Mining Young Minds
Dataseam Is Providing a Unique Way to Gather Information & Research
Writer / Stephanie VonTrapp
Photography provided by Dataseam
I recently sat down with Dataseam CEO, Brian Gupton, to discuss one of our state’s hidden gems. The son of a Western Kentucky coal miner and now a proud Louisvillian, Brian is on the second decade of success as his conception, Dataseam, continues to bridge our state’s heritage with our future.
Dataseam consists of a team of exceptional people and a network of thousands of computers from schools across the state working in unison to report to a cloud-based computing system.
Collectively, these computers are known as the DataseamGrid and the data collected is funneled to the University of Louisville’s James Graham Brown Cancer Center. The exponential effect of this grid is not only drastically increasing our cancer-research capabilities but also offering the next generation of Kentuckians unique opportunities. Dataseam was funded by the coal severance taxes and the DataseamGrid began operating with schools exclusively in the state’s coal-producing counties.
Students in these counties are provided access to state-of-the-art technology, space sciences and STEM scholarships that were previously unavailable. In mining, a coal seam refers to a large deposit of the fossil fuel that can be economically mined for profit. Creatively named, Dataseam is mining in these same coal counties but for information and research. At the James Graham Brown Cancer Center 17 research teams, led by Deputy Director Dr. John Trent, are working year-round on potential new cancer therapy drugs.
Cancer is the leading cause of mortality in our state and Kentuckians succumb to the disease at rates 50 percent higher than the national average. Nationally, cancer is only second to heart disease in causes of death. Fortunately, the DataseamGrid can produce approximately 1,200 years of essential research in a month. The grid is one of the largest computing devices in the world. Using proprietary software, the data from more than 150 locations statewide (reaching from Pikeville to as far west as Union County) is sent to the Cancer Center each day.
This innovative infrastructure allows for the center to provide top-tier research for a fraction of the cost enabling it to compete for more federal funding. Over the life of the program, there has been at least a $110M positive impact on the Commonwealth. Dataseam not only enables Kentuckians to participate in shaping the future health of our nation and beyond but also improves our state economically. Education initiatives at Dataseam are overseen by Louisville native and COO, Henry Hunt. Currently, there are 38 school districts participating in the program.
Since 2005, nearly 24,000 workstations have been provided to rural school systems that otherwise could not afford them. The availability of Dataseam in rural counties is pivotal in providing young Kentuckians access to acquiring specialized skills, further education options, and unique personal growth opportunities. As a result, it also contributes to the overall betterment of their local populations and ultimately our state as a whole.
Dataseam has created a vehicle where STEM scholarships from University of Louisville and Morehead State University are now available to those who may have otherwise never pursued higher education. Students are exposed to and encouraged towards STEM educations, including Aerospace and Biotechnology.
Students are also encouraged to attend the Governor’s School for Entrepreneurs and the Dataseam Scholars at the Governor’s School for the Arts. For many, they will be the first generation of college graduates. These rural counties tend to have higher cancer mortality rates, so the ability to work with the James Graham Brown Cancer Center means schools are able to participate in work relevant to their own communities while students simultaneously pursue their individual goals.
Brian shared with me the positive emotional and professional impact Dataseam has had on creating an interconnected community between counties, school systems, and technology staff that would not have normally interacted. Because of Dataseam there is a unifying project, purpose, and goal that binds these rural school systems and their staff. These counties are the biggest advocates for the continuation of Dataseam, however, the overall benefits extend far beyond the Commonwealth and even the global research community. Potentially, Dataseam could be the team who ultimately changes the lives of everyone touched by cancer, as scientists continually race to find a cure at one of the world’s largest cancer drug development channels.
Based in Louisville, yet servicing all of the state in varying ways, Dataseam is the perfect example of how we can find innovative solutions to multiple problems through creative cooperatives. With the Dataseam team, Brian Gupton has found a way to honor his Father’s legacy, and the work of all of Kentucky’s miners, while continuing to look towards the future. I am excited to see what developments they have in store and grateful for the work they are doing. For more information on how you can get involved or assist Dataseam visit kydataseam.com.