculty Members Receive 2021 National Science Foundation I-Corps Grant

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By: Mia Sturdivant, SDS marketing undergraduate assistant

A group of UNC Charlotte researchers have received a 2021 National Science Foundation (NSF) I-Corps Grant, allowing the team to develop an interactive platform to visualize statistical and machine learning models of enterprise performance management (EPM) data.

The NSF I-Corps program is designed to support the commercialization of “deep technologies,” or projects revolving around fundamental discoveries in science and engineering, and specializes in experimental education that helps researchers gain valuable insights into industry challenges.

The award includes $50,000 in funding for the project, and free I-Corps training on technology entrepreneurship and the discovery of industry partnerships.

The project, entitled, Knowledge Graph Embeddings-based Explainable Artificial Intelligence for Enterprise Performance Management aims to create a universal knowledge graph for users across various disciplines, to visualize their knowledge about the causes and effects related to enterprise performance. The knowledge graph serves as a universal language for EMP data, with the ability to combine different pieces of knowledge together into one visualization.

“I hope this grant opportunity will encourage faculty across the University to collaborate more on interdisciplinary models and to place a greater focus on industry engaged projects, geared towards developing solutions for the business sector,” said Dr. Victor Chen, SDS affiliate faculty member and lead PI on the project. “UNC Charlotte has the right resources in place to go beyond laboratory research, integrating academia and industry to discover innovative solutions to real world problems.”

University collaborators on the project include:

Dr. Victor Chen: Affiliate Faculty member, School of Data Science; Associate Professor, Belk College of Business

Dr. Wenwen Dou: Affiliate Faculty member, School of Data Science; Assistant Professor, Department of Computer ScienceWenwen Dou: Assistant Professor, Department of Computer Science

Ph.D. student collaborators include:

Wendy Long: Currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Organizational Science

Nasheen Nur: Currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Software and Information Systems

Industry collaborators on the project include:

Gary Cokins: Founder and CEO, Analytics-Based Performance Management LLC

The success of the project could lead to increased funding opportunities for SDS students and University faculty and researchers as they employ data-driven approaches in efforts to address the world’s most pressing challenges. The platform will continue refining technology prototypes and seeking out users across multiple industries. For more information about the project, visit the research website here.