WNCG Welcomes Verizon Wireless to Industrial Affiliate Program

Thursday, December 08, 2016

Governmental regulations and privacy concerns restrict access to data sets for individuals and only provide researchers with data in aggregated form. However, current machine learning and data mining techniques are restricted in their ability to effectively use such data. These limitations create roadblocks for companies looking for ways to better respond to their consumers’ needs while also providing safety and security for individual users.  

To strike the balance between providing safety for consumers and pushing the fields of data mining and machine learning forward, WNCG and Verizon are teaming up to find solutions. Verizon recently joined the WNCG Industrial Affiliate Program at the Level 2 Membership.

“This is an exciting opportunity for WNCG to meaningfully engage with a world-leader in wireless technologies and data analytics for the wireless ecosystem,” WNCG Director Sanjay Shakkottai states. “We are delighted to welcome Verizon into the WNCG family.”

The WNCG Industrial Affiliate Program allows companies to become stakeholders in WNCG and lowers the cost of pre-competitive research for each sponsor. In addition to benefiting from interaction with 130 graduate students and 22 top faculty, affiliates receive special access to students for recruitment, first views of research publications and business opportunities for joint research collaborations. The program also benefits WNCG by creating a stable financial base that attracts more government-sponsored grants and furthers the reach and capabilities of WNCG research.

The first research partnership between WNCG and Verizon will create techniques and models for data mining in an aggregated context. The research will focus on both algorithm creation and efficient implementations for learning from data in an aggregated form. This research will enable Verizon to use data mining and machine learning techniques without compromising the personal privacy concerns of their customers.

“Apart from providing financial support, close associations with Industrial Affiliates like Verizon help students gain a better understanding of real world applications, and help align academic research with concerns and problems from an industry perspective,” WNCG student Avradeep Bhowmik, who will work on the project with Verizon, states. “Such projects contribute substantially to graduate students’ theses and dissertations, and provide new avenues for research.”

With help from his advisor, WNCG Prof. Joydeep Ghosh, Bhowmik will spearhead the project on the WNCG side. Verizon will provide datasets for evaluation, define project goals and provide guidance and expertise through their project directors, Hai Shao, Yong Gao and Ashok Srivastava.