At Virginia Tech, he directs the Discovery Analytics Center, a university-wide effort that brings together researchers from computer science, statistics, mathematics, and electrical and computer engineering to tackle knowledge discovery problems in important areas of national interest, including intelligence analysis, sustainability, and electronic medical records. His research has been supported by NSF, DHS, NIH, NEH, IARPA, DARPA, DTRA, ONR, US Army, General Motors, HP Labs, NEC Labs, and Advance Auto Parts. His work has been featured in the NIH outreach publication Biomedical Computation Review, the National Science Foundation's Discoveries series, Wall Street Journal, Newsweek, Smithsonian Magazine,Popular Science, Chronicle of Higher Education, Slate magazine, and ACM Technews. Naren serves on the editorial boards of IEEE Computer, ACM Transactions on Knowledge Discovery from Data, Data Mining and Knowledge Discovery, IEEE Transactions on Knowledge and Data Engineering, and many other journals. He was included in two "40 under 40" lists: Computerworld's innovative IT people to watch (2007) and Purdue University's list of distinguished alumni (2010). Naren is an ACM Distinguished Scientist (2009). Naren received his Ph.D. in computer sciences from Purdue University.
The Big Data module is designed and taught by Naren Ramakrishnan, Thomas L. Phillips Professor of Engineering at Virginia Tech and a recognized leader in Big Data. His EMBERS Big Data system won the OSI forecasting tournament organized by IARPA (the Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity). EMBERS is a system for forecasting population-level events from open source data such as tweets, news, blogs, economic and financial data, satellite imagery, atmospheric variables, and other indicators. The project has been featured in the Wall Street Journal, Newsweek, PBS NoVA/Next, Chronicle of Higher Education, and in the book “The Naked Future” (by Patrick Tucker).