Analyst to Kick Off UM Big Data Lecture Series

February 18, 2014

MISSOULA – Dan Wagner, CEO and founder of the Chicago-based big data analytics firm Civis Analytics, will kick off the University of Montana’s Big Data Lecture Series, Wagnersponsored by GCS, with a talk titled “Big Data in Electoral Politics and Beyond: Revealing the Science of Political Science.” The lecture will be held at 7 p.m. Monday, Feb. 24, in the Montana Theatre of the Performing Arts and Radio/Television Center.

In 2012, Wagner and his team of big data scientists revolutionized electoral politics by applying big data technology to the Obama re-election campaign. Rather than solely focus on large demographic blocks, Wagner developed new analytical tools that mined massive electoral and social media data sets to identify likely Obama voters.

Civis Analytics now applies many of the same complex processes to glean valuable insights from big data. In his lecture, Wagner will describe how big data analytics benefit government, corporations, academia and politics.

“This lecture series is yet another important contribution to the UM-Missoula partnership around big data,” said UM President Royce Engstrom. “We are privileged to have someone of Dan Wagner’s caliber talk with us.”

Last year, UM teamed with IBM and TerraEchos to offer the first undergraduate big data analytics course in the world. The class, offered through UM’s School of Business Administration, taught students the basics of IBM’s InfoSphere Streams program.

“As a technology spinout from UM and NASA research and development activities, GCS believes the University of Montana is the key asset to the future economic development of Missoula and our regional economy,” said Alex Philp, a UM alumnus and founder and president of GCS.  “As a big data company, GCS created this lecture series in partnership with UM to support President Engstrom’s vision for a global century and to make the University and Missoula an internationally recognized hub for big data science. 

“Our inaugural speaker, Dan Wagner, has a world-class story that helped transform the American electoral process, and we want to facilitate discussion around world-class solutions to world-class problems occurring here in Missoula and at UM.” 

The event is free and open to the public, and doors open at 6:30 p.m. The series is sponsored by GCS, UM and the UM Foundation.

For more information call GCS Office Manager Caitlin Frisbie at 406-747-8393 or email


Photo: Dan Wagner



Western Montana, Campus, Local


Contact: Caitlin Frisbie, GCS, 406-747-8393,; Peggy Kuhr, UM vice president for integrated communications, 406-243-2311,