By Betsy Simon
Dec 13, 2019
Big data isn’t going away and Milton Soto-Ferrari wants to make sure Indiana State University students are knowledgable of the trend.
Soto-Ferrari, who teaches business statistics, business forecasting, and business analytics as an assistant professor in the operations and supply chain management program (OSCM) at the Scott College of Business, offered his students the opportunity to put their coursework to the test by analyzing statistical procedures on an open database of breast cancer patients.
Soto-Ferrari began its research during his doctorate program by working with a medical facility in Michigan, that concluded with the development of his doctoral dissertation. He and his advisor determined the clinical and non-clinical factors of breast cancer patients to develop an analytical tool that assists physicians in the decisions associated to treatment courses for patients.
“The idea is to develop a statistical tool that would allow for the identification of the appropriate treatment for patients, using the information about their clinical and non-clinical factors,” Soto-Ferrari said. “We want to impact the survival rate of breast cancer patients and provide insight on suitable treatments.”
Statistics are at the heart of Soto-Ferrari’s classes. With around a decade of experience in academia and years of research under his belt, Soto-Ferrari’s main focus during the last six years has been on big data analytics involving different data sources.
“No matter the source of the data, the formal procedure to perform and develop the analysis will likely follow a similar path. If students know how to do a proper statistical analysis with one set of data, they will be able to apply it to any other source,” he said.
Soto-Ferrari also gives his students the opportunity to do applications that use real data sets to create models that will help with decision-making of industry partners such as Kimball Electronics and North American Lighting.
“I want my students to be involved in data analysis using real data because it will be a part of every position they are in no matter the field. Which is why I want my students involved in projects even in my introductory classes of statistics” he said. “For any type of business, the most important resource is data. To have success in the industry, my students need to be able to analyze and make decisions using the information contained in the data.”
That means ensuring students to have the proper resources to learn and apply advanced data analysis. For this reason, Soto-Ferrari is looking at the possibility of creating an analytics lab in Federal Hall.
“We want to create a space for our students to work on these projects and provide state-of-the-art resources, like computers that handle big amounts of data, so they can be able to apply the concepts in their own developments. The more we can introduce our students to advanced tools, like powerful data analysis software, the better prepared they will be for the current job market.”