Big Text Data Analytics in Artificial Intelligence 


Since February, recent graduate Hossein Sarshar (also known as “Parsa”) has been working at his dream job of “Data Scientist” for Mobivity, a company based in Chandler, Arizona with an office in Halifax, which focuses on digital marketing for major brands. Hossein is enthusiastic about applying his skills in Artificial Intelligence (AI) to enable marketing approaches to be more effective and intelligent. This is a great step on a career that he has been working towards for the past few years.

Hossein had done his undergraduate degree in computer science in Malaysia and was working in the software engineering industry for a decade but decided to make a transition to the Data Science world after getting inspired by an article he read in 2013 that was titled “Data Scientist: The Sexiest Job of the 21st Century”. When he started to think of a change in direction, he considered going to Germany or coming here to Dalhousie. He was eventually swayed towards Nova Scotia, in part because his friend had applied to Dalhousie and in part because he had contacted Dr. Andrew Rau-Chaplin and Dr. Stan Matwin and was enthusiastic about the research that they were doing and wanted to be a part of it. In January 2015, he moved to Halifax with his wife Mona from Iran, where he was born and raised, to start his Masters in Computer Science with a focus on machine learning and big data analytics. He was awarded a scholarship to support his studies under the TRIBE program and became a valued part of the Institute for Big Data Analytics.

Part of his studies involved projects with industry partners. One small project took him to St. John’s to work with startup Sentinel Alert. His major focus, however was on a larger project and an internship with SolutionInc, a company providing internet access via both Wi-Fi and wired solutions in high demand areas such as airports, hotels, restaurants, etc. The work on this project was an important contribution to his Masters thesis and two published and work-in-progress research papers. Hossein’s thesis was titled, “Analyzing Large Scale Wi-Fi Data Using Supervised and Unsupervised Learning Techniques”.

And if he wasn’t busy enough with these projects he also found time to take part as a team member in two intense competitions, winning first prize in the three-month marathon “Smart Energy App Challenge”, and also winning the award of “Most Innovative Use of Big Data” in the coast to coast “Sports Hack” competition. After his success with the Smart Energy competition, Hossein was invited to work as a Data Scientist consultant with the NSCC Applied Energy Research (AER) Lab for the last few months of his studies.

During the two years of his studies at the Institute for Big Data Analytics, Hossein’s schedule may have been kind of crazy, but as he told us, “It was one of the most exciting, challenging and rewarding times in my life.”