Power to the People
By David Hunt
Within weeks of completing his master’s degree in advanced analytics at North Carolina State University, Arren Fisher scored a job in data analysis at the Laboratory Corporation of America.
“It involves predictive modeling,” Fisher explains. “In layperson’s terms, super duper data mining.”
Despite the tight national economy, Fisher and his classmates are getting lots of job offers because they’re experienced users of the advanced software programs that marketing firms utilize to predict consumer behavior. But they didn’t have to book time in a computer lab to use the software. They had an entire university computer lab – with hundreds of advanced programs – available on their personal computers and laptops at any hour of the day or night.
The system – called the Virtual Computing Lab – is the wave of the future, say the information technology experts at NC State. It’s convenient, free and powerful for the users, and saves the university money by easing the demand placed on traditional computer labs in libraries and academic departments.
The way the virtual system works is simple. In Fisher’s case, he logged onto the system almost every day during the 10-month master’s program, connecting to the virtual lab over a broadband Internet connection using his laptop. Once he was logged on, Fisher used….