By Kiersten Mannino & Tiffany Whitfield

Usually, when you think of data, you do not think of reusable data. Yasith Jayawardana, a computer science Ph.D. student at Old Dominion University, is exploring new ways to simplify the process of reusing data. He received the Sigma-Xi Grant in Aid of Research to help fund and produce his research project. "Researchers tend to reuse data from past studies as means to avoid costly re-collection of experimental data," said Jayawardana. "With advancements in technology, this practice is gaining more and more traction." Sigma Xi was designed to reward excellence in scientific research and to encourage a sense of companionship and cooperation among scientists in all fields. "This is a very competitive national award and less than 10% get accepted," said Dr. Sampath Jayarathna, assistant professor in the Department of Computer Science. "In this proposal, Yasith proposes to develop approaches to standardize metadata in both streamed and stored data, which encourages the inclusion of a minimum set of meta-data," said Dr. Jayarathna. The implications of this research "will lay the groundwork for automated data wrangling and aggregation, simplifying the data analysis pipelines," said Dr. Jayarathna.

Reusing data means that researchers can save money on experiments but may need more time to sort through the data. Jayawardana is investigating new ways to shorten this process. "I hope to use the grant money that I received to conduct a human subjects research for collecting multi-sensory data in real-time, that would put the prototypes that I'm implementing into action," said Jayawardana. He credits his Ph.D. advisor, Dr. Sampath Jayarathna "for his constant support and guidance towards this project." "Also, I would like to thank both faculty and my colleagues at the WSDL group for the insightful discussions that helped me shape my research into something unique," said Jayawardana. The Sigma Xi Grants in Aid of Research (GIAR) program has provided undergraduate and graduate students with valuable educational experiences since 1922.