Science fascinates us every day with amazing innovations that facilitate our life, but the problems that are facing us, as a humankind, and our big home earth are becoming tougher and severer, from climate change to gender parity etc…
In digital age, where computers and programming might be the new force of power that shapes the future and helps solving our pain points, data is a key resource for all kind of activities from scientific subjects to social and commercial issues. Data also help us in making wiser decisions and when the core of data (code) intermix with another different data material — we possess a dramatically enhanced ability to combine different datasets together and thereby to extend more and better products and services that deals with our daily problems like: transportation, poverty and education to bigger struggles like global warming and pollution — absolutely the key to realize the main practical benefit of data.
The term “open-data” is becoming more familiar due to its amazing benefits and its ability to unify people from all over the world. It is free and simple to use and to enable anyone to access, analyze, virtualize or download data and by opening up the data, civic communities, engaged citizens, and governments can help drive the creation of innovative business and services that deliver social, local and global value.
Therefore, NASA has launched the “Datanauts” project which provides these opportunities to bright and smart young minds everywhere to join the NASA community and solve problems facing space life and our life here on earth. And because there are huge amounts of stored data you can’t do or deal with manually, this project is a way to involve with datasets with the computational power required to pick apart that data.
NASA aims to engage minds everywhere to their open-data in order to create innovative new thinking, processes, and products no matter what is the individual background or expertise and to raise the awareness of the importance of science and attract data newcomers, introduce and advance data science skills and originate a vibrant data problem-solving community.
NASA launches Datanaut sessions annually and gives the chance to host local events and provide the data and support to create cool tech projects.
I hope one day to see Datanaut event in Damascus and see the young Syrian minds collaborate in such activities; our war torn country Syria needs to be rebuild and stand out.
We must lead the way by our competence and knowledge not by ignorance and violence. Equally, we must demonstrate that an open-data alone is insufficient to change society and to address these complex problems; we must also demonstrate empathy, kindness, awareness and a direct concern and understanding for neighbors and communities. Together, and for 9,000 years, we will demonstrate as Syrian that we represent a value driven society, a welcoming and diverse community across the ages — and one that is equally committed to research, open-data and evidenced based decisions.
Bayan Zeino is an advanced undergraduate at American University of Beirut, majoring in computer and electrical engineering, prior student at Damascus University; her interests include science and new technologies and she has been active in numerous scientific competitions. In 2010, Bayan participated in the Syrian Scientific Olympiad in Chemistry that was held at the national level; in 2011, Bayan also competed in the Syrian Olympiad in the field of Informatics. An accomplished violinist, Bayan has strong interests in global issues, especially in the field of education and the promotion of eLearning. Beyond her undergraduate studies, Bayan has an interest in medicine, health care and engineering. She dreams to make a difference, and to make the world a nicer, kinder and more peaceful place. Bayan may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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The IIT Syrian student blog welcomes guest contributions from university students from Syria and around the globe. To learn more about the Guest Authors Initiative, please contact Suhaib at email@example.com.
Suhaib was born in Kamishli, Syria, and earned his bachelor’s degree in December 2014 from Illinois Institute of Technology’s Armour College of Engineering, with earlier studies at Aleppo University and Damascus University. Suhaib majored in Civil Engineering with a concentration in structural engineering. Upon graduation, he accepted a position as a project engineer working on projects throughout the state of Illinois; he lives in Springfield, Illinois. Suhaib previously worked with Jasmine Baladi Studio, an NGO that works to support Syrian children in refugee camps in Turkey. Suhaib regularly writes for the Syrian Students for a Better Future Blog.