News Column

Symantec Executives Visit UM to Observe Big Data Course

August 15, 2014



MISSOULA, Mont., Aug. 15 -- The University of Montana issued the following news release:

University of Montana is the first university in the nation to be part of software giant Symantec's Academic Alliances Program. Executives from the company will visit campus Monday and Tuesday, Aug. 18-19, to meet with UM officials and observe the inaugural partnership in action.

Earlier this spring, Symantec made a $100,000 in-kind donation to UM that included a server, software, data and support for a two-week, big data-focused summer course. Business, computer science and law students are taking the course, which covers the process and law surrounding electronic discovery.

The course, titled eDiscovery Law and Practice, teaches students to search massive sets of data for evidence and decide how to proceed with findings based on both law and business practices.

UM Professor and IT legal adviser Joel Henry teaches the course and is at the helm of the partnership. He is giving UM students hands-on experience exploring a common use for big data and Symantec's software Clearwell.

Symantec is looking to Henry and his students for feedback, since UM will serve as the company's pilot for its new alliance program, which aims to help other universities equip students with real-world skills and experience by offering products and technology curriculum.

"This incredible donation by Symantec allows the University of Montana to offer a unique course in the data science area," Henry said. "The Clearwell software allows the business and computer science students to learn and work with one of the premier tools in the area of data science. The law students gain experience with the legal and technical challenges of big data. This truly is a one-of-a-kind experience for our students."

The in-kind donation came to UM after Symantec learned of UM's Cyber Innovation Laboratory, which is designed to train students in cybersecurity and to search for patterns that solve real-world problems using massive datasets.

"UM is both elated and honored to be the first University in the U.S. to offer a course through the Symantec Academic Alliances Program," said UM Provost Perry Brown. "The efforts of Symantec and Dr. Joel Henry, who is one of a handful of people in the country with doctoral-level expertise in both computer science and law, turned an idea and an opportunity, into a reality."

Symantec's donation is the first major addition to UM's Data Science Initiative, which is designed to train students to become effective programmers, developers and analysts.

"We can't thank Symantec enough for extending this opportunity to our students," Brown said. "UM looks forward to additional opportunities to provide hands-on training to our students."

For more information call Henry at 406-243-2218 or email joel.henry@umontana.edu.

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