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Tuesday, October 14, 2014 - 3:00pm

Wu & Chen Auditorium (101 Levine Hall)

CIS Colloquium

Laura Haas
IBM Research Accelerated Discovery Lab

"Accelerating Data Discovery for Better Health"


The volumes of healthcare data are sky-rocketing, and new sources and types of patient, biology, medical and contextual information are proliferating; we can now get more data on patients and disease than ever before. But that data is only valuable for the insight that can be gained from it – insights that let us better address both medical and business challenges, for example, improving treatments, understanding the basic science of disease, or reducing hospital re-admissions. There is a real opportunity to harness this data and dramatically change the practice of medicine, but to do so, we must do more than capture information.  We must correlate and align information across sources, extract meaning from it, and leverage that meaning to create value.  This talk will describe some of the challenges of capturing, integrating, and analyzing healthcare information and some of the progress that has been made in terms of runtimes and tools to support these tasks, as well as some ongoing research in this space. We will highlight some successful applications of these technologies, and close with a proposal to advance the state of the art in these technologies and in their application.


Laura Haas is an IBM Fellow and Director for Technology and Operations of IBM Research’s Accelerated Discovery Lab, which is creating a plug-and-play environment to facilitate deriving insight from data. The environment will meet dual goals: (1) to enable research in and improvements to the tools and systems that facilitate discovery, and (2) to enable the business person or domain expert who uses the environment to focus on their investigations, alleviating the systems and data challenges to speed discovery. Dr. Haas was the director of computer science at IBM Almaden Research Center from 2005-2011, and had worldwide responsibility for IBM Research’s exploratory science program from 2009 through 2013. Previously, she was responsible for Information Integration Solutions (IIS) architecture in IBM's Software Group after leading the IIS development team through its first two years. She joined the development team in 2001 as manager of DB2 UDB Query Compiler development. Before that, Dr. Haas was a research staff member and manager at the Almaden lab for nearly twenty years. In IBM Research, she worked on and managed a number of exploratory projects in distributed database systems.

Dr. Haas is best known for her work on the Starburst query processor (from which DB2 UDB was developed); on Garlic, a system which allowed federation of heterogeneous data sources; and on Clio, the first semi-automatic tool for heterogeneous schema mapping. Garlic technology, married with DB2 UDB query processing, is the basis for the IBM InfoSphere Federation Server, while Clio capabilities are a core differentiator in IBM’s InfoSphere Data Architect.

Dr. Haas is an active member of the database community. She served as Vice President of the VLDB Endowment Board of Trustees from 2004-2009 and was vice chair of ACM SIGMOD from 1989-1997. Dr. Haas has received several IBM awards for Outstanding Technical Achievement and Outstanding Innovation, and an IBM Corporate Award for her work on federated database technology. In 2010 she was recognized with the Anita Borg Institute Technical Leadership Award. She is a member of the National Academy of Engineering and the IBM Academy of Technology, an ACM Fellow, and Vice Chair of the board of the Computing Research Association. Dr. Haas received her PhD from the University of Texas at Austin, and her bachelor degree from Harvard University.