Data science partners with NCI to bring AI technology to governmental level

Madeleine Plourde, Staff writer

With the job of a data scientist being listed as one of America’s best jobs for multiple years now, Mercyhurst University is pleased and proud to not only have a quality data science program, but also one that has been thriving in recent years.
In fact, just last year, Mercyhurst University formed a partnership with NCI Information Systems, a leading force in helping to bring artificial intelligence (AI) to the federal government.
Even better, President and CEO of NCI, Paul Dillahay, was named to the 2021 Wash100.
Wash100 selects leaders in innovation, reliability and vision in the government communication sector, meaning that with Mercyhurst’s partnership with NCI, the University’s data science program gained even more attention and acclaim.
Along with the principle director of the project, Brain Fuller, who is also the acting director of Operations for the Ridge College, four students are working on this partnership, including graduate students Alex Nicanor Kenmogne Tayou of Cameroon, Arseniy Sklyarov of Canada and Kutlu Mizrak of Turkey. Sophomore Brentyn Muir of Hobart, Australia is the only undergraduate student involved in this partnership.
The partnership greatly benefits all involved, from NCI to Mercyhurst University and its students.
“We are barely scratching the surface with the software and analytics we have done and every day we find more avenues ready to be explored,” said Tayou. “I personally learned a lot from this project and hope to get more insight and knowledge from working with these professionals at NCI.”
Sklyarov explained that this project allows for real-life work experience while still being in school, saying, “this project feels like what a real work force situation would entail and that is a priceless experience for any college student.”
Fuller said the connection is mutually beneficial.
“Through the partnership NCI has agreed to provide these opportunities to our students, and in return NCI knows MU will be providing the best young minds in the computer science industry, as well as highly experienced faculty and subject matter experts to directly support those student led teams,” Fuller said.
As NCI and MU work together, the focus of the project is specifically on helping to bring AI research and projects to a governmental level.
“Our goal in this project is to research avenues for this refactoring to benefit from the vast quantities of packages available to use on the Internet, to collate this information and train an AI brain to make recommendations on how the refactor should be done, essentially automating the lesser aspects of the refactoring process,” said Mizrak. “This would be an essential next step in code refactoring with less human error and input than ever before.”
The partnership between NCI and Mercyhurst University shows no signs of stopping. “
There are more projects on the horizon with NCI under our Academia Partnership and the future looks strong between MU and NCI,” Fuller said. Muir encourages others to get involved.
“What I can say [is that for anybody interested] in data science, machine learning, natural language processing and any other field surrounding those: any other NCI project is waiting for you.”