Jeff Hemsley

Jeff Hemsley Discusses CCDS Project Illuminating 2016 and Data Science Program at SU

June 13th, 2016

By Amanda Quick


Jeff Hemsley is an Assistant Professor at the School of Information Studies at Syracuse University. He believes that the Center for Computational and Data Sciences (CCDS) is a key resource for students who need research experience as well as for the public who wants detailed insights about the upcoming presidential election.


The CCDS isn’t your average research lab – from PhD candidates who specialize in natural language processing to masters students in Library and Information Science, the CCDS brings together students, faculty and industry experts to collect, interpret and analyze data as well as solve social problems with interactional datasets.


Over the past few years, one of the largest projects Center for Computational and Data Sciences has been “Illuminating 2016,” a project that collects social media data from all of the 2016 Presidential candidates using a complex algorithm. With the Presidential Election coming up in November, Hemsley expects the CCDS to obtain more public exposure from Illuminating 2016.


“When it [Illuminating 2016] comes online, it’s a platform we can make available to the public and will give us a higher profile,” said Hemsley.


In addition to national recognition, Hemsley hopes that the CCDS continues to grow in terms of funding. “More grants will come in the next year or so, and that will enable us to bring more students into the center and work with us directly and that will benefit students and the school as well as increasing our capacity to do great research,” said Hemsley who has been teaching at the iSchool since the fall of 2014.


Hemsley also describes the CCDS as a great lab for students to explore their research interests, work on a team, and get hands-on experience in the information field. “This is a relatively safe environment to come in and get to see what it’s like to work on a team in an environment where we are really trying to achieve something,” said Hemsley who describes his role at the CCDS as a mix of collecting, managing and overseeing data.


More about Hemsley and Data Science at SU


Whether it’s in the CCDS, the classroom or in a corporate work environment, Hemsley explains that we will see more data science projects rely on teams with members who have both specialized and a broad range of skills.


“It’s about having a broad general skill set is important and I think that it’s good not to underestimate the ability to communicate effectively with your teammates,” says Hemsley who explains that interpersonal skills are just as important as technical skills in the data science field.


Hemsley – who mostly teaches Information Visualization (IST 781) – is also the author of Going Viral and received his Ph.D. from the Information School at the University of Washington.


“I had a computer science background and I was able to apply computational skills to social science questions that I was interested in,” said Hemsley. “The kinds of things that are interesting to me is related to how people interact through information and how that can be influential in our world.”


To learn more about Hemsley, follow him on twitter @JeffHemsley.