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Friday, September 6, 2019 - 10:30am

Mercy Professor Rossi Hassad, Ph.D. recently presented a novel approach to analyzing Big Data at the International Statistical Institute’s (ISI) World Statistics Congress in Malaysia. Hassad’s presentation titled “Epidemiological Concepts as a Foundation for Inductive Reasoning in Harnessing the Potential of Big Data for Evidence-Based Healthcare,” implored statisticians and data scientists to shift their analytical approach to encourage and incorporate more creativity and flexible thinking - or what he defines as “inductive reasoning” - when exploring Big Data and preparing students for practice. This is in contrast to the predominant deductive and theoretical approach, which is rigid and can stifle innovation and discovery.

Hassad was formally invited to speak by the ISI’s organizing committee. The Institute is the world-renowned professional body for statisticians and their World Statistics Congress is held every two years in a different country. The event attracts a diverse group of professionals, primarily statisticians, epidemiologists, and educators, and emphasizes two main tracks: education and statistical practice.

“Big Data” is a term that describes a large volume of complex data that can be rapidly obtained. Typically, advanced technology such as artificial intelligence and machine learning is used to organize, explore, and help to make sense of the data through patterns and correlations. Statisticians and data scientists write the algorithms and design the programs that drive this technology.

Hassad notes that Big Data holds much promise for the health care field. The results can inform the development of more targeted and effective treatments, including the prevention and control of diseases, thereby reducing cost, and providing optimum patient care.

The presentation garnered great interest from the audience. “My research treads into controversial territory – it’s saying to the mainstream that we need to make a shift,” said Hassad. He plans to continue to develop this model through collaboration with his colleagues at Mercy College and elsewhere.

Beyond the health care field, Hassad strives to facilitate educators to incorporate strategies for creative problem solving into their curricula and does so in his own classroom at Mercy. “If we provide these models to our students and guide them, then we can get them excited about data and discovery,” said Hassad.

“In a digital world, Big Data is inescapable, but in order to optimize its value, we need more than just technology, especially given the associated complexity and uncertainty. Machines are only as good as we are – I’m facilitating my students to develop higher levels of conceivability and creative thinking. I’m giving them the tools to not only prepare them for employment in the real world but excel in their professions,” Hassad continued.

Hassad is excited about the new school year, and starts each class by saying, “Let the fun begin!”

Hassad Hassad II